FROM AQUAR­IUM TO PLANETARIUM AND BE­YOND

Mi­ami’s Frost Mu­seum of Science is well worth the trip

RSWLiving - - Departments - Mandy Carter is a lo­cal mom with a pas­sion for fam­ily travel, a pop­u­lar travel blog­ger in­clud­ing her own fam­ily blog at acup­ful.com, and the manag­ing ed­i­tor for TOTI Me­dia.

As Al­bert Ein­stein said, “If you can’t ex­plain it sim­ply, you don’t un­der­stand it well enough.” As a mom to two very in­quis­i­tive young kids, I am asked a lot of ques­tions, many of which are science-based, and I hon­estly don’t un­der­stand it well enough my­self. This is one rea­son why I love vis­it­ing mu­se­ums like the Phillip and Pa­tri­cia Frost Mu­seum of Science.

This unique, in­ter­ac­tive mu­seum, just two hours away across Al­li­ga­tor Al­ley, has ex­hi­bi­tions that will im­press, ed­u­cate and con­nect all age groups with the world of science and tech­nol­ogy. The Frost mu­seum’s vi­sion is to cre­ate com­pelling STEM (science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, and math) ex­hi­bi­tions that in­spire learn­ing and in­no­va­tion and en­cour­age peo­ple to ex­plore real, rig­or­ous science.

Fam­i­lies should ex­pect to spend sev­eral hours to a full day here ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the eye-open­ing, in­ter­ac­tive fun spread out over six lev­els. In ad­di­tion to all the ex­hibits, there is a nice din­ing venue for lunch and movies play­ing in the planetarium.

Here are sev­eral must-do ac­tiv­i­ties while ex­plor­ing the Frost Mu­seum of Science.

GO TO THE ROOF Lo­cated in a shady canopy atop the build­ing is a birds-of-prey ex­hibit. It is home mostly to in­jured res­cues un­der­go­ing re­hab. You will be treated to amaz­ing rooftop views of the city at the same time.

LAUNCH PA­PER AIR­PLANES Who doesn’t love a good com­pe­ti­tion with pa­per air­planes? Part of the Feath­ers to the Stars ex­hi­bi­tion, the pa­per air­planes you con­struct here teach you the prin­ci­ples of aero­dy­nam­ics by us­ing a launcher to push the pa­per planes into the air. The ex­hi­bi­tion also fea­tures an as­sort­ment of di­nosaurs, in­clud­ing a life-size replica of a Yu­tyran­nus huali; a rocket launcher; and sev­eral other fly­ing-re­lated con­cepts.

EX­PLORE THE EVER­GLADES THROUGH

PLAY The River of Grass ex­hi­bi­tion is per­fect for the youngest vis­i­tors. A South Florida wilder­ness scene is pro­jected onto a wall, so that kids can in­ter­act with the sim­u­lated an­i­mals—from pan­thers to al­li­ga­tors. Just out­side of this ex­hi­bi­tion in the hall­way, chil­dren can ex­per­i­ment with the physics of water. The goal is to teach young peo­ple about en­vi­ron­men­tal science, and this in­stal­la­tion helps them un­der­stand hy­drol­ogy and the im­por­tance of water ta­bles in keep­ing na­tive species alive.

GET TICK­ETS TO THE PLANETARIUM

If you are a planetarium buff, then you will be im­pressed with this one. It is one of only 13 lik e it in the world. The dome uses a 16-mil­lion-color 8K pro­jec­tion sys­tem, has six 3D-ca­pa­ble pro­jec­tors and is tilted for­ward at 23.5 de­grees, al­low­ing a 67-foot span to fill your field of vi­sion, cre­at­ing a nearly 360-de­gree view of the screen from any of the 250 seats. The shows range from space trips to deep dives, and they feel very real.

JUMP AROUND THE LU­MI­NOUS DANCE

FLOOR On the mu­seum’s first level, a dance floor begs kids to run across (or do hand­stands and snow an­gels on) it. 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. Sur­round­ing this unique floor is the MeLaß ex­hi­bi­tion, where you learn how bod­ies work and how diet af­fects health. I was able to show my son how his brain ac­tiv­ity changes when he is well-rested ver­sus when he is tired, which an­swered one of his re­cent ques­tions, “Why do I need t o go to bed so early?”

If you are a planetarium buff, then you will be im­pressed with this one. It is one of only 13 like it in the world.

BY MANDY CARTER

TAKE YOUR TIME IN THE AQUAR­IUM The aquar­ium at the Frost Mu­seum of Science has three lev­els of tanks with both in­door and out­door ex­hibits that mimic a va­ri­ety of Florida ecosys­tems. Each level of­fers a dif­fer­ent view of sea life: from above, be­side and be­low. My fa­vorite part is the 31-foot-wide ocu­lus that gives you the van­tage point of peer­ing up into the Gulf Stream. The aquar­ium at the Frost Mu­seum demon­strates the im­por­tance of man­groves in the Florida ecosys­tem.

Clock­wise from top left: Frost Mu­seum’s ed­u­ca­tional ar­eas through­out the aquar­ium; the 31-foot-wide ocu­lus, which al­lows vis­i­tors to peer into the Gulf Stream; rooftop ob­ser­va­tory; the im­pres­sive planetarium; a di­nosaur dis­play

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