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

  • Open 7 days a week for special February School Vacation Week, February 15 – 23, 2020, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Open Presidents’ Day, February 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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: See our events calendar. Additionally, here are printable versions of our events calendars and flyers: Kidleidoscope Story Hour Winter 2019-2020, February 2020 Calendar of Events, Yoga For Preschoolers, February 14 Coffeehouse – Same Old Blues, and January 2020 Calendar of Events.

Upcoming Events

Jan
5
Sun
10:00 am You Are Here: A Juried Community... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
You Are Here: A Juried Community... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jan 5 @ 10:00 am – Feb 29 @ 4:00 pm
Work by regional artists in multiple media exploring maps, the significance of place, and movement across boundaries, curated by Exploded View. Where do you live? Where are you from? Where do you dream? How do you find your way? Where are your borders? Do maps lie? During these two months, you may also come upon members of Exploded View working in various corners of the building. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Montague Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
Feb
15
Sat
10:00 am February School Vacation Week: O... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
February School Vacation Week: O... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 15 @ 10:00 am – Feb 23 @ 4:00 pm
Don’t get cabin fever! Come on by during school vacation week to explore our habitat dioramas, try a scavenger hunt, enjoy a program, and spend some time at our “You Are Here” investigation station all about maps.
Feb
20
Thu
12:00 pm Maps and Legends @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Maps and Legends @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 20 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Maps and Legends You’ve probably seen a map of the world, a map of your country, and a map of a shopping mall where you were trying to find the food court. But have you ever seen a map where California is an island, where Mars has oceans, or where US states have names like Cascade and Cochise? During this brown-bag lunch learning session in the Great Hall, learn why mapmakers don’t always get things right, and to try making some maps of your own. For teenagers and adults.
Feb
21
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Rabbits @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Rabbits @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 21 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Rabbits Come learn about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Program includes a story, activities, and a craft to introduce young children to wildlife along the river. For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Siblings and friends welcome.  Join us for preschool yoga afterwards!
11:30 am Yoga For Preschoolers @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Yoga For Preschoolers @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 21 @ 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Join us in the Great Hall for a kids yoga program for preschool-aged children, including mindful games, movement, breathing practices and stories. Caregivers stay on-site during the class and are encouraged to join in the fun! Jackie Howard is a Yoga Alliance-certified Akhanda teacher and is trained in the Full of Joy Yoga for Children technique. She teaches at Great Falls Yoga, The Academy of Early Learning and Khalsa Childcare.
Feb
22
Sat
1:00 pm Get in Touch with Winter and Not... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Get in Touch with Winter and Not... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 22 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
  Just like us, other animals have lots of ways to live during winter. In this family program, see and feel how wildlife copes with cold, snow, and wind. Meet in the Great Hall for hands-on experiments and demonstrations that help us make these discoveries. Weather permitting, we may investigate outdoors. Bundle up! For children 6 and up, their grown-ups, siblings and friends.
Feb
23
Sun
1:00 pm Exploded View Presents: An Open ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Exploded View Presents: An Open ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 23 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
  Michael Jackson, editor of the Montague Reporter, leads an open discussion in the Great Hall on the increasing surveillance of our movements, actions, and associations. How can we reduce this growing record?
Feb
28
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Coyotes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Coyotes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 28 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Coyotes Come learn about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Program includes a story, activities, and a craft to introduce young children to wildlife along the river. For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Siblings and friends welcome.  Join us for preschool yoga afterwards!
11:30 am Yoga For Preschoolers @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Yoga For Preschoolers @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 28 @ 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Join us in the Great Hall for a kids yoga program for preschool-aged children, including mindful games, movement, breathing practices and stories. Caregivers stay on-site during the class and are encouraged to join in the fun! Jackie Howard is a Yoga Alliance-certified Akhanda teacher and is trained in the Full of Joy Yoga for Children technique. She teaches at Great Falls Yoga, The Academy of Early Learning and Khalsa Childcare.
Feb
29
Sat
1:00 pm Exploded View Presents: Open Mic @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Exploded View Presents: Open Mic @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Feb 29 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  Join Exploded View’s ongoing conversation in the Great Hall about mapping, the significance of place, and movement across boundaries. Each reader will have up to five minutes.

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