Hammerhead sharks, baby alligators, an interactive river of grass and an all-digital planetarium.
All that is just about ready for The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science’s long-awaited opening on Monday.
The $305 million museum, at 1101 Biscayne Boulevard, is nearly completed after funding issues that caused months of delays. The museum closed its Coconut Grove location in August 2015, and will be moving its staff over to the new building in Museum Park, next to the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
A preview tour of the five-story, 250,000-square-foot facility included its four buildings, the Frost Planetarium, aquarium and north and west wings. The 250-seat digital planetarium has six projectors with a 16-million color 8K system, and will bring back the museum’s monthly laser shows starting in June, Jorge Perez-Gallego, curator of astronomy and exhibition developer, said. The 8K system is one of only 13 in the world, according to marketing materials.
The three-story Gulf Stream aquarium features a top deck where guests can watch mahi-mahi, devil rays and hammerhead sharks, a open aviary with rehabilitated birds, and other exhibits; nearly 30 aquariums on a level below; and the final component with the 31-foot-wide oculus lens to view the bottom of the aquarium. It also includes an interactive MeLab exhibit and a gift shop.
In the west wing is the Lunar Terrace, the museum’s “living” rooftop, as well as a casual dining concept called Food@Science. And in the north wing, the museum features a “Feather to the Stars” interactive exhibit, River of Grass exhibit, the LASERsHOW: Lights, Color and Geometry show; the Solar Terrace and the Learning Center.
Grimshaw Architects designed the museum.
Check out photos of construction of the museum about a year ago here.
Last year, the museum faced a funding gap and Miami-Dade County had to step in and provide about $49 million in emergency funds to get construction of the facility finished in time to open this year. The root of the problems had been a shortfall in private donations. The Frosts replaced the museum’s board of trustees with new members, including Patricia Frost herself. And in June, Gillian Thomas, the museum’s president and CEO of 13 years, announced her resignation.
Earlier this year, the Frosts announced a $100 million gift to fund the Frost Institutes for Science and Engineering at UM, which they hope will turn Miami into a world-class science and technology destination.
The Real Deal sat down with billionaire Phillip Frost, the chairman and CEO of OPKO Health, to discuss his vision for Miami as a global science and technology hub, in its March issue.