Thank you for interest in Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary for your upcoming field trip! We offer an unique combination of indoor and outdoor activities for your students. You are welcome to bring your students for a self-guided field trip and explore our indoor and outdoor exhibits and walking trails through the wooded, prairie and wetland habitats on your own. Want to provide a more 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. 

Learn more about our field trip offerings or get information to help you prepare for your field trip.

Request a Field Trip


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Field Trip Offerings

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 (please see our chaperone expectations below). Our field trip options are available September through May. Self-guided trips. Live animal presentation and Magic Planet programs are also available  June - August. Guided trails and field investigations are generally not available during the summer; call for possible availability.

Larger groups that select one or more programming units, maybe broken down into smaller groups that will rotate through the programs. 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.

Please be aware that field trips are special fee programs not included in the free general admission included with Heard Museum Membership. If you have adults chaperones that are Heard Members, they will be required to pay the full program fee for themselves and their child(ren). For more membership FAQs, please click here.

Live Animal Presentations  Request a Field Trip

 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.

  • Grades: Pre-K – High School
  • Program Length: 50-60 minutes
  • Times: Tuesday - Friday, beginning at 9AM
  • Available by reservation year round
  • Pricing: Counts as 1 Educational Programming Unit, see pricing table

Guided Trails Request a Field Trip

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.

  • Grades: Pre-K – High School
  • Program Length: Please allow 45 - 60 minutes per trail
  • Times: Tuesday – Saturday, beginning at 9:00am
  • Available: September – May
  • Pricing: Counts as 1 Educational Programming Unit, see pricing table

Field Investigations Request a Field Trip

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.

  • Grades: K-12 (TEKS aligned K-6)
  • Program Length: 50-60 minutes or 110-120 minutes
  • Times: Tuesday – Friday, beginning at 9:00am
  • Available: September – May
  • Pricing: 1-Hour Field Investigations count as 1 Educational Programming Unit; 2-Hour Field Investigations count as 2 Educational Programming Units, see pricing table

Magic Planet Presentations Request a Field Trip

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. Click here to view a list of our current Magic Planet Field Trip Presentation Choices and their TEKS alignments. For additional information, contact Laura Ragan at

  • Grades: K-12 (TEKS aligned K-6)
  • Maximum # Students: 100 per school group
  • Program Length: Please allow 45 - 60 minutes per activity
  • Times: Tuesday – Friday, beginning at 9:00am
  • Available: year-round
  • Pricing: Counts as 1 Educational Programming Unit, see pricing table

Self-guided Field Trips Request a Field Trip

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 pre-pay 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 wil 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
  • Grades: Pre-K - High School
  • Minimum number of students to receive group discount: 20
  • Program Length: Please allow 45 minutes per trail and 45 minutes for exhibits
  • Times: Tuesday - Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm; Sunday: 1 pm –5 pm
  • Available: year-round
  • Offers discounted group admission fees for student groups (for self-guided only; must have 20 or more students). See pricing table below.

Field Trip Pricing

Field Trip Options and Pricing List
  • 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.

Prepare for Your Field Trip

Field Trip Procedures, Guidelines and Expectations

Thank you for choosing The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary for your upcoming field trip! Please use the following guidelines to ensure your group has a wonderful visit.  

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Teacher Preview & Planning Trip

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 identifcation, 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.

Payment Procedures 
  • 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.
Changing the Number of Students or Chaperones on Your Reservation 
  • You have up to 4 weeks prior to your field trip date to call and final 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 Musuem 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.
Cancellations and/or Date Changes
  • 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 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.
Late Arrivals 
  • 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. 
Group Leader and Chaperone Expectations

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
  • 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 on 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 on the sanctuary.
Heard Nature Store 
  • 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.

Click here to read additional information about our visitors tips and guidelines.

Basic Heard Guidelines

For more information on Heard Attendance Tips and Visitor Guidelines, click here