• 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 4 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

May
4
Wed
all-day GREAT HALL ART EXHIBIT: CAST OF ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
GREAT HALL ART EXHIBIT: CAST OF ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
May 4 – Jun 1 all-day
An exhibition of works on paper by painter and printmaker, Karen Axtell.
May
20
Fri
all-day STORY WALK® Series: Jam & Honey @ Great Falls Discovery Center
STORY WALK® Series: Jam & Honey @ Great Falls Discovery Center
May 20 – Jun 29 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!  May 20 through June 29 – Jam & Honey by Melita Morales, for ages 3-7, and everyone who appreciates pollinators.  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
May
28
Sat
1:00 pm GREAT HALL ART RECEPTION: CAST O... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
GREAT HALL ART RECEPTION: CAST O... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
May 28 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Come see an exhibition of works on paper by Painter and Printmaker, Karen Axtell including a reading from her book: Cast of Swans & a few others.
Jun
4
Sat
10:00 am 15TH ANNUAL FREE FAMILY FISHING DAY @ Great Falls Discovery Center
15TH ANNUAL FREE FAMILY FISHING DAY @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Join us for a day of FREE fishing fun. All ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Rain or shine. Parking is free at each site, and there is a FREE SHUTTLE BUS between Barton Cove and the Discovery Center. At Barton Cove Campground: Barton Cove Road in Gill Fishing equipment provided for the day. Limited supplies available, so bring your own pole if you have it. No fishing license needed. At the Great Falls Discovery Center: 2 Avenue A Fly lure tying demonstrations. Live fish from the Conte Anadromous Fish Research Lab Hop on the FREE shuttle bus to and from Barton Cove. At the Turners Falls Fishway: 15 First Street Fish Printing: The art of Gyotaku from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sponsored by: MassWildlife, Western Mass Fly Fishermen, First Light Power, the Turners Falls Fishway, the Friends of the Discovery Center, and the USGS Conte Research Lab.
Jun
8
Wed
all-day Great Hall Photography Exhibit: ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Photography Exhibit: ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 8 – Jul 5 all-day
Come see photographer Bart Bouricius’ pollinators and predators, an exhibit featuring insects and arachnids. Enjoy the beauty and fascinating entangled lives of some of the small beings that help maintain our world.
Jun
15
Wed
6:30 pm Amphibian Migration @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Amphibian Migration @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 15 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Mass Audubon presents a virtual program on amphibian migration, in partnership with Montague Public Libraries. Learn about the frogs and salamanders that migrate between their seasonal habitats and how they do it. We’ll also introduce conservation efforts that are protecting these species and how you can help. To register, email librarydirector@montague-ma.gov or call (413) 863-3214.
Jun
17
Fri
10:30 am Pop-up or Pop in: Preschool Art ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Pop-up or Pop in: Preschool Art ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 17 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
  A special FREE program for ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Siblings and friends welcome. Inspired by poetry, song, and story, come make beautiful art—soaking up the natural world as we go! Pop-up gel-printing in the courtyard. If it’s rainy, just pop-in to the Great Hall to make small works of art.
Jun
18
Sat
1:00 pm Friends Annual Meeting and Histo... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Friends Annual Meeting and Histo... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 18 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
  Meet in the Great Hall and get to know members of the Center’s Friends Group and help elect officers for the board. Find out how to become a member too. Then, join local historians Ed Gregory and David Brule and Town Planner Walter Ramsey for a leisurely walking tour along the Canalside Rail Trail. Meet in the Great Hall.
Jun
25
Sat
10:30 am Art Naturally Series @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Art Naturally Series @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 25 @ 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). Meet in the Great Hall. All materials are provided. The series continues next month!
1:00 pm Great Hall Photography Reception... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Photography Reception... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 25 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  Join photographer Bart Bouricius in the Great Hall for a slideshow presentation featuring insects and arachnids and a reception. Enjoy the beauty and fascinating entangled lives of some of the small beings that help maintain our world.

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