9 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

9 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The inside of the large, cube-shaped stone building standing 14 stories tall in the heart of historic downtown Dallas is filled with wonder. At the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, visitors can explore the universe, gaze at gigantic gems, experience an earthquake, analyze their jumpshot, and so much more. Here’s what you’ll want to know BEFORE you head to this engaging educational museum in Texas. 

A special thanks to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for inviting me to experience its engaging interactive museum in Dallas. Although the museum provided my daughter and me with complimentary general admission tickets, we purchased our lunch at the museum. But you can count on me to always share my honest opinions, regardless of who foots the bill.

Fueled by a generous donation from the five adult children of Ross and Margot Perot, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science merged the Dallas Museum of Natural History, Science Place, and Dallas Children’s Museum into a mega-museum. Since its opening in December 2012, the non-profit Perot Museum of Nature and Science has been focused on inspiring the next generation of star seekers, fossil finders, robotics engineers, and other science and technology experts. Here’s what you can expect when you spend a day at this exciting, educational, and engaging museum in the heart of historic downtown Dallas, Texas.

Sage Advice:  Save on admission to the Perot Museum and other top Dallas attractions with the Dallas CityPASS. How much will you really save? I did the math.

Visitors can explore the oil and gas industry and related careers when they visit the Perot Museum.


Watch paleontologists process recently discovered fossils at the Perot Museum in Dallas Texas.
Watch paleontologists process recently discovered fossils or see assembled dinosaur skeletons in the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall at the Perot Museum in Dallas.

1. The Perot Museum in Dallas is HUGE!

Texans like to say, “everything is bigger in Texas.” Apparently that includes their museums, because the Perot Museum of Nature and Science has five spacious floors with eleven permanent exhibits that fill a 180,000-square-foot space.

Start your visit by taking the T. rexcalator to the fourth floor. The continuous flow escalator initially pulls visitors up a glass-enclosed structure that extends outside the building toward a T. rex skeleton. Jump off the escalator and snap a selfie with a ferocious dinosaur or gaze up at the gigantic fossil skeleton of an Alamosaurus and learn more about a new species of dinosaur discovered in Alaska by Perot Museum paleontologists.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is one of the greenest museums in the country.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is one of the greenest museums in the country.

2. It’s One of the Greenest Museums in the US

Founded by the Chicago-based Pritzker family via its Hyatt Foundation in 1979, the Pritzker Architecture Prize is the architectural world’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. And the 2005 winner, Thom Mayne, designed the Perot Museum. Called “the boldest piece of modern architecture to hit Dallas” by the Dallas Morning News, the building looks like a giant textured cube letting down a crystal drawbridge. And I wish I’d known that the Perot Museum offers building tours on select weekend days throughout the month.

But whether or not you see a modern masterpiece when you behold the building’s cubed exterior, you can feel good about the reduced carbon footprint associated with that shape versus a typical rectangular building. In addition to a soaring glass atrium that leverages natural light to its fullest, the Perot Museum incorporates light wells that fill interior rooms like the learning labs with natural light, reducing the dependency on artificial lighting.

Additionally, the museum’s roof is designed to collect rainwater in two 25,000-gallon cisterns. The water is used for the museum’s plumbing and the grounds’ irrigation needs. And all of the building’s water is heated by solar panels.

3. The Perot Museum is Easily Accessible via Alternative Transportation

Although our party of six arrived at the Perot Museum via Lyft, the building’s location in Victory Park near historic downtown Dallas makes it easy to visit using public transportation. Known as DART, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system includes both buses and a light rail.

If you’re staying in downtown Dallas, you can also walk or bike to the science museum via the Katy Trail.

Louise tests her eye-hand coordination at the Perot Museum.
My daughter Louise tests her eye-hand coordination at an interactive experience at the Perot Museum.

4. It’s Incredibly Interactive

Americans are long past the days of “look, but don’t touch” science museums, especially those that want to inspire the next generation of STEM majors. But while many museums feature interactive exhibits, I can’t think of one as interactive as the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (and I visit a lot of museums).

Every exhibit has some sort of “please touch” experience incorporated into the experience, from dancing with dinosaurs to experiencing an earthquake, from interactive games and puzzles to racing a professional athlete.

5. The Perot Museum Offers Unique Exhibits

Yes, dinosaur skeletons are impressive. Of course, standing nose to nose with a moose is amazing. Who doesn’t think visiting another planet in our solar system would be out of this world? But many nature and science museums around the world feature exhibits that are quite similar to one another. 

What makes the Perot Museum of Nature and Science stand out as an extraordinary museum are experiences like:

  • dancing with digital dinosaurs,
  • running like a paralympic super star, 
  • examining a Nobel Prize, 
  • experiencing an earthquake of varying magnitudes, 
  • racing a professional athlete, 
  • and so much more!

And these unique and interactive exhibits were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in any other museum in the world.

After studying a prosthetic leg at the Perot Museum in Dallas
After studying a prosthetic leg...
...Louise had a chance to try walking and running with one.

6. They Have Deliciously Healthy Options for Lunch

After exploring the Perot Museum for about an hour, our stomachs started growling. I expected the on-site cafe to only offer a typical kids meal menu featuring hot dogs, chicken tenders, and French fries. Those options are definitely available, but so are a variety of deliciously healthy soups, salads, paninis, and grab-and-go options.

After our visit, I discovered that the Perot Café (as well as the events held at the Perot Museum) are managed by the Wolfgang Puck Food Company, a worldwide food service organization named after the Austrian-American chef. No wonder everything was so delicious! 

Fun Fact:  Keeping with the Perot Museum’s green certifications, the café uses reusable and biodegradable materials.

7. The Staff at the Perot Museum is Amazing

Our group’s situation when we visited the Perot Museum was a bit unique as we arrived directly from the airport with six carry-on suitcases and six backpacks in tow. While the museum regularly cordons off a 90-degree angle of the cube-shaped, sun-drenched atrium for the sack lunches brought in by field trippers, the space isn’t really set up for luggage storage. But the staffer monitoring the area went out of her way to carve out room for our belongings under the T. Rexcalator. It gave us the peace of mind we needed to fully explore the massive museum without worrying about our luggage.

Sage Advice:  If you’re seeking a more secure option to stow your luggage while visiting the Perot Museum, look for a Vertoe location nearby.

Throughout our visit, there were just the right number of staffers sprinkled among the exhibits and an incredibly sweet and patient woman in the café who guided my eight-year-old niece to the bins for recycling and landfill as she cleared her place after lunch.

Learn all about weather patterns at the Perot Museum in Dallas TX

8. If You Visit the Perot Museum on a School Day, Stay Past 2:00 pm

Because we visited the Perot Museum on a weekday, it was filled with local school children enjoying a field trip to the exciting and interactive science museum.

But when the students queued up to board the school buses shortly after our late lunch, we had the place practically to ourselves. So we retraced our steps, starting with an escalator ride all the way to the fourth floor, and revisited the entire museum. This time, the lines to the interactive exhibits were practically non-existent. And in the less crowded environment, we saw new things that we had missed the first time.

Related Article:  How to Take Your Child Out of School to Travel (Without Making Enemies)

Once the buses were loaded up with field trippers headed back to school, I saw a heck of a lot of grown-ups racing professional athletes with their kids at the Perot Museum in Dallas.

9. The Perot Museum is Fun for All Ages

Some adults may think of interactive educational museums as experiences that are primarily for children. But not only were my mom, sister, and I sucked into the exhibits at the Perot Museum, so were many other adults visiting that day. Moms sat down at remote controllers to race erector set vehicles against their kids, and dads attempted to throw a game-winning touchdown pass like their favorite quarterback in the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall. 

My sister and I each dragged our middle-aged selves into the sprint lane on the left side of the sports hall to join our middle school-aged daughters (and a professional athlete). And I posed for a pic with the ferocious dinosaur at the top of the T. Rexcalator thanks to my oldest niece. After all, one 13-year-old girl’s embarrassing mother is another young teen’s cool aunt.

To Visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Perot Museum Address. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is located at the intersection of N. Field and Broom Streets at 2201 N. Field St. in Dallas, Texas. 

Perot Museum Hours. The Perot Museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Sundays, the museum opens an hour later, beginning at 11:00 am.

Perot Museum Parking. The main parking lot for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is located under the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Non-member parking is $10, but museum members can enjoy a discounted rate of just $5.

Perot Museum Tickets. Save on tickets to the Perot Museum and other popular Dallas attractions by purchasing a Dallas CityPASS. How much will you actually save with the Dallas CityPASSI did the math.

Sage Advice: The museum offers free admission days throughout the year. Learn more and discover other family-friendly free things to do in Dallas.

Have You Visited the Perot Museum of Nature and Science?

What did you like most about your visit to the Perot Museum in Dallas? Any additional tips and tricks to pass along? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Texas Longhorn at Sunset


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10 thoughts on “9 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science”

  1. Love the fact that it is a green museum :D! It really does look huge! My boyfriend is still a big kid and he would love all the interactive parts, I would struggle to bring him back home haha!

  2. Great article ! I have to say the details were really great. I never even heard of the Perot Museum before I read this. I feel if I ever make it to Dallas it would be something to see. Here is DC I have been to smithsonian museum so many times on my kids school trips I could probably give the tour myself. So its nice to see what other Museums have to offer.

  3. It looks like you had an awesome time at the Perot. I agree with you, it is massive! Aren’t most things in Texas though? 😉 We love how interactive the exhibits are. It really draws in adults and kids!

  4. I love visiting museums, especially ones with a lot of interactive exhibits. I would probably be one of those adults doing the racing activity, haha! I think your tip about staying after 2pm is a good one for a lot of big museums. I was just in one in Nashville and it was crazy with school groups during the day, but I had the place almost to myself after they left.

    1. You TOTALLY need to race the professional athlete at the Perot Museum! What museum were you at in Nashville? We’ll be there this summer and (obviously) I’m a total museum girl!

  5. The Perot Museum is my kinda place! I love museums where you can spend the day exploring and engaging with interactive exhibits. I especially liked seeing “Lucy” and the evolution skulls! Thanks for these great tips. They will come in very handy when I visit!

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