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Visitor Center Closure

Out of an abundance of caution due to the developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Visitor Center at The Great Falls Discovery Center will be closed close of business on March 13, 2020 through Monday, May 4, 2020.

On March 10, the Baker-Polito Administration announced new guidance for Executive Branch employees in order to prevent and mitigate the spread of the disease, including canceling or virtually holding conferences, seminars, and other discretionary gatherings hosted by Executive Branch agencies involving external parties.

Thank you for your cooperation and support as the Commonwealth works to address this public health issue.

Visitor Center Description

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.

When the Visitor Center reopens seasonal hours will be: 

Open 5 days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays –  10 am to 4 pm. 

  • Open 7 days a week for April Vacation Week 2020.

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: The following events have been cancelled due to the visitor center closure: March 14 – Exhibit Reception: Fertile Ground, March 20 – Kidleidoscope Story Hour, March 26 – Discover the Owls of New England, and March 28 – All Cooped Up!

See our events calendar. Additionally, here are printable versions of our events calendars and flyers: Climate Stories Music on Earth Day April 22.

Upcoming Events

Mar
5
Thu
10:00 am Great Hall Exhibit – Closed thro... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Exhibit – Closed thro... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Mar 5 @ 10:00 am – Apr 29 @ 4:00 pm
The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s traveling 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; learn how farming influenced these artists’ work; and create your own art inspired by our local landscape. Designed to engage all ages, with English and Spanish translations.

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 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