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The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country, Canyon Lake

The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country is one of the best things to do in Central Texas with kids.

Very few people know of this hidden gem, making it one of the off the beaten path attractions in the Lone Star State.

This small museum has plenty of attractions including over 350 fossilized dinosaur footprints in 28 separate tracks, indigenous artifacts, and a dino dig pit.

It is a great place to spend a couple of hours while learning about the dinosaurs that once lived in this part of Texas.

Also Read: Ultimate Texas Hill Country bucket list

Life-size dinosaur sculptures at the Heritage Museum of Texas Hill Country
Life-size dinosaur sculptures at the Heritage Museum of Texas Hill Country

Where is the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country located?

The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country is located in Canyon Lake, Texas.

Canyon Lake is located an hour away from San Antonio and can be easily visited in a day.

It makes an excellent day trip from Austin as well.

The Museum and Canyon Lake also make an excellent day trip from Houston.

Things to do at the Heritage Museum, Canyon Lake

There are several things to do at the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country.

Here are some of our favorite activities at the museum:

See the Dinosaur Tracks

Kids can see the fossilized dinosaur tracks at the Heritage Museum on a guided tour.

The guides are knowledgeable and friendly, and do an excellent job of narrating the geological past of the area.

The guides narrate how the tracks were first discovered.

They explain the types of dinosaurs that left the tracks and their features.

The tracks are covered by a shaded pavilion to stop their erosion due to the elements.

While visitors cannot touch the tracks, they can see a fantastic bird’s eye view from the boardwalk trail that goes around the tracks and from the observation area overlooking the tracks.

It is fascinating to see the footprints preserved in the limestone bed.

While the tracks are not as numerous as those at Dinosaur Valley, they still are enough to make any dino lover’s day.

The tours start every 15 to 30 mins depending on the number of visitors.

Also Read: Best Things to do in Texas with Kids

Learn about the dinosaurs that made the tracks

The preserved dinosaur tracks are over 110 million years old and created during the early Cretaceous period.

At that time, this area of Texas was covered by a shallow sea.

Gradually, the algae covered mud flats of the Upper Glenrose formation began depositing due to the uplift.

The soft muddy flats were perfect for leaving behind deep footprints by the dinosaurs that lived in Central Texas.

The tracks left in the limestone are left by Acrocanthosaurus and Iguanodon.

Eventually the footprints were hardened to stone by the environmental factors and preserved for future generations.

Love dinosaurs? Read our post on Best Dinosaur Museums in Texas.

Docent explaining about the dinosaur tracks at the Heritage Museum of Texas Hill Country near Canyon Lake
Docent explaining about the dinosaur tracks at the Heritage Museum of Texas Hill Country near Canyon Lake

See the murals

Visitors can see murals created by Hill Country school children on the top of the amphitheater.

It is amazing to see the interpretations of the children on how the dinosaurs looked and lived in vivid colors.

Nearby, you can also see a life-size replica of dinosaur leg bone.

Hike the trail to see more tracks

A small trail leads from the boardwalk stairs to an outdoor area which contains even more dinosaur tracks.

Kids love seeing the tracks and getting up close to them.

Go on the adventurous Fossil Ridge Tour

This guided tour will take you up the mountainside and the guides will show fossils and tracks preserved in the ground.

You will also learn about unique rocks and geology of the area.

This tour is perfect for older kids and teens who are interested in paleontology and geology.

Look at the historic artifacts inside the museum

Inside the visitor center and store, you will see a variety of historic artifacts including objects made by indigenous people, old photographs, and fossils.

You can see items like arrowheads, projectile points, pottery, and tools made by the native tribes of the Hill Country.

The museum also includes interesting information on the history of Canyon Lake dam.

Love history, arts, and unique things? Read our post on Best Museums in Texas!

See the giant dinosaur sculptures on the grounds

On the museum grounds, kids can see a variety of giant dinosaur sculptures.

You can have a picnic near the dinosaurs in the Cretaceous Garden; the grounds have several picnic tables.

Dig for dinosaur bones

The museum has a dinosaur dig pit for kids where they can search for replica dinosaur bones.

Kids have fun digging for a variety of buried treasures.

See the pioneer farming equipment

The museum grounds also have a variety of pioneer farming equipment on display.

The extensive display of antique farming tools is fantastic to see and a great way to imagine the life of early settlers in the area.

Buy souvenirs at the store

Inside the small museum store, you will find a variety of souvenirs including t-shirts, magnets, and more.

They make excellent gifts for any dino lover.

Leave a donation to preserve the tracks!

The museum is very small and runs on a limited budget.

In spite of that, it does an excellent job of preserving the tracks and sharing them with visitors.

We recommend doing your part in preserving the legacy of the prehistoric beasts of Texas by leaving a generous donation.

Museum Hours and Fees

The Heritage Museum is open Wednesday – Sunday, from 12 pm to 4 pm.

The entry fees to the museum are very nominal and cost just $4 per adult and $3 for kids.

It takes about 2 to 3 hours to see the tracks, historic exhibits, and explore the museum.

If you are also going on the Fossil Ridge Tour, then we recommend keeping aside an entire day at the museum.

The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country is a fascinating place to visit with kids of all ages.

Even adults enjoy seeing the fossil tracks of the dinosaurs.

The museum also offers many educational programs and activities for kids.

We definitely recommend this attraction while in the area.

Travel tip – After visiting the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country, be sure to see beautiful Canyon Lake Dam at Overlook Park and drive the Scenic River Road along the Guadalupe River.

For more dinosaur related fun, take the Canyon Lake Gorge tour while in the area!

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