• 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 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: June 2019 Calendar of EventsJuly 2019 Calendar of Events, Junior Rangers 2019, Art Naturally June 29, One Earth: John Porcino Program, Art Naturally Series Flyer, 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
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!
1:00 pm One Earth: Stories, Song, and Mu... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
One Earth: Stories, Song, and Mu... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 29 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
One Earth: Stories, Song, and Music with John Porcino New late June program! Come enjoy the good life with acclaimed performer John Porcino. In the Great Hall, his One Earth program will take us on a journey of story, song, music and sound that celebrates the beauty of the natural world and the joy of spending time together there. His performances spark stories to life with warmth, humor, a playful touch of audience participation, and with a message of caring for our planet and each other. John is co-editor of the book Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories of Peace, Justice and the Environment.
Jul
2
Tue
12:00 pm Art Display: Montague Parks and ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Art Display: Montague Parks and ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 2 @ 12:00 pm – Jul 28 @ 6:00 pm
In the Great Hall, the Montague Parks & Recreation Summer Camp 2019 presents Summer Fun Week, with a focus on raptors. Come see local young artists’ interpretations of these magnificent birds of prey.
2:30 pm Artist Reception: Raptors @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Artist Reception: Raptors @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 2 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Join our Playful City’s young artists from Montague Parks and Recreation’s Summer Camp 2019 in a reception in the Great Hall featuring interpretations of raptors, our magnificent birds of prey.
Jul
5
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Eagles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Eagles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 5 @ 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.  July story hour topics will be: July 5: Eagles; July 12: Coyotes; July 19: Dragonflies; July 26: Skunks.
Jul
8
Mon
10:30 am Junior Rangers @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Junior Rangers @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 8 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  Earn your Mass Parks Junior Ranger Patch! Become a Connecticut River Watershed expert and find out who lives along the Canalside Rail Trail in Turners Falls. We offer a four-part nature and history education workshop on four Mondays for children ages 8 to 11. Friends/siblings welcome. Children with a parent/guardian meet at the Discovery Center welcome desk at 10:30 am. Junior Ranger programs are FREE. Space is limited so please register at (413) 863-3221. Program dates: July 8, 15, 22, and 29.  
Jul
12
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Coyotes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Coyotes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 12 @ 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. July story hour topics will be: July 5: Eagles; July 12: Coyotes; July 19: Dragonflies; July 26: Skunks.
Jul
14
Sun
1:00 pm The Creature Teachers Presents: ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Creature Teachers Presents: ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 14 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
  Come meet your wildlife neighbors! This popular program explores the lives of the creatures living in our own backyards. Meet some of the common animals that we encounter every day, such as porcupine, gray fox, woodchuck, flying squirrel, snapping turtle, milk snake, and more. Sponsored by the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center.

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