• 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 7 days a week –  10 am to 4 pm. 

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

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 versions of our events calendars and flyers: Late May 2019 Calendar of Events2019 Great Falls Coffeehouse Flyer,

Upcoming Events

Apr
26
Fri
10:00 am Great Hall Art Display: Portrait... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Art Display: Portrait... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Apr 26 @ 10:00 am – May 31 @ 4:00 pm
  This exhibit is offered as part of the Radical Interconnectedness Festival. Images from Sara’s fine art photographic series have been exhibited in group shows throughout New England. Sara teaches art, photography, and design at a public charter school and Greenfield Community College.
May
11
Sat
9:00 am Mark your Calendars: The Turners... @ Turners Falls Fishway
Mark your Calendars: The Turners... @ Turners Falls Fishway
May 11 @ 9:00 am – Jun 16 @ 5:00 pm
Turners Falls Fishway Open – Saturday, May 11 — Sunday, June 16  Don’t miss the annual spring migration of fish at the Turners Falls Fishway which is just a leap or two down the street from the center at 15 First Street. Then, visit us at the Great Falls Discovery Center.
Jun
1
Sat
10:00 am  14th Annual Free Family Fishing... @ Great Falls Discovery Center and Barton Cove
 14th Annual Free Family Fishing... @ Great Falls Discovery Center and Barton Cove
Jun 1 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Join us for a day of FREE fishing fun. Adults and children of all ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Event is held rain or shine. Parking is free at each site. Ride the FREE Fish Bus shuttle between sites! At Barton Cove Campground: Barton Cove Road in Gill Free fishing from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm! Fishing equipment provided – limited supplies available. Bring your own pole if you have it. No fishing license needed. At Great Falls Discovery Center: 2 Avenue A Fly lure tying demonstrations. Fly fishing casting demonstrations. Fish viewing from the USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Research Lab. CATCH THE FISH BUS HERE! Free shuttle bus provided to and from Barton Cove. At Turners Falls Fishway: 15 First Street Fish printing – The art of Gyotaku, from noon to 2:00pm. Thank you to all of our partners: MassWildlife, Western Mass Fly Fishermen, First Light, Turners Falls Fishway, Friends of the Center, and USGS.

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
, For questions about the center, please call 413-863-3221.

For school field trips and group visits contact: 

janel.nockleby@mass.gov

For Park Interpreter Contact:
413-863-3221

For information about art displays in the Great Hall:

janel.nockleby@mass.gov

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