The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, in McKinney Texas, is the result of Bessie Heard’s vision for the future and her commitment to the community and North Texas.
Founded in 1967, the Heard consists of a 289 acre wildlife sanctuary and a natural science museum for the primary purpose of educating children about nature. The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and exists to bring nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore, and preserve our priceless environment.
The Heard’s purpose is threefold: education, conservation, and preservation. In keeping with Miss Heard’s vision, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation through education.
The emphasis of the Heard’s education programs is children; however, the Heard also offers programs that will interest visitors of any age.
The Heard's sanctuary provides new and different experiences every day of the year. As you walk the nature trails you encounter numerous sights, sounds, colors, textures and patterns. You may also encounter many species of birds, insects and animals that have found refuge in the sanctuary, an oasis within the rapidly developing Collin County area.
The mission of the Heard Wildlife Sanctuary is threefold:
Provide the best possible habitat for native and endemic wildlife species
Train future land stewards and naturalists through habitat restoration and wildlife management
Preserve functional examples of pre-settlement Collin County ecosystems. In part, the sanctuary exists to restore human connection to the land.
Heard nature trails are not wheelchair accessible. The trails are only accessible to jogging strollers. Our indoor exhibits, however, are wheelchair and stroller accessible. Call 972.562.5566 for details.
Please note that all hunting and fishing is prohibited on Heard private property. Cameras and staff monitor activity during both daytime and nighttime hours. Vehicles and trespassers are subject to video and photo identification, and trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law
The Heard's indoor exhibits provide an interactive environment in which visitors can discover, enjoy and experience various aspects of the Texas natural environment. The exhibits also enhance the experience of visitors to The Heard by providing interpretation of natural events and objects found that might otherwise be overlooked or misunderstood when encountered on the wildlife sanctuary.The Heard Museum currently maintains exhibits on Texas' venomous snakes, rocks, minerals and fossils, seashells and marine life, North Texas ecosystems, a children's fossil dig, a marine room, and more. Exhibits at the Heard Museum provide valuable learning opportunities for the more than 20,000 students who visit each year.
The Heard Natural Science Museum maintains an extensive group of natural science collections. The collections include minerals and rocks, sea shells, insects (including moths and butterflies), bird skins, mammal skins and a herbarium. These archived collections are part of The Heard's resource for its ongoing research, education outreach and natural science exhibits. In addition, The Heard actively creates collections from prairie fragments, small pockets of undeveloped native habitats. This provides an important window into the past or snapshots of prairie flora and fauna as they exist in documented points in time.The Natural Science Department does make the collections available for qualified researchers. Please contact Michele Dudas for further information.
The mission of Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is to bring nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore, and preserve our environment. While most of the Heard’s property is preserved or restored to a state in which once-dominant ecosystems can be shared with future generations, the Heard also uses two garden spaces to educate the public about designing wildlife-friendly landscapes, wildlife habitats, native plant gardens, and residential bird and butterfly gardens. Using native plant life, the Heard hopes to also share techniques for conserving natural resources.