Texas Nessie: Plesiosaur Fossil Exhibit | Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary


May 08, 2021 to December 31, 2021
09:00 AM until 05:00 PM


Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary View map
1 Nature Place,
McKinney, TX, 75069

Additional Information

  • Website: http://www.heardmuseum.org
  • Line/Box Office Phone: 972/562-5566
  • Cost: Included in seasonal general admission ($0-12), free for Heard Museum members
  • Ages: All ages


In May of 1991, avid fossil collector Mike Donovan made an amazing find in Collin County: the partial skeleton of an ancient sea creature called a plesiosaur. He nicknamed the fossil “Texas Nessie” and spoke often of how he hoped the bones would eventually be displayed in a museum, where they could be viewed and appreciated. Nearly 20 years after that remarkable discovery, Donovan’s dream is now a reality.

Specific locality information for the specimen is lacking and can only be narrowed to the central western part of Collin County. This specimen was likely from the lowest 10 meters of the Arcadia Park Formation of the Eagle Ford group, which provides an age approximation of 93 million years old.

Preparation of the plesiosaur bones took place over a four-year period using pneumatic tools called airscribes to slowly chip away the rock encasing the bones. In late February 2021, Triebold Paleontology delivered and installed the 14-foot-long plesiosaur. Artist Pamela Riddle has created a 22-foot-long digital wall mural that depicts a plesiosaur as well as other creatures from the time this plesiosaur lived. Come pose with "Nessie" and her fabulous, toothy grin.

Learn more about plesiosaurs and how the exhibit came to be by visiting heardmuseum.org/more-exhibits.

Regular hours:
Tuesdays–Saturdays from 9am–4pm
Sundays from 1–4pm
Closed Mondays