6.3 / 10 Rating Star
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Good For Kids

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museum from the back
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Heard Natural Science Museum

1 Nature Place McKinney, Texas 75069
Open Tue.-Sat., 9-5. Sun., 1-5, closed on Mondays.
972-562-5566 3 hours
May 2012 Fall, Spring
$0-9 McKinney Texas
Website Educational Nature Museums
First review
The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a 289 acre natural area near Dallas. It was opened in 1967 to promote conservation and education. The facility includes a museum, animal exhibits and walking trails.

A local philanthropist named Bessie Heard started the center by purchasing an initial 207 acres of land in 1964. A museum was soon built, trails established and prairie restoration begun. More recently the center created wetlands habitat. The property also has forested sections and some trees are over 100 years old.

The museum is small and dated. There are some moderately interesting displays on shells and minerals and also some hands-on activities for kids. Live animals are exhibited, such as snakes and birds. Some of the displays are unusually small, which is a bit surprising given the nature of the facility. Outdoor animal exhibits include smaller mammals. A butterfly garden with screened and outdoor areas is a colorful magnet for butterflies in spring.

Three hours is enough time to see the museum, animal exhibits, and take some hikes. All the trails were well marked and none were hard but the Sycamore Trail was overgrown with brush. The ½ mile Hoot Owl Trail included a small hill and traversed more diverse habitat. Views at the top of the hill could be good when the trees don’t have leaves. The Wood Duck Trail included wetland areas and also some restored prairies. If time is limited, Wood Duck is a good trail choice. While the center should be lauded for its conservation work, as a place for leisure it rates average, especially for adults. The museum and animal displays will have slightly more appeal to kids. The center occasionally hosts and lists on its website special events, such as canoeing and nature classes.
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