It’s now 72 days and counting until the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science opens its doors to the general public.
Crediting strong fundraising efforts and an ambitious construction schedule aided by good weather, Perot Museum officials today announced the Victory Park museum will debut a full month earlier than last announced – and just in time for the holidays – on Saturday, December 1, 2012.
Along with today’s opening day announcement, media were given a sneak peek of the lobby featuring its Malawisaurus dinosaur fossil and interactive “dancing water” molecules; the outdoor plaza and one-acre science park complete with water features, musical instruments and giant leap frogs; and a Texas-driven landscape design that surrounds and flows through areas of the Museum.
Perot Museum leaders also announced that general admission and film tickets will go on sale online Tuesday, October 2, at perotmuseum.org. (See ticket prices, hours and more at end of release.) Also unveiled was the holiday season film line-up and plans for the first temporary exhibit, “Building the Building.”
“It’s been our objective to not only finish on time but to beat our deadlines on multiple fronts. Thanks to the hard work of our board leadership, project team and the museum staff, our $185-million fundraising goal was met more than a year ahead of schedule, and now we will open our doors before the end of the year,” said Nicole G. Small, The Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer. “So we look forward to December 1, when the public gets to experience the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.”
The $185-million museum, designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects, is currently under construction on a 4.7-acre site at the corner of N. Field Street and Woodall Rodgers Freeway in Victory Park, just north of downtown Dallas. The Perot Museum has been named in honor of Margot and Ross Perot, the result of a $50-million gift announced in May 2008 by their adult children – Ross Perot, Jr.; Nancy Perot; Suzanne McGee; Carolyn Rathjen; and Katherine Reeves.
Theater lineup unveiled
Small also gave media an update on the overall construction progress of the exhibit halls, theater, auditorium, café, retail store, learning labs and more. Installation of the digital ticketing screens and a full-service ticket desk will soon be completed. The “Building the Building” exhibit, which highlights the Perot Museum’s creative and construction processes from start to finish, will be the first temporary exhibit shown in the Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones Exhibition Hall. Visitors can expect a stellar cinematic experience in the 297-seat The Hoglund Foundation Theater, which boasts state-of-the-art 4K digital projection, the most widely used technology for watching 3-D films in theaters. The holiday season film lineup of 2-D (traditional) and 3-D films includes Meerkats 3-D and Sea Monsters 3-D.
Lobby and outdoor enhancements, science park and green-building certifications revealed
During informal tours, Perot Museum Vice President of Innovation Dan Kohl shared information about the lobby enhancements. Installations include a 35-foot-long Malawisaurus dinosaur fossil and the “dancing water” interactive spheres where 88 models of water molecules (H20) suspended from the ceiling perform an animated dance in response to visitors passing underneath them. Kohl also noted that the lobby, outdoor plaza and science park will be admission-free areas and open during the Museum’s operating hours for the public’s enjoyment.
On the plaza, Perot Museum Director of Exhibits Mike Spiewak told media about the “musical forest” where large musical instruments are tuned to pentatonic scales allowing musicians and non-musicians alike to improvise and make beautiful music with the push of a finger, mallets and even gravel to sound the notes. Also, placed amongst pond cypress trees, 13 bright and playful frog sculptures will encourage visitors to explore the piney forests of East Texas next to the entry plaza. Lighted from within, the bright green and blue frogs will also be a focal point in the forest once the sun has set.
From the rooftop deck, Thom Powell, director of sustainable design for Dallas-based Good Fulton & Farrell Architects, reported that the Perot Museum expects to attain three environmental designations – LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council; Green Globes Certification from the Green Building Initiative, (separate from the Green Building Council), which focuses on a wide range of sustainable issues including operations; and the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which emphasizes landscape and site design. He noted that very few buildings in the U.S. have achieved two certifications, much less three. Good Fulton & Farrell is the local architect and sustainability consultant for the Perot Museum.
Positioned in the science park was Coy Talley, principal of Dallas-based Talley Associates whose firm created the Perot Museum’s landscape architecture. Talley gave an update on the Texas-driven landscape design, which celebrates an abstract cross-section of the Lone Star State, from an East Texas-inspired forest of large native canopy trees to the plains of the Texas Panhandle. Tucked within the bosque of mature trees near the forest is an urban plaza that will contain café tables and interactive water features. An acre of rolling roofscape comprised of rock shards and native Texas drought-resistant grasses reflects Texas’ indigenous landscape. Talley also noted that rainwater for irrigation and building-system function is captured through parking lot bioswales, a gravity-fed waterfall, and a rain tube feature. All of these elements empty into two 25,000-gallon underground cisterns.
Small closed the program by reminding people about the benefits of a Charter Membership, a one-time opportunity available only during the Museum’s flagship year through December 31, 2013.
“Charter Memberships are fun and a good value, and they’re also a terrific, one-size-fits-all holiday gift,” said Small. “A membership not only demonstrates your support for the Museum, but it delivers great benefits, including free general exhibit admission and discounts on admission to the theater, ticketed exhibits, programs and other activities.”
Online tickets go on sale October 2 plus memberships, 2013 programs, hours, admission, parking and more
Beginning December 1, the Perot Museum will operate year round Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. with the exception of Thanksgiving (closed), Christmas Eve (close at 3 p.m.), Christmas (closed), New Year’s Eve (close at 3 p.m.). Please check the website for special holidays, extended hours and unexpected closings.
Beginning October 2, general admission tickets and film tickets may be purchased online at perotmuseum.org. NOTE: For convenience and to avoid long lines and sell-outs, visitors are strongly encouraged to go online and purchase tickets in advance. General admission to the exhibit halls for non-members will be $15 for adults (18-64), $12 for students (12-17) and seniors (65+), and $10 for children (2-11). Admission to the theater for non-members will be $8 for adults, students, seniors and children. Combo admission for non-members to the exhibit halls and theater will be $20 for adults (18-64), $17 for students (12-17) and seniors (65+), and $15 for children (2-11). For members, general exhibit hall admission will always be free, and admission to the theater will be $6 for member adults, students, seniors and children. (NOTE: Some traveling exhibits may have a surcharge.)
Parking will be available in a lot across the street under Woodall Rodgers Freeway with overflow parking in a lot located to the west of the Museum. Handicapped parking will be located in the Museum’s onsite lot. Pricing is $6 per car when paid onsite, $4 if purchased in advance online, and $3 for Museum members.
Charter Memberships (both personal and gift) are available, starting at $45 for students, $65 for individuals, and $80 for dual memberships. Household memberships are $100 for Family, $160 for Family Plus, and $200 for Family Plus Platinum. Patron level memberships also are available for $250 and up. For details, call 214-756-5751 or go to perotmuseum.org.
Registration is also currently available for many 2013 Museum programs including birthday parties, sleepovers, scouting adventures/badge workshops and field trips.
180,000-square-foot museum to boost science education in North Texas
Because the Perot Museum’s mission is to “inspire minds through nature and science,” the new museum fully embraces the natural and manmade worlds, focusing on earth and space sciences, life and natural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences and engineering.
The Museum will feature five floors of public space with 11 permanent exhibit halls, including a children’s museum complete with outdoor play space/courtyard, and a state-of-the art hall designed to host world-class traveling exhibitions. The lower level will house the Moody Family Children’s Museum, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones Exhibition Hall, Sports Hall and six learning labs. The second floor contains the Discovering Life Hall, Being Human Hall and Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall. On the third floor, visitors will find The Rees-Jones Foundation Dynamic Earth Hall, Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall, and Tom Hunt Energy Hall. The fourth floor will feature the Expanding Universe Hall, T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall, and Rose Hall of Birds.
The halls will feature state-of-the-art video and 3-D computer animation with thrilling, life-like simulation. Tabletop landscapes and computer-generated flyovers will provide eye-popping enhancement supported with timely, relevant and engaging educational lessons and programs. Hands-on activities, interactive kiosks and educational games will engage and excite visitors of every age. Additionally, visitors will experience amazing paleontology displays, large collections of ornithology and taxidermy, and beautiful gems and minerals, to name a few.
Other highlights include an expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent rooftop deck; a multi-media, 3-D digital cinema with seating for 297; a flexible-space auditorium; a café; and a retail store.
For more information, go to perotmuseum.org, or call 214-428-5555.
About the Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Accredited by the American Museum Association, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a nonprofit educational organization located in Dallas, Texas, with campuses in Victory Park and Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the Perot Museum delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor and outreach experiences through its education, exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The $185-million Victory Park museum, designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects, will open December 1, 2012. The Perot Museum is named in honor of Margot and Ross Perot, the result of a $50-million gift announced in May 2008 by their five adult children. To learn more about the Perot Museum, please visit perotmuseum.org.