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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 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: October 2019 Calendar of EventsOctober 10 -How to Make Your Apartment or Home Comfortable Year Round, October 5 – Bat Day!, October 11 – CoffeehouseArt Naturally Series Flyer, and 2019 Great Falls Coffeehouse Flyer.

Upcoming Events

Oct
1
Tue
10:00 am Art Exhibit: Migrations, Great Hall @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Art Exhibit: Migrations, Great Hall @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 1 @ 10:00 am – Oct 20 @ 6:00 pm
Art exhibit for the Fourth Annual Migrations Festival. Join us on October 13th 2-4 p.m. for the Festival, a celebration of human and natural diversity of the Americas and the upper Connecticut River Valley.
Oct
18
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Bats, ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Bats, ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 18 @ 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. For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Siblings and friends welcome.
Oct
19
Sat
2:00 pm Great Falls Fest @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Fest @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 19 @ 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Discover us on Avenue A! We are joining the fray of harvest fun this fall during the Great Falls Fest, also known as Pumpkin Fest. Kids and families— make fall seasonal animal crafts at our outdoor tables on the Avenue, from 2-6 pm. Enjoy our museum exhibits during our open hours from 10 am-6 pm.
Oct
23
Wed
1:00 pm Half Day Discovery Day: Leaves I... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Half Day Discovery Day: Leaves I... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 23 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Gill-Montague school students get a half day off on October 2nd and 23rd. Why not discover something new? Join us in a self-guided investigation station exploring our beloved New England fall foliage, and play a game of leaf peeping bike path B-I-N-G-O. For ages 6 and up, accompanied by an adult.
Oct
25
Fri
10:00 am Exhibit: 25 Years of Cider Days,... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Exhibit: 25 Years of Cider Days,... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 25 @ 10:00 am – Nov 6 @ 4:00 pm
Over twenty-five years, CiderDays has evolved to a three day, county-wide festival celebrating the apple in all of its forms and providing sessions on every aspect of apple usage. The Great Falls Discovery Center hosts an exhibition of historic cider presses and images that honor the orchards, producers and enthusiasts who have advanced the art of cidermaking. Sponsored by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. November 1-3, 2019. For a full schedule visit: ciderdays.org.
Oct
31
Thu
5:00 pm Annual Rag Shag Parade, Avenue A @ Avenue A
Annual Rag Shag Parade, Avenue A @ Avenue A
Oct 31 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Special Halloween open hours until 6 p.m. because we have candy! The Turners Falls VFW invites all ghouls, goblins, and ghosts to a parade on Avenue A. Meet at Food City Parking lot at dusk for the parade.
Nov
8
Fri
7:00 pm Joe Graveline & Nina Gross to pe... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Joe Graveline & Nina Gross to pe... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Nov 8 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  More info TBA soon Doors open at 6:30 pm. ~ Suggested sliding scale donation $6–$15  ~ Free for children. Coffee and refreshments available. Museum open during intermission.  ~   Wheelchair accessible

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