Spread out over 289-acres in the heart of McKinney lies the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary which is by far the most popular tourist attraction for nature lovers in the great state of Texas. Set up in 1967 by philanthropist and nature lover Bessie Heard, this captivating enclave dedicated to preservation and conservation of its inherent natural attributes is a must-see point of interest that tops most Texas travel itineraries. Drawing an impressive 100,000 visitors from all across the USA and the globe to its lush enclave annually, this multi-faceted wildlife sanctuary serves as an engaging and stunning attraction that continues to captivate all those who dare to take a ride on the wild side of Texas.
Highlights include its famed nature trails that go on for nearly 7 miles and wind through diverse eco systems within the 289-acre sanctuary. Visitors can take leisurely strolls through grassy prairies, limestone escarpments and bottomland hardwoods while having personal encounters with a variety of animal species, bird populations and meandering insects. Visitors can choose from the 6 nature trails on offer at the venue which includes a trusty guide if needed to trek through these engaging natural environments. Dubbed the Hoot Owl Trail, Cedar Break Loop, Bluestem Trail, Sycamore Trail, Wood Duck Trail and Night Hikes each of the routes offer something diverse to suit professional and novice hikers alike.
The Native Plant Garden at Heard is another highlight as this breathtaking quarter is devoted to the vines, grasses, trees, ground covers and shrubs indigenous to the Lone Star State. Serving as a practical display on how native plants can be employed to create a stunning modern garden, aromatic Agaritas, trout lilies, Red Bays and Buffalo currents are some of the native plants that are found in the garden in addition to a number of live oaks.
The Heard’s indoor museum is also worth the visit as it enhances visitors’ understanding of the diverse natural environment that surrounds them. The museum’s exhibits focus on Texas’s minerals, fossils, rocks, marine life, venomous snakes and seashells while documenting the differences prevalent in North Texas eco-systems.
Current exhibits at the museum include the Honey Bee Observation Hive, Native Texas Butterfly House & Garden, and Animals of the World: A Conservation Exhibit and the Dinosaurs Live exhibit which features life-size Animatronic Dinosaurs.
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