By Bianca Peters

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) –The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is now officially open to the public.

Local leaders including Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez joined in the opening day festivities of cutting the ribbon.

“Today, Miami is the science capital of our nation,”  said Dr. Richard Kurin with the Smithsonian Institute during the opening ceremony.

Philip and Patricia who donated nearly $45 million to this project were among the attendees for the ribbon cutting.

“We also hope that among the millions of people who wander through here over the years, there are going to be a few geniuses whose genius gets sparked by the visit and that’ll be a big deal for the world,” said Philip Frost.

The first 100 science lovers showed up opening day and received an annual pass for it. It’s something they say was worth waking up early for. The first family in line told CBS4’s Bianca Peters, they got to the museum at about 4:30 a.m.

There’s lots of excitement about what will be one of the most sophisticated science and technology museums in the nation.

Focus On South Florida: Frost Museum of Science

The 25,000-square-foot facility is comprised of four buildings, combining a planetarium, an aquarium and science museum all on one campus, both inside and out.

The “Vista Level” of the museum is meant to show all of the ecosystems in Florida. It’s got a 500,000 gallon Gulfstream aquarium that spans three levels with devil rays and sand sharks.

“It’s shaped like a cone and the reason for that is we wanted slanted walls on the exhibit to help us keep pelagic species like small tuna, the hammerhead sharks and the devil rays,” said Andy Dehart, vice president of Animal Husbandry.

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Inside, the “River of Grass” is an interactive experience that will bring out the child in all of us. It’s state-of-the-art light and sound technology where explorers go inside the Everglades, while baby alligators chase you, animals spot you and mosquitoes trouble you.

In the “Seeing Exhibit,” among many things, real robots are programmed to see the subject and actually draw their face from memory, not from a picture.

The 250-seat, cutting-edge Planetarium transports visitors to another world. It features a 16 million color visual system, using six projectors and surround sound to create a 360 degree view for all guests.

“This is just the beginning. We are going to open many new exhibits in the coming weeks and continually bring in new things as well. This is just the start” said Frost Museum President Frank Steslow.

The museum is located at 1101 Biscayne Boulevard. It’s open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $28 for adults and $20 for kids aged 3 to 11. Children under 2-years-old get in free. Miami-Dade County residents get 15 percent off the daily admission ticket.

Click here to learn more about the museum.


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