• 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

Sep
5
Sat
10:30 am Patch Walk @ Corner of 11th St and Avenue A - at Canal-side Rail Trail
Patch Walk @ Corner of 11th St and Avenue A - at Canal-side Rail Trail
Sep 5 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Patch Walk— Turners Falls History month begins with a tour of the Patch neighborhood, led by a DCR Park Interpreter. A small patch of land sits in the middle of the Connecticut River – sandwiched between the power canal on one side and the largest river in New England on the other. Meet at the corner of Avenue A and Eleventh Street in Turners Falls, at the canal side rail trail.
Sep
6
Sun
10:00 am River Rambles — Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
River Rambles — Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 6 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
River Rambles — Canal-side Rail Trail History Walks Meet outside our main entrance at 10 am and join a DCR Park Interpreter as we leisurely explore level, paved bike trails and village sidewalks to explore stories of industrialization, cultural and natural history, and resilience.
Sep
8
Tue
10:30 am Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope
Sep 8 @ 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. –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
Sep
11
Fri
7:00 pm The Great Falls Coffeehouse: Jim... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Great Falls Coffeehouse: Jim... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 11 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Great Falls Coffeehouse: Jim Scott—composer, guitarist, and singer Each month Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local musical talent. Refreshments available.  Museum and Museum Store are open during intermission.  
Sep
13
Sun
10:00 am River Rambles — Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
River Rambles — Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 13 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
River Rambles — Canal-side Rail Trail History Walks Meet outside our main entrance at 10 am and join a DCR Park Interpreter as we leisurely explore level, paved bike trails and village sidewalks to explore stories of industrialization, cultural and natural history, and resilience.
1:00 pm Lake Pleasant Spiritualist Commu... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Lake Pleasant Spiritualist Commu... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 13 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Lake Pleasant Spiritualist Community— Lake Pleasant, one of five villages in the Town of Montague, was founded in 1870 as a camp meeting grounds and lays claim to being the oldest continuously-existing Spiritualist center in the United States. Join David James to learn about Lake Pleasant, the historical “mecca” for believers in continuity of life. Memories and images will be shared from the book Spirit and Spa: A Portrait of the Body, Mind and Soul of a 133-Year-Old Spiritualist Community written by Louise Shattuck and David James. Louise, who died in October of 2005, was a third generation Spiritualist.
Sep
15
Tue
10:30 am Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope
Sep 15 @ 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. –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
Sep
20
Sun
10:00 am River Rambles — Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
River Rambles — Canal-side Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 20 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
River Rambles — Canal-side Rail Trail History Walks Meet outside our main entrance at 10 am and join a DCR Park Interpreter as we leisurely explore level, paved bike trails and village sidewalks to explore stories of industrialization, cultural and natural history, and resilience.
1:00 pm The Upper Fall River Dam @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Upper Fall River Dam @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 20 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
The Upper Fall River Dam—Meet in the Great Hall for a slideshow presentation and take a virtual forest hike with Ed Gregory as he visits an obscure and beautiful section of Gill, MA, the site of the 1886 dam that was built by the Montague Paper Company. The dam was constructed to provide a clean source of water for their use in pulp and paper making. The dam and spillway will be shown before and after the spillway removal in December of 2014.
Sep
22
Tue
10:30 am Kidleidoscope
Kidleidoscope
Sep 22 @ 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. –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

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: 

413-863-3221

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