Adults-only nights are coming soon to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and many North Texans 21 and older will be racing to try something special: the museum’s newly revamped speed wall.
Thursdays on Tap — a 6-10 p.m. experience exclusively for ages 21 and up — arrives at Le Perot from March 24 through October 13. Adults can explore the museum after hours and enjoy live music, drinks, and local food trucks. companies. They will also have full access to all exhibit halls, including, for a limited time only, the Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks exhibit, presented by Highland Capital Philanthropies.
Plus, a lot of those adults will be wearing athletic shoes, because, you know…Speed wall:
OK, what is the speed wall?
I’m glad you asked. The speed wall is in the museum’s Lamar Hunt Family Gym. It is a 55 foot long video wall along two artificial turf running lanes. The Run Exhibit was originally created by Dallas-based interactive design agency 900lbs for the museum’s opening in 2012. The agency also contributed design, architecture, technology and exhibit materials.
For years, kids and adults alike have raced dinosaurs and other creatures racing across the video wall. But for the Perot’s 10th anniversary this month, 900 pounds kicked things up a notch.
Now with Patrick Mahomes, Moriah Jefferson of the Dallas Wings and more
Just in time for a 10th Anniversary Groundbreaking Ceremony earlier this month, 900lbs added to the wall a long list of athletes with local ties, including the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes; Team USA sprinter Ronnie Baker; FC Dallas Midfielder Paxton Pomykal; Team Canada Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball Athlete Elodie Tessier; WNBA Dallas Wings Guard Moria Jefferson; Tex Hooper, the FC Dallas mascot; and national champion track star Nathalie Cook.
You can race these athletes by taking your mark and waiting for your signal to try and beat them in the lane.
“The large-scale visual content and the evolving nature of that content makes this exhibit special,” Steve Deitz, Founder and CEO of 900lbs, told Dallas Innovates. “The interactive ability to choose between athletes and 3D animated creatures keeps kids and audience spinning in circles as they select new competitors to race. Immersive audio design and time tracking make the experience competitive while the spectators applaud.
A lot of technology has entered this wall
Every athlete’s run may seem fast, but it took a lot of time and 900-pound technology to create it.
“900lbs and our production team film the athletes through a highly technical video production process for life-size motion capture,” Deitz said. “In the beginning, there was a significant amount of R&D involved. Extensive post-production and visual effects are required to bring the athletes to their final form.
This same effort was made to make a T Rex race on the speed wall. To achieve this, 900lbs has created a series of large-scale life-size 3D animals over the years, including a cheetah, the world’s fastest animal.
But the T Rex is every kid’s favorite CG creature.
“We used the original model from the first ‘Jurassic Park’ movie when we modeled the dinosaur,” Deitz said. “Paleontologists assisted our team throughout the animation and editing process.”
The same work went into creating a Speed Wall version of a 40-foot-long underwater mosasaur (dinosaur), Tylosaurus.
900lbs has created other Speed Walls since the Perot’s
Since creating the Speed Wall at Le Perot, 900lbs has since created two more, for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. A fourth is coming soon to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Each exhibit features unique content with top athletes and 3D animated animals.
More 10th Anniversary Celebrations Coming Soon
The Perot Museum said the unveiling of the revamped wall of speed was the first of 10 community celebrations the museum will hold this year, marking a decade of impact. The vision for “Perot 2.0” revolves around inspiring even more young minds in nature and science, by closing the STEM learning gap exacerbated by the pandemic and removing barriers to access “to develop the most diverse STEM workforce in the nation – right here in Dallas,” the museum says.
More info on Thursdays on tap with Perot is available here.
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