By: Shayne Benowitz
From the Gulf Stream Aquarium to the Frost Planetarium, visitors will be dazzled by Miami's new science museum.
The highly anticipated Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in downtown Miami’s Museum Park overlooking beautiful Biscayne Bay officially opened on May 8th. The museum rests on four acres of land with four state-of-the-art buildings across a 250,000 square-foot campus that includes a world-class planetarium and aquarium.
The North Wing and West Wings provide six floors of interactive exhibitions dedicated to the ecosystem of the Everglades, the evolution of flight, human biology and more, with rooftops boasting both a lunar terrace with a telescope for stargazing and a solar terrace with an urban farm.
“There are only a few institutions worldwide that have both an aquarium and a planetarium at one museum,” said Paola Villanueva, spokesperson for Frost Science. It also marks Miami’s first aquarium dedicated to science and education.
After 65 years serving Greater Miami and the Beaches at its former location in Coconut Grove, the new museum broke ground downtown in 2013. It joins the Peréz Art Museum Miami (PAMM) to complete the vision of Museum Park as a hub dedicated to science, art and culture in the heart of downtown Miami. PAMM also made the move from a former location downtown when it reopened in 2013 inside its new 20,000-square-foot landmark building designed by award-winning architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron.
Frost Science, conceived by Grimshaw Architects, cuts an equally impressive silhouette on Miami’s skyline with a free-standing, spherical planetarium, the 500,000-gallon, cone-shaped aquarium and an indoor-outdoor campus offering ample views of both Biscayne Bay and the sparkling city surrounding it.
The centerpiece of Frost Science is the stunning, three-level aquarium containing multiple habitats, ecosystems and subaquatic depths. Visitors begin at the open-air rooftop Vista level, which is designed to represent the surface of South Florida’s ecosystem. Here, you’ll find the open waters of the Gulf Stream Aquarium where pelagic fish, like hammerhead sharks, devil rays and mahi-mahi, glide through the current. Additional exhibits are dedicated to the biodiversity of South Florida’s ecosystem, including the coral reef, mangroves, sandy beaches, the Everglades and an aviary. There’s also a touch tank where visitors have the opportunity to pet a stingray.
Descend to the second Dive level where you’ll view nearly 30 aquariums and interactive vessels with everything from colorful damselfish to parrotfish and snapper swimming amidst coral heads, as well as the prop and drop roots of mangrove forests, in order to deepen your knowledge of South Florida’s subtropical marine life.
The bottom Deep level represents the vast depths of the Gulf Stream, the swift moving, cold water current that traverses the globe just south of Miami’s shoreline. Using real-time satellite imagery, visitors will learn how the Gulf Stream’s powerful current impacts climates and ecosystems around the world. This is where you’ll view the Gulf Stream Aquarium through a 30-foot oculus and watch the mysterious fish of the ocean’s depths swimming above you.
The Frost Planetarium is now one of the most cutting-edge on the planet. The 250-seat auditorium is powered by an 8K visual system (that’s twice that of other planetariums) using six 3-D capable projectors with 16 million colors and surround sound. Tilted forward at a 23.5 degree angle, viewers will enjoy a near-360 degree virtual experience inside the planetarium’s 67-foot span. Whether you’re tumbling through space, exploring the ocean’s depths, stargazing or dissecting a human cell, the Frost Planetarium provides an immersive and exciting educational experience.
The majority of Frost Science’s permanent and temporary exhibits are divided between the North and West Wing. Here, you’ll find ample space for research, education and special events. The ground level of the West Wing is home to the museum’s onsite café, which is open to the public.
The North Wing’s first floor is dedicated LASERsHOW: Light, Color and Geometry. Here, visitors will experience the physics of light while inside an immersive laser show.
On level three, Feathers to the Stars charts the history of flight from winged and feathered dinosaurs to migratory birds and human ingenuity in aviation and space travel. The exhibit includes a 30-foot dinosaur known as Yutyrannus Hauli, a military fighter jet and a virtual Apollo space mission launch.
The Florida Everglades are one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet and Frost Science’s River of Grass exhibit is designed specifically for young learners to enjoy a 20-minute virtual sensory journey of the 300-mile long wetland.
A final exhibition, Me Lab, is located on the first floor of the aquarium, dedicated to health, fitness and how your body and mind function.
From out of this world to under the sea, Frost Science is game changing museum in Miami that’s a must visit for everyone.
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