Today I was hanging out with my little brother from Big Brothers Big Sisters and the chilly weather (50s!) changed our plans a bit from what I had planned. I was planning to have us check out Coconut Grove (since I’ve trying to show him different parts of Miami) and after a few things there we were going to head to Matheson Hammock Park. Given the weather a park on the water wasn’t the best thing to be doing so I decided to check out the Miami Science Museum before doing the Grove.
My little brother had been to the Science Museum on a field trip but was excited to go again. There are a lot of exhibits that I’d expect at a science museum and others I wouldn’t! Inside there were exhibits on things like nanotechnology, energy, and moving things. Of course this being in Miami there was an exhibit on hurricanes with a focus on Hurricane Andrew. Seeing all the pictures together of Homestead and South Dade, plus TV footage was pretty surreal and powerful. We had a lot of fun trying out and goofing around with many different interactive activities.
Some of the things that we both liked most about the Miami Science Museum were that it had a Sea Lab and a Wildlife Center with a Birds of Prey exhibit. The Sea Lab had a number of tropical fish in different tanks to check out, plus a small area where you could touch and hold starfish. The big tank with tons of colorful fish definitely made me wish my one Betta wasn’t a fighting fish and could play nice with other fish…. Inside the museum there were a lot of snakes, reptiles, and spiders on display. I think my little brother and I both agreed we aren’t scared of the snakes and spiders, but definitely are creeped out by them. Still it was cool to see.
Outside in the Wildlife Center there were a number of animals to see- mostly turtles/tortoises, a crocodile, and many birds of prey. For the birds of prey the Museum serves as a raptor rehabilitation center. When a raptor (which is a bird of prey that hunts with its talons) is hurt it’s brought there where they rehabilitate the bird. First it’s usually healing the injury (such as stabilizing the bone) and giving the bird antibiotics and anti-inflammatorys, plus making sure it’s being hydrated. Then they have it practice flying in small amounts to re-gain its strength. Finally it spends time making longer distances before it can be released. There are unfortunately a few birds that need to stay permanently and they are trained to help the staff educate visitors. One of the reasons they might not be able to be rehabilitated is due to imprinting, which is where the bird sees humans instead of birds when it is first born so it thinks it’s a human and mentally can never be a bird, which is really sad. All of this info we learned during a presentation with a red-tail hawk and was one of our favorite parts. In addition to the red hawk there were bald eagles, golden eagles, and golden hawks.
The Sea Lab and Wildlife Center were one of the reasons I really enjoyed my visit and why I think the Museum has a lot to offer over usual science museums.
After we had seen all the exhibits it was perfect timing to see a show at the Planetarium on the nine planets. No matter how old I get I love the Planetarium! I love looking up at the stars and realized how long it was since I was really was able to see them unfortunately living in a high-rise in a city. I was hoping more for a big star show where we explored the night sky, but it was more a documentary on the nine planets. Still cool on the the big planetarium ceiling and some interesting info on whether Pluto is a planet or not (the name of the movie may or may not be changed to 8 planets by the end of it). The Planetarium was definitely a great addition (included in your admission) to the Science Museum trip. There are shows very often at the Planetarium, theater Wildlife Center, and more so there’s plenty to learn along with the different exhibits.
I had a great time exploring the museum and trying the different exhibits and really loved learning more about the birds of prey and seeing the Planetarium. I know my little brother enjoyed his trip too. I’m excited to visit the Science Museum when it moves into its new home at Museum Park (estimated to open in 2015). I heard it’s going to have a shark tank! For now the Museum is still a great place to visit with kids or kids at heart in it’s current location on South Miami Ave.
Miami Science Museum- 3280 South Miami Ave Miami, FL