Day 3 of our 10-night spring break VA-FL-NYC adventure took us to St. Petersburg, a city we knew very little about. However, I knew it must be “cool” because the area was heavily advertised on our local NPR station. The city center with the art museums is situated on the Tampa Bay side, with Gulf beaches stretching on the western side the bottom of the peninsula created by the Bay.
We arrived in town just before our Imagine Museum reservation, with time to grab lunch at the super convenient and delicious Floribbean restaurant. We continued our South Florida (we learned that much of the region identifies as “South” Florida despite being a hard geographic “Center”) museum tour with the Dali Museum. Our evening concluded with sunset on the Gulf of Mexico in Treasure Island.
Salvador Dali Museum
St. Petersburg, Florida
The Dali Museum is relatively small, with only two major spaces: a permanent collection telling the story of the life and career of Salvador Dali and a gallery that was hosting the exhibit Piccasso and the Allure of the South. The first floor includes the extensive gift shop and a cafe with Spanish tapas, coffee and drinks. The cafe opens to the patio and the gardens.
The App enhances the visit immensely, with a “mustache” tour for children and VR tools that show the hidden elements to Dali’s work.
The Imagine Museum is small but mighty, with over 500 contemporary glass pieces. Admission fees are discounted to $5 during certain days and time; ours was complimentary with our NARM reciprocal membership. The works in the each gallery on the first floor are selected with a unique theme. Upstairs we found the out of the world works of the Journey of the Imagination which naturally leads into The Watchers, a large scale installation that takes up an entire gallery.
Imagine Museum’s Artist of the Year Martin Black’s works fill another second floor room, with a video to explain his process and inspiration.
Fort DeSoto to Treasure Island
Gulf of Mexico Beaches
Less than 30 minutes from downtown St. Petersburg is Fort DeSoto State Park, wich includes beaches, biking/walking trails and a historic fort. We arrived late in the afternoon and found the beach relatively empty, despite other places being packed with Spring Break crowds. From the Park, we drove up the coast north, which became more densely packed with resorts and public beach access parking lots. We found a spot on Treasure Island just in time for sunset, and were pleasantly surprised to find it was near the very popular Caddy’s beachfront restaurant.
Live music, buckets of beverages, and picnic tables on the beach probably draw a more rowdy crowd at times, but we found multiple parents (like us) enjoying what was likely a throwback to more youthful spring breaks while their kids ran within their view on the beach.