For years, Miamians have passed the ever-transforming Museum Park and watched its namesake giants take shape beside the bay. In 2013, Pérez Art Museum Miami welcomed its first guests, and now, nearly three years later, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
will finally open its doors to the public May 8.
The Frost's grand opening is expected to attract thousands of wide-eyed locals. The Grimshaw-designed museum will be the state's premier destination for all things science-related. In the museum's three-building complex, visitors will find awe-inspiring displays, from feathered oddities to mechanical artists. And looking beyond the gleaming new structure, the Frost's move from Coconut Grove to downtown represents a major cultural moment in Miami.
Here's everything you need to know before setting foot in the new Frost Museum of Science.
1. Meet the Yutyrannus.
The new location will present a life-size replica of a yutyrannus
, AKA the "feathered tyrant." The 30-foot-long dinosaur will be on permanent display in the exhibit "Feathers to the Stars," which chronicles the history of flight, from dinosaurs' evolution into birds to humankind venturing above the clouds.
2. Animal activists aren't pleased.
On the subject of sharped-tooth creatures, the Frost's 500,000-gallon saltwater Gulf Stream Tank will allow guests to peer into an aquarium holding a legion of Florida's most iconic marine animals. However, local activists say keeping some of these animals in captivity is inhumane
. "There’s nothing natural or state-of-the-art about collecting animals for display, especially sharks and crocodiles, which do not fare well in captivity," says Wendy King, who organized an anti-captivity march against Miami Seaquarium earlier this year.
3. The Miami Science Barge now belongs to the Frost.
Courtesy of Miami Science Barge
For months, the Miami Science Barge, a floating laboratory, has offered locals ongoing opportunities to connect with marine science and conservation by hosting events such as happy hours with science talks. In early April, the nonprofit that oversaw the aquatic lab offered the barge to Frost Science as a generous gift. As an environmental education center, the Miami Science Barge, now docked at Museum Park, will serve as a natural extension of the Frost's aquarium and science exhibitions.
4. Robots will sketch your face.
Courtesy of Science Gallery Dublin
How do robots understand what they're viewing? The Frost's first special exhibit, "Seeing," will showcase various art installations that probe the marvels of human and mechanical vision. One installation, 20/X
, gives guests a view of the world from the perspective of a computer as it navigates various algorithms to identify things. In another installation, 3RNP
, three robots named Paul sketches visitors' portraits. Will a computer see you the way you see yourself?
5. A giant net sculpture could move in next door.
Courtesy of Janet Echelman
Last month, Timothy Schmand, the overseer of Museum Park, showed a keen interest in bringing one of artist Janet Echelman's floating, jellyfish-looking net sculptures to Miami. Less than a week later, after more than 20 years of service, Schmand resigned during a dustup over the Rolling Loud music festival
with Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo. However, before officially leaving his post, Schmand recommended that the net sculpture be placed between the Pérez and Frost Museums as a luminous bridge between art and science.
A spokesperson from the Frost says the science museum is open to collaborations in the shared space, called Knight Plaza. Pérez Art Museum Miami did not immediately respond to New Times
' query about whether it would collaborate in installing the aerial sculpture.