Museum Road Trip

The Dalí Offers a Surreal Experience in St. Pete, Just Like the Artist Himself

St. Pete civic leader James Healey called the museum “the greatest gift to the city since sunshine."

By David Warner December 1, 2021 Published in the December 2021 issue of Sarasota Magazine

The Dalí

The Dalí

One Dalí Blvd., St. Petersburg (727) 823-3767;

In 1982, when Mr. and Mrs. A. Reynolds Morse of Cleveland, Ohio, decided to donate their unparalleled collection of works by Salvador Dali to the city of St. Petersburg, civic leader James Healey called it “the greatest gift to the city since sunshine,” while The New York Times said the pairing of artist and city sounded “like the theme of a Dalí painting at its most wildly surreal.”

Healey’s assessment turned out to be right on target, because the Dalí Museum proved to be a major tourist attraction—even more so once it moved in 2011 from its nondescript home on the USF St. Pete campus into the instantly iconic bayfront building designed by Yann Weymouth and recognized worldwide for its geodesic glass bubble, nicknamed the “Enigma.”

Special exhibitions like The Woman Who Broke Boundaries: Photographer Lee Miller (on view through Jan. 2, 2022) provide context, and there are fun tech innovations, too, like an Artificial Intelligence-powered monologue by Salvador himself. In the tranquil Avant-garden, make a wish on the Wish Tree.

The Hallucinogenic Toreador, 1969-70

The Hallucinogenic Toreador, 1969-70


Open daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Thursdays until 8 p.m.)

Drive Time

Approximately 1 hour


$25 (discounts for students, seniors); $12.50 on Thursdays after 5 p.m. Advanced-purchase tickets required.

Don’t Miss

Gigantic, optical-illusion canvases (like Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean, which morphs into a portrait of Abraham Lincoln when you view the painting from a distance) are major draws among the more than 2,400 works in this museum devoted to the world-famous Spanish Surrealist.

Coming Soon

Picasso and the Allure of the South (Jan. 29-May 22, 2022), organized with the Musée National Picasso-Paris, explores the influence of Southern Europe on Picasso’s revolutionary work. Approximately half of the 77 artworks in the show have never been shown before in the U.S.

Store Goodies

Standouts include reproductions of Dalí’s jewelry designs, like the Ruby Lips brooch inspired by Mae West, a melting desk clock, and a shocking-pink face mask imprinted with a Dalí-esque mustache ($8).


Cafe Gala offers a tempting selection of tapas and other goodies, or cross Dalí Boulevard to The Hangar on the second floor of the Albert Whitted Airport terminal, where you can choose from a big menu and watch private planes taking off from the runway.

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