From beloved institutions like the iconic planetarium to new highlights like a three-story aquarium with a 31-foot oculus, Joseph Quiñones fills us in on the stunning features of the recently opened Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
Q: What do you think people will find most surprising about the museum?
A: I think most people will find how incredible the facility really is. It’s four different buildings. We have an aquarium. We have a planetarium. We have two buildings full of exhibitions. And a lot of what people are going to encounter has never been seen before. Really I would say about 95 percent of the experiences are special and unique to Frost Science. I think people will be surprised at how large the campus is. They’re going to have not only an entertaining time, but also learn something new. Whether it’s about the creatures in our habitats here in South Florida or about the cosmos in our planetarium or the human body in the MeLaß, there’s so much for people to do and experience.
Q: Many locals have fond memories of the planetarium. What’s happening in that space?
A: Our new planetarium is going to be just as special. [It] is one of only 13 in the world to be 8K 3D, the latest in the market for planetariums. During the day, we’re going to offer two shows: a 3D show and a non-3D show. And at night we can do incredible programs inside the planetarium as well.
Q: Even while it did not have a physical space, the museum remained active through outreach efforts. Are those still planned?
A: We partnered with the Miami Marlins on their family day. We were at the Miami HEAT Family Festival with the players, and we’ll continue to do that. A lot of people don’t know about our programs. We have a program called Museum Volunteers for the Environment — MUVE. It’s a habitat restoration volunteer-based project. We do beach clean-ups, remove invasive species, restore coastal habitats and do volunteer activities every weekend. The community is invited. Families can get involved, and work with our scientists. We also have a citizen science program.
Q: What does an institution like this represent for the city?
A: We’ve always been Miami’s only science museum. It’s going to continue to be a community place where everyone is welcome. We’re going to be doing so much more than what’s inside the walls. There’s going to be a lot for people to come back time and again. We want this to be a place where the community can gather. We’re also right next to the Peréz Art Museum, which also means a lot to the community. We share Knight Plaza, which celebrates the intersection of art and science. We really want Museum Park to be somewhere where people can come and gather and learn and have fun.