Buzz Lightyear, Mike and Sulley, Dory, WALL•E and more are headed to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science this spring when The Science Behind Pixar exhibition takes guests to infinity and beyond with its Texas debut April 25. But before it does, the world-exclusive Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind exhibition enters its final weeks as authentic ancient human relative fossils of two recently unearthed species – named top discoveries of the last decade by National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine – return to their permanent home in South Africa after the March 22 closing. Also through March 22, the new CaveSim will give guests a chance to learn caving skills as they navigate a 60-foot simulated cave – a challenging excursion for all ages that teaches STEM concepts and environmental conservation.
Other fresh highlights this season include sleepovers, a new 3D dinosaur film opening March 7, Spring Break camps and activities, and an artificial intelligence-themed, adults-only night April 17. On April 25, aspiring animators can explore what it’s like to design and produce animated films during the career-exploration morning event, A Day in the Life: Animator. And in the spirit of being green, visitors can celebrate the 50th-annual Earth Day April 22 and then cheer on local celebrity chefs turned “food waste warriors” in a cook-off at Stop Food Waste Day April 29.
“We are thrilled to host two extraordinary exhibitions back-to-back this spring at the Perot Museum,” said Dr. Linda Silver, Eugene McDermott CEO of the Perot Museum. “Here’s your last – and possibly only – chance to see incredible ancient hominin fossils in our Origins exhibition, which features two new groundbreaking discoveries that shook up the family tree and changed what we thought we knew about evolution. And it’s no surprise that The Science Behind Pixar exhibition is generating buzz and excitement as we prepare to welcome the adored animated characters that have become cultural icons to millions of people.”
Below are details on the upcoming season:
LAST CHANCE! ORIGINS: FOSSILS FROM THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND (through March 22, 2020). Presented in English and Spanish, the 5,000-square-foot exhibition tells the stories of two amazing human ancestors: from a young boy’s stumbling upon the first specimen discovered of Au. sediba, to the breathtaking journey of six female scientists – dubbed the “underground astronauts” – who excavated the bones of H. naledi from a deep and dangerously narrow cave complex in South Africa. Guests come face-to-face with the real fossils – some as old as 1.97 million years – and even observe scientists from around the country “in action” as they study the fossils in a glass-encased visiting scholars’ lab. A 7-inch “squeeze challenge” lets visitors step into the shoes of scientists who physically navigated the tiny spaces to excavate the bones of H. naledi found underground. In addition, a backyard-sized dig site – surrounded by African taxidermy animals – lets visitors of all ages get their hands dirty during a guided fossil experience using ground-penetrating technology that field scientists rely on for fossil exploration. The Perot Museum is partnering with the University of the Witwatersrand, the custodian of the fossils, and the National Geographic Society to showcase these specimens that are traveling outside South Africa for display for the first (and likely only) time. Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind is presented by Highland Capital Management and supported locally by the Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District. Lockheed Martin is the Dig Site sponsor. A surcharge is required for members and non-members.
CAVESIM (through March 22, 2020). Invented by a caver and MIT engineer, CaveSim is a highly realistic artificial cave that teaches STEM concepts, real-life caving techniques and cave conservation through a 60-foot, multi-level passage featuring interactive electronic formations, fauna and artifacts. Computer scoring tracks which formations get “damaged” during the excursion as participants vie for “most careful caver” in a fun challenge for kids and adults. CaveSim is designed for ages 5 and up and is a fun add-on for Origins visitors. CaveSim starts at $5 for members and $7 for nonmembers.
TEXAS DEBUT! THE SCIENCE BEHIND PIXAR (April 25-Sept. 7, 2020). Enjoy a unique look into the Pixar process, and explore the science and technology behind some of the most beloved animated films and their characters with The Science Behind Pixar exhibition. Get hands on with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts used by the artists and computer scientists who help bring Pixar’s award-winning films to the big screen. With more than 50 interactive elements, the exhibition takes visitors through eight of the steps of the filmmaking process, giving an unparalleled view of the production pipeline and concepts used at Pixar every day. Participate in fun and engaging activities, listen to firsthand accounts from members of the studios’ production teams, and come face-to-face with re-creations of Pixar’s most beloved characters, from Buzz Lightyear, Dory, and Mike and Sulley, to Edna Mode and WALL•E! The Science Behind Pixar is locally presented by Highland Capital Management and locally supported by Texas Instruments. The Science Behind Pixar was developed by the Museum of Science, Boston, in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. © Disney/Pixar. All rights reserved. Used under authorization. The Science Behind Pixar exhibition requires a surcharge for members and non-members.
NATURE’S ART: THE MINERAL BEAUTY OF CHINA (through Sept. 7, 2020). A collection of more than 70 colorful minerals from China features breathtaking specimens including a crystal throne of stibnite, feet-shaped azurite and malachite, a mountainous fluorite covered in snow-like quartz, and much more in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall (included with general admission).
3D FILMS. Encounter amazing sights in 3D – from dinosaurs to tornadoes and volcanoes, to lush remote islands – in The Hoglund Foundation Theater. The spring lineup features Volcanoes 3D: The Fires of Creation (through March 6, 2020), Hidden Pacific 3D and Tornado Alley 3D (both through May 21, 2020) and Dinosaurs of Antarctica 3D (March 7- Sept. 4, 2020). To view trailers, check film schedules and buy tickets, go to perotmuseum.org/theater. Films are presented locally by Primrose Schools. Volcanoes 3D: The Fires of Creation is sponsored by The Hockaday School.
SLEEPOVERS. Ever dreamed of dozing with the dinos? Then sign up for the ultimate overnight adventure! Children ages 6-14 and their adult chaperones can get after-hours behind-the-scenes access to the Museum’s 11 exhibit halls complete with exclusive demonstrations, hands-on discovery, a late-night snack, 3D film and light breakfast to wrap the experience. Spring dates are April 4 (I Spy: Investigation) and May 1 (All Girls STEM). Sleepovers are open to groups of all sizes – from a parent and child to entire organizations. Costs range from $45-$55 per child and $30-$45 per adult chaperone.
SOCIAL SCIENCE: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Shake up date night! Adults 21 and up can explore the technology and science behind the ever-prevalent smart machines and programs used every day at Social Science: Artificial Intelligence on Friday, April 17, from 7-11 p.m. Guests can interactively explore AI, mingle with local experts, sit in on topical discussions, dance and more while imbibing signature cocktails and grubbing food by Wolfgang Puck. Tickets are $20 for members and $29 for non-members. Social Science is supported by Highland Capital Management. Please drink responsibly.
STOP FOOD WASTE DAY. Approximately 40% of food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten. If this “food waste” were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas producer in the world! In honor of Earth Day, the Perot Museum and its Wolfgang Puck Café are joining forces with Kroger for Stop Food Waste Day to raise awareness about this global food waste crisis. On April 29 from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., the public is invited to cheer local celebrity chefs as they compete in a “waste not” cook-off to create gourmet dishes with little to no leftover scraps, learn simple tips to reduce food waste, and get hands-on with live demos and fun activities with Recycle Revolution and City of Dallas Zero Waste. Free with general admission.
A DAY IN THE LIFE: ANIMATOR. Ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of an animator? What goes in to producing an animated film? How are visual effects created? On April 25 at 8:30 a.m., A Day In The Life: Animator will have guests tapping their creative side and exploring the dynamic and vibrant field of animation. Experts will be on hand sharing behind-the-scenes anecdotes and leading interactive activities in design, visual effects and illustration. Tickets – which include general admission – are $25 for members and $30 for non-members. Supported by the King family and Lockheed Martin.
EARTH DAY – 50TH ANNIVERSARY. On Saturday, April 18, Sunday, April 19, and Earth Day April 22, guests can go over new and traditional trends used to understand, research and conserve Earth’s most valuable and at-risk resources. From up-cycling (or creative reuse of items deemed traditionally un-reusable) to environmental engineering, hydrosphere demonstrations and climate discussions, visitors can learn how to enrich the community and protect the planet as they’re tasked to think globally and act locally.
Family-fun experiments, live science shows such as Dig Deeper: Atmospheric Adventure and Dig Deeper: Fire and Ice and other activities including CaveSim will be offered at select times during spring break (March 7-22). Plus, little ones ages 5 and under can enjoy spring crafts in the Moody Family Children’s Museum daily until 3 p.m. Check the website for detailed schedules. Activities are free to members and included with general admission for non-members.
From March 9-13 and March 16-20, Discovery Camp: Mini Einsteins (pre-K) and Discovery Camp: Lab Techs (K-4th grade) will keep kiddos entertained and educated during their breaks. For details, pricing and registration, go to perotmuseum.org.
HOURS. General hours of operation for the Perot Museum are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
SPRING BREAK HOURS. During spring break (March 7-22), the Museum will open early from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday with member-only hours from 8-9 a.m. Monday-Saturday and 9-10 a.m. Sunday. The Museum will resume normal hours Monday, March 23.
TICKETS. Museum general admission is $20 for adults (13-64), $13 for youth (2-12) and $18 for seniors (65+). Museum general admission is free for members. Children under 2 are always free. Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind requires a surcharge of $10 for adults (13-64) and seniors (65+), $8 for youth (2-12) and free for children under 2. Member tickets for Origins are $7 for all age levels. The Science Behind Pixar requires a surcharge of $12 for adults (13-64) and seniors (65+), $10 for youth (2-12) and free for children under 2. Member tickets for The Science Behind Pixar are $9 for all age levels.
The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field Street in Dallas, Texas. For parking information and other details, visit perotmuseum.org or call 214-428-5555.