The Dinosaurs Live! exhibit just reopened at the Heard Museum, this past weekend. We took a chance to go visit, since we have never been before and our kids love dinosaurs. Since it’s primarily a nature preserve, most of the exhibits are outdoor. So, if you decide to visit, make sure you are prepared for a good hike. Definitely wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and take advantage of the shade. All in all, it was a really fun, educational activity, and the resulting workout is a nice added bonus!
Dinosaurs Live! is a seasonal exhibit that the Heard Museum usually has open from September through February. The exhibit follows a gravel hiking trail. It’s a little rough if you have a stroller or wagon with smaller wheels, but it’s still quite doable and easy to walk. There are a total of eleven (11!) animatronic dinosaurs along the trail. You can even hear them roaring and growling as soon as you head out the lobby doors. At the beginning of the trail, there is even a fossil dig site that your kids can play paleontologist at! There are plenty of opportunities to take pictures too. Around halfway through the trail, you can sit in the shade with the pachyrhinosaurus, and the end of the hike has a great tyrannosaurus rex photo op!
The dinosaur trail leads straight to the pioneer village. This is a neat miniature town sporting multiple log cabins and frontier style wood buildings. It is a great way to introduce your child to early pioneer life. Some of the buildings even have furniture that kids love to play in. It’s an especially nice break for parents, after hiking through any of the nature trails that lead back to this central area. The entire village is shaded, and you’ll have plenty of time to take a break while your kids explore each and every building.
Animals of the World
Our next stop at the Heard Museum was the Animals of the World exhibit. This area contains outdoor habitats for many examples of the local wildlife. By this time in our visit, it was starting to get hot, so a lot of the animals were resting in the shade or hiding in the shadows. We did get a great view of the bobcat pacing around though. My kids’ favorite part was the butterfly house. You get to walk through a greenhouse surrounded by flowers and butterflies!
Reptiles, Shells, and Fossils
We rounded out our trip by cooling off with the indoor exhibits and soaking up the AC. There is a modest collection of fossils, reptiles, amphibians, and other local creatures. The snake exhibit is particularly interesting. It’s a great way to get a close of view of some of the most venomous snakes that you can find in the North Texas wilds.
There are tons of shells and small fossil samples to peruse in their many display cases. One of the more amazing features is the recent addition of the nearly complete plesiosaur fossil that was found right here in Collin County!