Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, McKinney



Image courtesy of the Heard Natural Science Museum

One of the highlights of the Heard is their annual Dinosaur’s Alive, which offers animatronic dinosaurs along their walking trail!  In 2019, Dinosaur’s Alive begins on August 31, 2019!





The Cave Room houses many different fluorescent minerals and rocks.  The lights turn off so you can see how they glow!

Turtles, native snakes,  lemurs, flying squirrels, sugar gliders and tarantulas are some of the Animal Ambassadors that live inside the center.


My little boy’s favorite is the Dinosaur Dig!  There are toy dinosaurs to play with, as well as large, permanent fossil replicas to uncover with paintbrushes, just like a real paleontologist.  But what I really appreciate is that real fossil, such as ammonites, gastropods and echinoids are also buried in the sand.  They have a chart above the dig site, and he was able to identify all that he found (and he didn’t want to leave until he found them all)!  I love anything that makes my children excited about learning!





The Pioneer Village has 8 little buildings filled with furniture, tin dishes, baskets and other items.  The village is shaded by many trees, and I sat down and watched and my children joined in with others as the ran from house to house “trading” items.  It was a terrific, child-led game that they played for 2 hours!


A boy of about 10, who introduced himself as the sheriff of the “town”, explained to me that of all the items found in the houses, apples were the most valuable.  I love what kids can do when they aren’t sitting in front of a screen!


After promising we would return to the Pioneer Village before we left, we eventually walked over to the Animals of the World exhibit.  It houses 2 raccoons (one of which is an albino named Albus – Harry Potter reference I believe!), a grey fox, 2 white-tail deer that have been injured and a capybara.


The Bluestem trail is one of 6 trails.  It is 1 mile long, round trip.


It takes you down through wetlands on a boardwalk to a small pond and an outdoor classroom!


We also hiked the Sycamore Trail, which is 1.5 miles long, and curves through a heavily forested area.


The highlight of the trail is the Perkins Sycamore, a 150 year old tree which reaches above the forest floor to the blue sky above.


Sometimes my children get a little whiny, as they did on this last trail.  They were tired, they were hungry, if you have children you know the script.  So we played a favorite game of ours.  A favorite because it rewards money they can spend in the gift shop.  I paid $1 for the first to find a turtle, a woodpecker, a squirrel, a bur oak acorn and an animal track.  Money well spent…


We also found the largest Bur Oak on the sanctuary.  It’s over 250 years old!


Several squirrels were running around the tree, whose large, furry capped acorns are a favorite!

We finished the trail with about 10 minutes to spare before they closed, which we spent back at the Pioneer Village.  Such. a. good. day.

My Mommy Tips:

Pack your lunch!  They don’t sell food, but there are MANY picnic tables just outside the main building!  

Wear close toed shoes, and remember your sunscreen! 

Because you will be in contact with sensitive ecosystems, leave your bug spray at home.  Choose DEET free products or opt for natural insect repellents, such as an essential oils bug repellent.  Click HERE for more information.       

Things To Do in McKinney


Downtown McKinney is filled with fun shops, restaurants and more!  Click HERE for more information.


Heard Science Museum and Nature Preserve  

1 Nature Place, McKinney

Click HERE to visit their website.        


Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun! 


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1 Comment

  1. What an interesting and rewarding turn of events for you and your family! I’m glad you spent a full day outdoors. Thanks for the review of the activities and trails available. I also appreciate your reminders about sunscreen and less harmful bug spray. Oh! And those sycamores! Wow! I’ve recently become interested in sycamores based on the ones I saw on this river trip: http://bit.ly/Oe9hCY

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