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Tyrannosaurus rex at the Heard Museum Encounter the 46-foot long Tyrannosaurus rex and nine new life-size animatronic dinosaurs along the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary’s nature trails at the 13th annual Dinosaurs Live! Life-size Animatronic Dinosaurs exhibit.

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas will be able to let their imagination run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile nature trail. From September 1, 2018 through February 18, 2019, during the 13th Annual Dinosaurs Live! Life-Size Animatronic Dinosaurs exhibit, ten moving and roaring dinosaurs provide visitors with a captivating experience. This exhibit will also offer interesting facts about both herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs. The exhibit features the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, a spitting Dilophosaurus, a Carnotaurus, an Edmontonia, a Crylophosaurus, an Apatosaurus, an Elaphrosaurus, a Rugops, an Edmontosaurus, and a Stegosaurus.

Future paleontologists will enjoy an outdoor fossil dig and an opportunity to play on two stationary baby dinosaurs. Additionally, two life-size, stationary photo-op dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex and Pachyrhinosaurus, provide unique opportunities for guests to take photos with their families and friends. Children are also welcome to play on these two photo-op dinosaurs.

The Dinosaurs Live! exhibit nature trail is jogging-stroller friendly, giving families and friends a unique, exciting and educational activity to experience together. Please note that umbrella strollers and other strollers with small wheels are not recommended.

Dinosaurs Live! is sponsored by NBC5. This exhibit is included in general admission and free for Heard Museum Members. More information is available at www.heardmuseum.org/dinosaurslive.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a private 501(c)3 organization, which was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. At the age of 80, she foresaw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. This vision is all the more relevant today as the DFW Metroplex continues to expand. Today, the Heard’s mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.

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Dance Floor at Date Night Enjoy live classic rock music from the Blandelles, dancing, food trucks and more.

Spending time in nature is beneficial to our health in so many ways. You may have observed this, but also study after study tells us that time in nature can offer one of the most effective boosts to our overall well-being.

On June 2, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., treat yourself to a fun, casual night out in nature with a date or a group of friends while supporting Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary's nonprofit fundraising event—Date Night at the Heard. Enjoy live classic rock music from the Blandelles, dancing, food trucks and more. Take an evening stroll through Native Texas Butterfly House & Garden and a designated portion of our other trails.

All guests ages 21 and up are invited; however, limited childcare is available for event participants (while spots last). Childcare is only $20 per child and will be offered by the same great staff and volunteers that lead Heard educational programs. Kids will enjoy live animal presentations, kid-friendly nature videos, games and puzzles. See www.heardmuseum.org/datenight for additional requirements and information. 

Tickets are limited and only $15 per person. Learn more about this fun event and buy your tickets now at www.heardmuseum.org/datenight.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore, and preserve our priceless environment is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit www.heardmuseum.org.

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Heard Museum Plant Sale For nearly 29 years, veteran and novice gardeners alike have anticipated this rare opportunity to purchase plants from a huge selection of native plants, hard-to-find herbs and well-adapted plants at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary’s annual Spring Plant Sale.

As you plan your landscape this spring (whether in a yard or in containers on a balcony or patio), take a moment to consider that your yard has the potential to have value even beyond its aesthetics. By incorporating native plants, you can create a landscape that is both beautiful and important to the butterflies, songbirds and other wildlife around us.

A native (indigenous) species is one that occurs in a particular region, ecosystem, and habitat without direct or indirect human actions (Kartesz and Morse 1997; Richards 1998). As the public becomes more concerned about the environment and interest grows in preserving it, it’s important to know that you have can choose to use native plants. This choice can make a big difference for both plants and animals that have been displaced by human development.

Most people know that butterflies start their life cycle (after hatching) as caterpillars. But have you considered what they eat at that stage? Rather than feeding on nectar like the adults, caterpillars must feed on plant material. Several native plant species are the select or even the only larval (caterpillar) host plant for some species of butterflies. This means that if the plants they need to eat aren’t around, they can’t reproduce. Also, many native plants provide superior nectar sources for adult butterflies (and other important pollinators), which in turn help to pollinate the crops we eat (among many other things). If you enjoy seeing beautiful butterflies or eating fruits and veggies, please consider incorporating native plants into your landscape.

Next, we approach the topic of hummingbirds. Many native plants are a great source of nectar and habitat for these beautiful, tiny birds. Planting some native plants can be a great way to attract them to your landscape. Zipping around your garden, they eat pesky bugs like mosquitoes, gnats, and fruit flies. If you would like to see more around, use native plants to help attract these amazing birds.

Tired of constantly watering your landscape? Do you struggle to keep it hydrated during the hottest months of the summer? Do you worry about where your drinking water will come from someday? If so, plant native plants. Once they’re established, many native plants require very little supplemental water and therefore will not squander the precious water that could otherwise be used for drinking. Native plants are often better suited to our local hydrologic situation and climate and can survive these conditions without assistance once established.

Many native plants are a great resource for holding soil in place because of their deep root system. This ability to help prevent soil erosion also means they help to protect water quality. Plant native plants to help prevent dust storms and dirty water.

If these reasons aren’t enough, there’s also the following:

  • Native plants provide food and habitat for native wildlife.
  • Native plants preserve our natural heritage.
  • Native plants require little maintenance in the long run if properly planted and established.
  • Small changes can make a big difference—you can incorporate many of these plants into your landscape incrementally.

If you are now ready to landscape with native plants, please note that Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will hold its annual Spring Plant Sale on April 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and April 15 from 1 to 5 p.m. We encourage you to stop by and pick up a few plants for your landscape. A Heard Museum Member Pre-Sale will be offered on April 13th from 4-7 p.m.

For nearly 29 years, veteran and novice gardeners alike have anticipated this rare opportunity to purchase plants from a huge selection of native plants, hard-to-find herbs and well-adapted plants at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary’s annual Spring Plant Sale. Your tax-free purchases will also help to support the Heard—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing nature and people together. More information (including plant list) is available at www.heardmuseum.org/plantsale.

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See Tyrannosaurus rex and 9 other life-size dinos You will also get a chance to see Tyrannosaurus rex and nine other life-size dinosaurs along the trail. While these dinosaurs typically move and roar during our regular operating hours, they will not be animated during the event. This gives younger children a little time to get more comfortable with seeing these very realistic-looking dinosaurs. Photo by Kathy Carter.

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas invites you to join us for two evenings of family fun on December 15 and 16 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. during Holidays at the Heard. This festive fundraising event brings the beauty of the holiday season into nature.

Holiday lights and décor gently accentuate a half-mile Heard nature trail. In keeping with the Heard’s role as a nature preserve, this light display enhances, rather than overpowers, the wildlife sanctuary’s natural beauty. Along the trail, you will see a bur oak tree, Quercus macrocarpa, believed to be over 250 years old situated in a beautiful forest. You will also get a chance to see Tyrannosaurus rex and nine other life-size dinosaurs along the trail. While these dinosaurs typically move and roar during our regular operating hours, they will not be animated during the event. This gives younger children a little time to get more comfortable with seeing these very realistic-looking dinosaurs. As you walk the trail, also be sure to keep an eye out for naturally occurring mistletoe in the trees!

After your group has finished a festive stroll through our lighted trail, be sure to relax and enjoy live music and entertainment designed to complement the holiday atmosphere in our outdoor amphitheater. To see the complete entertainment schedule, click here. You will also be able to warm up with hot cocoa, apple cider, coffee and treats available for purchase from fILTER(ed) Craft Coffee and Culture House. Guests are also welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in our amphitheater and picnic area. Additional vendors include Topgolf, Grandma’s cupboard, Bare Naked Bee Co., Origami Owl and Lisa Johnson State Farm. Visit our vendors for fun activities, thoughtful gifts, giveaways and more. A portion of the proceeds from our vendors benefits the Heard. 

Children (and the young at heart) will have fun taking a photo with Father Christmas and Mother Nature in a festive setting. They will also have the opportunity to play on stationary baby dinosaurs and on two photo-op Tyrannosaurus rex. Our pioneer village will be transformed into the North Pole Children’s Village for all to explore. You will also have the opportunity to explore our indoor exhibits, watch for up-close encounters with our animal ambassadors and more.

Tickets at the door are only $9 for adults and seniors and $5 for kids ages 3 through 12 (children 2 and under are free). Guests can save $2 per ticket when they purchase online by December 14, 2017 at www.heardmuseum.org/holidays! Tickets will also be available at the door. To see the Holidays at the Heard Facebook event page, click here.


About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a private 501(c)3 organization comprised of a 289-acre nature preserve and museum. The Heard was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard, who was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard’s mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of children, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation. Additional information is available at www.heardmuseum.org.

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Frostweed Forms Ice Sculptures Frostweed Forms Ice Sculptures

In addition to being an exceptional source of nectar for butterflies and pollinators during its blooming period, frostweed, Verbesina virginica, has a unique hidden 'talent.' Under the right circumstances during the first frost of the year, its sap freezes into unique ice sculptures as the sap expands and oozes out of the broken stems.

In the photo gallery, you will find photos from this morning's occurrence at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas. Sometimes they form what looks like flowers. On this occasion, the stems split in such a way that this didn't happen but the formations are nonetheless lovely. Also included is one photo taken previously on a warmer day. This will allow you see what it looks like in bloom.

Frostweed plants can grow from three to six feet in height. If you're interested in gardening for Monarch butterflies, this is a great plant to choose as a nectar source for them in the fall. You can learn more about this plant here.

The dormant appearance of much of the native plant life during the winter in north Texas may seem like a barrier to enjoying nature, but there are often surprises waiting for you if you take the time to carefully observe nature. To see a list of birds that may be observed at the Heard this time of year, visit www.heardmuseum.org/birding. To see other wildlife species that have been recently observed by guests, visit www.heardmuseum.org/wildlife. You can also learn more about what is going on out in our nature preserve during the winter here: www.heardmuseum.org/winternature.  

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit www.heardmuseum.org.

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tortoise skull Visit Heard Natural Science Museum this weekend to see the complete fossil tortoises.

On October 14, 2017 at 10 a.m., visit Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas to meet two fossil tortoises that were discovered by Jim Caddell in July of 1994 in the Northwest corner of Nebraska in a region known as the Nebraska Badlands. These specimens will then be on permanent exhibit.

Referred to informally as “Tootsie” and “Peanut,” these tortoises are Stylemys nebrascensis. While this species is similar in some ways to modern tortoises, it lacked foreleg musculature for digging tunnels. These fossils are 34 million years old. Fossils from this species are regularly found in the South Dakota/Nebraska Badlands. Jim Caddell donated these specimens to the Heard in June of 2013. Preparation for displaying these fossils began in the lab in October 2013. After four years and more than 5,000 volunteer hours, they are ready for the museum floor.

What Makes This Exhibit Unique

The adult tortoise fossil on exhibit will be mounted much like an ‘exploded’ drawing with the three elements that make up a turtle (carapace, skeleton, and plastron) separated for visual study and examination. This "3D" example will provide a unique educational opportunity for teaching the anatomy of these unique reptiles.

This specimen also provides an opportunity to view a complete fossil Stylemys. This is rare for a number of reasons. Many Stylemys nebrascensis that are discovered do not include the skeleton. Additionally, the entirety of the fossil also comes from a single individual, which is a rare occurrence. Mineral deposits in the shell expand over time, fragmenting the shell. By the time the soil around the fossils erodes and the shell is visible at the surface, sometimes only fragments remain. Often, the tortoises were scavenged after death, leaving the remains in poor condition. Due to the weight (over 200 pounds) adult specimens are seldom collected.

Approximately half of the juvenile tortoise has been prepared and cleaned. The other half remains in its original condition allowing visitors to get a better sense of what the volunteers work on in the preparation process. For this reason, examples of the tools used will also be displayed to demonstrate and educate the museum visitors on the fossil preparation process.

About Turtles and Tortoises

Tortoises are amazing creatures and belong to the order Testudines, which dates back to the Triassic period. They have survived four mass extinctions, ice ages, and continental upheavals. In the vertebrate world, only eel and crocodilian species have a nearly equal longevity. After you have observed these two 34 million-year-old specimens, be sure to observe two modern species of tortoises, also on exhibit at the Heard.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.

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Preschool Nature Explorers Preschoolers will explore different habitats from wetlands and forests to prairie and ponds.

Preschool Nature Explorers at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas will spend the school year learning about the world around us. Each week we’ll meet one of the Heard’s live animal ambassadors and take a nature hike to explore different habitats from wetlands and forests to prairie and ponds. We’ll also prowl through museum exhibits, participate in hands-on science activities, sing songs, listen to stories, and play nature themed-games! We’ll talk about our responsibility to nature and what we can do to the help the plants and animals around us.

In the fall semester, we’ll focus on habitats and ecosystems. We’ll learn how animals that are awake at night can live in the dark. We’ll dig into dinosaurs and fossils. We’ll watch as summer changes to fall and heads towards winter. In the spring, we’ll discover more about the wide variety of animals that live on our planet and what makes each one unique. We’ll also observe nature wake up from its winter slumber as it blossoms into spring.

Preschool programs have been an integral part of the museum's mission to bring nature and people together since 1974. This informal science program introduces your child to the natural world through nature walks and hands-on science activities that foster cooperation with others, language development and creative play. Pre-registration is required and spots are limited. More information and registration is available at www.heardmuseum.org/preschool

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Founded in 1967, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary consists of a 289 acre wildlife sanctuary and a natural science museum for the primary purpose of educating children about nature. The Heard exists to bring nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore, and preserve our priceless environment.

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Campers at Perkins Sycamore Campers at Perkins Sycamore

Do you ever go for nature walks to clear your head? If so, you’ve probably experienced firsthand how time in nature can benefit your overall well-being. For example, you may have noticed your stress melt away and you may have enjoyed renewed energy after your walk.

In this context, consider the fact that the average child today spends about half as much time outdoors and participating in these kinds of activities as children did 20 years ago. When asked, many of today’s children may say they prefer to stay indoors in front of a screen. Often this happens because that is what they have become familiar with. Nonetheless, getting out in nature is important and beneficial to a child’s wellbeing. More and more studies seem to indicate that children who play outside exhibit improvements in mood, health and cognitive function as compared to children who spend more time indoors.

Register today for a summer camp at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary and give your child the gift of a connection to nature. Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary’s mission is to inspire children to discover, enjoy, experience, and restore our priceless environment.

Heard Summer Nature Camps (Camp Bobcat and Camp Woodpecker) are geared toward children ages 5 through 12 and feature opportunities to investigate the wonders of nature on our 289-acre sanctuary, encounter animal ambassadors and more.

In Nature Art Camp, young artists (ages 6 through 10) will follow in the footsteps of great artists such as Audubon and Monet with unique opportunities to create their own art inspired by nature and live animals. Each day, a different type of medium will be explored. All art supplies are included.

Keeper Camps 1 & 2 will offer children ages 10 through 15 an opportunity to experience a behind-the-scenes, hands-on adventure with our Animal Ambassadors. They will also learn about the Heard Animal Ambassadors and what it takes to properly care for them.

For the complete information on camp topics, camp schedules and more details, visit www.heardmuseum.org/camps. Many of the Heard’s summer camps fill early and preregistration is required.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a private, nonprofit organization and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard’s mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.

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Date Night at the Heard will be a fun, outdoor fundraising event benefiting Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. This event will feature live music, dancing, a cash bar and food trucks. The event will be held on May 20th, 2017 from 6-9 p.m. at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary.

Forecasts for Saturday indicate that the weather should be quieter and much drier by midday with cooler temperatures in the 70s. As a result, the Heard will still host Date Night on Saturday, May 20. Additional information about the forecast can be seen here: http://www.nbcdfw.com/weather/?zipCode=75069

Tickets are now available to the public (while supplies last) for $15 per person. Additional information and online ticketing is available at www.heardmuseum.org/datenight.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore, and preserve our priceless environment is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.

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Date Night at the Heard will be a fun, outdoor fundraising event benefiting Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. This event will feature live music, dancing, a cash bar and food trucks. The event will be held on May 20th, 2017 from 6-9 p.m. at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary.

Forecasts for Saturday indicate that the weather should be quieter and much drier by midday with cooler temperatures in the 70s. As a result, the Heard will still host Date Night on Saturday, May 20. Additional information about the forecast can be seen here: http://www.nbcdfw.com/weather/?zipCode=75069

Tickets are now available to the public (while supplies last) for $15 per person. Additional information and online ticketing is available at www.heardmuseum.org/datenight.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore, and preserve our priceless environment is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.