As the Phillip and Pa­tri­cia Frost Mu­seum of Sci­ence opens its doors, Miami turns a cor­ner as an ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural hub.

Ocean Drive - - Contents - BY JON WARECH

With its grand re­open­ing on May 8, the Phillip and Pa­tri­cia Frost Mu­seum of Sci­ence brings a world of won­der to down­town Miami. The in­sti­tu­tion’s new 250,000-square-foot, $305 mil­lion in­door/ out­door fa­cil­ity com­bines a sci­ence mu­seum with an aquar­ium and a plan­e­tar­ium, and it boasts an im­pres­sive ros­ter of ex­hi­bi­tions, events—and of course the laser light shows that leave vis­i­tors of all ages in awe. Ocean Drive talked to Frank Steslow, the mu­seum’s pres­i­dent, about the fa­cil­ity and what its open­ing means for the city.

Frost Sci­ence called the Viz­caya com­plex home for 55 years. How did this move to a big­ger, bet­ter fa­cil­ity come about? Go­ing back prob­a­bly 20 years, the mu­seum was look­ing for the op­por­tu­nity to grow, and with the gen­eral obli­ga­tion bond and the Build­ing Bet­ter Com­mu­ni­ties pro­gram pro­vid­ing a fair amount of fund­ing for the sci­ence mu­seum, the art mu­seum, and other cul­tural projects, that be­came the im­pe­tus for what we have now. A lot of hard work went into se­cur­ing the bond and get­ting the vot­ers’ sup­port. I think our ques­tion passed by about 80 per­cent af­fir­ma­tive to sup­port $165 mil­lion go­ing to the sci­ence mu­seum. Art mu­se­ums are trendy but new sci­ence mu­se­ums are rare, right? They are. I think in the last 10 years, there were two ma­jor sci­ence mu­se­ums in the US that opened and/or did ma­jor ren­o­va­tions to the tune that we’re do­ing, so it’s big news that it hap­pened. If you look at the aquar­ium por­tion on a stand-alone ba­sis, it’s as large as some of the free­stand­ing pub­lic aquar­i­ums in the country. What can peo­ple ex­pect from the north and west wings? We have a lot of gallery spaces in those two build­ings, start­ing with a per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion in the north wing called “Feath­ers to the Stars,” which presents sci­ence in a dif­fer­ent way. Typ­i­cally you might have the big ideas of sci­ence—evo­lu­tion, the cre­ation of the cos­mos, etc.—ad­dressed in dif­fer­ent parts of the mu­seum. We’ve cho­sen to meld those to­gether into one ex­hi­bi­tion ex­pe­ri­ence that uses flight as the story

line. So we talk about evo­lu­tion in the con­text of feath­ers and how di­nosaurs de­vel­oped feath­ers, which led to flight, the evo­lu­tion of birds, and birds be­ing an in­spi­ra­tion for aero­nau­tics and space travel. It re­ally runs the gamut us­ing that thread. Then there’s the

Me­laß, which fo­cuses on medicine, well­ness, sports physics, and even things like food chem­istry. That ex­hibit is very pro­gram­matic, so there are a lot of live demon­stra­tions. Is Frost Sci­ence for all ages? That’s one of the rea­sons for in­cor­po­rat­ing the aquar­ium: It draws a much wider age range of peo­ple. That be­comes a re­ally great en­try point into sci­ence. That be­ing said, we have a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion space for early child­hood called “River of Grass,” a hands-on Ever­glades ex­pe­ri­ence and part of an on­go­ing re­search pro­gram into how the younger au­di­ence learns, and we’re go­ing to have pro­grams for young adults.

The Phillip and Pa­tri­cia Frost Mu­seum of Sci­ence is lo­cated at 1101 Bis­cayne Boule­vard and open from 9 AM to 6 PM, 365 days a year. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 305-434-9600 or visit


From the aquar­ium’s mez­za­nine, a gi­gan­tic port­hole pro­vides hair-rais­ing views of sharks and other ex­otic sea life in the 500,000-gal­lon tank. ƥƞɵƭ: De­signed by Grimshaw Ar­chi­tects, the stun­ning Frost Mu­seum of Sci­ence is a treat for both the eyes and...

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