Friday, October 11, 2013

Dinosaurs Live at The Heard Museum


Dinosaurs Live is one of our favorite special exhibits at The Heard.  This year's displays are better than ever!

We hadn't planned on going to The Heard on this day.  We were on our way to Lucas, Texas for a field trip to the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center when we drove right past The Heard.  I was excited because we love going to The Heard, its far from home yet we were right here, and with our new membership to the Perot Museum, we could get into The Heard for FREE!  So after our raptor field trip, we made a stop at The Heard before heading back home.

Kids scored!  Double field trip!!!


There is a nice little garden area outside the entrance to the museum.  I love that my 9 1/2 year old is still such a kid at heart that he just had to run over to the giant turtle statue to climb on it.


Sweet turtle riders!


Then Nicholas discovered the crocodile statue - Silly boy!


One of his favorite TV shows is Gator Boys on Animal Planet.  They are based in the Florida Everglades and they capture gators that wander into people's yards.  They kind of tease the gator by tapping them around their body.  The gator snaps and lunges and eventually gets tired...and that's when they clamp down his jaw and capture him.  Nicholas was doing his Gator Boy interpretation around this guy!


And then he went in to close the jaw - just like a real Gator Boy!


He was especially cute as he told his little sister just how to pose for this picture.


Onward to the dinosaurs!  There are several trails at the Heard but you can't miss the Dinosaur trail markings.


We've been to Dinosaurs Live several times but I was especially impressed with the dinos this year.  They move their head and legs.  Their eyes blink.  And this guy even has fur on him.  They are very realistic looking.


The kids enjoyed playing in the sandbox with two little guys. This is a nice spot for a picnic because there is shade and a couple of tables.


I thought Rachel might get scared by some of the growling dinosaurs but she didn't.  It helps to have big brother next to you though.


As we watched this guy, I asked them if he was a carnivore or an herbivore.  The answer is pretty easy if you see the fish in his mouth!  


But Nicholas helped me teach Rachel about what to look for on an animal to determine what kind of food it might eat.  First, a meat eater will have sharp teeth to help it tear into meat.


A carnivore will also have sharp claws to catch and tear its food.  You don't need sharp claws if all you ever eat is salad!


Rachel said, "This one is a meat eater for sure!"


The kids took a ride on a T-Rex!  Ok, it's just a great staged photo op.  But you have to get the camera down low and look up to make it look like this.


The dinosaurs were amazing and the kids had a great time. There was even a wet surprise at the end!

Next we had to explore the awesome playhouses outside.  I didn't count them but there were about 10 of them in their own little secluded area.  The kids explored every inch of every one of them!


Each one was decorated in its own unique way.  There was even a school house and a church.


Inside the museum we learned a lot about dinosaurs.  Did you know that a Mammoth skeleton was actually found right here in DFW?  These bones were of a 75,000 year old female Mammoth and were accidentally discovered by a landfill worker in Richardson, TX.


I love this slice of an old tree trunk.  Someone has marked historical events on all of its rings.


The white nail marks the center of the trunk and it is estimated to have been about 6 years old in 1741.  It is such an amazing demonstration of tree rings but also a wonderful way to show a historical time line!


Nicholas loved this giant piece of Obsidian.  I'd like to say that it is because he plans to be a Geologist some day.  But I'm afraid his fascination stems from Obsidian being a valuable commodity in a video game he loves called Minecraft!


My kids never get tired of these displays.  The top part is a display with three dimensional wildlife and plants, each one showing a different habitat.  Along the bottom are pictures and descriptions of what you can find in the display.  The kids !had fun seeing who could find each thing first!


Rachel was fascinated by this Tylosaur skull.  The Tylosaur was the largest of the pre-historic marine lizards called Mosasaurs.  This skull was found locally in Wylie at Lake Lavon.  This creature would have been about 45-50 feet long and it lived about 65-100 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period.


I love this perfect Triolobite fossil.  Nicholas has found a tiny one of these at Mineral Wells Fossil Park and it is one of his favorite fossil finds.


We have lots of these Saltwater Oysters but none as big as this one!


Rachel loved the Touch-A-Dino table.  She felt scaly skin like that of a Microceratops, shaggy fur like the great Mastadons, and the warm fur of a Hyaenodon.


Oooh, I love ammonites and this one is a beautiful specimen.  We have a few small ammonites that we have found and lots of broken ammonite pieces.  On our most recent fossil hunt, we met a lady who had just discovered one of these but it was even bigger.  Someday we'll find one this big!


There are lots of interactive educational displays to explore and learn from.


There are also several live animal displays like these snakes!


What a cute raccoon!


Who Whoooooo knows where Nicholas and Rachel went?


We love the Heard Museum and hope you do too.  They are located at 1 Nature Place in McKinney, Texas.  For more information, please call the Heard at 972-562-5566 or visit their webpage at www.heardmuseum.org.

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