• 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 through mid-October)

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.

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

Sep
18
Thu
Third Thursday in Turners Falls @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Third Thursday in Turners Falls @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 18 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Third Thursday in Turners Falls @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
This month’s Third Thursday in Turners Falls topic is the local history of Turners Falls. The Great Hall of the center will be open to show the exhibit, “Welcome to Railroad Salvage” by Nina Rossi and Barbara Milot. Visit www.turnersfallsriverculture.org and stay tuned for further details on a history talk at the Discovery Center, and art installations, performances, displays, music, and more throughout the village of Turners Falls during the evening of September 18th.
Sep
20
Sat
Friends of the Great Falls Disco... @ Thomas Memorial Golf Course
Friends of the Great Falls Disco... @ Thomas Memorial Golf Course
Sep 20 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Join the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center for a round of golf at Thomas Memorial Golf Course in Turners Falls and help the center raise money for free programming too. Contact the Discovery Center for further details on food, music, children’s activities, nature programming, fossils, putting greens, and of course, golf!
Sep
21
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 21 @ 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.
Watershed History: The Story of ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Watershed History: The Story of ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 21 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Watershed History: The Story of the Great Hall @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Originally built as a machine shop for the Montague Paper Company during the early days of industrialization in Turners Falls, the Great Hall building of the Great Falls Discovery Center has a great story. We will investigate tales of machines, fly fishing rods, historic preservation, and more! Do you have a story to tell? Come tell it!
Sep
23
Tue
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 23 @ 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
Sep
27
Sat
Source to Sea Cleanup @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Source to Sea Cleanup @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 27 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Get involved in the 18th year of the Source to Sea Cleanup. Last year 123 volunteers in Eastern Franklin County filled 1½, 30-yard dumpsters with trash in addition to collecting 116 tires, 7 Televisions, 7 mattresses, 6 couches/recliners/chairs, 800 pounds of scrap metal and a duck blind! Debris was collected along rivers, streams and nearby roadways in Montague, Gill and East Deerfield. Individuals or groups work as teams to make the watershed a cleaner place on sites that run the gamut from fishing trash to illegal dumping. School groups can schedule cleanups in the week preceding the 27th. Co-sponsors: CT River Watershed Council, Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center, Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, MA Department of Conservation & Recreation, Town of Montague, and First Light Power. For ages 7 and older. Meet in the Great Hall. Pre-register by calling 800-859-2960. Free.
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
Sep 27 @ 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!
Sep
28
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 28 @ 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.
Sep
30
Tue
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 30 @ 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
Oct
5
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 5 @ 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/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

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