• 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 Winter Hours
Wednesdays through Sundays –     10 am – 4 pm  until mid-May.

Available by appointment on Tuesdays.

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Open New Year’s Day. Come join us for our First Day Hike at 1 p.m.

Summer Hours
7 days a week: 10 am – 4 pm
(Hours change effective approx. 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.  Here are printable version of our events calendars and flyers: February 2016 Calendar of Events,  Kidleidoscope Fridays – Winter 2016February 2016 Coffeehouse flyer – David Fersh

Upcoming Events

Feb
7
Sun
1:00 pm Artist Reception: Portraits of A... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Artist Reception: Portraits of A... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 7 @ 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Artist Reception: Portraits of African Americans, Past and Present Turners Falls RiverCulture presents an art exhibit featuring near life-size paintings by Louise Minks and fabric sculpture by Belinda Lyons Zucker. Tim Neumann, of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, will give a lecture, “A Web of Community: Slavery in a Rural New England Town” at 2:30 pm. Great Hall Art Display: Portraits of African Americans, Past and Present An Exhibition by Louise Minks (painting) and Belinda Lyons Zucker (sculpture) February 5 through the end of March
Feb
12
Fri
7:00 pm Great Falls Coffeehouse presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Coffeehouse presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Great Falls Coffeehouse— David Fersh offers a concert version of his recent album “Songs of Peace, Protest & Spirit.” 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.
Feb
13
Sat
10:00 am Who Do you Love? — Valentines fo... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Who Do you Love? — Valentines fo... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 13 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Who Do you Love? — Valentines for Wildlife- For all ages, come make Valentines to give to the ones you love, keep for yourself, or give to your favorite wildlife biologist—all in honor of your favorite animal. Meet in the Great Hall
10:00 am School Vacation Week – OPEN ALL ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
School Vacation Week – OPEN ALL ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 13 @ 10:00 am – Feb 21 @ 4:00 pm
School Vacation Week— Open Every Day All Week Long — We are expanding our winter hours this week so stop by for investigation stations on planting seeds on 2/15, making your own nature journal on 2/16, exploring mammal adaptations to winter on 2/17, indoor birding on 2/18, and bobcats on 2/19.
Feb
14
Sun
1:00 pm Canal Stroll along Migratory Way @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal Stroll along Migratory Way @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 14 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Canal Stroll along Migratory Way –  Dress warm in layers with winter boots for a moderate walk to Migratory Way for about 2.5 miles. For adults and sturdy young hikers with an adult. Meet at main entrance of the center.
Feb
15
Mon
10:00 am Plant a Seed and Think Spring! –... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Plant a Seed and Think Spring! –... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 15 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Plant a Seed and Think Spring! Investigation Station at the Front Desk Start planting native flower seeds to enjoy and care for indoors because it’s never too early to think Spring. All supplies provided.
Feb
16
Tue
10:00 am Make Your Own Nature Journal – I... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Make Your Own Nature Journal – I... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 16 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Make Your Own Nature Journal Create a space to grow your thoughts, feelings, ideas, activities, and relationship with the natural world. All Supplies provided.
Feb
17
Wed
10:00 am Mammal adaptations to Winter – I... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Mammal adaptations to Winter – I... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 17 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
   Mammal adaptations to Winter – Investigation Station at the Front Desk Investigate the variety of ways mammals adapt to changing seasons.  Do they hibernate or activate or just take it easy in their warm winter coats?
Feb
18
Thu
10:00 am Indoor Birding – Investigation S... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Indoor Birding – Investigation S... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 18 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Indoor Birding – Investigation Station at the Front Desk Build up your birding skills with binoculars and field guides without the pressure of the birds flying away! Our exhibits and bird feeders will give you lots of chances.
Feb
19
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope – Bobcats @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – Bobcats @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 19 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope— Bobcats 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. Meet in the Great Hall. Recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian.

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 or 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:
janel.nockleby@state.ma.us 

To Learn more about displaying art 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