DCR Visitor Centers and Exhibits

Learn about our rich natural and cultural history


Breakheart Visitors Center
Breakheart Visitors Center

DCR Visitors Centers provide many year-round opportunities at which you can learn about our rich natural and cultural history, a heritage that tells fascinating stories of the past.

Hours can vary based on staffing and weather emergencies. Please call ahead.

Northeastern Massachusetts

Breakheart State Reservation, 177 Forest St., Saugus 

Christopher P. Dunne Visitor Center

Open Daily, 8:30am–4pm 

This picturesque visitor center was built in the style of Ben Johnson’s Lodge. Ben Johnson along with two friends built the lodge that opened in 1891 for their private hunting reserve, the origin of Breakheart Reservation. The Civilian Conservation Corps also built much of the park infrastructure. Enjoy the rustic warmth of the visitor center, open daily. Dogs are allowed within the reservation on a leash. Parking is free, but limited. Parking is also available at the shopping center near the approach.  Accessible. For more information, please call 781) 233-0834

Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden St., Concord

Walden Pond Visitor Center

Open Daily, 10am–4pm 

Henry David Thoreau’s legacy has rippled across the globe and is tastefully presented in exhibits and displays. Get a look at our Gold LEED-Certified, earth-friendly, energy efficient building constructed from sustainable materials. View our 22-minute film “Walden,” produced by Ken Burns, on Thoreau’s legacy. A replica of the cabin he built and lived in from 1845-1847 is located near the visitor center for public viewing. No pets are allowed within the reservation. Daily parking fee: $8 per vehicle with MA plates, $15 per vehicle for out-of-state plates.  Accessible. For more information, please call 978-396-3254

Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1 Jackson Street, Lawrence

Open Daily, 9am–4pm 

Visitor Center Exhibit "City of Workers" - is built into a restored boarding house with two floors of interactive exhibits which tell the tale of Lawrence, one of the nation's first planned industrial cities. Along with stories of Lawrence's mill workers and industry, the workers' role in the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike is relived in images and sounds. 

Free parking and admission. Accessible. For more information please call 978-794-1655.

Central Massachusetts

Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park

 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge

River Bend Farm Visitor Center

Daily, 10am–4pm

The Following the Plough exhibit explores the story of the Blackstone Valley and its communities from pre-European settlement through European style agricultural development, industrialization, and into today.  Guided tours for groups with advance notice.  Free admission.  No parking fee. Accessible. For more information, call (508) 278-7604.

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation

 345 Mountain Road, Princeton

John Hitchcock Visitor Center

Open daily 8am–3:30pm (Hours may vary based on winter staffing and weather conditions).

The Visitor Center features exhibits detailing the mountain’s unique geologic history, including the effects of the last glacial period. Exhibits also highlight Wachusett Mountain’s human history, from the Native Americans living in the area who gave the mountain its name, to the European colonists who settled the area. The center also features displays explaining the ancient trees found on the mountain, the only old-growth forest east of the Connecticut River. There is also an antique collection of preserved birds that are found in the area. Hiking trail information is available in the Visitor Center, and park staff can provide advice on routes and trail conditions; winter hikers should be equipped for snowy and icy conditions. In addition, there is a magnificent stone fireplace with a crackling fire to warm winter visitors. Restrooms are available in the Visitor Center during open hours. Portable toilets are available in the parking lot if the Visitor Center is closed. Free parking and admission during the winter. Accessible. For more information, please call 978-464-2987.

Quabbin Reservoir, 100 Winsor Dam Road, Belchertown

Open Monday- Friday 8:30am–4:30pm and 9am–4:30 pm on weekends. 

Visitor Center & Exhibits

Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest unfiltered water supplies in the United States. Along with the Wachusett Reservoir and Ware River, it is the source of high quality water for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority water supply system. The 412 billion gallon reservoir covers 39 square miles with 181 miles of shoreline.  Come learn about the history of the Quabbin Valley and how the reservoir was built.  Also, learn about wildlife at the Quabbin and some of the research being done there.   Visitors may request viewing one of several short videos about the area as well. For more information, please call 413-323-722.

Southeastern Massachusetts

Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Ave, North Easton

Open Daily, 8am–4pm 

Visitor Center "Ames Family History Gallery" - Borderland is one of the most historically significant tracts of publicly owned land in the Commonwealth. Created in the early 1900s by artist and suffragist Blanche Ames and her botanist husband Oakes, Borderland offers many of the same pleasures that the Ames family enjoyed.  Learn about the family through the park’s exhibits. Then enjoy the winter recreational experiences once enjoyed by this famous family at their “Borderland.” A variety of self-guided walk brochures are available in the Visitor Center vestibule. Accessible. For more information or directions, please call (508) 238-6566. There is a $5.00 per vehicle parking fee; $6.00 for out-of-state vehicles.

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 131 Waquoit Hwy (Rte. 28), E. Falmouth

Tuesday-Friday, 10am–5pm 

The Waquoit Bay Reserve –Come in from the cold and explore our exhibits along with a host of self-guided, hands-on activities including animal puppets, leaf rubbings, crafts, animal life cycles and more. Accessible. For more information or directions, please call (508) 457-0495 x125.

Western Massachusetts

Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls

Saturday, February 16 through Sunday, April 21

Great Hall Exhibit - “The Time of My Life”:  Vintage Views of Western Massachusetts - “Having the time of my life.” So wrote Bernice on a postcard sent to her “Ma” in the early 20th century—one among many cards from Memorial Hall Museum’s collection, now in the Great Hall. Enlarged postcard scenes take visitors on an imaginary road trip, with stops at Mount Tom, Mount Holyoke Summit House, Sugarloaf, Turners Falls, Greenfield, Shelburne Falls and the Mohawk Trail. Sit down and relax with reproduction postal souvenir albums, a hands-on stereoscope, and a Viewmaster with other area scenes that paint pictures of civic pride and new ideas about leisure and travel. Before cell phones and social media, the picture postcard reigned supreme. Sponsored by Memorial Hall Museum. Admission to the museum and Great Hall exhibit is free. Accessible facility. For more information, call (413) 863-3221.

Holyoke Heritage State Park, 221 Appleton Street, Holyoke

Wednesday through Sunday, 12pm to 4pm.

Explore Holyoke’s industrial history. Exhibits celebrate the city's rich blend of cultures and people. Special programs are offered year-round. Also located within the park are The Children's Museum, the restored antique Holyoke Merry-Go-Round and the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Visitor information available. Wheelchair accessible. For more information or directions, please call (413) 534-1723.

Mount Greylock State Reservation Visitor Center, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA

Open daily, 9am–4pm

The Visitor Center is the primary information and orientation site for visitors to Mount Greylock State Reservation. Located within a mix of open fields and woods and offers a spectacular panoramic view south across the Berkshire Hills and the Taconic Mountains. Dynamic exhibits and an orientation film explore the history and nature of the highest point in the Commonwealth. A recreational opportunity here includes an easy 1.8 mile loop hike along the Bradley Farm Interpretive Trail. Visitor information available. Wheelchair accessible. Call 413-499-4262 for more information.

Western Gateway Heritage State Park 115 State Street, Building # 4, North Adams, MA 01247

Thursdays through Mondays, 10am–4pm.

Visitors to this former railroad yard in North Adams, MA may discover about the controversial and dangerous construction of the 4.75-mile Hoosac Tunnel, which spanned 1851-1875. Offered is a short documentary film about the tunnel, still in use today. Visitors can see historical artifacts and exhibits to better understand this historic engineering feat and the cultural-industrial story of this smallest in Massachusetts. Visitor information available. Wheelchair accessible. Call 413-663-6312 for more information.

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