Living in Allen means you’re close to some of the best museums in the state of Texas. There are museums about dinosaurs, science and technology, history, sports, and more in and around Allen, so there’s a fascinating educational destination no matter you or your children’s interests. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Allen put together this list of seven of the best museums near Allen, Texas.
Billings Productions, Inc.
Billings Productions, also known as the Dinosaur Company, makes life-sized animatronic dinosaurs for amusement parks, museums, and special exhibits all over the country. In fact, it’s the only company that builds these amazing creatures, from design and mechanics to manufacturing. They’re now located right here in Allen, so it’s a quick trip from home.
While this place isn’t a traditional museum, they do offer facility tours so you and your family can meet these crazy creations. On your tour, you can learn all about how these dinosaurs are made, see the workshops where they’re built, and see how they come to life. See a brachiosaurus, a T-rex, a triceratops, and more dinos up close. You’ll even see the other creatures they build, like giant ants, bees, beetles, sloths, and an elephant bird.
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Image via Flickr by zAppledot Licensed CC BY 2.0
The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, located in nearby McKinney, features a variety of cool science exhibits, including fossils, minerals, rocks, native animals, and recreations of North Texas ecosystems. You can meet Texas Nessie, the fossil of an ancient sea creature found right here in Collin County. It was recently determined to be about 93 million years old. You can also see real-life animals, thanks to the sanctuary’s Animal Encounters Trails where you can stroll around the beautiful grounds and meet a ring-tailed lemur, a white-tailed deer, screech owls, a bobcat, and more.
In addition to these exhibits, the museum is playing host to the Dinosaurs Live! exhibit until February 2022. So, you can come to see dinosaurs here, too. They’ve got a T-rex, an iguanodon, a plateosaurus, and a few other species, some of which you can get awesome photo-ops with. You’ll also get to experience the Magic Planet exhibit where you can see Earth like you would from outer space.
Play Street Museum
Play Street Museum is part children’s museum and part indoor play area. It features interactive exhibits that kids can explore at their leisure. That’s because the museum is designed for open play as opposed to a guided tour, so kids learn through play. You can sit back and watch them play on their own (and with new friends they meet along the way), or you can jump in and play along with them, too.
There are a few locations throughout the DFW area, including the Allen Play Street Museum location that’s theme is “On the Go” and features exhibits that explore transportation, like planes and trains. The McKinney location is known as “The Farm,” and it features barns with cows and pigs and plenty of farm-related toys. The Plano location is the “Great Outdoors,” so your kids can play with all sorts of animals. Consider visiting each of the DFW locations so your children can experience each themed setting.
Sci-Tech Discovery Center
Sci-Tech Discovery Center in nearby Frisco focuses on getting kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through interactive exhibits, cool demonstrations, and engaging events. Throughout the museum, you’ll find exhibits that explore a variety of STEM topics, including gravity, air pressure, human biology, magnetics, movement, and more. Your kids can build and launch vehicles in the Air Pressure Zone, create a ball roller coaster in the Coordination Station, make bubbles at the Bubble Tables, and create STEM-themed crafts at the Maker Studio. They can even learn about different STEM careers from people in those fields thanks to Picture Yourself in STEM.
In addition to these exhibits, you and your children can watch science concepts, like magnetics, gravity, and force, come to life on the WOW Stage. They can also join in on free special events during their visit, like the Pre-K Science Time and Daily Discoveries, both involving age-appropriate, hands-on activities led by museum educators.
National Video Game Museum
If you and your kids love video games, then you have to visit the National Video Game Museum over in Frisco. This new facility houses a variety of exhibits that explore the rich history of the video game industry, including the earliest innovators, first-generation consoles and games, and the technology that’s changed and continues to change the game. Inside, you’ll also find playable vintage arcade games, vintage PC gaming setups, murals, memorabilia, and collectibles of your favorite video games, a virtual reality gaming section, and much more.
National Soccer Hall of Fame
The National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco is a must-visit for soccer fans, but it’s also a great experience for fans of any sport and non-fans alike. Throughout the museum, you’ll find stationary exhibits that explore the history of soccer internationally and in the U.S., highlight some of the most memorable and important moments in the sport’s history, and, of course, provide insights into the best players that ever lived; the inductees.
You’ll also find some cool immersive exhibits. You can use the museum’s facial recognition technology to get a tailored experience from different exhibits. You can also test your soccer skills to see if you’ve got what it takes to be the greatest using the VR skills challenge exhibit. And you can test your soccer trivia, too.
Heritage Farmstead Museum
The Heritage Farmstead Museum is located in nearby Plano, and it’s here that you can explore North Texas history through indoor and outdoor exhibits. You can visit the replica of an old, one-room schoolhouse, see the original house and outbuildings of the family that first worked this property, and discover what prairie life was like in the area between 1890 and 1936. Throughout the property, you’ll see replica and authentic Victorian-era furnishings and clothing as well as farmstead tools and equipment.
So there you have it, seven of the most awesome museums in and around Allen. Did we miss your family’s favorite educational destination? If so, let us know. We’ll be sure to add it to our list!