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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 Tuesdays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays, but open Monday holidays.

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

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:  Please see our events calendar. Additionally, we have printable versions of our events calendars and flyers: June 2021 Calendar of Events and  StoryWalk Ruby’s Birds.

Upcoming Events

May
29
Sat
10:00 am GREAT HALL EXHIBIT: FERTILE GROU... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
GREAT HALL EXHIBIT: FERTILE GROU... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
May 29 @ 10:00 am – Aug 1 @ 6:00 pm
The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s exhibit explores connections between the Connecticut River Valley’s agricultural landscape and generations of artists in the Fuller family of Deerfield. Imaginary art studios represent three generations—George Fuller’s painting studio, Arthur Negus Fuller’s printmaking studio, and Elizabeth Brooks Fuller’s en plein air (outdoor) studio. Enjoy reproductions of oil paintings, prints, and watercolors from Memorial Hall Museum’s Fuller collection, and  learn how farming influenced these artists’ work. Designed to engage all ages, with English and Spanish translations.  
Jun
4
Fri
10:00 am StoryWalk® Ruby’s Birds @ Great Falls Discovery Center
StoryWalk® Ruby’s Birds @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – Jun 23 @ 5:00 pm
Enjoy a Story, Fresh Air and Exercise! Join us on the grounds of the Great Falls Discovery Center for a FREE self-guided StoryWalk® This walk through the Great Falls Discovery Center lawn features the children’s book “Ruby’s Birds” by Mya Thompson. Just follow the path along the lawn of laminated book posted along the route. A wonderful story celebrating spring is ​waiting for you. Stay Safe and Have Fun: Plan to wear a face covering and social distance. The StoryWalk® may not be available during lawn mowing. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson. This StoryWalk® is provided by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Interpretive Services.  

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 46 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 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