• 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 colorful gardens and open lawn with picnic tables 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 building is 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 Great Falls Discovery Center’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 Canalside Rail Trail 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 Massachusetts State Park operated by 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

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

Current Seasonal Hours: 

Open 5 days a week—Wednesdays through Sundays*

10:00 am — 4:00 pm  *Closed on Sun., Nov. 4, and Sun., Nov. 11.

Open Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, the day after Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day.

(Summer Hours: Open 7 days a week starting in Mid-May, through Mid-October.)

Closed Thanksgiving Day.

Closed Christmas Day.

FREE ADMISSION – Admission to the Center is free.  Almost every program at the Center is free. For fee based programs, 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: November 2018 Calendar of Events and December 2018 Calendar of Events. 

Upcoming Events

Nov
7
Wed
10:00 am Great Hall Art Exhibit: Junior D... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Art Exhibit: Junior D... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Nov 7 @ 10:00 am – Dec 22 @ 4:00 pm
Great Hall Art Exhibit: Junior Duck Stamps Connecting Youth with Nature through Science and Art. Come see the top Massachusetts youth entries for the 2018 Junior Duck Stamp competition!
Dec
14
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Ducks @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Ducks @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 14 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Ducks 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.
3:00 pm It’s a Wonderful Night in Turner... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
It’s a Wonderful Night in Turner... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 14 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls …  for the Birds! Meet in the Great Hall to craft bird feeders for our winter friends as part of It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls —a town-wide Turners Falls RiverCulture event. Which birds will show up at your feeder? What do they eat? Bird feeder making continues the next day, Saturday, 11 am to 2 pm.  For all ages. Free.
Dec
15
Sat
11:00 am It’s a Wonderful Afternoon in Tu... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
It’s a Wonderful Afternoon in Tu... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 15 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
It’s a Wonderful Afternoon in Turners Falls …  for the Birds! Meet in the Great Hall to craft bird feeders for our winter friends as part of It’s a Wonderful Night/Afternoon in Turners Falls —a town-wide Turners Falls RiverCulture event. Which birds will show up at your feeder? What do they eat? Bird feeder making continues the next day, Saturday, 11 am to 2 pm.  For all ages. Free.
Dec
21
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Owls @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Owls @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 21 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Owls 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.
Dec
26
Wed
10:00 am December Vacation Week Investiga... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
December Vacation Week Investiga... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 26 @ 10:00 am – Dec 30 @ 4:00 pm
December Vacation Week Investigation Stations and Exhibits Take a break from the holidays and stop by the Center’s Investigation Stations and explore the habitat exhibits. We will be open our usual Wednesday through Sunday hours plus open on Tuesday, January 1st!
Dec
28
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour- Winter... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour- Winter... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 28 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Winter Birds 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.
Jan
1
Tue
1:00 pm First Day Hike! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
First Day Hike! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jan 1 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  Coming Soon!  First Day Hike on January 1st, 1-3 pm Enjoy a leisurely two-mile stroll down the Canalside Rail Trail and get the New Year started off on a Great Falls note. This family friendly hike follows a gentle route and provides an opportunity to discover the abundant natural, historical, and cultural features that make the Great Falls Discovery Center and rail trail such an amazing State Park! Be prepared for cold weather: dress in layers and wear winter boots. Dogs are welcome on leash. Afterward, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in the Discovery Center’s Great Hall, sponsored by our Friends Group.  Sign in at the Discovery Center’s Great Hall at 1:00 p.m. Hike will begin at 1:15 p.m.

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

The Great Falls Discovery Center is operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation
, Division of Parks and Recreation. For questions about the center, please call 413-863-3221.

For school field trips and group visits contact: 

janel.nockleby@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