Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary Tips & Guidelines are based on safety for our guests and residents, courtesy to all guests, and the Heard’s mission to bring nature and people together. To make sure you have a great time and get the most out of your visit, please follow our Museum Tips & Guidelines while you are at the Heard.

Visitor Comfort & Safety  

  • The Dinosaurs Live! exhibit is only a seasonal exhibit (generally during fall through winter). Before visiting the museum to see it, please verify on the exhibit page that the exhibit is at the Heard.
  • An adult should accompany all children under the age of 18 at all times, whether indoors or outside.  One adult per five children is recommended; for children under 5 years of age, one adult per three children is recommended. Parents/chaperones are responsible for the safety and discipline of their children.
  • While the museum closes at 5PM, our visitors may not be granted entry to exhibits or trails after 4PM, to ensure the best possible experience. There are many things to see and explore at the Heard, and one hour is simply not enough time!
  • Heard nature trails are not currently wheelchair accessible. The trails are only accessible to running strollers. The Heard is currently working on plans to make some of our trails accessible to our guests in wheelchairs and regular strollers. Our indoor exhibits, however, are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
  • Please check in at the front desk before entering the sanctuary. The Heard is private property, and visitors who have not checked in are trespassing. We will also not know to locate you in case of emergency. Also, entry gates remain closed during non-business hours; we would like to make sure you do not get locked in!
  • Please stay on trails while on the Wildlife Sanctuary.  This will help to minimize exposure to poison ivy and insect bites.  Straying from trails can also lead to receiving snake bites.  
  • Please use walking feet and indoor voices, whether indoors or outside.  The Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many native animals, birds, and more.  Exhibits at the Heard also often include animals and loud noises and abrupt movements can disturb them.  Please be courteous to our Animal Ambassadors.  Running indoors or on the Wildlife Sanctuary can also result in injuries to adults or children.  
  • Curiosity is an important part of learning, but simply touching some exhibits can leave acids and residue on very valuable objects that may not be able to be removed. Please do not touch objects in the galleries unless otherwise instructed.  Exhibits that can be touched will be clearly labeled. 
  • Please also do not remove plants (including their flowers or branches) while on the trails.
  • The Heard also invites visitors to take personal video or still photography while enjoying their visit.  View photographic/video policy for complete information. 
  • While we understand the importance of communication, the use of cell phones can be very disruptive to other visitors. Please use cell phones sparingly.  
  • Outside food and beverage are not permitted in the exhibit halls. Please enjoy your food and beverage purchases at one of our designated outdoor picnic facilities (only), available on a first-come-first-serve basis.  
  • Baby Changing Tables in the main building are located in the downstairs bathrooms.  
  • Smoking is only allowed in designated areas. No smoking is permitted on the Wildlife Sanctuary. NO Alcohol, drugs or firearms are allowed on the Heard property.  
  • Roller blades, skateboards, and bikes are not allowed. While our indoor exhibits are wheelchair and stroller accessible, the Heard nature trails are not currently wheelchair or walker accessible. The trails are not paved and are only accessible to running strollers (not umbrella strollers).  
  • Guided trails are available by reservation only. At least two weeks in advance, please call 972.562.5566 x241 to reserve a trail guide.  Minimum group size of 15 persons required to schedule. Fees may apply.  
  • Please note that all hunting and fishing is prohibited on Heard private property. Cameras and staff are available to 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.  
  • Be sure to ask museum staff for help if you are in need of assistance. Heard Staff will remove anyone who violates Heard Guidelines. We reserve the right to inspect anything that is brought into the Heard. 
  • Most importantly: learn about and enjoy nature!

Respect for Animal Ambassadors

  • The Heard Wildlife Sanctuary is a private property set aside to conserve local fish, wildlife, and plants. Except for non-releasable animals in enclosures, all animals at the heard are able to move throughout the sanctuary. Nature trails are designed to be walked; vehicles are not permitted. Approaching on foot within 25 yards (23 m) of wildlife is prohibited. Use binoculars or telephoto lenses for safe viewing and to avoid disturbing them. By being sensitive to its needs, you will see more of an animal's natural behavior and activity. If you cause an animal to move, you are too close! Do not remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within ANY distance that disturbs or displaces the animal.
  • Pets of any kind are prohibited from the Wildlife Sanctuary for reasons of animal health and safety (for both resident Heard animals and your pets). Only service animals are permitted. 
  • Please treat the Heard Animal Ambassadors with the respect they deserve. Remember, the Heard is their home. Animals act naturally and are easier to see in a calm environment.   
  • Do not feed animals, captive or otherwise, or throw foreign objects at them. Animals’ diets include specific foods. Any food not part of that diet may cause them to get sick or even die. Foreign objects should never be given or thrown to the animals. Foreign objects put the animals at risk and can cause medical problems. Persons caught feeding or throwing objects at animals will be immediately asked to leave and will not receive a refund for their visit. 
  • Do not attempt to pet or touch or interact with animals at the Heard without explicit direction from a member of the Animal Curatorial staff. Also, do not ever cross any fence or barrier at the Heard. All animals can bite. Barriers are in place for the safety of Heard animals and guests. Persons caught trying to touch animals without permission or crossing fences/barriers will be immediately asked to leave and will not receive a refund for their visit.