One of our options when we bought the Dallas City Pass (highly recommended if you will be in the area) is the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Since it was Spring Break week during our visit, it was a very busy place. If you have ever been to a museum with a school class field trip, imagine that times 100! It’s a great place for kids, and those young at heart, as they have five levels of inter-active exhibits. We visited with my sister LuAnn, husband John and our niece Alicia.
The five children of former Presidential Candidate Ross Perot (yes, he is still alive) donated $50 million dollars in 2008 to purchase land in Dallas and build a museum to honor their parents. The museum opened in December of 2012.
There are eleven different exhibit halls, and one traveling exhibit, which happened to be The Journey to Space while we were there. Perhaps a future trip to Mars is in Alicia’s future?
The exhibits cover everything from the life of birds, dinosaurs, energy and drilling, gems and minerals, engineering (complete with robots that you can play with), geology, geography, weather, etc. There is something for everyone. They have a small platform that you can stand on that simulates an earthquake, and you can practice being a weather forecaster. Despite the crowds, it was a fun day.
They have a large display of cast skeletons, including this giant turtle…
A flying Pterodactyl with a small body, but large wing-span…
And Tyrannosaurus Rex, from McCone County, Montana. North America’s top predator during the Cretaceous Period, a mere 66 million years ago…
They have many large gems and minerals on display. What’s the difference between a gem and a mineral, you ask? A gem is a mineral, that has been polished or cut into facets that reflect the mineral’s crystal structure.
A mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic substance with distinct physical properties and a crystalline structure derived from its chemical composition. Not all minerals are gems, but all gems are minerals. Sort of like bourbon is a whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. Anyway, here’s a few photos. This is Scolecite, from Ahmednagar, India. The crystal system is Monoclinic.
This is a large Opal, from Opal Butte, Morrow County, Oregon. Crystal system is Amorphous.
This is Rhodochrosite, Crystal system is Trigonal. It is from the Sweet Home Mine, Mount Bross, Alma District, Colorado.
And finally, this one is Cavansite and Stilbite. Crystal system Orthohombic, from the Wahgoli Quarry in Maharashtra, India. The display of minerals was very interesting.
The museum has several 3D educational movies as well. For those with young children, they do have an area just for children 5 and under. It was nice to see so many families, with children of all ages, spending time learning.
Quote for the Day: “It is so compelling to hear how many great researchers, scientists, engineers, doctors, and educators first became interested in their chosen fields as a result of visiting a great museum of science or natural history. It is our hope that this museum can be an inspiration to the next generation of pioneers, discoverers and visionaries.” – Nancy Perot Mulford (one of the Perot’s children)