Attention, parents of Miami: If you've been looking for a new space where you can relax while unleashing your tiny people upon the unsuspecting public, check out the new Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
While you stroll through the exhibits and snap some Insta-worthy photos, your kids can burn off their boundless energy as they engage with the interactive installations across the three-building science complex. Here are ten things your children are sure to love about the new science museum.
1. Jumping across the luminous dance floor.
On the museum's first level, a luminous dance floor beckons kids to run across (or do handstands on) it as they peruse the "MeLaß" exhibit, which teaches visitors how their bodies work and how our diets affect our well-being. With every step on the interactive floor, orange and yellow concentric circles emanate from your feet (or hands), illuminating for guests how many steps it takes to burn off breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
2. Launching paper planes.
It seems like just yesterday when you were making paper planes in school, propelling them across classrooms with a flick of your wrists. Well, now it's your children's turn — but on a grander scale. As part of the "Feathers to the Stars" exhibit, kids learn the principles of aerodynamics by using a launcher to thrust their paper planes into the air. Which wing design will take their aircraft farthest?
3. Exploring the Everglades.
In the "River of Grass" exhibit, an entire scene of South Florida wilderness is projected onto a wall, and kids are able to interact with the simulated animals, which include panthers and alligators. Just outside of the exhibit, in the halls of the museum, children can experiment with the physics of water. Aimed at teaching young people about environmental science, the installation helps them understand hydrology and how important water tables are in keeping native species alive.
4. Gaping at the menagerie of dinos.
In the "Feathers to the Stars" exhibit, kids will also feast their eyes on an assortment of dinosaurs, including a 30-foot-long feathered yutyrannus — an ancestor of the famed Tyrannosaurus rex. This guy's claws, unlike T. rex's, are no laughing matter, though.
As your children gape at the fearsome dino, you could explain to them that after millions of years of evolution, the descendants of this "feathered tyrant" live in chicken coops today.
5. Digging through the Paleo installation.
There's also an interactive installation where kids can pick up tools and become paleontologists. What will they discover as they sift through the sand? Well, not dinos, because 60 million to 80 million years ago, Florida was underwater. In the dig pit, children can uncover fossils that are commonly found in Florida, such as those belonging to megalodons. Kids might also find a lifelong career. Who knows, they could name a dinosaur species after you in 20 years. Momasaurus has a ring to it, don't you think? Then again, so does Unclesaurus rex.
6. Peering into aquariums.
Because Frost Science boasts many aquariums, kids can stare into one of many tanks carrying legions of blue and yellow tropical fish. Will your child gasp when she sees a manta glide through the sunlit water world, or will he be mesmerized by the cloud of violet jellyfish that waft on the museum's Deep level?
7. Meeting the Pauls.
In Frost Science's special exhibit "Seeing," kids can meet three starving robot artists named Paul. As they sketch your child's portrait, kids will discover at the end that each drawing looks quite different. That is when you step in and explain that each doodle is unique because the robots operate under different algorithms — processes that help the Pauls identify and make sense of their subjects.
8. Checking out marine life up close.
On the Vista level of the museum, kids can touch stingrays as they swim across their tank. On the museum's third floor, a level known as "the Dive," kids can feel the rubbery skin of sea cucumbers and get up close and personal with hermit crabs and starfish.
9. Stargazing in the planetarium.
The Frost's 250-seat 3D planetarium is one of only 13 in the world with 8K definition. The crisp quality — along with the fact that the dome is tilted forward 23.5 degrees, filling your line of sight with imagery — makes the planetarium's showings hyperreal. For example, the film Asteroid: Mission Extreme makes you feel like you're on a rocket ship journeying through space. This experience could launch your daughter into actual space someday to explore the galaxy as an astronaut.
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10. Discovering new things with you by their side.
Last, but certainly not least, is you. The whole point of going to the science museum is to learn new things about the world, and kids will remember the groundbreaking discoveries they make with you by their side. There's something to be said about the shared sense of exploration. Besides, who will defend them from that scary yutyrannus?
New Times' Best of Miami party will take place at the new Frost Science Museum Thursday, June 22, from 8 to 11 p.m. Visit newtimesbestofmiami.com.