Miami doesn’t do anything small—not openings, not constructions and certainly not museums. The soon-to-be-completed Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science—scheduled to open May 8—fits the “size matters” bill for a new local development. The 250,000-square-foot facility sits on four acres of waterfront land and has four distinct buildings: the Aquarium, the Frost Planetarium and the North and West Wings. It’s quite the upgrade from the 48,000-square-foot Coconut Grove property the museum occupied from 1960 until 2015, when it closed to the public.
Yes, it’s massive—it stands taller than the neighboring Pérez Art Museum Miami—but the Frost Science is remarkable for reasons other than size. It has a hefty price tag attached, too: The projected $165 million budget has climbed to $305 million since breaking ground in 2012. Locals might be used to that kind of city-planning budget blowout, but they might be happy to ignore it once they see what the museum has to offer. The Frost Science opens its inaugural season with the “MeLab,” an interactive exhibit that lets kids learn about health by using their own bodies to conduct experiments (think hands-on simulations).
If the old museum was tailored to children, this new location is made for curious people of all ages. The city’s only institution dedicated to natural history and sciences will be home to a rehab clinic and sanctuary for wild birds, which will live in small-scale replicas of South Florida habitats like the Everglades. The museum’s 500,000-gallon Gulf Stream aquarium houses all sorts of sea creatures; guests can traverse the three levels for views from the surface and underwater. The “Dive” section’s gallery wing also has freestanding aquariums, providing a showroom approach to nature, if you will.
One hallmark making a comeback is the planetarium—now bigger and more advanced. The 67-foot dome with a 360-degree projection screen features an 8K visual system that provides a hypnotic look at both the galaxy and the rock & roll laser shows that made the original a 305 classic.
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, 1101 Biscayne Blvd (305-434-9600, frostscience.org).
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