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Perot Museum is a new Dallas gem

The staircase that goes toward the roof as seen from the outside with a tour group below
The staircase that goes toward the roof as seen from the outside with a tour group below
Sue Masaracchia-Roberts

Where in Texas can you see prehistoric tyrannosaurs, sauropods, ceratopsians, ornithomimids and raptors in addition to raw gemstones, medical advances, facts about the solar system and scientific developments on earth all under one roof?

A view of the Perot Museum in Dallas
Sue Masaracchia-Roberts

Open only since December 2012, the 180,000 square foot Perot Museum of Nature and Science, located in Victory Park in downtown Dallas, offers interactive and hands-on learning experiences for individuals, families and school groups. Built from a generous endowment from the Perot family and contributions from other donors, the museum was created to expose people of all ages to concepts in science, math and technology in one location. Using interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations and rich contextual displays, the museum hopes to inspire children to become future scientific leaders. To further its reach outside its walls, the museum website also includes downloadable teachers’ guides.

From this modern sustainable structure’s intriguing architectural design throughout its labyrinth of displays, this is worth at least a day to explore. Surrounded by drought-resistant plants native to Texas, the Perot includes eleven permanent exhibit halls covering five exhibit floors within a 170 foot building – equivalent to one 14 story high and has a five-year partnership with National Geographic, one of the only museums in Texas -- and one of only a handful of other museums in the nation with that affiliation. Currently, the traveling exhibit is “The World’s Largest Dinosaurs,” on display through September 1, 2014.

A hands-on biolab that enables hands-on biology experimentation is onsite, as are displays based that include active research involving paleontology, geology, minerology and zoological specimens such as birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and shells. The museums also includes specimens from the Mudge Library , a large collection of rare and important ornithological and zoological books, as well as its own collection records and historical archives. The permanent exhibits include

According to the museum website, “An alarming 79 percent of twelfth graders in the US are not proficient in science. The museum provides the resources we need to improve this statistic and maintain a competitive edge in the world. . . [and] reminds us that . . . the world actually revolves around the sun and not us.”

Admission ranges from $10-$15, but children under two are admitted free. Additional admission is required for the films available int he Hoglund Foundation Theater and range from $5 to $8.