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Perot Museum hits 1 million visitor milestone months earlier than expected
File photo of scenic exhibit manager Jon Altemus, left, and Mario Armenta putting the final touches on a display at the of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science during a media preview in Dallas.
DALLAS, TX.- Less than eight months since its December 1 debut to the general public, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science has topped the 1 million mark in visitors coming through the doors, a milestone reached much earlier than museum officials anticipated. Additionally, the Perot Museum has served more than 90,000 through off-site experiences, including its ScienceCast distance-learning programs, educational programs taught in school auditoriums and classrooms, and the Portable Universe planetarium programs.

"We opened the Perot Museum on December 1 knowing there was a gap in science education, and we hoped the new museum would play a major role in filling it,” said Nicole Small, Eugene McDermott chief executive officer of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. "We are absolutely thrilled that people from across North Texas, the state and even the world have so enthusiastically embraced our mission to inspire minds through nature and science."

Since opening, the Perot Museum has played host to visitors who’ve participated in over a million visitor experiences – from engaging in activities and displays in the 11 exhibit halls and viewing films in The Hoglund Foundation Theater, to participating in spring break and summer camps, sleepovers, birthday parties, public programs, and adult social gatherings and evening events. While the majority of patrons come from the North Texas area, as word gets out about the Perot Museum, a growing number are traveling to Dallas from states across the Southwest, from both coasts, and dozens of countries representing every continent in the world.

"In watching the travel review sites, it’s really fun to see where visitors are coming from and their impressions,” said Small. "In the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen visitors from Kenya, Pakistan, Scotland and most parts of the U.S."

During popular holidays and on many weekends, the Perot Museum has sold out. Its camp programs, adult programs and more have typically sold out within weeks and sometimes days within being announced.

"Who ever heard of a science museum selling out? The idea that people of all ages – from cradle to gray – are getting really jazzed about science and finding it compelling is what we hoped for all along,” said Small. Who knows, maybe we’ll play a role in one or more of those children someday becoming a future Nobel Laureate, the next Steve Jobs or the person to cure cancer?"

Because of the sell-outs and because the Perot Museum is selling timed tickets, visitors – including Perot Museum members – are encouraged to get tickets online in advance at perotmuseum.org.

Perot Museum vice president of programs Steve Hinkley also reports that more than 200,000 children have participated in nearly 3,000 interactive Museum programs – through field trips, distance learning, and public and in-school education programs.

"Of those, over 80,000 were students from 25 school districts, who, without the scholarship support received from our generous donors, wouldn’t have been able to experience the Museum,” said Hinkley.

This summer visitors also have explored Recycle Reef, a Museum-curated temporary exhibit on display through August 25 that allows visitors to learn about recycling and participate in building an underwater-themed exhibit using recyclable materials. Also, Plastiki, a 60-foot catamaran made of 12,500 recycled bottles and other recyclable materials, is on display in the outdoor plaza through September 9. Also available are two 3D films – Waking the T. rex 3D: The Story of SUE, which explores the story of SUE, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found; and Wildest Weather in the Solar System 3D, a National Geographic film that lets viewers witness the most powerful and mysterious weather phenomena in the solar system.

Hinkley adds that later this summer the museum will announce details regarding several upcoming traveling exhibitions.

"As a science museum, our goal is to continue to expand the horizons and challenge our visitors with new experiences and content, and we believe these traveling exhibitions will accomplish that in a big way," said Hinkley.

Small acknowledges that the first eight months have been an exciting learning experience for the Museum as well.

"The Perot Museum staff is very grateful to have so many visitors engaging with us, writing us letters, sending us emails and making calls about what they like and love as well as things they think we can do better,” said Small.





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