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Great Falls Discovery Center

Features Animals
2 Avenue a, Turners Falls, MA 01376-1101
+1 413-863-3221
Review Highlights
Informative museum

This center has fantastic displays of the wildlife of the region together with details of their... read more

Reviewed 30 September 2017
Derby, United Kingdom
Exceptional in every way

Clear, thoughtful exhibits; smart, pleasant staff; interesting special events (Canal walk... read more

Reviewed 24 September 2017
Grafton, Massachusetts
Read all 29 reviews
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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 native plants, butterfly gardens, and open lawn 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 is in a separate building, 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 GFDC'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 bike path 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 cooperative program of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, with financial and program support from the Friends of Great Falls Discovery Center.
  • Excellent66%
  • Very good31%
  • Average3%
  • Poor0%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Suggested Duration: < 1 hour
2 Avenue a, Turners Falls, MA 01376-1101
Write a ReviewReviews (29)
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1 - 10 of 29 reviews

Reviewed 30 September 2017

This center has fantastic displays of the wildlife of the region together with details of their habitats etc. We found it to be very informative and really enjoyed looking at everything. Admission is free, although donations are welcome.

Thank mjc404
Reviewed 24 September 2017

Clear, thoughtful exhibits; smart, pleasant staff; interesting special events (Canal walk, plants, flowers, etc). FREE to enter, free parking. Interesting view of the nearby canal, bridge, etc. Good for all ages.

Thank grommit
Reviewed 14 August 2017

Our family stopped here specifically to see a special exhibit of photographs by Mark Chester. Mark has been taking photos of naturalized citizens who live in Massachusetts and so far has photographed people from more than 150 countries. A wonderful exhibit!

Thank Mikeb1Falmouth_MA
Reviewed 10 August 2017 via mobile

What a great place to go to learn about the influence of the Connecticut River on the animals and plants that live near or in it. The dioramas as excellent! And with the diorama is a chart that labels plants and animals. A great river...More

Thank LoriAllen
Reviewed 8 August 2017 via mobile

The Discovery Center is a perfect name for this attraction. It's more then a natural history museum, its a learning center for children and adults. The dioramas are very nice and weekends are full of activities. The Great Hall hosts monthly exhibits of local artists....More

Thank Geri J
Reviewed 15 November 2016

I took my grandson here for a Junior Ranger program last summer and he had a great time. Very interactive - four days, once a week. They also offer nature programs on a regular basis. It is right next to the bike path and near...More

Thank Vicki V
Janel N, Vistior Services Supervisor at Great Falls Discovery Center, responded to this reviewResponded 7 December 2016

You are right about this being a place for kids! Thank you for attending Junior Rangers and thinking of telling people about your experiences through a review. We love it here and hope you do too!

Reviewed 12 November 2016 via mobile

Everyone should go to this museum and enjoy its wonderful and free offerings. Coffeehouses, lectures, tours, beautiful views of the river, near playground, downtown Turners Falls shops & restaurants. Fun & relaxation for one and all!

1  Thank Heather M
Janel N, Visitor Services Supervisor at Great Falls Discovery Center, responded to this reviewResponded 7 December 2016

Thank you for coming to the center and for posting a review of your experiences. Hope to see you again soon!

Reviewed 29 October 2016

If you visit Turners, you have to pay a visit to Discovery. Nice place with animals and explanation about natural life. Janelle is fantastic as a guide. Try to join any of the walks or activities with kids.

Thank vicm65
Reviewed 12 September 2016

We stopped just out of curiosity and found the woman caring for the place to be very personable, well informed and quite proficient. The displays are very hands-on and it would be a great place to get kids excited about nature and the environment. I...More

Thank OmenWesternMA
Reviewed 29 August 2016

The exhibits are hands on; the place is a very small do-able size for kids (with a National Park ranger/personnel!)...All the local wildlife things you take for granted and think you know...put in front of you to think about in a different way. The building...More

Thank Ladythrowback
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