Miami-Dade County

Frost Science Museum preps for early 2017 opening

Pan Am globe at the old Miami Science Museum facility in Coconut Grove.
Pan Am globe at the old Miami Science Museum facility in Coconut Grove.

With construction financing finally in place, the delayed Frost Science Museum is set to open in the first quarter of 2017, say museum officials.

Construction is about 80 percent complete and on track for completion by the end of this year, said Frank Steslow, who was appointed as museum president last month. “Opening will occur as soon as possible thereafter once the exhibitions are fully installed. ... An official opening announcement will be made once we reach several construction milestones as we want to be sure we have everything in place before we open.”

The new facility in downtown Miami now has permanent power, enabling the contractor to activate air conditioning required for computer servers and the facilities they will power. Exhibits are being prepared at multiple locations, including Florida International University’s north campus.

The complex oculus, key to the martini-shaped aquarium, should be completed and ready for shipping from Italy within a few weeks.

Originally slated for opening this summer, the $305 million museum was delayed after parting with its previous contractor in 2014. Late last year, a finance crunch required a bailout from the county.

Meanwhile, at the museum’s old facilities in Coconut Grove, corals and fish from both the Caribbean and Micronesia are being cultivated in tanks. The existing collection — typewriters, shoes, preColombian art and a giant stuffed grizzly — is being evaluated. Some will go to the new space; others will be sold to institutions.

No word yet on the new home for the famous Pan Am globe in the old museum’s entry hall.

Jane Wooldridge