One way to describe Royal Caribbean’s new gift to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in downtown Miami is to multiply the number of gallons of seawater in its three-level aquarium – 500,000 – by $2, and then throw in some more for good measure.
For that neighborly largesse – a total $1.2 million – the top level is now known as the Royal Caribbean Vista, a place where visitors can look eye-to-eye with hammerhead sharks and learn about mangroves, a coastal plant that actually likes saltwater.
“Miami has been our home for nearly 50 years,” says Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “It has been wonderful to see and be a part of what Frost Science has built to better serve our community.
“We are delighted to help the museum deepen Miami’s connection with the environment and our unique ecosystem.”
That encompasses the Gulf Stream, coral reefs, mangrove forests, sandy shores, the Everglades and Florida Bay, all of which is represented in the museum and some of which can be seen from the expansive, sheltered outdoor deck surrounding the aquarium’s open surface.
In announcing RCL’s gift, the museum also says it will team up with the cruiseline on several initiatives including habitat restoration and support for community access.
Another primary draw for the museum is a 3D planetarium that allows 250 viewers under its 67-foot dome to view more than the celestial bodies that once were the sole purview of such facilities.
Frost Science’s version allows visitors to explore things as small as human DNA and brain synapses and as massive as Jupiter and other planets.
“New advances in projection technology can take us into the human body or the depths of the ocean,” the museum’s curator of astronomy, Dr. Jorge Perez-Gallego, told Sound & Communications, an AV tech company. “So, we can talk about many different aspects and fields of science. “We can see the moon, and we can go to Mars and Jupiter. We can also go beyond the solar system and peer into the galaxy. We’re very happy to have one of the best planetariums in the world,” one of just 13 like it around the globe.
The aquarium, which now carries the Royal Caribbean imprimatur on its top level, allows visitors on the lowest tier to watch the varied life forms inside through an enormous oculus up through all three levels to the open sky above.
Since it opened nearly a year ago, Frost Science has attracted more than 750,000 guests, already making it one of the most visited institutions in South Florida.
“Contributions from major corporations and local industries allow Frost Science to continue creating compelling informal science experiences that inspire learning and innovation,” says Frank Steslow, the museum’s president and CEO. “This generous funding will enhance the museum’s ability to develop and execute world-class exhibitions, programs and curriculums on a global scale.”
Besides explorations of the sea and sky, much of the rest of the facility is dedicated to a panoply of other aspects in the world of science. For more information, visit Frost Science’s website.