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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Salvador Dali Museum - a different day out

What shall we do today? A drive over to the Gulf Coast is voted as favourite and on the way a stop at St Petersburg. A couple of hours later, there we were strolling along the pier at St Petersburg admiring the stunning view out to sea, breathing in the sea air, watching people fishing, when we suddenly realise that black clouds were gathering! Before we could think about where to shelter, one of those glorious thunderstorms for which Florida is famous was upon us.

We were soaked within two minutes and dashed back to the car, wondering what to do now! A quick glance through the various leaflets we had collected and we decided to have a look at the Salvador Dali museum.

Before you start groaning and thinking there are far better things to do on holiday – read on. Neither of us are particularly big fans of art, modern or otherwise and isn’t Dali the chap who painted all those strange pictures that no one can make any sense of? Not necessarily convinced by our choice, we paddled into the building and left hours later having discovered that the man was a genius!

Once inside a good tip is to tag onto one of the guided tours. Without it, unless you know his work already, you will probably leave as mystified as when you arrived. There is work from all periods of Dali’s life – some you’ll love, some you’ll hate but there are hidden secrets and meanings that will surprise you. The guide led us to a huge portrait of Dali’s wife which suddenly became a portrait of Abraham Lincoln! ! How does that happen? Pictures within pictures, recurring subjects, things that haunted him, it’s all there. All around there are people trying to re-focus their eyes on a painting, asking their companions why they cannot see what is so obvious and many realising just what the man was trying to portray with his work.

Children are welcome and there are activities arranged especially for them.

The museum celebrates its25th anniversary this year (2007) and houses the largest private collection of Dali’s work in the world. It was amassed by A. Reynolds Morse and his wife, Eleanor in a period spanning more than 40 years. There are exhibitions and events at the museum all year round. Check out the website for details. The building is at 1000 Third Street South and is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. It is well signposted once you get into St Petersburg.

From being a hesitant ‘let’s go and see’, our visit turned into a great way to spend an afternoon. The museum is not somewhere to go only when it’s raining – it’s worth a visit any time. Try it, prepare to be amazed!

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Page added on: 15 March 2007
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