Dallas now has a shiny new place to play, think and learn. After 10 years of planning, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science made its debut on Dec. 1, complete with massive ribbon cutting and a breathtaking "vertical dance" by BANDALOOP down the 14-story cubical exterior of the museum.
Named for Margot and Ross Perot, whose grown children donated $50 million to the project, the museum spotlights both the natural and man-made worlds, with exhibits on earth and space, life and natural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences and engineering.
Looking like a gigantic floating cube with striated sides, the building makes an impact before you even step inside. 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thorn Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects designed the space as a living example of engineering, technology and sustainability. A rainwater collection system supplies 100% of the museum's irrigation needs, and 74% of its other non-drinking water with run-off water from the roof and parking lot.
The Perot even has a zero debt footprint, reaching its $185 million fundraising goal more than a year before opening. On opening day, it was debt free and required no public funding.
What's Inside: Highlights
Five floors, 11 permanent exhibit halls and 180,000 square feet.
Moody Family Children's Museum -- Indoor/outdoor exploration space for babies, toddlers and preschoolers
Sports Hall -- Try to outrun a T-Rex or out-throw your favorite sports pro.
Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall -- See the science that goes into music making and robot building. The robots even fight!
Being Human Hall -- Play scientist and explore our inner workings
The Rees-Jones Foundation Dynamic Earth Hall -- Recreate natural weather events, from tornados to earthquakes.
Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall -- Mega gems, towering geodes and how crystals are born
Expanding Universe Hall -- See incredible pics from the Hubble and more from outer space
T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall -- Handle fossil replicas to answer ancient mysteries and check out the new species discovered by a Perot doc.
Photo Gallery: Tour the Perot Exhibit Halls
Grand Opening: Perot Museum of Nature and Science