The Perot Museum of Nature and Science opens to the public on Dec. 1, 2012.

Three museums in Dallas have combined into the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, complete with a full-sized dinosaur reconstruction (an Alamosaurus to be specific), an earthquake floor and an entire hall dedicated to sports.

The children of Ross and Margot Perot donated $50 million in 2008 to make the museum, which cost roughly $190 million in total, a reality. The finished 4.7 acre site is a combination of the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children’s Museum.

Inside the Perot Museum of Nature and Science Being Human Hall.

The museum contains one exhibit I am particularly excited about — an EEG sensor-powered machine that lets visitors use their brain waves to send ping-pong balls through a chute. The exhibit was produced at the Science Museum of Minnesota and will be a permanent exhibit at the Perot Museum:

Brain Power from D H on Vimeo.

The museum’s earthquake shake floor runs three separate earthquake scenarios, a mild one modeled after a quake that took place in Texas, a moderate quake modeled after the 1994 earthquake just outside of Los Angeles and then a quake merely known as “the extreme.”

A view of the exhibit that lets visitors control a ping-pong ball with their brain waves.

“It’s a lot easier to teach plate tectonics when you’re standing on an earthquake shake floor,” said museum CEO Nicole Small.

According to Small, the museum is dedicated to making the connection for visitors “between that ah-hah moment, and what you can do with it.”

The museum, says Small, is focused on sparking an interest in science, technology, mathematics and engineering among its visitors. In addition, said Steve Hinkley, the museum’s vice president of programs, it is meant to raise awareness — getting people to understand issues relating to science and technology that they may find themselves in a position to vote on.

A view at night from outside the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Along with the Perot children, noted oil and gas magnate and wind energy advocate T. Boone Pickens donated $10 million to the museum. His name is on the dinosaur exhibit, which is perhaps somewhat fitting.

The Dallas-based museum opens its doors to the public on Dec. 1.

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