The couple's pledge of $35 million was announced at the museum's annual gala Saturday night. The high-tech campus will be known as the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science when completed in Bicentennial Park.
The gift moves the construction schedule considerably ahead, with ground breaking now set for later this year and a 2014 estimated completion date -- and comes seven years after Miami-Dade voters approved at $175 million bond to build the museum.
Now, administrators say, the museum is more than halway to its private fundraising goal of $100 million.
“It’s amazingly generous," museum director Gillian Thomas told the Miami Herald, "and it means the museum is full-steam ahead."
In South Florida cultural philanthropy, the Frost's massive donation is believed exceeded only by an anonymous gift of $90 million toward the New World Center in Miami Beach. Both the music school at the University of Miami and Florida International University's art museum are also named for the Frosts, their major donors.
Last year, city commissioners approved a contemporary, five-level design for the new museum by the firm of British architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw. A model of sustainable design, it will have an aquarium, a 3-D planetarium, and exhibitions powered by sun, wind and water.