• 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 & Free Admission

Current Seasonal Hours

The Great Falls Discovery Center is operated by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The center is open.

OPEN Wednesdays through Sundays: 10am – 4pm

Open Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day and Columbus Day.

Closed Thanksgiving Day.

Open Christmas Eve 10 am to 4 pm.

Closed Christmas Day.

Open the day after Christmas, Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

Open New Year’s Day 2018, 10 am to 4 pm.

FREE ADMISSION – Admission to the Center is free. The Center hosts both free programs and some fee based programs and any fees or registration requirements are announced on our online events calendar.

EVENTS: See our events calendar. Additionally, here are printable version of our events calendars and flyers: Brainy Birds ProgramFebruary 2018 Calendar of Events, February 2018 School Vacation Week,   February 2018 Coffeehouse with Lisa DavolKidleidoscope Story Hour Winter 2017-2018

Upcoming Events

Feb
17
Sat
10:00 am Great Hall Family Learning Exhib... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Family Learning Exhib... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 17 @ 10:00 am – Apr 1 @ 4:00 pm
February 17—April 1 Great Hall Family Learning Exhibit Reading the Rocky Book of the Past: Dinosaur Footprints in the Connecticut River Valley An exhibit about the 19th-century discovery of dinosaur footprints in the Connecticut River Valley and local people, like Dexter Marsh and Edward Hitchcock, who played starring roles in the story. Designed for fun family learning by Deerfield’s Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA), the space includes two simulated 19th century cabinets (precursors to today’s museums), a “make your own collection” takeaway activity, dinosaur track reproductions and more! Be sure to come to the opening event Saturday, February 17, 1-4 pm. (During some of the larger events in the Great Hall in February and March, the exhibit might not be fully visible. Please check our events calendar or call 413-863-3221 to find out more.)
10:00 am School Vacation Week – Open ever... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
School Vacation Week – Open ever... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 17 @ 10:00 am – Feb 25 @ 4:00 pm
School Vacation Week: Open Every Day All Week Long February 17—25 We offer expanded winter hours this week so stop by the welcome desk for investigation stations every day 10am to 4pm.  Investigation station topics may include dinosaurs, mammals, and birds. Come try a scavenger hunt or a habitat game!  
Feb
20
Tue
1:00 pm Brainy Birds @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Brainy Birds @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 20 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Brainy Birds This program explores what may be the smartest birds in the world: the corvids! Crows, jays and  ravens are all found in the northeast and belong to this group of master problem solvers. We’ll discuss who’s who in the corvid clan and take a look at what they can do. Audience participation includes “Are you smarter than a crow?” and an up-close look at Onyx our education raven. Free! Sponsored by CFCE playgroup. Call 413-863-3221 for more information. For children of all ages and their grown-ups.  
Feb
21
Wed
1:00 pm Homeschool Science: Hands-on STE... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Homeschool Science: Hands-on STE... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 21 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Homeschool Science: Hands-on STEM Sponsored by Montague Public Libraries The Turners Falls Carnegie Library offers homeschool science on Wednesdays with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. This month young scientists are invited to take a field trip to the Great Falls Discovery Center. Come learn about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed.  Registration requested to ensure that we have enough supplies for everyone. Please email Angela at the library at arovatti-leonard@cwmars.org or call 413 863-3214. Topics this month: 2/7: River Otters; 2/14: Beavers; 2/21: Porcupines
Feb
23
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Coyotes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Coyotes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 23 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Coyotes Come learn about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce young children to wildlife along the river. Meet in the Great Hall. For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Siblings and friends welcome.
Feb
24
Sat
10:30 am Dinosaur Story Hour @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dinosaur Story Hour @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 24 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  Dinosaur Story Hour A story hour with crafts and activities focusing on dinosaurs! For ages approximately 4 – 8, with a parent or guardian. Friends and siblings welcome.
Mar
2
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Snakes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Snakes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Mar 2 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Snakes Come learn about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce young children to wildlife along the river. Meet in the Great Hall. For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Siblings and friends welcome.
Mar
9
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Frogs @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Frogs @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Mar 9 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Frogs Come learn about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce young children to wildlife along the river. Meet in the Great Hall. For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Siblings and friends welcome.
7:00 pm Great Falls Coffeehouse presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Coffeehouse presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Mar 9 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Great Falls Coffeehouse presents: Lui Collins Long time internationally acclaimed singer / songwriter folk musician. Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local talent. Refreshments available. Suggested donations to support educational programming at the Center. Museum and store open during intermission.

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: 

janel.nockleby@state.ma.us

Department of Conservation and Recreation

For Great Hall rentals and recreational permits contact:

Shawn.T.Kennedy@MassMail.State.MA.US

For Park Interpreter Contact:
413-863-3221

For information about art displays in the Great Hall:

janel.nockleby@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