The world’s largest collection of art by Salvador Dalí is, logically, in his hometown of Figueres, Spain. But the second-largest collection devoted to the world’s most famous surrealist is on display near the waterfront in St. Petersburg, Florida. Melting clocks, spindle-legged horses, and waxed mustaches abound, and the building itself is a surreal sight to behold.
St. Petersburg has been home to the Dalí Museum since 1982, when the extensive collection of Reynolds and Eleanor Morse was moved from their hometown of Cleveland. Its original warehouse location was replaced in 2011 by the current expanded museum, which is now home to over 2,000 works. Florida’s “Sunshine City” (where the local paper once promised a free copy if the sun wasn’t shining) is a fitting home for Dalí’s art, especially as it is exhibited in the new museum.
Massive bubble-like skylights and wall-lights wrap around the building, allowing the sun to stream through some 900 oddly geometric windows. The effect, combined with the swirling central staircase and fluid, organic nature of Dalí’s paintings, creates a feeling of walking around inside a living being. And yes, it feels a little surreal.
Visitors can see seven of Dalí’s masterworks, including The Hallucinogenic Toreador and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, as well scores of other paintings, drawings, sculptures, films, and photographs. There are also frequent visiting collections from other iconoclasts, past exhibitions having featured Andy Warhol, M.C. Escher, and Pablo Picasso.
The museum is open every day and offers a full calendar of special events for children and adults—all bubble-wrapped in some surreal sunshine.
Know Before You Go
The Museum is on Dalí Boulevard, just off 1st Street and next to the Albert Whitted Airport. They are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and late on Thursday to 8 p.m. General admission is $24; seniors, military, police, firefighters & teachers are $22; kids 13+ & students are $17; kids 6-12 are $10, and under 5 are free. Check the museum's website for discount entrance times.