McKinney is home to the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, a refuge from the industrial chaos of Dallas. With its shady trails and expansive meadows, the Heard provides an ideal respite from the urban landscape.
Having only spent my high school life in Dallas, I’d never actually heard of the Heard until I saw its Native Texas Butterflies exhibit listed on the Art&Seek calendar. Craving some nature, I decided to head out to McKinney to see these butterflies.
I was greeted by odd looks from the staff as I purchased my $8 admission ticket, which I initially assumed was because I looked a bit too old for the Summer Nature Camp. But as soon as I saw the trail map, I realized that their shifty looks were directed not at me but at my flip-flopped feet. Next time I’m back at the Heard, I’ll definitely be sporting hiking boots and a fanny pack – the verdant nature trails looked perfect for a pleasant day hike.
Luckily, the terrain on the path to the butterfly exhibit wasn’t too difficult, so my sandals could handle the short journey. The space itself is quite modest – a small, netted enclosure with a colorful sign above the entry. But the butterflies were in full force as I entered the exhibit – several big, beautiful monarchs fluttered from flower to flower. Once inside, I felt like I was in one of those wooden bug catchers from my childhood. I was immersed in an environment of blooming flowers and radiant butterflies.
Looking past the butterflies and through netted walls, I could see a huge meadow sprinkled with Texas wildflowers. As monarchs and julia longwings flew about the enclosure, I realized why this exhibit made it onto the Art&Seek calendar – these butterflies are art. With the perfect symmetry of their wings and the grace of their movements, it makes sense that these little creatures are practically the only insect appreciated by people outside the field of entomology.
If, like me, you desire a little one-on-one time with the Mother Earth every now and then, head out to the Heard. The butterflies can be seen until September 30. Just don’t forget your hiking boots and your trail mix!