Founded in 1950 as the Junior Museum of Miami, the museum was originally confined to a house on the corner of Biscayne Boulevard and 26th Street. A decade later, it moved to its current headquarters near Vizcaya. Thanks largely to Jack Horkheimer and his trippy Child of the Universe planetarium productions, the Miami Museum of Science became one of the city's most beloved institutions.
By the time Horkheimer retired in 2008, however, the Vizcaya location was falling apart. New Times uncovered asbestos in the building in 2010. And two years later, the museum broke ground on its new building in Bicentennial Park.
Like its neighbor Pérez Art Museum Miami, the science museum is seeking to reinvent itself radically. The new museum consists of four buildings connected by balconies and breezeways. The huge aquarium will be the central showpiece. It will be flanked by two high-tech gallery spaces. A giant, globular planetarium will greet passersby on Biscayne Boulevard.
"We have looked into anything where we have an opportunity to break the mold and do something different," Steslow says. "The shape of the tank alone has never been done before."