• 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

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

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

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

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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

Jul
25
Fri
Watershed Wonders – Secrets Insi... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Watershed Wonders – Secrets Insi... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 25 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Watershed Wonders - Secrets Inside Vernal Pools @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
A story hour with crafts and activities focusing on the many wonders of life in the Connecticut River watershed. For ages 6 – 8, with a parent or guardian. This month’s topic is the secrets of vernal pools. Who’s in there?
Jul
26
Sat
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
Jul 26 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kids, grab your parents, bug spray, and sunscreen, and then we’ll go exploring. 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!
Jul
27
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 27 @ 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Meet outside the main entrance to the Discovery Center at 8:30 a.m. All ages are welcome. We will leisurely explore level, accessible, and paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history along the Canal-side Bike Path of Turners Falls. Topics may include birds, fish, invasive species, wildflowers, and cultural or industrial history. Please wear appropriate footwear, and bring water, bug repellent, and sun screen.
Jul
28
Mon
Junior Rangers – July Sessions @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Junior Rangers – July Sessions @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 28 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Junior Rangers - July Sessions @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Junior Rangers is a four-part nature education workshop for young naturalists ages 8-11. Become a Connecticut River watershed expert, and find out who lives along the canal-side bike path in Turners Falls. Children and parents should meet at the Discovery Center lobby at 10:30 a.m. Junior Ranger programs are free and open to all and will last about an hour, and friends and siblings are welcome. Space is limited so please register. The July 2014 session is July 7, 14, 21, and 28.
Jul
29
Tue
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 29 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope -  @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed! Kidleidoscope is a kid-friendly, hands-on environmental experience for young children. Each topic includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to the natural world. Programming recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian
Jul
31
Thu
Artist Reception for Great Hall ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Artist Reception for Great Hall ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 31 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join us for a closing reception for the exhibit “Women Painters of GCC,” which features the art of Frankie Dack, Marti Olmstead, Mari Rovang, Susan Valentine and Sandy Walsh, who have all been painting at Greenfield Community College for a number of years. The paintings include stunning landscapes of the Pioneer Valley. Light refreshment will be served. Their work will be on display in the Great Hall from July 4th to July 31st, from 10 am – 4 pm daily.
Aug
3
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 3 @ 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Meet outside the main entrance to the Discovery Center at 8:30 a.m. All ages are welcome. We will leisurely explore level, accessible, and paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history along the Canal-side Bike Path of Turners Falls. Topics may include birds, fish, invasive species, wildflowers, and cultural or industrial history. Please wear appropriate footwear, and bring water, bug repellent, and sun screen.
Aug
4
Mon
Junior Rangers – August Sessions @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Junior Rangers – August Sessions @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 4 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Junior Rangers - August Sessions @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Junior Rangers is a four-part nature education workshop for young naturalists ages 8-11. Become a Connecticut River watershed expert, and find out who lives along the canal-side bike path in Turners Falls. Children and parents should meet at the Discovery Center lobby at 10:30 a.m. Junior Ranger programs are free and open to all and will last about an hour, and friends and siblings are welcome. Space is limited so please register. The August 2014 sessions are August 4, 11, 18, and 25.
Aug
5
Tue
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 5 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope -  @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed! Kidleidoscope is a kid-friendly, hands-on environmental experience for young children. Each topic includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to the natural world. Programming recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian
Aug
10
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 10 @ 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Meet outside the main entrance to the Discovery Center at 8:30 a.m. All ages are welcome. We will leisurely explore level, accessible, and paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history along the Canal-side Bike Path of Turners Falls. Topics may include birds, fish, invasive species, wildflowers, and cultural or industrial history. Please wear appropriate footwear, and bring water, bug repellent, and sun screen.

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/Mowhawk 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

Laurel Carpenter
Visitor Services Specialist
Laurel_Carpenter@fws.gov

Department of Conservation and Recreation

Great Hall Rentals and Park Interpreter
ct.greenway@state.ma.us
Please specify: Attention Great Falls Discovery Center Staff in the subject line.

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