• 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

Current Seasonal Summer Hours
7 days a week: 10 am – 6 pm through October 15th
Wednesdays through Sundays October 16 – October 29

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Open New Year’s Day. Come join us for our First Day Hike.

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.  Here are printable version of our events calendars and flyers: September 2016 events, October 2016 EventsOctober 1st Conservacion Panama event flyerMigration: October 2016 Art Exhibit in Great Hall, and 2016 Coffeehouse schedule.

Upcoming Events

Oct
1
Sat
12:00 pm Conservación Panamá: Rural Bird ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Conservación Panamá: Rural Bird ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 1 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Conservación Panamá: Rural Bird Guide Training Conservación Panamá, a non-profit organization from Greenfield, has brought a livable wage to the rural poor of Panama. Where ecosystems and their services are lost due to poor subsistence farming methods, Conservación Panamá has stepped in with a solution. Come explore an hour long presentation on how these accomplishments directly relate to birds in New England and how successful this program has been. Discussion to follow a multimedia presentation.  
Oct
2
Sun
10:00 am The Northfield Watershed Associa... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Northfield Watershed Associa... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 2 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
The Northfield Watershed Association presents: A Talk on Licensing, Power, and Deadbeat Dams.  Andrea Donelan, our river steward from the Connecticut River Watershed Council, discusses the ongoing relicensing of local river dams, power infrastructure, and the removal of deadbeat dams followed by a Q&A session. Light refreshments will be served. Following the talk, the Northfield Watershed Association hosts a business meeting that is open to all.
10:30 am Leaf Peeping Bike Path B-I-N-G-O @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Leaf Peeping Bike Path B-I-N-G-O @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 2 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Leaf Peeping Bike Path B-I-N-G-O Kids – grab your parents and 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!  For this special edition of bike path bingo, we focus on the amazing New England fall color right outside our doors. Meet at the main entrance to the Center. Please bring water and wear layers and sturdy shoes.
Oct
8
Sat
10:30 am Kidleidoscope – Moose @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – Moose @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 8 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Come learn about our 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. Siblings and friends welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Oct
9
Sun
10:30 am Trees on the Trail @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Trees on the Trail @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 9 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Trees on the Trail Meet at the entrance to the center to learn fun facts and identifying characteristics of our native trees that help keep our watershed healthy. Recommended for children ages 4-8, accompanied by an adult. Friends and siblings are welcome to join in an exploration of the Canalside Rail Trail. Please bring water and wear layers and sturdy shoes.
1:30 pm Montague Movie Matinee! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Montague Movie Matinee! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 9 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
  Montague Movie Matinee! The Montague Historical Society presents a newly restored movie depicting Montague circa 1929. This rare film provides glimpses of the Franklin County Fair and scenes of life and activity in and around Montague Center. Come visit this world of our past neighbors and relatives, and help us name the folks and places! There are many surprises. A short meeting of the Montague Historical Society will conclude the event. Those interested in learning more about the Montague Historical Society are cordially invited to attend.
Oct
14
Fri
7:00 pm The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 14 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Great Falls Coffeehouse presents—Anand Nyak & Polly Fiveash  Anand Nyak & Polly Fiveash play Folk , blues, jazz & rock in harmony. Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local musical talent.  Refreshments available. Museum and museum store open during intermission. Suggested donations.  
Oct
15
Sat
1:00 pm Moose in Massachusetts with Mass... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Moose in Massachusetts with Mass... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 15 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Moose in Massachusetts with Mass Wildlife Join MassWildlife Connecticut Valley District Manager, Ralph Taylor, for a presentation about Massachusetts’ largest land mammal. You may have heard about challenges facing moose populations in northern New England such as warming winters, brain worm, winter tick… but are they a problem here for Western Massachusetts moose?  Hear from Ralph as he describes the current moose situation in Massachusetts, moose natural history, and ecology.  
Oct
22
Sat
1:00 pm Tom Ricardi Birds of Prey @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Tom Ricardi Birds of Prey @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 22 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Tom Ricardi Birds of Prey Come see the raptors up close and personal! Meet in the Great Hall for a free program for all ages. See birds of prey presented by Tom Ricardi, a licensed rehabilitator and wildlife biologist. Tom provides an educational presentation on their lives and habitats as well as conservation.  
Oct
28
Fri
3:00 pm Artist Reception for Great Hall ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Artist Reception for Great Hall ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 28 @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Artist Reception for Great Hall Art Display Migration – Connecting through Art & Culture of the Americas An artist reception with crafts, dancers, a talk by the curators of Guatemalan art, video interviews with the artists, and ethnic food.  

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: 

janel.nockleby@state.ma.us

Department of Conservation and Recreation

For Great Hall rentals and recreational permits contact:
shawn.t.kennedy@state.ma.us

For Park Interpreter Contact:
413-863-3221

janel.nockleby@state.ma.us

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