Monday, October 24, 2011

Totally Texas -- Robot dinosaurs invade McKinney

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

1 Nature Place, McKinney


If I asked my daughter’s five-year-old twin boys to list their favorite dinosaur, it would probably be Tyrannosaurus rex. Still, when I wanted a picture of somebody shaking the paw of the animatronic T. rex at the Heard Natural Science Museum in McKinney, nobody volunteered. Except my daughter, of course. (She avowed a love of strange creatures from a young age.)

That said, the boys insisted that Mom follow the map from the visitors’ center to be sure they hadn’t missed any of the robot dinosaurs. The 46-foot T. rex joins several new life-size animatronic prehistoric creatures in the sixth annual Dinosaurs Live! Life-size Animatronic Dinosaurs exhibit that runs through January 29, 2012. The dinos move and roar (or otherwise vocalize) along the outdoor trails that also introduce kids and adults to the native flora of North Central Texas.

On our visit last week, the boys found some of the indoor exhibits closed for remodeling. But besides the dinosaurs, there are still exhibits of wild animals the Heard is rehabilitating and a butterfly garden of native plants whose colorful exhibits demonstrate to both gardeners and lepidopterists what can be done to create wildlife-friendly habitats.

In addition, the Heard has six and a half miles of hiking trails that wind through several habitats of the 289-acre wildlife sanctuary.

This Saturday, October 29, the Heard also hosts outdoor concerts featuring local artists from the Collin County Songwriters Association from 1-4 p.m. Admission to the concerts is included in the regular admission price. See for prices and schedule.

The Heard is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. (Doors close at 4 p.m. to ensure everyone gets a chance to tour the exhibits.)


Also this week:

Friday, October 28, through Saturday, October 29 -- Palestine’s Fall Fest includes Texas State Railroad “Peanuts” ride with Snoopy and other events. See for details.

Friday, October 28, through Saturday, October 29, the Paris (Texas, that is) Antique Fair at Red River Valley Fairgrounds. See

Saturday, October 29, through Monday, October 31, Half-Price Books’ 5803 E. Northwest Highway location in Dallas holds a haunted house from Saturday, October 29, through Monday, October 31, all day in the community room. There’s also a trick or treat scavenger hunt October 31 from 6:30 p.m. through 9 p.m. (while supplies last). See


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