Didn't Take Long at All For Perot Museum of Nature & Science to Make Its (Big, Big) Money

For days we've been promised a major announcement today from the Perot Museum of Nature & Science; as in, said the week's worth of press releases, "a MAJOR announcement" would be made this morning. And even though it wasn't exactly a secret by the time the press conference rolled around at 10:30, we're still glad we went -- if only for the DVD's worth of new renderings we received and the photo-op up top.

It seems like only a few months ago (because it was) that the Perot Museum of Nature & Science was announcing J.P. Morgan Chase would be handing them a giant check for $1 million bucks or so. At a press conference today that featured champagne, confetti and the aforementioned kids in a box of balloons, they announced that with the help of a $6 million gift from the Moody Foundation to help fund the Children's Museum, the under-construction museum on Woodall Rodgers has surpassed its $185-million building goal a full year ahead of schedule.

"We expect to see millions and millions of people through our doors over the coming decades," Nicole Small, CEO of the museum, told the crowd.

There was some talk about the Children's Museum and its great potential to inspire young minds, when suddenly a giant gift box onstage burst open, to reveal a furious hail of confetti and a dozen or so small children. The boys beamed and waved. The girls looked mildly concerned. They were given a hearty round of applause, then exited through a door in the back of the box. They wandered over to some tall arcs made out of balloons clustered near the stage. One little boy reached out towards one, then recoiled. The children were quickly corralled by their parents and disappeared.

Forrest Hoglund, chair of the museum's expansion campaign, announced that the project will be completed with "no debt," including no construction debt. As he spoke, another explosion of confetti covered the stage, and those balloons columns started to lurch forward; they were, as it turned out, people on stilts, looking for all the world like Nerds-covered tarantulas.

"We're over the top," the former Exxon and Enron exec told the crowd. "And we feel just great about it."

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