Summer may be heating up, but the Perot Museum of Nature and Science always offers cool relief with two new exhibitions that include amazing animals and a DIY makerspace, an exhilarating 3D film line-up, First Thursday Late Nights, second-Saturday Discovery Days, adults-only Social Sciences, military/first responders and late-afternoon discounts, and more for a surplus of summer fun perfect for all ages.
Amazing Animals: Built to Survive will entice visitors to uncover the marvels of natural engineering inside every living thing. Jaws that can crush over 8,000 pounds in one bite, ears that act as air conditioners, a punch faster than a speeding bullet and legs that can leap the human equivalent of a football field in a single bound await in this interactive experience. Opening to the public June 13, the bilingual traveling exhibition will show how every living thing – including humans – is a machine built to survive, move and discover.
Plus, the DIY makerspace, Build It! Nature, opening to the public June 19, encourages families to tinker, create and uncover their inner engineer by exploring a series of engaging stations inspired by the plants and animals around us.
During Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25), Museumgoers can enjoy daily activities at select times including science demos; experiments dealing with DNA, liquid nitrogen, circuits and more; bookworm reading times; science trivia; and other free-with-admission fun at stations throughout the Museum. In addition, the Museum will stay open until 7 p.m. May 22 – 25.
Extended hours will be available May 26 – Sept. 4, with the Museum open until 6 p.m. daily (additional holiday extended hours highlighted below), giving visitors an extra hour of discovery. As always, Museum members can enjoy exclusive early-access hours every Saturday from 8:30-10 a.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-noon, as well as member-only access to the Moody Family Children’s Museum on Mondays 10 a.m.-noon.
And those with limited time to explore will love this summer late-afternoon special (from May 26 – Sept. 4) – $10 Museum general admission from 4-6 p.m. Monday – Friday, including the Museum’s First Thursday Late Nights until 9 p.m.
For the scoop on all things summer at the Perot Museum, see the highlights below:
- AMAZING ANIMALS: BUILT TO SURVIVE TRAVELING EXHIBITION (June 13 – Sept. 7, 2015) Imagine shrimp that can break through glass, spider webs that are stronger than steel and sharks that use their snouts to sense the electrical impulses of their prey. From the inside out, every living thing – including humans – is a machine built to survive, move and discover. Explore how plants and animals stay in one piece despite the crushing forces of gravity, the pressure of water and wind, and the attacks of predators. Using surprising tactics, creatures endure the planet’s extreme temperatures, find food against fierce competition, and – without metal, motors or electricity – circulate their own life-sustaining fluids. Feel how hard a giraffe’s heart works to pump blood up to its head. Try to “fly” and study the many different ways creatures jump, gallop, slither and swim. And see technological breakthroughs – like Velcro, wind turbines and chainsaws – that were inspired by nature’s ingenuity. Member preview days are June 11 – 12 with the public opening on June 13.
- BUILD IT! NATURE TEMPORARY EXHIBITION (June 19 – Aug. 16, 2015) This summer’s temporary exhibition, Build It! Nature, presented by Neiman Marcus, gives families a chance to engineer and design their way through a variety of nature-inspired creative stations. Participants can “catch the wind” and test the aerodynamics of various wing shapes, construct small sculptures to be displayed in an ever-changing honeycomb, design an animal-themed car to compete against others on a 30-foot racetrack, test the strength of their own creations in an imagination playground and become their favorite animal through artistic mask creation. Projects are available on a first-come, first-served basis and designed with guests age 7 and older in mind. Member preview day is June 18 with public opening on June 19. The exhibition will be on display in the auditorium on the Museum’s Lower Level. Build It! Nature requires a surcharge for members and non-members.
3D FILMS IN THE HOGLUND FOUNDATION THEATER, A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE. Slip on your 3D glasses and get ready for deep sea discoveries, dinosaurs, meerkats and more. To view trailers and film schedule, go to the Perot website.
- DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D (through Sept. 7, 2015) On March 26, 2012, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron (director of Titanic) succeeded in tackling his biggest challenge ever – a solo journey to Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the ocean. Challenger Deep is 6.83 miles down and is found at the southern end of the Mariana Trench near Guam. Years in the making, this feat has been compared to landing on the moon. In order to make this journey, Cameron and his team utilized revolutionary engineering and cutting-edge technology in developing a new single-seat submersible that Cameron himself piloted to the depth of Challenger Deep. Named DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, the sub is 26 feet long and unlike anything ever built. Cameron’s team describes it as sharing qualities of both a race car and a torpedo. Presented by National Geographic, the film runs approximately 40 minutes.
- Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet 3D (opens May 22, 2015) On a thrilling ride, audiences will spin back in time to an extraordinary prehistoric world: Alaska in the Cretaceous period, 70 million years ago – the last great flourish of the dinosaur era. BBC Earth presents a journey through the seasons, experiencing a year in the life of dinosaurs fighting, feeding, migrating, playing and hunting. Dino-stars of the film include two discoveries by Perot Museum scientists – Pachyrhinosaurus and Nanuqsaurus. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, this film runs approximately 20 minutes and will amaze and delight audiences of all ages.
- Meerkats 3D (May 22 – Sept. 7, 2015 Filmed over the course of a year, Meerkats 3D follows an extraordinary – not to mention adorable – family that stands just 12 inches tall. Discover how these tiny but strong creatures survive in the harsh desert, led by the family’s tenacious matriarch, Klinky. Her daunting task is to both protect her offspring and produce more pups to ensure the family’s survival for generations to come. Together, this family of 20 will battle a rival gang to protect their territory, their pups and their lives as they also contend with the desolate environment that is their home. The film runs approximately 20 minutes.
And extended by popular demand:
- Living in the Age of Airplanes (through Sept. 7, 2015; presented in 4K Digital) Produced and directed by Brian J. Terwilliger (One Six Right), Living in the Age of Airplanes is narrated by actor and pilot Harrison Ford and features an original score by Academy Award®-winning composer and pilot James Horner of Avatar and Titanic fame. The 4K film was shot on all seven continents in 95 locations around the globe, from remote places like the South Pole and the Maldives to historically significant sites of ancient civilizations. The narrative weaves together the profound ways that aviation has transformed our lives, connecting countries and cultures while expanding horizons and minds. Presented by National Geographic, the film runs 47 minutes.