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 to 10 p.m. experience exclusively for those 21 and up—is coming to the Perot March 24 through October 13. Adults will get to experience the museum after-hours and enjoy live music, drinks, and food trucks from local businesses. They’ll also get full access to all the exhibit halls, including, for a limited time only, the Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks exhibition, presented by Highland Capital Philanthropies.
Plus, a lot of those adults will be wearing athletic shoes, because, you know…Speed Wall:
OK, what’s the Speed Wall?
I’m glad you asked. The Speed Wall is in the museum’s Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall. It’s a 55-foot-long video wall alongside two artificial-turf running lanes. The Run Exhibit was originally created by Dallas-based interactive design agency 900lbs for the museum’s 2012 opening. The agency also contributed to the exhibit’s design, architecture, technology, and hardware.
For years, kids and adults have raced dinosaurs and other creatures running down the video wall. But for this month’s 10th anniversary of the Perot, 900lbs kicked things up a notch.
Now featuring Patrick Mahomes, the Dallas Wings’ Moriah Jefferson, and more
Just in time for a 10th anniversary ribbon-cutting ceremony early this month, 900lbs added to the wall a long list of athletes with local ties, including Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes; Team USA sprinter Ronnie Baker; FC Dallas Midfielder Paxton Pomykal; Team Canada Paralympics wheelchair basketball athlete Elodie Tessier; WNBA Dallas Wings guard Moriah Jefferson; FC Dallas Mascot Tex Hooper; and national champion track star Natalie Cook.
You can race these athletes by taking your mark and waiting for your cue to try to beat them down the lane.
“The large-scale visual content and scalable nature of that content makes this exhibit special,” 900lbs founder and CEO Steve Deitz told Dallas Innovates. “The interactive ability to choose between athletes and 3D animated creatures engages children and the audience to go round and round as they select new competitors to race. Immersive audio design and time-tracking make the experience competitive as onlookers cheer on.”
A lot of tech went into that wall
Each athlete’s run may look fast, but it took lots of time and tech for 900lbs to create it.
“900lbs and our production team films the athletes through a highly technical video production process for life-size motion capture,” Deitz said. “Early on, there was a significant amount of R&D involved. Extensive post-production and visual effects are required in order to get the athletes in their final form.”
That same effort went into making a T Rex race down the Speed Wall. To make that happen, 900lbs 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 to take on.
“We utilized the original maquette from the first ‘Jurassic Park’ movie when we modeled the dinosaur,” Deitz said. “Paleontologists helped our team throughout the animation and rigging 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 the Perot, 900lbs has since created two others, for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. A fourth one is coming soon to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Each exhibit showcases unique content with high-profile athletes and 3D animated animals.
More 10th Anniversary celebrations are coming
The Perot Museum says the revamped Speed Wall’s unveiling was the first of 10 community celebrations the museum will hold this year, marking a decade of impact. “Perot 2.0”’s vision centers around inspiring even more young minds in nature and science, bridging the STEM learning gap exacerbated by the pandemic, and removing barriers to access “to develop the most diverse STEM workforce in the country—right here in Dallas,” the museum says.
More info about Thursdays on Tap at the Perot is available here.
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