• 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 Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, 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/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

Jan
6
Thu
10:00 am Great Hall Exhibit: The Northfie... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Exhibit: The Northfie... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jan 6 @ 10:00 am – Feb 27 @ 4:00 pm
Jack Nelson presents an architecturally accurate ceramic model of the Northfield Chateau. The exhibit includes interior and exterior photos, artifacts, a brief history of the architect Bruce Price, a brief history of the owner Francis Robert Schell, and, perhaps, most important, the usage of the Chateau as it evolved overtime to a most revered building with decades of memories. View a six-foot panorama photograph taken from the roof of the Chateau in 1906 upon completion of the Chateau.  
Feb
10
Thu
all-day Snowy Story Investigation Statio... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Snowy Story Investigation Statio... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 10 – Feb 13 all-day
Daily, Thursdays through Sundays 2/10—2/13: Tracks in the Snow, by Wong Herbert Yee 2/17—2/21: Under the Snow, by Melissa Stewart 2/24—2/27: Rabbit’s Snow Dance, by James and Joseph Bruchac Discover wildlife neighbors that share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Indoor StoryWalks®,* habitat exhibit scavenger hunts, and crafts to go. Explore the lives of active and resting winter wildlife. For children 3 and up, accompanied by an adult. Meet inside at the welcome desk. *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.
Feb
12
Sat
1:00 pm Who’s Been Here? A Tracking Adve... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Who’s Been Here? A Tracking Adve... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 12 @ 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Saturday, February 12, 1:00-1:30 p.m. Join DCR staff for a tracking adventure to find out who has been outside in the snow at the Discovery Center. Investigate the mysterious signs that wildlife leave behind. Enjoy an indoor self-guided StoryWalk®* Tracks in the Snow, by Wong Herbert Yee. Program includes indoor habitat exhibit scavenger hunts and crafts to go. Please be sure to social distance indoors and outdoors. Bundle up! For ages 3 – 8 with a parent or guardian. Siblings and friends welcome. Meet inside the main entrance.
Feb
13
Sun
12:00 pm Who do you love? Valentines for ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Who do you love? Valentines for ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 13 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Sunday, February 13, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., Welcome Desk For all ages, honor your favorite animal and stop by the Welcome Desk to pick up Valentine-making supplies to give Valentines to the ones you love, keep for yourself, or give to your favorite wildlife biologist. Learn more about your favorite animal and how to help protect it. Co-sponsored by CFCE Playgroup, a free, fun, safe playgroup for Gill, Montague and surrounding area, promoting early literacy and school readiness.
Feb
17
Thu
all-day Snowy Story Investigation Statio... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Snowy Story Investigation Statio... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 17 – Feb 21 all-day
Daily, Thursdays through Sundays 2/10—2/13: Tracks in the Snow, by Wong Herbert Yee 2/17—2/21: Under the Snow, by Melissa Stewart 2/24—2/27: Rabbit’s Snow Dance, by James and Joseph Bruchac Discover wildlife neighbors that share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Indoor StoryWalks®,* habitat exhibit scavenger hunts, and crafts to go. Explore the lives of active and resting winter wildlife. For children 3 and up, accompanied by an adult. Meet inside at the welcome desk. *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.
Feb
24
Thu
all-day Snowy Story Investigation Statio... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Snowy Story Investigation Statio... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 24 – Feb 27 all-day
Daily, Thursdays through Sundays 2/10—2/13: Tracks in the Snow, by Wong Herbert Yee 2/17—2/21: Under the Snow, by Melissa Stewart 2/24—2/27: Rabbit’s Snow Dance, by James and Joseph Bruchac Discover wildlife neighbors that share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Indoor StoryWalks®,* habitat exhibit scavenger hunts, and crafts to go. Explore the lives of active and resting winter wildlife. For children 3 and up, accompanied by an adult. Meet inside at the welcome desk. *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