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Don't hate Miami because it's beautiful. The city has brains too

Patti Nickell, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Travel News

Descend one level down to the Dive, and you can experience -- without getting wet -- the majesty of undersea life. Some 30 aquariums offer a peek into a living coral reef and the millions of organisms, from colorful coral to multi-hued fish, that inhabit it.

Finally, venture into the Deep, a mysterious undersea domain where graceful jellyfish engage in aquatic ballets. The aquarium experience ends with a chance to observe sharks and other denizens of the deep through the prism of a 31-foot oculus lens.

As dazzling as the aquarium is, the nucleus of the museum is the science exhibits, which range from prehistoric dinosaurs to space-age technology (the Feathers to the Stars exhibit shows both ends of the spectrum).

No doubt every visitor will have his/her favorite exhibit -- mine was Brain: The Inside Story, which takes one on an interactive journey through the human brain.

End the day with a show at the 250-seat planetarium where six 3D projectors and surround sound create a stunning, sensory-filled spectacle. I was so impressed I went back for an evening performance of "To Space and Back," a one-hour laser show where planets collided and meteors showered, all choreographed to the music of Queen.

There is so much to see and do at the Frost that you may find the half-day you had planned just isn't enough time.

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ART AND DRAMA

Just across Museum Park from the Frost Science Center is Miami's flagship contemporary art museum, Perez Art Museum. With a focus on 20th and 21st century art from the Atlantic Rim (the Americas, Western Europe and Western Africa), it has 1,800 works encompassing painting, sculpture, video, photography and installation art.

While well-known artists such as Diego Rivera are represented, much of the focus is on works resulting from the Cuban diaspora, with artists such as Jose Bedia Valdes and Wilfredo Lam.

The sleek exterior of the waterside museum is as artistic as the works inside. The three-story building has a wide canopy, creating a shaded veranda, complete with a hanging garden that serves to merge the indoor and outdoor spaces.

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