Animal Encounters Trail

Animal Encounters Trail is an exhibit that emphasizes the importance of animals in nature.

 The Heard currently provides a home to non-releasable native and non-native animals in exhibits that teach people about animals and the pertinent role they have in nature worldwide

Animal Exhibit Mission Statement

The mission of the Heard Museum is to motivate visitors to care enough about the natural world to take interest in restoring and preserving the earth’s ecosystems. By utilizing wild animal “ambassadors” that emotionally connect our visitors to the places these animals live, we can inspire children and adults to take a more proactive role in conserving wild spaces.

bobcats sitting together in their enclosure

Animal Ambassadors

When you visit Heard Museum, you’ll find various animal ambassadors.

  • Northern Raccoon (Procyon lotor) 
  • Patagonian Cavy (Dolichotis patagonum) 
  • Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) 
  • White-nosed coatimundi (Nasua narica) 
  • White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) 
  • Screech Owls (Megascops asio) 
  • Sulcata Tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata) 
  • Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) 
  • Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
  • Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) 

Every Animal Ambassador is unique with its very specific needs.

Our Sponsorship program allows sponsors to help provide for these animal ambassadors and ensure their needs are met.

Learn more about Sponsoring an Animal Ambassador. 

Visit Heard

Get Tickets!

Visit Heard Museum’s Animal Encounters Trail Exhibit with a General Admission ticket!

Frequently Asked Questions

Accordion Content

Most all of the animals that live in captivity at the Heard Museum are abandoned pets or those that were illegally taken from the wild by people who quickly discovered that no wild animal makes a good pet. We do not collect animals from the wild nor do we encourage such activities by others. 


Many of these animals were not cared for properly and now have health or behavioral problems that make them unreleasable; they will always have to live in captivity. The Heard Museum’s mission is to inspire love and appreciation of nature in our visitors. Our hope is that these animal ambassadors will motivate our visitors to care deeply enough about the natural world to take steps to restore and preserve ecosystems here in North Texas and around the world.