• gfdc

 

We’re Hiring!

Laborer II Position, Long term seasonal 5/8—9/5. Click here for a detailed job description and to apply, and then search for job number: 220004BR.

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Great Hall Art Display: Enjoy a sneak peak at this month’s art display, A Cast of Swans, from painter and printmaker Karen Axtell.

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

Open most holidays including New Year’s Day, MLK Day, Presidents’ Day, Open Easter April 17 noon to 4 p.m., Patriots Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day, Veterans’ 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.

 

Upcoming Events

May
20
Fri
all-day STORY WALK® Series: Jam & Honey @ Great Falls Discovery Center
STORY WALK® Series: Jam & Honey @ Great Falls Discovery Center
May 20 – Jun 29 all-day
Enjoy a story, fresh air and exercise! Join us on the grounds of the center for a FREE series of self-guided StoryWalks® featuring children’s picture books. Follow the path to book pages posted along the route. Wonderful stories await!  May 20 through June 29 – Jam & Honey by Melita Morales, for ages 3-7, and everyone who appreciates pollinators.  The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Story Walk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson. This StoryWalk® is provided by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Interpretive Services
Jun
8
Wed
all-day Great Hall Photography Exhibit: ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Photography Exhibit: ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 8 – Jul 5 all-day
Come see photographer Bart Bouricius’ pollinators and predators, an exhibit featuring insects and arachnids. Enjoy the beauty and fascinating entangled lives of some of the small beings that help maintain our world.
Jun
29
Wed
6:30 pm Mass Audubon Presents Beneficial... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Mass Audubon Presents Beneficial... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 29 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
  Join this virtual program on beneficial bats and how they help us, in partnership with Montague Public Libraries. Bats are extremely beneficial to our society through insect population control and medical research contribution. Discover the life history and biology of bats, what’s truth and what’s myth, and the conservation challenges that threaten their population today. To register, email librarydirector@montague-ma.gov or call (413) 863-3214.
Jul
1
Fri
all-day StoryWalk® Series: Dear Treefrog @ Great Falls Discovery Center
StoryWalk® Series: Dear Treefrog @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 1 – Jul 7 all-day
Enjoy a story, fresh air, and exercise! Join us on the grounds of the center for a FREE series of self-guided StoryWalks® featuring children’s picture books. Follow the path to book pages posted along the route. Wonderful stories await! This month features Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman for ages 4-7, and anyone seeking connections with wildlife. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Story Walk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson. This StoryWalk® is provided by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Interpretive Services.
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Eagles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Eagles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 1 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Discover more about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Program includes a story, activities, and a craft. Activities are indoors and outdoors. Meet in the Great Hall courtyard or in the Great Hall, depending on the weather. Our topic on July 1 is eagles, and on July 15 it is frogs. Siblings and friends welcome.
Jul
2
Sat
all-day Antenna Cloud Farm Music Walk  @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Antenna Cloud Farm Music Walk  @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 2 all-day
Join us for a musical audio station on the Center’s south garden lawn, part of the Antenna Cloud Farm Music Walk.  Day-long, percussion-forward festival featuring free live performances and workshops. Experience this musical journey while enjoying local shops, restaurants, riverfront, and outdoor spaces in downtown Turners Falls. Co-presented by Antenna Cloud Farm and RiverCulture. Sponsored by Greenfield Cooperative Bank. Rain Date July 3. More information at www. antennacloudfarm.com. Rain date is Sunday, July 3.
Jul
8
Fri
all-day StoryWalk® Series: Dear Treefrog @ Great Falls Discovery Center
StoryWalk® Series: Dear Treefrog @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 8 – Aug 2 all-day
Enjoy a story, fresh air, and exercise! Join us on the grounds of the center for a FREE series of self-guided StoryWalks® featuring children’s picture books. Follow the path to book pages posted along the route. Wonderful stories await! This month features Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman for ages 4-7, and anyone seeking connections with wildlife. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Story Walk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson. This StoryWalk® is provided by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Interpretive Services.
7:00 pm Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 8 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Coffeehouse is back! Join us this summer season in the Great Hall for four concerts featuring local talent to support the Great Falls Discovery Center. Just Fine Thank You band plays electric-ukulele driven arrangements of songs ranging from country to jazz standards to punk rock. Refreshments available. Sliding scale suggested donations all support educational programming at the Center. Discovery Center and store open during intermission. Additional concerts will be August 12, September 9, and October 14.
Jul
15
Fri
all-day Great Hall Art Exhibit – Montagu... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Art Exhibit – Montagu... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 15 – Jul 27 all-day
The Montague Parks & Recreation Summer Camp 2022 presents Summer Fun Week, with a focus on amphibians. Come see local young artists’ interpretations of frogs and more!
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Frogs @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Frogs @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 15 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Discover more about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Program includes a story, activities, and a craft. Activities are indoors and outdoors. Meet in the Great Hall courtyard or in the Great Hall, depending on the weather. Our topic on July 1 is eagles, and on July 15 it is frogs. Siblings and friends welcome.

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:

We’re full for 2022 and much of 2023. Stay tuned for future openings.

Membership and Support
See the Friends Page

or call the center 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