• gfdc

Housed within a complex of old mill buildings in historic Turners Falls, Massachusetts, the Great Falls Discovery Center’s exhibits show the natural, cultural, and industrial history of the Connecticut River watershed. The Center’s four acres of native plants, butterfly gardens, and open lawn nestle into a bend in the Connecticut River to provide a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere and the perfect place for fun and learning.

Inside the main building, exquisite walk-through dioramas show the plants, animals, and landscapes of this 410-mile-long river from its arboreal source near the Canadian border, through forests and farms, past villages, towns, and cities, all the way down to the estuary at the Long Island Sound. A timeline indicates the impacts of human habitation on each environment over time and suggests safeguards to keep the watershed healthy and useful for all—people, plants, and animals—that live here together.

The Center’s charming Great Hall is in a separate building, a former machine shop, with a high ceiling, brick walls, large windows, and gleaming old wood floors. It is connected to the main building by a corridor whose windows on one side open onto an old canal (once used for transportation, now for power), faced on the other by a mural depicting what is found beneath the canal water rushing by. The Great Hall is used for regularly held art exhibits and special educational programs and activities for children and adults, as well as for the Friends of GFDC’s monthly live-music Coffeehouses that warm up the room while raising funds that support the Center’s free public programs.

Located in town yet close to nature, the Center is one end of an easy self-guided walking tour of the interesting little town of Turners Falls, with its historical industrial architecture and distinctive geology, restaurants, shops, and old Carnegie Library. The walk and bike path along the river and canal runs from Turners Falls to Deerfield and is a favorite site for bird watching. A short distance along the other side of the bridge leads to Barton Cove’s picnic area and camp grounds, where eagles soar over the peninsula.

The Center’s building and exhibits are fully accessible and are free and open to the public.  It is a cooperative program of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, with financial and program support from the Friends of Great Falls Discovery Center.

Visit Us on Facebook to stay informed on the programs and events at the Center and to download our monthly events calendar.

Hours & Admission

Winter Hours
Friday & Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
(Hours mid-October until mid-May)

Open Tuesday – Thursday to school, camp, and community groups by special appointment only.

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Summer Hours
7 days a week: 10 am – 4 pm
(Hours change effective mid-May through mid-October)

Admission to the Great Falls Discovery Center is FREE. The Center hosts some fee based programs and any fees or registration requirements are announced on our online events calendar.  If you would like a printable version of our events calendar please click here.

Upcoming Events

Jun
2
Tue
10:30 am Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope
Jun 2 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River watershed. Each program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to wildlife along the river. Recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian. Meet in the Great Hall. May 26              Birds June 2               Fish June 9               Frogs June 16             Turtles June 23             River Otters June 30             Eagles July 7                 Bobcats July 14               Beavers July 21               Bees & Flowers July 28              Skunks August 4           Dragonflies August 11          Rabbits August 18          Snakes August 25          Coyotes September 1     Bats September 8     Butterflies September 15   Raptors September 22   Moose September 29   Squirrels October 6           Bears
Jun
4
Thu
12:00 pm Artist Reception: Artists of Dee... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Artist Reception: Artists of Dee... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 4 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Artist Reception: Artists of Deerfield Valley Arts Association Join us for an opening reception in the Great Hall for Artists of the Deerfield Valley Arts Association. Light refreshments will be served. The Deerfield Valley Art Association will be featuring 16 Artists in a Member Art Show at the Discovery Center in Turners Falls,  the month of June. The Mission of this Art Association is to encourage, cerate and foster appreciation of the fine arts and crafts in our region through it’s ongoing exhibitions, education,  demonstrations by prominent artists and crafters,  annual scholarships for art students and other activities. The Artists will include paintings in Watercolor,  Pastels,  Oils and Acrylic  and Photography. The Theme will be:    “ The Beauty  of Western Massachusetts” Each  Artist will show two of their pieces.   A few  of the Artists are listed below: Joanne Swift of Amherst                           Watercolor                      “ South Face Farm” Helen Hodges of Ashfield                         Watercolor                     “A Storm Brewing over Ashfield” Lenore Gaudet of Northfield                      Oil                                “Still Life with Peonies” Artemis Romell of Amherst                       Pastels                          “Reflections on Lily Pad Pond” Edith Hunsberger of Shutesbury               Acrylic                           “Leverett Saw Mill” Jenny Tibbetts                                          Oil                                 “Golden Afternoon” Stephanie Klug of  Greenfield                 Acrylic                           “The Holyoke Range” Beverly Phelps of Bernardston                Watercolor                    “ Below the Dam” Maureen Moore of Shelburne Falls,        Watercolor                    “View of the Quabbin” Jackie Tuthill of Amherst                         Photograph                    “Co-existence” John Williamson of Warwick                   Pastel                            “Steven’s Swamp” Joan Kozlowski of Northfield                   Watercolor                     “Nasturtiums” Karen J. Evans                                          Oil                                  “Looking at Riverside A Reception will be held at the Center on Thursday,  June 4th at Noon.   All are invited to attend free of charge.
Jun
6
Sat
10:00 am 10th Annual Family Fish Day @ Great Falls Discovery Center
10th Annual Family Fish Day @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 6 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
10th Annual Family Fish Day Adults and children of all ages can join refuge staff, MA Fish & Wildlife & DCR staff, educators from Northfield Mountain, and volunteers in a day of fishing fun! Equipment is provided and no fishing licenses needed.  
Jun
7
Sun
10:00 am River Rambles – Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
River Rambles – Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 7 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
River Rambles – Canal-side Rail Trail Nature and History Walks Meet outside our main entrance at 10:00 am, and join a DCR Park Interpreter as we leisurely explore level, paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill history.
Jun
9
Tue
10:30 am Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope
Jun 9 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River watershed. Each program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to wildlife along the river. Recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian. Meet in the Great Hall. May 26              Birds June 2               Fish June 9               Frogs June 16             Turtles June 23             River Otters June 30             Eagles July 7                 Bobcats July 14               Beavers July 21               Bees & Flowers July 28              Skunks August 4           Dragonflies August 11          Rabbits August 18          Snakes August 25          Coyotes September 1     Bats September 8     Butterflies September 15   Raptors September 22   Moose September 29   Squirrels October 6           Bears
Jun
12
Fri
7:00 pm Great Falls Coffeehouse: Devine ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Coffeehouse: Devine ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Great Falls Coffeehouse:  Devine & Nix Chris Devine and Michael Nix perform energetic and entertaining music for violin, guitar, mandolin, and the Banjar (a seven string classical banjo). Their repertoire features virtuoso arrangements of traditional classical music, a world tour of musical traditions, American banjo music, vintage jazz, and multi-genre original compositions. Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with great local musical talent. Refreshments available.  Museum and Museum Store are open during intermission. Donations ($6-$12 suggested at the door) help the Friends support free nature programs at the Center.  
Jun
13
Sat
10:30 am Bike Path B-I-N-G-O ! Canal-side... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Bike Path B-I-N-G-O ! Canal-side... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 13 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Bike Path Bingo! Canal-side Rail Trail Nature Walk for Kids Kids, grab your parents, bug spray, and sunscreen, and then we’ll go strolling and exploring with a DCR Park Interpreter. All ages are welcome as we practice examining the natural world with field guides, binoculars, and a fun game to see just how much you can see!  
Jun
14
Sun
2:00 pm River Rambles – Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
River Rambles – Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 14 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
River Rambles – Canal-side Rail Trail Nature and History Walks Meet outside our main entrance at 10:00 am, and join a DCR Park Interpreter as we leisurely explore level, paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill history.
Jun
16
Tue
10:30 am Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope
Jun 16 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River watershed. Each program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to wildlife along the river. Recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian. Meet in the Great Hall. May 26              Birds June 2               Fish June 9               Frogs June 16             Turtles June 23             River Otters June 30             Eagles July 7                 Bobcats July 14               Beavers July 21               Bees & Flowers July 28              Skunks August 4           Dragonflies August 11          Rabbits August 18          Snakes August 25          Coyotes September 1     Bats September 8     Butterflies September 15   Raptors September 22   Moose September 29   Squirrels October 6           Bears
Jun
18
Thu
6:30 pm John Root Program: Wildflowers o... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
John Root Program: Wildflowers o... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 18 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
John Root Program: Wildflowers of the Northeast John Root’s presentation in the Great Hall on native flora of the Northeast, funded by the Montague Cultural Council, coincides with the town-wide event, Third Thursday in Turners Falls. Check out the Third Thursday scene about town (see www.turnersfallsriverculture.org for full schedule), and then stop at the Center and enjoy a flowery talk.

View Calendar

Directions & Parking

GPS Users
2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376.  Please note that the address may show up as  Montague in some units.

From the North and South
Take Interstate 91, take exit 27 onto Route 2 East/Mohawk Trail towards Boston.
Turn right onto Main St. (over the Gill-Montague Bridge).
Continue onto Avenue A.
The Great Falls Discovery Center is the first red building on your right immediately after the bridge.

From the West
Take Route 2 East past route 91 to the traffic lights in Gill.
Turn right onto Main St. (over the Gill-Montague Bridge).
Continue onto Avenue A.
The Great Falls Discovery Center is the first red building on your right immediately after the bridge.

From the East
Take Route 2 West to Gill.
At the Route 2 lights in Gill, turn left onto Main St. (over the Gill-Montague Bridge).
Continue onto Avenue A.
The Great Falls Discovery Center is the first red building on your right immediately after the bridge.

Parking
Handicap accessible parking is available immediately after the Gill-Montague bridge on the right.
The main parking lot is just around the corner.  Take the next right onto Second St, then a right to enter the lot.

Contact

Silvio Conte National
Fish & Wildlife Refuge
Great Falls Discovery Center

For school field trips and group visits contact: 

Laurel Carpenter
Visitor Services Specialist
Laurel_Carpenter@fws.gov

Department of Conservation and Recreation

For Great Hall rentals and recreational permits contact:
shawn.t.kennedy@state.ma.us

For Park Interpreter Contact:
ct.greenway@state.ma.us

Membership and Support
See the Friends Page

or call us at 413.863.3221

Sponsored by:
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
     •     Connecticut River Greenway State Park     •     Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center

© 2012 Great Falls Discovery Center     •     All Rights Reserved     •     Site design by Starstruck Design