Monday, 11 November 2019

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami

We received two complimentary adult tickets to the museum in exchange for a review

As part of our recent trip to Florida we enjoyed a few days in Miami, our first visit to the city. We really liked Miami, and one of the highlights of our trip was the day that we spent at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.

The Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami

We were provided with two adult tickets to the museum, and we purchased two child tickets online before our visit. Buying tickets in advance means that you can select a Planetarium show in advance, and avoid a line if it's busy. We arrived when the museum opened at 9.30am, and although it was a quiet day we appreciated being ahead of the crowds. We travelled to the museum using the free Metromover, a brilliant Miami public transport service that took us from our hotel right to the museum. There are also other public transport options, and limited parking is available. 

Because we were among the first to arrive we decided to start our day in the newly opened special exhibition A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature. This exhibition is included in the admission price and runs until April 12th, 2020. The centrepiece of the exhibition is an elaborate mirror maze to explore, with mirrors and glass walls to hunt your way through. 

Mirror Maze at the Frost Museum, Miami

The exhibition is also filled with some fascinating and modern hands on exhibits, exploring the different patterns found in nature and learning about how these patterns find their way into our music and architecture.

Next we spent a fair amount of time in MeLaβ, an interactive area with five zones - eat, move, relax, connect and learn. As you enter you collect a card and use it to create your own digital character. As you complete activities in each area you can collect a stamp on your card, which gives you more options to customise your character. By answering questions about yourself, you can think about whether the daily choices that you make are healthy or not.

MeLab at the Frost Museum, Miami

If you are lucky enough to visit regularly, you can take your card home and bring it back on your next visit, and you can also check in with your character online when you are back home. There were some really fun activities to try here, including ones that the adults enjoyed as much as the children! For example, watching how your heart rate increases as you try to find your way through a tricky maze, or learning about exercise and healthy food choices.

Interactive science displays at Frost Museum, Miami

Almost before we knew it, it was time for the Planetarium show. At the time we visited there were four shows to choose from, with regular presentations throughout the day. We selected Hidden Wonders of our Solar System which is a live show. The presenter took us on a journey through the solar system, looking at all the different planets, moons, asteroids, comets and other celestial objects that make up our part of the universe. Then we were shown what would be visible in the night sky that night in South Florida, which was really interesting.

After that we headed up to the roof of the museum, and the Sun Spot. Parts of the museum are outside, so it's worth keeping an eye on the weather as there can be unpredictable rain storms, and the roof terrace isn't shaded so the heat is too intense to stay outside for long. Lots of sunshine does however mean plenty of opportunities to use the sun for experiments, like this sun dial and a look at how solar panels work.

Sundial on the sunny roof of science museum in Miami

Another area that we very much enjoyed was the River of Grass. The exhibit has two areas. Indoors is an interactive virtual environment which follows a day in the life of the Everglades, and is aimed at younger children. Outside, mine loved the water tables where they could experiment to see whether bridges or dams work best in this environment, and learn about the different animal residents of the area.

Everglades water play at Science Museum, Miami

Nearby they were able to meet some of these residents, as part of the three level Aquarium. On the top deck you can experience key South Florida ecosystems, including the huge Gulf Stream Aquarium, as well as the different worlds of coral reefs, mangroves, beaches and the Everglades.

Everglades wildlife display at Frost Museum, Miami

On the level below you can view the underwater world of the subtropical sea, and on the lowest level you descend deep into the Gulf Stream to find jellyfish, ending your journey with a 31-food oculus lens which is the bottom of the Gulf Stream Aquarium, and the tuna and sharks that you saw from above are now above your head.

Jellyfish in Aquarium at Frost Museum, Miami, Florida

Finally, we ended our day with a visit to the Feathers to the Stars exhibition which follows the journey of flight, from feathered dinosaurs to the future of space travel. The children's favourite area here was a paper plane launching pad where they could test out a selection of paper planes that they had made - great fun!

We had a brilliant day at the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum. We spent a whole day there and could have spent longer, with plenty to keep us all interested!

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