• 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. 

Starting 6/21/19 – Open 7 Days a week – 10 am to 6 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 Events, June 2019 Calendar of Events, June 1st Family Fishing Day, and 2019 Great Falls Coffeehouse Flyer.

Upcoming Events

Jun
3
Mon
10:00 am GREAT HALL ART DISPLAY: #rightup... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
GREAT HALL ART DISPLAY: #rightup... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 3 @ 10:00 am – Jun 30 @ 6:00 pm
  June 3 – 30 Get to know our village neighborhood with a series of photographs in the Great Hall by Edite Cunhã taken in and around the alleys of Turners Falls.
Jun
21
Fri
10:00 am SUMMER BEGINS! New Open Hours! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
SUMMER BEGINS! New Open Hours! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 21 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Celebrate the summer solstice and launch your summer of fun here. Stop by the center to enjoy our expanded summer open hours. Now open until 6:00 p.m. every day all summer long.
Jun
22
Sat
1:00 pm NATURE PROGRAM POTPOURRI AND FRI... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
NATURE PROGRAM POTPOURRI AND FRI... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 22 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center board members present a Nature Program Potpourri. Get to know your Friends and help elect officers for the board in a short business meeting. Find out how to become a member too. Join Dawn Marvin Ward for a presentation on the animals of the North Woods, and join Steve Winters and David Brule for a multidisciplinary walk involving geology and Indigenous lifeways, loss, and renewal at the falls.
Jun
24
Mon
6:00 pm REDUCE YOUR ENERGY BILLS AND IMP... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
REDUCE YOUR ENERGY BILLS AND IMP... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 24 @ 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm
Join your neighbors at a workshop for landlords and tenants on energy saving programs and FREE incentives. Free food and drink. Sponsored by Drawdown Montague, Community Action Pioneer Valley, Center for EcoTechnology, Montague Energy Committee.
Jun
28
Fri
10:30 am KIDLEIDOSCOPE STORY HOUR—TURTLES @ Great Falls Discovery Center
KIDLEIDOSCOPE STORY HOUR—TURTLES @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 28 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  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.
Jun
29
Sat
10:30 am ART NATURALLY: DISCOVER NATURE T... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
ART NATURALLY: DISCOVER NATURE T... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 29 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
  This is the first in a series of summer programs featuring stories and art, soaking up the natural world as we go. The storybook pages from The Woman who Outshone the Sun are on display in the Great Hall. Try your hand at wet-felting using an array of colorful fibers to create a fish and the river. For ages 6 and up, teens and adults too!

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:

Note that our art gallery bookings are full through much of 2020. When we are able to accept new bookings, we will note that here. Thank you.

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