June 9, 2002
The Miami Museum of Science is an interactive museum of hands-on exhibits that are powerful learning tools for young people. They constantly have rotating temporary exhibits, and have permanent exhibits and a planetarium. They have an observatory and have viewings on certain evenings, but our visit was in midday.
The first thing we saw was a planetarium show, since there was one about to start when we arrived, and they were highly recommended by the museum staff. It was on the history of the solar system, and I found it to be very dated, like watching old history films in school.
One of the temporary exhibits on our visit (and one of our favorite things in the museum) were of dinosaurs constructed from salvaged steel by artist John Payne. There are several large (life size?) sculptures of dinosaur skeletons that visitors can move and control with levers that raise and turn their heads and open and close their huge jaws using pulleys and levers. A utility pole was used to make the backbone of T-Rex, and its 100 pound jaw is controlled with levers, pulleys and springs from a garage door. It was kind of haunting seeing those big figures move.
There were interactive displays and computers with the exhibit where kids could relate shapes, sounds, textures and color to dinosaurs.
Another temporary exhibit we saw demonstrated atoms and electricity in an "Addam’s Family" horror house theme (remember the old TV show?) called "The Atoms Family." In it, they had interactive exhibits on static electricity and other examples of the behavior and awesome power of atoms.
Another area had an interactive physics exhibit that was a long chain of puzzles that dropped bowling balls, lifted ping pong balls, and made lots of noise like the kids cartoon Inspector Gadget.
A permanent exhibit in the museum is the "Smithsonian Expeditions: Exploring Latin America and the Caribbean," which highlight historical Smithsonian Expeditions across South America and the Caribbean, complete with real and reproduction artifacts. Very neat.
After walking through the temporary and permanent exhibits, you reach the rear of the museum, where there is an outdoor wildlife center. In it, they rehabilitate injured birds and reptiles (snakes and turtles), and there is a fragrant butterfly garden.
After seeing all the exhibits, you can visit their cool gift shop, with lots of educational toys and souvenirs.
The Miami Museum of Science and Space is located in Miami between Miami Beach and Coconut Grove. To get there from Miami Beach take one of the causeways over to Biscayne Boulevard (US-1) and turn left to go south, and turn left on South Miami Avenue, and follow the signs.
From journal Miami...