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The Short Version: Whether it’s your first date or you’ve spent half a century together visiting arts and cultural institutions, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, delivers a one-of-a-kind journey into learning that’s sure to impress. Opened in 2012 in Victory Park near downtown, the museum welcomes nearly 1 million visitors per year and has become a popular spot for traveling exhibits, fun-themed museum nights, and unique weddings. As Director of Public Relations and Communications Krista Villarreal Moore told us, the museum’s mission is to inspire minds, making it an ideal location to connect with your significant other while experiencing the world through the lens of science.
Funded by a $50 million donation by the five Perot children in honor of their parents, Margot and Ross, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science features five floors housing 11 permanent exhibit halls containing state-of-the-art video, life-like simulators, hands-on activities, and educational games. The museum is also home to a 297-seat 3-D theater, café, outdoor play space, and shop, offering something for science lovers and fun seekers of all kinds.
“We welcome everyone from families with infants to older couples coming in the afternoon,” said Krista Villarreal Moore, the museum’s Director of Public Relations and Communications. “We are a community resource for learners of all ages, and we have a pretty good mix of locals and tourists. It’s sort of fun to be a new force in Dallas, but at the same time we’ve very quickly become a must-do.”
With nearly 3,000 reviews on TripAdvisor and listed as the “#5 thing to do in Dallas” (out of 248 listings), the museum prides itself on one-on-one customer service and creating one-of-a-kind experiences for its patrons. Making it all happen are the hundreds of full- and part-time staff and 1,500-plus volunteers seeking to help others further their knowledge.
For many, the museum is not just a hot spot for fun educational activities and learning opportunities — it’s also a great way to share a love of science and nature with someone special.
“We are a science and nature museum, and our mission is to inspire minds,” Krista said. “When you’re in the early stages of a relationship, you’re seeing the world with a new lens. Our museum is a fun atmosphere to connect with another person and be inspired in a new way.”
With 180,000 square feet of space and standing at 170 feet tall, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a wonderful date venue for science enthusiasts. Walking into the main lobby, visitors are immediately greeted by a 35-foot Malawisaurus fossil — the first of many conversation pieces daters will encounter on journeys through the museum.
“I think there is something to having an enriching experience with another person — whether you’re just getting to know them or have been together a really long time,” Krista said. “When you learn together, I think there’s a special connection that is made — especially when it’s learning and having fun at the same time, which is what we’re all about.”
The museum’s many permanent exhibit halls present varied subject matter that is attractive to a range of visitor types. For families, the Moody Family Children’s Museum and Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall offer engaging exhibits that can be enjoyed by all ages. But all of the museums spaces — from the Discovering Life and Being Human Halls to the Texas Instrument Engineering and Innovation and Expanding Universe Halls — are ideal for bonding with a date or companion while learning something new.
“We also do a lot of temporary or traveling exhibitions that rotate,” Krista said. “For example, right now we have Journey To Space traveling exhibition. It’s a fun exhibit to go to with someone you care about. It’s all about what it takes to live and work in space with a lot of hands-on exhibits that can be done as a couple.”
When some people think of first dates, upscale steakhouses or expensive French restaurants come to mind — but there’s a way to buck that trend and take your new love interest to a nature and science museum for cocktails and conversation.
The most popular event held at the Perot Museum is Social Science, which Krista said is “perfect for a date night or fun evening with friends.” Held five times per year, the 21-and-up event is a great way to discover the museum after hours for a special night filled with innovative experiments, signature cocktails, dynamic performances, engaging discussions, and intriguing interactions.
Krista told us each event is centered around a specific theme, and the line-up of topics get more interesting every year.
“This year, our themes are Experimental, Formulate, Being Human, Prehistoric, and Maker,” she said. “This is by far our most popular event, and they always sell out. It’s just a really fun way to explore the museum after hours with no kids and a cocktail in your hand.”
With one of the most recognizable buildings in Dallas designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne and constructed by Balfour Beatty Construction, the Perot Museum has become a sought-after locale for marriage proposals, wedding ceremonies, and receptions.
“One of the things that we get a lot of interest for globally is our architecture,” Krista said. “Our glass-encased escalator is on the outside of the building, so as you’re going up, you get a tour of downtown Dallas. We’ve had quite a few proposals on the escalator and several in front of the museum’s giant heart-shaped amethyst.”
Located in Victory Park, adjacent to the West End Historic District and near some of the city’s best hotels, the museum hosts dozens of weddings each year. The museum’s event rentals page outlines, level by level, how many guests the halls can accommodate and presents photos of past weddings that can work as inspiration for your big day.
“Our event staff transforms the museum in a memorizing way for some of the most unique and interesting wedding pictures I’ve ever seen,” Krista said. “Weddings can accommodate up to several hundred guests and we do both ceremonies and receptions. Some of our most popular spaces include the Gems & Minerals Hall, the Lobby, which is covered on both sides with windows, the Dinosaur Hall, and the Outdoor Plaza.”
The mission at the Perot Museum is simple and important — to “inspire minds through nature and science.” While many of us are attached to our digital devices and are increasingly taking less and less time to look to the outward world for inspiration, arts and cultural institutions like the Perot Museum create a sense of wonderment and exploration that we are otherwise lacking in our daily lives.
That’s just one of the reasons why spending a day at the museum is a great way to get to know someone.
“The museum itself is the biggest attraction,” Krista said. “From exciting your brain to having a playful side of science, we have it all here in one space. I think it’s an amazing date night or date day. We see couples kind of ribbing each other like, ‘Ha ha, you didn’t get that, right?’ or ‘I beat you at this.’ It’s fun.”