Nature Field Trips in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

Field Trips

Field Trips at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Want to provide a guided, in-depth learning opportunity for your students? Select a live animal presentation, guided trail, or a one or two hour field investigation or a combination of programs that will support, expand and enhance what you are already doing in your classroom.

Field trips may be scheduled by any education group of 20 or more students. All student field trip groups receive 1 free chaperone admission per 8 students (see chaperone expectations).

 

For information about larger group accommodations see Additional Information section.

Our Field Trips

Live Animal Presentations

Provide your students with the experience of connecting in person with our live animal ambassadors. Each presentation will include 3 to 4 live animals and include one or two reptiles that can be touched (i.e. snake, turtle or lizard) as well as related specimens (skeletons, shells, mounted specimens, etc.).Each presentation will including information about the habitat, food webs, and adaptations of each animal. If you would like your presentation to focus on a particular theme or topic, please let us know when you make your reservation.

Grade Levels

Pre-K – High School

Schedule

Program Length: 50-60 mins

Times: Tuesday – Friday, from 9 A.M.

Availability: Year Round

Price

1 Educational Program Unit

See Pricing

Booking

Guided Trails

 Guided nature trails for field trips give students the opportunity to experience the ecology, geology and wildlife of the Heard Sanctuary. Led by our trained guides, you will spend 50-60 minutes hiking our unique landscape. If you would like your trail to focus on a particular theme or topic or to go on a particular trail, please let us know when you make your reservation.

Grade Levels

Pre-K – High School

Schedule

Program Length: 45-60 mins per trail

Times: Tuesday – Friday, from 9 A.M.

Available: September – May

Price

1 Educational Program Unit

See Pricing

Booking

Field Investigations

Let Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary support and enhance your classroom teaching with our unique resources and outdoor experiences. Field Investigations are either one or two hours in length, TEKS aligned, and can be customized to meet the needs of your students. Don’t see an investigation that fits what you are looking for? Contact us – we’re happy to create a custom program to fit your needs. Click here to view a list of our current Field Investigations and their TEKS alignments.

Field Investigations List and TEKS Alignment

1-Hour Field Investigations

Accordion Content

An ecosystem is a community of different species interacting with each other and with the non-living parts of the environment. It can be as small as a puddle or as large as an ocean. In this activity, students will become naturalists as they work in teams to investigate and record observations of the components of different study sites.

 

TEKS aligned grades K – 6

  • Kindergarten: K.1A, B; K.2A, C, D, E; K.3C; K.4A, B; K.9A, B
  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.2A, C, D, E; 1.3C; 1.4A; 1.9A, B
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A, C, D, E, F; 2.3C; 2.4A; 2.9A, B
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.2B, D, E, F; 3.3A, D; 3.4A; 3.9A, B, C
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.2B, D, E, F; 4.3A, D; 4.4A; 4.9A, B
  • 5th Grade: 5.1A; 5.2C, D, E, F; 5.3A, D; 5.4A; 5.9A, C, D
  • 6th Grade: 6.1A; 6.2C, E; 6.3A, D; 6.4A; 6.12E, F

 

Observation is what science is all about! Students will investigate the characteristics and parts of trees while making observations and recording data in the field.

 

TEKS aligned grades 1-4

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.2A, B, C, D, E; 1.10B
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A, C, D, E; 2.10A
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.2C, D, E, F; 3.10A
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.2A, C, D, F; 4.10A

 

Minerals and other natural resources are the raw materials that we use for housing, clothing, transportation, heating, cooking, etc. Students will investigate ways that these natural resources are useful and our responsibility in the proper management of these resources. Older students will also investigate fossil fuels and the possible importance of alternative energy sources.

 

TEKS aligned grades K – 6

  • Kindergarten: K.1C; K.3A; K.7B, C
  • 1st Grade: 1.1C; 1.6A; 1.7C
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1C; 2.7C
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1B; 3.7D
  • 4th Grade: 4.1B; 4.3D; 4.7C
  • 5th Grade: 5.1B; 5.3D; 5.7C
  • 6th Grade: 6.1B; 6.3D; 6.7A

 

A prairie is a complex living system composed of many different plants and animals that interact with and depend on each other for survival. In this investigation students will spend time making observations on our native Blackland Prairie and create a food web that explores the energy flow through a prairie ecosystem.

 

TEKS aligned grades 1 – 5

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.2A, C, D, E; 1.4A; 1.9C
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A, C, D, E; 2.4A; 2.9A, C
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.2B, D, F; 3.3A, D; 3.9A, B
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.2B, D, F; 4.3A, C, D; 4.9A, B
  • 5th Grade: 5.1A; 5.2C, D, F; 5.3A, D; 5.9A, B

 

Students investigate minerals and rocks as they identify rock samples. Using the data collected from this activity, students will then classify “mystery rocks” as igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic.

 

TEKS aligned 6th grade

6.1A; 6.2A; 6.3A; 6.4B; 6.6C; 6.10B

Wetlands are an important ecosystem and are often referred to as “nature’s supermarkets” because of their astounding productivity. In this food chain/web simulation, students will portray the detritus-eaters and predators of a wetland ecosystem and use the data they collect from the simulation to create a food chain or food web. A visit to our wetland area is included.

 

TEKS aligned grades 1-5

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.2A; 1.3C; 1.7B; 1.9C; 1.10A
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A; 2.3C; 2.9A, C; 2.10A
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A, B; 3.3A, C, D; 3.9A, B, C; 3.10A
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.3A, C; 4.9A, B
  • 5th Grade: 5.1A; 5.3A, C; 5.9A, B, C, D  

 

2-Hour Field Investigations

Accordion Content

Water is the most abundant, unique and important substance on Earth. It is essential to all life. Aquatic habitats, especially wetlands, are among the most endangered habitats in the U. S., making the monitoring of their health vital. Students will investigate the health of one of our bodies of water by conducting a bioinventory of aquatic invertebrates. Older grades may conduct additional water testing as time permits.

 

TEKS aligned grades 1-5

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.3C; 1.7B; 1.10A, C, D
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2C, D, E; 2.7B; 2,8C; 2.10C
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1B; 3.2B, D, E; 3.10A, C
  • 4th Grade: 4.1B; 4.2B, D, F; 4.8B; 4.10A, C
  • 5th Grade: 5.1B; 5.8B; 5.10A, C

 

There are about 9,000 species of birds worldwide and they have many characteristics which allow them to live in a wide variety of locations. Students will investigate several bird adaptations such as beaks, feet, feathers and migration that help birds live and survive. Then students will get binoculars and take a hike to see some of the many birds that call Texas home and start a life list for bird watching.

 

TEKS aligned grades 1-5

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.10A, C, D
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.9B; 2.10A
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.10A, B
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.10A, B
  • 5th Grade: 5.1A; 5.10A, B

Natives are plants that were here when the first Europeans explored the Americas. These plants have adaptations that help them survive in the harsh Texas climate. Students will investigate these adaptations and take a hike to observe some of the native Texas plants we have at Heard. Students will also learn how the Native Americans and early pioneers used plants and will have the opportunity to use a plant-based dye.

 

TEKS aligned grades K – 4

  • Kindergarten: K.1A, B; K.10A, B, C, D
  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.10B
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.10B
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.10A, B, C
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.9A; 4.10A, B, C

 

Students investigate the three rock families, the rock cycle, and fossils as they get up close and personal with specimens from our museum collection and search for fossils on the museum grounds. (Please note that all fossils found must remain on museum property.)

 

TEKS aligned grades K, 2-4

  • Kindergarten: K.1A, B; K.2A, C, D, E; K.3C; K.4B; K.7A, C
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A, E; 2.3B, C; 2.7A
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.3D; 3.7A
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.3D; 4.7A, C

500,000 detectable earthquakes are estimated to occur in the world each year. 100,000 of those can be felt and about 100 of them cause damage. In this investigation, students will explore P and S waves and build models to research the variables that need to be considered when constructing a building durable enough to survive a catastrophic earthquake.

 

TEKS aligned grade 6

6.1A; 6.2A, C, E; 6.3B, C, D; 6.10C, D

Grade Levels

K-12 (TEKS aligned K-6)

Schedule

Program Length: 1 hour or 2 hours

Times: Tuesday – Friday, from 9 A.M.

Available: September – May

Price

1-Hour Field Investigations

1 Educational Programming Unit

 

2-Hour Field Investigations

2 Educational Programming Units

 

See Pricing

Booking

Magic Planet Presentations

Make your field trip a truly out-of-this-world educational experience by booking a Magic Planet presentation! Our new 4-foot diameter, sphere-shaped Magic Planet interactive digital display provides the Heard with compelling new ways to teach about Earth and planetary science.

 

Max 100 students per school

Magic Planet Field Trip Presentation Choices

Earth Science

Accordion Content

Weather affects everyone every day! Through our Magic Planet and hands-on activities, students will explore four ingredients of weather: temperature, wind, clouds, and precipitation. The presentation content can be customized in a variety of ways to give more emphasis to any of the above ingredients, to explore specific weather events or phenomena, or to more fully explore the water cycle.

 

TEKS alignments:

K.8.A;  1.8.A,D;   2.8.A,B;   3.8.A;   4.8.A,B;   5.8.A,B  

Constructive and destructive forces are always at work on our Earth’s surface. Hands-on activities and our Magic Planet will allow students to explore the processes and impact of weathering, erosion, and deposition in soil and landform creation.

 

TEKS alignments:

3.7.A;   4.7.B;   5.7.A,B

Most of the changes to our Earth’s surface happen gradually through weathering and erosion or tectonic plate movement.  But some changes are instantaneous! This presentation will use our Magic Planet, along with hands-on activities, to dig into the mechanisms by which earthquakes and volcanoes can cause blink-of-an-eye changes in the surface around us. Presentation content can also be tailored to explore middle school TEKS.

 

TEKS alignments:

3.7.B;  6.10.C,D;   8.9.A,B,C

Space Science

Accordion Content

Our night sky is brilliantly perplexing as its objects never seem to stay put. In this Magic Planet presentation, students will learn about the characteristics and movement patterns of stars and other objects in our night sky, including the moon. The presentation can be customized to cover a variety of space science learning objectives.

 

TEKS alignments:

K.8.C,   1.8.B,   2.8.C

Grade Levels

K-12 (TEKS aligned K-6)

Schedule

Program Length: 45 – 60 mins per activity

Times: Tuesday – Friday, from 9 A.M.

Available: Year Round

Price

1 Educational Program Unit

See Pricing

Booking

Self-guided Field Trips

Explore our interactive indoor exhibits, Animals of the World outdoor exhibit and our hiking trails through woods, prairie and wetlands on your own. Trail maps and scavenger hunts are available at the reception desk to enhance your visit. If you have 20 or more in your group, you can prepay for your visit and take advantage of our group discount of one free adult chaperone admission for every 8 paid student general admissions. If you choose not to prepay, you will not be eligible for the free chaperones, and please be aware that during peak attendance, groups of 20 or more without reservations may not be granted entrance.

 

Includes:  Admission to both indoor and outside museum exhibits & our nature trails

Grade Levels

Pre-K – High School

Schedule

Program Length:

45 mins per trail

45 mins per exhibit

 

Times:

Tuesday – Saturday, from 9 A.M. – 5 P.M.

Sunday, 1 P.M. –  5 P.M.

 

Available: Year Round

Price

Minimum number of students to receive group discount: 20

 

Offers discounted group admission fees for student groups (for self-guided only; must have 20 or more students).

 

See Pricing

Booking

Pricing

Field Trip Options Per Student Required
Teachers / Chaperones
Extra
Chaperones
Self Guided Groups of 20+
(general admission only,
no educational programming provided)
$5 Free $8
Choice of 1 Educational Program Unit
(included general admission)
$9 Free $11
Choice of 2 Educational Program Units
(included general admission)
$16 Free $20
Choice of 3 Educational Program Units
(included general admission)
$23 Free $20
Choice of 4 Educational Program Units
(included general admission)
$30 Free $20

Student price applies to students (Pre-K through High School) who are part of a group of at least 20 students.

 

The Heard requires one (1) adult chaperone (teacher or other authorized adult) for every eight (8) students (Pre-K through High School). We offer free admission for those required chaperones. See our chaperone expectations below. All additional chaperones (above the required 1:8 chaperone-to-student ratio) must pay “extra chaperone” fees (including Heard Museum members).

 

Title 1 schools receive a 10% discount on field trips. Please provide your designation at the time of the reservation request.

Additional Information

Heard can accommodate large groups, however students might be split up into smaller groups to ensure the best learning experience possible is provided. For example, a group of 100 students arriving for a guided trail will likely be divided into 2 groups. While one group is out on the trail with their guides, the other group is welcome to explore on their own until time for their guided trail. Your invoice will list the likely number of rotations for your trip, and a rotation schedule will be provided closer to your field trip date with more details as needed.

Would you like to come and preview the museum to help you plan your field trip? All currently-employed K-12 Teachers at schools located within a 200 mile radius of the Heard are allowed a free planning trip. Visits must be arrange ahead of time – please complete our request form (click here to access form) to schedule your visit. Proof of employment (school identification, etc.) is required when you check-in at our front desk. This offer is not valid during your group’s field trip or educational programs. Please allow up to two business weeks for processing.

  • Pre-payment is required for all reservations. 
  • A minimum group size of 20 students is required to be eligible for the group rate. 
  • Fees are non-refundable except in cases of inclement weather (see below).
  • Reservations made 6+ weeks in advance of your field trip date: a 25% NON-REFUNDABLE deposit is due within 10 days of making your reservation. You will be emailed a confirmation letter/invoice within 3 to 5 business days.
  • Reservations made less than 4 weeks prior to your field trip date: FULL PAYMENT is due at time of reservation. A Confirmation Letter/Invoice will be emailed to you within 1-3 business days.
  • You have up to 4 weeks prior to your field trip date to call and make modifications to your invoice. Please call Central Reservations/Education at 972-562-5566 x 241. Any additional participants after that time cannot be guaranteed a guided tour. Please let us know of any changes as soon as possible.
  • Refunds or Credits will not be granted for having fewer participants on the day of your field trip than what is represented on the invoice.
  • Additional participants not included in the reservation (including Heard Museum members) must pay the applicable program fees at check-in on the day of your field trip. Please see our “Chaperone Expectations” section below for additional information.
  • Inclement Weather: Please DO NOT assume your activity is cancelled. An inclement weather refund will not be issued to “no shows.” We hold programs rain or shine, and cancel only for heavy rain, thunder and lightning, or icy conditions. If we cancel, we will try to reschedule for another date that works for you. If we cannot schedule another time, a full refund will be issued. You will be contacted via the phone number provided on your Reservation Form, and we will contact you as soon as possible. The Heard Museum closes when the McKinney Independent School District cancels and follows delayed openings. Your field trip will be considered cancelled by us under these conditions.
  • Cancellations without penalty: the Heard Museum must receive a written cancellation notice 4 weeks prior to your field trip date (by email to [email protected] or through the mail at the following mailing address:  Heard Museum Natural Science Museum, Attn: Education Reservations, 1 Nature Place, McKinney, Texas 75069).
  • Cancellation Fees
    • 75% Refund: Written notification received at least 4 weeks prior to field trip date.
    • NO REFUND: Cancellations within 4 weeks of field trip date. Includes illness and inclement weather cancellations not made by the Heard Natural Science Museum.
    • NO REFUND: Written notification not received.
  • Group Leaders are responsible for arriving ten minutes early for all scheduled activities.
  • Group Leaders need to report to the front desk of the main building for check-in.
  • Unless you have been notified otherwise, please use the bus drop-off inlet located directly in front of the museum building on Nature Place road.
  • After check-in, Group Leaders should station their students in the circular garden directly in front of the building. Groups are to remain in the garden until greeted by a Heard Staff Member or Docent who will direct your scheduled activities.
  • We request that all vehicles larger than passenger vans adhere to our parking and drop-off guidelines as advised by signage posted on Nature Place road. Vehicles larger than passenger vans should not park or unload in the first parking lot unless you receive other instructions.
  • Groups that arrive over fifteen minutes late cannot be guaranteed a full tour or complete educational program unit.
  • Groups that arrive over thirty minutes late cannot be guaranteed a guided tour or complete educational program unit.
  • Send your Group Leader inside to the front desk to check-in with the following information
    • Total # students
    • Total # adults
    • Name of Group
    • Type of Activity
  • At this time, the Group Leader will pay for any participants not accounted for in the reservation (including Heard Museum members) and receive further instructions for the day’s activities. Refunds or Credits will not be granted for having fewer participants on the day of your field trip than what is represented on the invoice.
  • Students should be prepared for going outside in all weather.
  • Closed-toe shoes and long pants are the recommened attire for a visit to the Museum & Sanctuary for both students and adults.
  • Insect Repellent and sunscreen are advisable. Applying repellent is time consuming so PLEASE APPLY REPELLENTS PRIOR TO YOUR ARRIVAL.
  • Hairspray, perfume & cologne attract insects!
  • Nametags for each group member identifying the person & group name are very helpful.
  • Any child arriving or departing from the Museum must be accompanied by a parent or designated adult.
  • No one under 18 is allowed inside the Museum or on the Sanctuary unaccompanied. 
  • The Museum requires a minimum 1:8 chaperone to student ratio. See chaperone expectations below.
  • Smoking is prohibited on The Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary property.
  • Help us to preserve our environment. Please do not pick flowers, pull leaves from plants, disturb spider webs, disturb animals, or collect any natural items while you are visiting.

The role of a chaperone is an important one, and while enjoyable, requires accepting certain responsibilities. These guidelines help ensure that Heard field trips result in safe and rewarding experiences for all participants.

 

  • Group Leaders and Chaperones are responsible for ensuring the group’s appropriate behavior throughout the entire visit. To guarantee a pleasant visit for all our guests, the Museum reserves the right to remove any individual or group from the premises.
  • Field trip chaperones must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Chaperones may be teachers, school staff, or other school-authorized adults (including parents and guardians).
  • The students assigned to a chaperone will need the chaperone’s full attention during the entire field trip. Please limit cell phone use and texting during the trip.
  • Chaperones should familiarize themselves with the general instructions given to the students prior to the field trip and enforce these instructions throughout the trip.
  • If chaperones have questions about any aspect of the field trip or the expectations of chaperones, please ask for assistance from Heard staff.
  • Each field trip group will receive 1 free chaperone admission per 8 students. Educational programming fees will be required of all additional chaperones (including Heard Museum members).
  • Picnic areas are the only place where food can be consumed.
  • Please store your lunches on the bus until you are ready to eat or leave them in your designated picnic area in marked coolers or containers. Lunches may not be stored inside the museum.
  • Please use the trash and recycling containers located in the picnic areas. Due to the number of wild animals in our sanctuary, containment and proper disposal of your trash is very important.
  • In the case of inclement weather we cannot guarantee an available eating area inside the museum.
  • Please make sure that all students use voices comparable to what is allowed in your school cafeteria. 
  • Running is not allowed anywhere in the sanctuary.
  • The Museum Nature Store is open to your group.
  • Chaperones are required to accompany group members at all times in the store.
  • Teachers receive a 10% discount for their personal purchases.