Visiting the new Salvador Dali museum rounds out the ultimate Tampa Bay tourist.

Despite looking at his paintings up close… then five steps back… then at one corner… then on my head… I think it’s better not to try and understand Salvador Dali. Yet, with the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg being only days old, I had to visit. I admit I’m not worthy of lacing the sandals of an art expert, but am still capable of enjoying/appreciating art… and Dali is a crazy genius. His later works are practically murals and contain lots of details that don’t seem to fit as a whole, but still entertaining if noticed.

“What the… are those flies? Why is the bishop see-through? What does a lady on a sail have to do with all this?” I tried to understand The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Thankfully, I ran into a tour guide who explained everything (if you want the explanation, visit the exhibit yourself). Did that explain everything? Not really– Dali’s artworks are like a painted collage of seemingly random events and images, almost a Where’s Waldo collection. His early works (also included) seem pretty tame when compared.

Most of Dali’s works are limited to the second floor while meetings rooms, the theater, cafe, and gift shop dominate the bottom. The gallery is almost a maze, you never know which painting you’re going to run into next– it allows you to focus on the craziness in front of you. (And naturally– darn– photography of the paintings are not allowed)

The building itself is beautiful. Running water against a large rock (from Dali’s Spanish city) guard the entrance… triangular glass frames explode out one side… Dali’s signature carved at the top… and plop yourself onto a bench featuring a famous melted clock.

Whether you understand art or limit it to taking pictures of your grandkids, if you happen to get lost and find yourself in St. Petersburg, visit the Dali Museum… and if you’re not alone, get ready to start a debate.

1 Dali Blvd
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 823-3767

* visit after 5pm on Thursdays and ticket prices are lowered to $10.

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