Trying to plan a day out with the family that’s equal parts fun and educational? You’re in luck. The area in and around McKinney features a range of cool educational destinations. Let Crème de la Crème infant daycare in McKinney, TX show you some of the best places to explore.

Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary

A young girl makes a wish on a dandelion at a wildlife sanctuary in McKinney, TX

Image used with permission via Unsplash by juanencalada

You can’t go wrong with a visit to the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary when you’re looking to get in touch with nature. Located right here in McKinney, the Heard has been dedicated to connecting the local community with nature since 1967. The 289-acre nature preserve and museum boasts an array of educational opportunities and events, all designed with the museum’s threefold mission of education, conservation, and preservation in mind. The museum is particularly committed to educating young people, so it’s the perfect place to take the kids when you want to learn more about the natural world.

The Heard is typically open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. On the second Saturday of the month, it opens at 7:30 a.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $7 for kids 3 years old and older as well as seniors. Children 2 and under can enter for free.

From canoeing to nature storytime, art and science workshops to rope courses and more, the Heard makes connecting with nature so much fun. The best part? It’s located right in our own backyard, so you can come back whenever your kids are in the mood for a day in nature.

Collin County History Museum

Another amazing educational destination located in McKinney, the Collin County History Museum is sure to please history buffs and anyone looking to learn more about our great hometown. You’ll find this museum in the 1911 Post Office building in Historic Downtown McKinney. Once you’re there, take a trip back in time while exploring historical artifacts, documents, photographs, diaries, maps, and more. The museum makes learning fun while serving as an important research facility for historians, authors, students, and beyond.

You won’t want to miss the McKinney Then and Now exhibit when you come to this museum. Your kids are sure to love taking a trip through time when they get to see firsthand what it was like to live in McKinney’s early days. The stories of the people, places, and events that shaped McKinney at the start comes through when you check out the photos, artifacts, and set designs of historic McKinney buildings. Whether you’re new to the area or you’ve lived in McKinney your entire life, this museum is sure to spark some hometown pride!

The general public can visit the Collin County History Museum on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also contact the museum to arrange a special tour if you’d like to visit on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday instead.

Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area

Looking for another way to reconnect with nature? Just head over to nearby Lewisville. That’s where you’ll find the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, another great place to go for activities like toddler nature time, wildflower walks, bird walks, and so much more. LLELA seeks to ensure the preservation of our natural heritage for future generations to enjoy, restoring and conserving native Texas ecosystems and biodiversity while giving the community tons of ways to take part in environmental education, recreation, and research.

You can visit LLELA 7 days a week, making it the perfect place to have on your radar whenever you need a break from the bustle of everyday life. Entry costs $5 per vehicle, per day, though you can also get an annual pass if you plan on coming back often. In the summer season (March 1 through October 31), LLELA is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the winter season (November 1 to February 28), you can visit from 7 a.m to 5 p.m. Entry is not permitted later than 30 minutes before closing time.

Museum of the American Railroad

Head over to Frisco to check out the Museum of the American Railroad. Kiddos are sure to delight in exploring life-sized real trains and G-scale model trains, all at this local spot. The Museum of the American Railroad was founded back in 1962, and it’s celebrated the heritage of railroads while exploring the future of trains ever since.

Through historic preservation, research, and an array of educational programs, the museum exhibits and interprets the significance of the railroad in American life and culture. You can enjoy general programs and exhibits throughout the year, and the museum also offers educational programs to schools and universities through trips, in-class programs, and online resources.

Once located in Dallas’ Fair Park, the museum relocated the collection to Frisco. While the Frisco site is under construction, keep in mind that you’ll only be able to access the locomotive and rolling stock collection on scheduled tours. Public programs include walking tours and the TrainTopia Model Train exhibit; you can also go for a combo ticket if you’re interested in both. Tours take place outdoors, so the schedule changes seasonally.

Fort Worth Zoo

Though you’ll have to travel a bit further to get here, the Fort Worth Zoo is still in easy reach of McKinney. No list of educational destinations in our area would be complete without a mention of this amazing zoo, frequently nominated as one of the best zoos in all of North America. With a range of kids programs available here, not to mention the more than 540 species that call this zoo home, Fort Worth Zoo should be on your list of educational places to check out with your family.

The zoo is open every day of the year, and they offer half-price admission on Wednesdays. Otherwise, admission costs $16 for adults 13 years old and older and $12 for kids between the ages of 3 and 12 and seniors. Kids 2 years and younger can enter for free. Parking costs $5.

That wraps up Crème de la Crème of McKinney’s list of cool educational destinations in our area you just have to check out. Let us know if we missed your favorite local spot so we can add it to our list!