The Salvador Dali Museum is located in gorgeous St. Petersburg, Florida. The museum is relatively close to Sunken Gardens, Tropicana Field and Raymond James Stadium. The building as well as the art make it a can’t miss stop when in the area. It also houses the largest collection of Dali’s work outside the three museums surrounding his home in Barcelona, Spain.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Madison is an art lover. She is my creative child who certainly marches to the beat of her own drummer which is not a bad thing at all. Like Logan, she is a visual learner who clearly thinks in pictures. Unlike Logan, it’s not because she has autism but more due to her creative right brain dominance. Explains how both kids are left handed. Visiting art museums, plays and other performances of the creative arts is for her benefit although the whole family usually enjoys it as well. The Dali Museum was no exception.
The first time we visited was with our home school group. The museum allows schools and educational groups of maximum 30 students with 3 adults to come in for free to get a one hour tour with a docent. It is beyond generous of them to accommodate as well as instruct local school children in the arts. The guards in the gallery were understandably nervous about the gaggle of children going through the gallery. They handled it really well allowing the children to get close to the painting to see them as long as they didn’t touch. The docents were very accommodating to the children asking questions. It is a very professional museum that takes its’ responsibility to educating the next generation about Dali and his art very seriously.
Outside The Salvador Dali Museum
This is the premiere collection of Dali’s work in the America. The collection includes 2,100 pieces spanning his entire career. It was founded by the works of A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse who befriended Dali and his wife, Gala, in 1943. Their collection hung in their home until the 1970s when they decided to donate their collection to a museum. The St. Petersburg community stepped up to the plate with the original museum opening in 1982 and the new brilliant building opening in 2011. It is a breath taking sight to behold to say the least.
The Dali Museum building is eye catching situated right on the waterfront of Tampa Bay. Outside you will find the Avante garden which the splits into the West and East gardens. Here you will find such treasures as the labyrinth, the mathematical gardens and the wishing tree. It’s here where you will find the enormous Dali mustache. While at the front of the building , sit on the bench to watch the flocks of wild parakeets flutter from palm tree to palm tree. It’s a can’t miss experience. Factor in time to wander the grounds as well as marvel at the outside of the museum before going in to see the paintings. It will make the experience so much better in the end.
The geodesic glass dome (known as “The Enigma) as well as the building is built to sustain a powerful hurricane in order to protect the works inside. Stand by the dolphin statue by the front door to see why they built it that way. It will surprise and delight you . The building stands 75 feet tall with 3 floors inside
Inside The Salvador Dali Museum
The staircase in the foyer is what will draw your attention first. It definitely adds to the grandeur of the building as well as reminding you that it is a surrealist museum. Like you could forget that after wandering outside. You walk up these cement stairs to access the galleries upstairs after purchasing your ticket. The Dali Museum is considered an artists’ museum which means it’s exhibits are solely dedicated to one artist only. In this case that would Salvador Dali. Surprise! It also means that the building’s temperature is kept between 68-72 degrees with 50% humidity at all times. Dress accordingly.
You will not be allowed to bring food, drinks, backpacks or large bags past the first floor. They do have lockers to put your stuff in if needed. No sharp or pointy items either like pens, pocket knives, or umbrellas. Be forewarned that should you get it past security and a guard in the gallery see it, he will confiscate it on the spot. They don’t play around by the exhibits.
The First Floor
The first floor has a children’s educational area with puzzles as well as videos playing. Did you know Dali worked with Walt Disney on several projects? Donald in Mathmagic Land is one of such corroborations between the two.
It is also on the first floor that you will find the gift shop which is an exhibit in itself. Here you can buy reprints of his painting as well as a plethora of other things. The dome covers this area with windows . There is also an antique car in here. I won’t spoil the surprise of what it does for you. Do take the time to check it out.
Bathrooms, elevators and Gala’s Cafe are all located on this floor as well. You will purchase admission as well as get your audio tour headsets here if you so desire. To make the most of the trip sans docent, purchase the audio tour. If you can slip in to a tour with a docent then that is the preferred way to see the museum.
The Second Floor
There are a few paintings on this floor. It is where you will find visiting exhibits as well. We saw the Last Supper painting here after one of Madison’s junior docent art camps. If there is no visiting exhibit then continue up the stairs to the gallery.
The Third Floor or The Salvador Dali Museum Gallery
The third floor is why you came to the Salvador Dali Museum. It houses the gallery of his works from small paintings to incredibly large ones. You will see his sketches, his sculptures, notes, pretty much anything that is out for display. You can sketch in here with a small sketch bad and charcoal. Be prepared to be watched closely by security. Speaking of security, they are fabulous with children as long as they don’t touch the paintings or get rowdy. Keep this in mind if you have small children. It will take you at least an hour or or more to get through the whole audio tour. Bear in mind that even if you have to leave after only seeing a quarter of it, you will have seen some of his greatest works.
Pictures as well as videos on your smartphone only are allowed in the gallery.
Can’t Miss Info For The Salvador Dali Museum
Be sure to take time to have your picture taken with the giant mustache outside. Dali was famous for his mustache without a doubt. Put your wristband on the tree of dreams. Sit on the bench with a melting clock on it. Fitting for Florida which has varying degrees of summer masquerading as seasons. These experiences only seek to solidify the surrealist experience.
Salvador Dali Museum Parking
Convenient on-site parking is available for $10, free for members (as available). There are also various downtown surface lots, street parking or city parking garages and then the St Petersburg Downtown Looper trolley. Parking fees vary.
Salvador Dali Museum Contact Info
One Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
The Dali Museum Hours
10 AM -5:30 PM
7 days a week with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Tickets are available here with specials going on all the time.