North Texas was apparently starved for a science museum. Since opening December 1, 2012, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has been overwhelmed with visitors. My grandson Stephen and I spent four hours there on Monday, January 7, thinking that the holiday crowding would have eased. Good thing we went early. The first couple of hours were reasonably comfortable and Stephen LOVED the construction site in the children’s section. By lunchtime, we were threading through huge crowds and the cafe was mobbed. Stephen and I stood in line in the Sports Hall so that we could try running as fast as one of the Cowboys running backs (Stephen beat me and ran almost as fast as Felix Jones). Exhibits of petroleum drilling and geodes were so fascinating that we stayed until mid-afternoon and look forward to returning in the future.
The building itself provides science education with visibly identified air and water systems. The architect, Thom Mayne, has produced a building that is exciting outside and inside. Surely the traffic flow will be adjusted so that one doesn’t have to go through the initial entry line three times, like we did. As at the Newseum in Washington, Wolfgang Puck is the caterer. The food quality is excellent, but who chose those tippy pedestal tables and stuffed so many of them into an inadequate space? Had the volunteers had training in crowd control or were they simply overwhelmed by the response? In short, I found myself missing and appreciating the finely-tuned lay-outs and services (not to mention the free admission) of Washington’s Smithsonian Museums.