• 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

Jul
30
Sat
all-day Great Hall Art Exhibit: Let Food... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Art Exhibit: Let Food... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 30 – Aug 30 all-day
  Hippocrates’ timeless maxim implies that food we ingest can strengthen or weaken us, cure and prevent illness. This exhibit in the Great Hall features Leonore Alaniz’ imprints that capture the anatomy and life force of edible plants. They grow wild and are cultivated in local farms. Includes works by other artists and poets and a reception on Saturday, August 13 with medicinal treats. Also, later in August, you can see a plant printing demonstration and attend an intergenerational art activity.
Aug
5
Fri
all-day Story Walk® Series: Gotta Go! Go... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Story Walk® Series: Gotta Go! Go... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 5 – Aug 30 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! Gotta Go! Gotta Go! by Sam Swope for ages 2-6, and anyone who loves butterflies! 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.
Aug
19
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Snakes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Snakes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 19 @ 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. Siblings and friends welcome. Meet in the Great Hall courtyard or the Great Hall during inclement weather.
Aug
20
Sat
1:00 pm Art Demonstration: Nature Printi... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Art Demonstration: Nature Printi... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 20 @ 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Leonore Alaniz demonstrates a technique that makes visible the anatomy of plant parts in the Great Hall. She covers them with printing ink and presses them onto paper or fabric. The resulting images inspire a deeper relationship with the life force of plants, also known as prana. For adults interested in this creative process an intergenerational hands-on activity is held Saturday, August 27.
Aug
26
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Butte... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Butte... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 26 @ 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. Siblings and friends welcome. Meet in the Great Hall courtyard or the Great Hall during inclement weather.
Aug
27
Sat
10:30 am Art Naturally Series @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Art Naturally Series @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 27 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Discover nature through story, poetry, and art in our series of FREE Art Naturally programs. Using words and images, instruction and techniques help you create an art piece inspired by the natural world to take home. For adults, teens, and children ages 6 and up (accompanied by an adult). All materials are free. Meet in the Great Hall.
2:00 pm Printing with Edible Plants: An ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Printing with Edible Plants: An ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 27 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
All ages are invited to print up to one hour and design a personal Veggie Mandala on fabric with vegetable parts or medicinal weeds. The resulting flag is yours to take home. Printing inks are non-toxic. All materials are provided. Free. Registration recommended, space is limited. Reserve your spot, call (413) 863-3221. Meet in the Great Hall.

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