Miami

Wynwood’s Latest Museum is a Mind-Bending Exploration of the Human Brain

From spinning rooms to gravity-defying spaces, Paradox Museum Miami offers an Instagrammable journey through the inner workings of the mind.

Paradox Museum
Paradox Museum
Paradox Museum

If there’s something Miami is never lacking in, it’s places to take selfies. Boats? Sure. Restaurants? Always. A literal entire neighborhood of block-long murals perfect for posing in front of? We got it. If they ever redid our city seal, it would probably include a pair of angel wings.

But a selfie spot that doubles as education, and gives you a glimpse into the inner workings of the human brain? Well, that’s something we really haven’t seen before, and it’s the aim of the brand new Paradox Museum, which opened in Wynwood in early December. This 11,000-square food mind-bending experience takes you on a journey through perception and process, and teaches us that what we think we see isn’t always what’s real.

Paradox Museum
Paradox Museum
Paradox Museum

A mind-bending trip through the surreal

The Paradox Museum is a 90-minute journey through 70 exhibits filled with optical illusions, interactive sensory experiences, and plenty of photo ops. The permanent space (that’s right, it’s not a pop-up) is the third of its kind in the world and the first in the US, with other locations in Oslo and Stockholm. It comes to us from the people behind the Museum of Illusions in Orlando, though this space is far larger, and much more interactive.

The tour begins with a short video telling guests what they’re about to experience, along with a map of the U-shaped museum, so guests can get a sense of where they’re going. The museum’s de facto mascot, a man holding balloons, points you along the way, to make sure you don’t get lost in the sea of mirrors and illogical angles. Costumed guides are posted in every room, explaining how to interact with each exhibit, and giving you the skinny on why your eyes are playing tricks on you.

The first must-hit photo op is a mural of Miami Beach’s iconic lifeguard stands, where guests can take pictures of themselves standing “upside down” on top of one. That moves directly into the 180 Room, where visitors can snap shots while getting in an upside down workout or, if they really wanna fake out the internet, lifting inhuman amounts of weight.

Paradox Museum Miami
Paradox Museum Miami
Paradox Museum Miami

From there, you’ll travel through a hallway of moving blocks and uneven boxes that give illusions of height and depth. Then it’s on to the Paradox Tunnel, where you attempt to walk a plank through a room that spins around you. If you’ve been to Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, it’s an illusion you’re probably familiar with.

The Paradox Museum also has its own “tilted room,” a space where the laws of gravity seem temporarily suspended. Pens roll uphill and your sense of balance leaves your body, reminiscent of the physics-defying Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California and West Virginia’s Mystery Hole. This might sound a little trippy, or even completely nauseating, but it’s all just your brain being your brain.

“What you’re thinking is probably the opposite of what reality is supposed to be,” says the museum’s sales and marketing director Marc Gregory Tipton. “It’s not a right or wrong scenario, you just see it a certain way. That’s just how the human brain works and that’s what’s the cool part about it.”

Paradox Museum Miami
Paradox Museum Miami
Paradox Museum Miami

To keep things lively, each room has themed music to accompany the illusions. There’s even a talking piano, an AI marvel who’ll hold entire conversations with guests and play songs on request. Other highlights include a couch that makes your arms and legs appear in different places, like you just stepped out of a scene from Beetlejuice, and a dinner table filled with mirrors where you can sit and converse with over a dozen versions of yourself. Try not to think about that one too much.

Tipton says the entire experience should take about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how interactive you want to get and how many guides you talk to. The tour can be completely self-guided, too, as QR codes next to each exhibit explain what’s going on and what your brain is processing.

“It has the educational piece, the science piece, and the math piece,” Tipton says. “And from the perspective of being a ‘selfie museum’ we don’t want to put ourselves in that bucket. Our types of exhibits separate us, and we’re able to create something educational.”

Paradox Museum
Paradox Museum
Paradox Museum

Hours and Admission to the Paradox Museum Miami

The Paradox Museum is also that rarest of entities in South Florida-a permanent resident. Its digs at 2301 N. Miami Ave are here to stay, meaning you can take friends from out of town here on your requisite trip to Wynwood for the foreseeable future. And even check back in from time to time, when new exhibits hit the floor. Tipton says they aim to switch a few out every year or so.

It’s open every day from noon to 7 pm, and 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is a reasonable $26 for adults and $24 for children 4 – 11, and families of four can buy a four pack for $92. It’s also available to rent out for groups and corporate events, should you feel like walking through a spinning tunnel with your coworkers. And unless you spring for one of said buyouts, no food or drink is allowed on the premises.

So, yes, the Paradox Museum is a fantastic place to take pictures that’ll confuse and impress your followers. But it’s also a place to understand why our brains process information the way they do, and maybe learn a little bit of science along the way. What you see is not always reality, and in Miami, that’s a lesson that’s important to remember.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Matt Meltzer is a contributing writer for Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram@meltrez1.

Miami

Bad Bunny and David Grutman's Sexy AF Miami Steakhouse is Finally Here

The rapper does whatever he wants.

Photo by Michael Stavaridis
Photo by Michael Stavaridis
Photo by Michael Stavaridis

David Grutman is back at it again, and this time the hospitality guru is bringing a new partner into the fold-award-winning recording artist, Bad Bunny. Located in Miami’s trendy Brickell neighbourhood, Gekkō, which translates to “moonlight” is a Japanese-inspired steakhouse that will serve fancy cuts of Wagyu alongside a bevy of sushi offerings. In true Groot Hospitality form, this isn’t your basic steakhouse, it’s also got a lounge that very well may play the sounds of Bad Bunny and the like into the wee hours of the night.

“Gekkō is the result of so many of my obsessions in food,” says David Grutman, Founder of Groot Hospitality. “It’s a steakhouse inspired by Japanese cuisine. There are delicious, innovative sushi rolls. There’s a lounge. I knew I wanted to do something that combined these worlds, and once I started speaking with Bunny, I knew he’d be a great partner. Gekkō is about having an incredible meal while having an equally incredible night.”

Photo by WORLD RED EYE
Photo by WORLD RED EYE
Photo by WORLD RED EYE

To celebrate the opening of Gekkō (not so coincidentally the same weekend Bad Bunny has two shows scheduled in South Florida), the crew hosted a massive grand opening party that attracted dozens of A-list celebrities and friends of both Grutman and Bad Bunny. Upon arrival, in his white Bugatti, mobs of fans who spent the entire evening swarming the restaurant began chanting “Benito! Benito!” as he exited his car in an all black suit paired with black sunglasses.

The night went something like this. A-list artists of every genre came out to celebrate. Future and Lil Wayne were seen on a couch in deep conversation and catching up with Mack Maine. Bad Bunny and Karol G were spotted running from table to table together, while DJ Khaled was seen embracing Bad Bunny and congratulating him on such a beautiful new restaurant. Timbaland and Andy Garcia were spotted hanging out for a long period, while Sophie Turner and her husband, Joe Jonas, hung with Victoria and David Beckham. Amidst that hundreds of average joes mixed and mingled while attempting to make their way to the bar so they could get a peek at some of the restaurant’s cocktails and sushi bites. It was quite a scene.

Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis
Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis
Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis

Okay, so back to the restaurant. Gekkō was designed by New York City-based architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, and is made up of three different rooms with seats for up to 185 diners. It’s centred around sultry jewel-toned decor with plush and stylistic elements like a custom gold and red dip-dyed rope installation, graphic wall coverings, and velvet drapery.

Now you might be wondering about the food, because that’s really why we’re going to a restaurant, right? Gekkō’s menu begins with shared plates where diners will find things like a signature Japanese milk bread, “Lava and Ice” Kumamoto Oysters, lobster dumplings, and a wedge salad. When it comes to raw plates there’s sushi and sashimi classics as well as an opulent 24k Otoro, that’s exactly what it sounds like-deliciously tender fatty tuna covered in a layer of 24k gold leaf.

Photo by Libby Vision
Photo by Libby Vision
Photo by Libby Vision

Then there’s the steaks which include a Tomahawk cut, an olive-fed filet mignon from Kagawa, Japan, and a snow beef strip from Hokkaido, Japan. Specialty preparations include Wagyu skirt steak and a bone-in ribeye. And because Grutman is always sure his restaurants cater to the tastes of everyone, there’s even some plant-based chicken options and more.

“Sitting down with friends to enjoy a good meal is one of the moments I value the most,” says Bad Bunny. “I am thrilled that now I will have a hand in creating this experience for others.”

Gekkō opens tonight at 8 SE 8th Street in Brickell. The dining room and lounge serve customers from 6 to 11 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and 6 pm to 12 am Friday and Saturday. Valet parking is available for $20 or you can attempt to find a street parking on Brickell. Visit gekko.com for reservations.

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Amber Love Bond is a contributor for Thrillist.

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