McKinney Art Studio Tour (MAST)

McKinney has made a name for itself as an art community in North Texas.  McKinney’s Second Saturday Art walks are well established with late night, gallery openings and musical entertainment throughout the old downtown area.

You don’t need to wait until evening to get your dose of creativity in November. MastThe McKinney Art Studio Tour (MAST) coincides with Second Saturday weekend on November 14 and 15. An annual event, MAST showcases local artists’ studios and galleries.

MAST allows the community a glimpse into the life of artists living in McKinney neighborhoods.  This year’s studio list includes photographers, potters, painters, and print makers giving tour participants an eclectic sampling of local talent.  If you like what you see, many artists will have work available for sale.

MAST not only gives the public a chance to meet artists, it also provides a forum for local artists to network.  The MAST focus is on community – introducing neighbors to each other.  Whether you are an artist, art lover, or just curious, MAST affords tour participants a rare opportunity to see studios not normally open to the public.  You’ll be surprised by the depth and breadth of artistic expression in McKinney.  Both individual studios and studios offering classes will be open for tour.  The MAST website gives detailed information on each participant and map with studio locations.


McKinney Third Monday Trade Days

Are you looking for an out of the ordinary shopping experience? Third Monday Trade Days (TMTD) in McKinney offers everything from alpacas to yard art. Catering to the treasure North Texas Ramblings - McKinney Third Monday Trade Dayshunter in all of us, the market overflows with collectibles interspersed among flea market castoffs. Located on US 380, just two miles west of US 75, this three-day, once a month event hosts an eclectic group of vendors. Third Monday crafters’ stalls sell handmade jewelry, clothes, hats, etched glass, and even tooth fairy pills. Interior designers frequent the market for its wide selection of home accents and architectural hardware.  Looking for garden art? There are planters, wrought iron sculptures, and wide selection of concrete critters.

Antiques, collectible glass, and china stalls sandwich between vendors selling t-shirts and ball caps. A covered building called the Mall holds a mix of shops from photographic art to vintage clothing to a coin dealer. There is even an ATM at the Mall, just in case you need more money.

Throughout the market, food trucks sell food normally reserved for the State Fair. Foot long corn dogs, funnel cakes, turkey legs, and honey roasted corn are just a few items sold. Stalls also sell other delectable treats for shoppers to take home like pecans, fresh roasted coffee, local honey, and elderberry jelly.

While shopping, don’t miss the opportunity to chat with vendors. Many have been part of Trade Days for years and all have fascinating stories about their products. In fact, Third Monday Trade Days is part of Collin County history. In pioneer Texas, the circuit court judge made his rounds to each county just once a month. In Collin County the judge presided over court on the third Monday. People from around the area would come to town to see the court proceedings – think of it as the Judge Judy of the frontier. They would bring their goods to trade and sell, thus the birth of our modern Trade Days. Third Monday Trade Days is located in what used to be Buckner, another piece of local history. The frontier town, Buckner, was the Collin County seat from 1846 – 1848. All that remains of Buckner is the Buckner Cemetery located on the market’s west end.

When you go.

Trade Days are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday preceding the third Monday of each month. Admission is free, though there is a $5 charge for parking (parking is free on Friday). Located at 4550 West University Drive in McKinney, the next TMTD weekend begins April 17. For more 2015 dates, visit the TMTD website or call 972-562-5466.

Dinosaurs Live at Heard Natural Science Museum

Dinosaurs Live! A thunderous roar shatters the forest stillness. Beware; beasts not seen for millions of years stalk the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary in North Texas Ramblings - Dinosaurs Live Heard Natural Science MuseumMcKinney. Young paleontologists recently discovered Dilophosaurus, Apatosaurus, and the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex roaming the trails at the wildlife sanctuary. Sighted along a half-mile trail through forest and meadow, nine different dinosaurs roam. These life-sized dinosaur replicas roar and move delighting young dinosaur enthusiasts. View the creatures first hand now until February 15, 2015, as the Heard hosts Dinosaurs Live.

Billings Production in McKinney makes the animatronic creatures. The Heard dinosaurs are part of over 200 Billings’ dinosaurs found at zoos and museums throughout North American. The robotic dinosaurs are uniquely adapted to operating outdoors. A hinged steel structure within the fabricated body allows dinosaur heads and limbs to move. A computer program further enhances dinosaur movements making these monstrous creatures look and act almost real — Jurassic Park Texas style.

While the dinosaurs draw the crowds, there is much more to the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. Once you’ve explored the dinosaur trek, take a stroll through The World Conservation exhibit to see modern day animals. Some animals are native to North America and others like the lemur are from exotic locales. Many exhibit animals imprinted with humans and cannot be released into the wild. Seized from an illegal animal breeder, some animals found new homes at the wildlife sanctuary. There are mongoose and capybara, the world’s largest rodents. An albino raccoon calls the Heard home,too.

Be sure to visit the Heard Natural Science museum basement. You’ll find small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The Heard museum exhibits change periodically. Its permanent collection includes Texas snakes, geology and habitat dioramas. The museum is ideal for families with small children.

The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 until 5 p.m. Pets are not allowed in the sanctuary and there is an admission fee. The trails around Dinosaurs Live are accessible with a stroller, however all trails within the sanctuary are on natural, unpaved surfaces — challenging for wheel chairs and strollers. Picnic areas are available. The Heard Natural History Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary is at 1 Nature Place in McKinney. Contact them at 972-562-5566 or through their website at