Night at the Museum ELEVATE at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

(Featured photo:  Thomas Surgent (co-chair), Mariah Wilcox, Hunter Covitz, Wendy Covitz)*

Now boarding first-class! In what felt like a spring night, guests dressed to the nines made their way inside the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for its annual Night at the Museum gala on Nov. 12. With the theme “Elevate,” the aerial-inspired evening offered guests a unique glimpse into the world of aerospace – from nature’s influence on modern-day aviation to the future of flight to artistic interpretations of elevation and more. Party goers were looking up, down and all around as live bird shows, aerialists, virtual reality, drones, floating foods and more had guests feeling like they were sky high.

Before the nearly 1,000 guests arrived, top Museum dignitaries and supporters pre-partied at the VIP reception, presented by Highland Capital Management. Welcomed by “old-school stewardesses” in a retro-style airport lounge, which was presented by American Airlines, local luminaries entered the reception including Margot and Ross Perot; honorary chairs Carolyn Perot Rathjen and Karl Rathjen; co-chairs Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Kevin Dahlberg, and Thomas Surgent (co-chair Carmen Surgent was ill and had to miss); Nancy Perot and Rod Jones; Suzanne and Patrick McGee; Katherine and Eric Reeves; and Tori and Russ Mulford. Other dignitaries included Dan Kohl (interim Perot Museum CEO) and his wife Maria Garcia; Lyda Hill; Rusty and John Jaggers; Hernan Saenz (Perot Museum board chairman) and Sylvia Cespedes; Sheila and Jody Grant; Gail and Jim Spann; Sally and Forrest Hoglund; Kelly Compton; Nicole and Justin Small; Katherine and Michael Phillips; and others. With a backdrop of black-and-white vintage moments in aviation history and the crooning of Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me, highlights included a decadent Wolfgang Puck chocolate bar, a green-screen photo booth, and a “pearls and bubbles” caviar and champagne station.

As the main party took off, guests enjoyed live bird shows with Window to the Wild, feather hair extensions and tattoos, flight simulators, levitating orbs, drone racing, trebuchet siege demos, an oxygen blast bar, the National Geographic Birds of Paradise exhibition, and interacting with the Museum’s virtual Beam robot, to name a few. Laughing ensued as women with long locks (and even a few balding men!) experienced the hair-raising Van de Graff generator. Also making for fun photo ops was the hot air balloon green screen, the jet photo booth (complete with wind machine) and the amethyst heart geode, which made its sparkly debut in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall.

Among the elevated eats and sweets included a dragon’s breath liquid nitrogen station, featuring dream-sicle meringue, lemon meringue and Cracker Jack pops on sticks, which were dipped in liquid nitrogen. As guests tasted the instantly frozen treats, they blew out a liquid nitrogen “dragon’s breath” puff!  Other bites and beverages included levitating macaroons – guests picked blackberry, espresso or grapefruit-ginger – an “old-fashioned” donut wall served with miniature milk bottles (egg nog, raspberry “milk” or chocolate hazelnut “milk”), a molecular foam air bar serving ginger beer with tangerine air and coconut flan, plus fun cocktails like the Fancy Francie and Alert 3.

The high-energy band, Manhattan, played in the main lobby throughout the night, including the after-party, sponsored by Central Market. Ladies traded their stilettos for ballet flats at the shoe check-in as guests donning pilot hats and aviator sunglasses hit the dance floor.  Late-night snacks included “walking tacos,” pimiento mac n’ cheese, Cuban sandwiches, pizza, churros and “spiked” grasshopper milk shakes.

Real Housewives of Dallas new cast member D’Andra Simmons was among the famous faces. Other local luminaries included WFAA’s Jane McGarry; Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzales; Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge; Peggy and Richard Allison; Betsy and Richard Eiseman; Eugenia and Frank-Paul King; Mary Suhm; Mary Jalonick; Monica Egert-Smith; Barbara and Don Daseke; Betsey Urschel; Mollie Crow; Anne Davidson; Suzanne and Walt Humann; and Brent Christopher.

Happy flying!

* Photos By Jason Janik/Perot Museum


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly, the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.