St. Petersburg, Florida, aka "St. Pete," is best known for its beautiful beaches, but families can also add some culture to a trip by visiting the fascinating Salvador Dali Museum, the world's top collection of the works of this surrealist artist. Dali became more known for eccentricity than for art, but even a brief visit to this St. Petersburg museum will remind you of his genius.
The Salvador Dali Museum doubled in size in 2011 with a move to a new location on the downtown bayfront overlooking Tampa Bay. The museum has the largest Dali Collection outside of Spain, and the new space allows for more works to be displayed. Befitting the famous surrealist artist, the building combines the real with the unreal; it's a simple rectangle from which erupts a large free-form geodesic glass bubble known as the “enigma," made up of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass. Inside, there is another unique architectural feature: a helical staircase that recalls Dali’s obsession with spirals and the double helical shape of the DNA molecule.
Visiting with Kids
Kids visiting the Salvador Dali Museum will love Dali's double-image visual tricks. Look at a painting one way, and you may see two ladies in long dresses. Blink, and you might see the head of a philosopher instead. Dali's surreal melted watches—a signature image of Dali—will impress, too.
All are dwarfed, however, by Dali's masterworks. These giant canvases, including the monumental Discovery of America, are sensational. Perhaps even more stunning is the Hallucinogenic Toreador, inspired by a box of Venus de Milo colored pencils. Be sure to be on the lookout for visual tricks all over the canvases.
On select Saturdays, kids age 4-11 can attend the free "DillyDally with Dali" workshop, which introduces the creative world of Dali through games, puzzles, and arts and crafts.
- Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher