• 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

Current Seasonal Spring Hours
Fridays and Saturdays  –     10 am – 4 pm  through mid-May.

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Open New Year’s Day. Come join us for our First Day Hike.

Summer Hours Starting in Mid-May
7 days a week: 10 am – 4 pm
(Hours change effective approx. 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.  Here are printable version of our events calendars and flyers: April 2016 Calendar of EventsApril 2016 Coffeehouse, and Park Serve Day!

Upcoming Events

Apr
30
Sat
7:00 am Early Bird Spring Birding with J... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Early Bird Spring Birding with J... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Apr 30 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 am
Early Bird Spring Birding with John Green—Get a jump on learning about spring migratory birds with the birdsong expertise of John Green. John will lead us on a walk to discover the birds along the Canalside Rail Trail, at Unity Park, and along Migratory Way. Perfect for beginning and intermediate birders. Meet at the main entrance to the center. Space is limited so please register by calling 413-863-3221 or email shawn.t.kennedy@state.ma.us.  Free.  
10:00 am Park Serve Day @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Park Serve Day @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Apr 30 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Park Serve Day— Join DCR staff and the Great Fall Discovery Centers Friends Group as we prepare the center for our upcoming 2016 season. Some of our projects will include: spreading mulch and beautifying our garden beds, trash and leaf clean-up, and other simple yard tasks to help Great Falls really shine all season long!  So bring a friend or family member or two, a pair of work shoes and prepare to get your hands a little dirty as you volunteer to make Great Falls the great State Park it is.  

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

Great Falls Discovery Center

For school field trips and group visits contact: 

shawn.t.kennedy@state.ma.us

Department of Conservation and Recreation

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

For Park Interpreter Contact:
413-863-3221

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