5 museums to wow out-of-town guests

Surprise out-of-town guests with a trip to the renowned Salvador Dali Museum. At center: The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

MARTHA RIAL | Times (2007)

Surprise out-of-town guests with a trip to the renowned Salvador Dali Museum. At center: The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

You're stuffed. You have a need to get off the sofa and take that last candy cane from your mouth. To move your body from its sedentary position and your mind from the melancholic mood that begins to creep upon many of us post-holiday. A surefire remedy for me has always been a visit to a museum or gallery. Any makes me happy, but we have such variety here, you can tailor a trip to the tastes of yourself or your houseguests. While all are closed today, our Art Calendar gives a comprehensive list with hours and admission information. Here are a few suggestions.

Lennie Bennett, Times art critic

The Museum of Fine Arts

255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg

The Museum of Fine Arts is a good choice if you have multiple tastes to satisfy. Its collection ranges from ancient to contemporary, with an especially popular group of American and European art spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries that includes the impressionists. Its new wing also has a gallery with interactive displays for families.

The Salvador Dali Museum

1000 Third St. S, St. Petersburg

The Dali Museum would be a bolder choice. With the most comprehensive collection in the world of the Spanish surrealist's art, it's a real show-off place to take out-of-towners. ("In St. Petersburg? I had no idea . . .")

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota

If you need to provide more extensive diversion, do a day trip to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. It has a famous collection of Baroque art along with special exhibitions. Admission buys entry into Ca d'Zan, the Ringlings' glamorous historic mansion, and the Circus Museum with lots of memorabilia and a huge to-scale model of a traveling circus. The Ringling's grounds on Sarasota Bay are lovely this time of year, especially Mable Ringling's rose garden. Take a break at the museum's cafe. (Salads, please: Remember one of the reasons for this jaunt.)

Gulf Coast Museum of Art

12211 Walsingham Road, Largo

If you're in the mood for simply enjoying beautiful paintings, go to the Gulf Coast Museum of Art, for the Christopher Still retrospective. It's full of the artist's lavishly detailed works and includes a videotaped tour by Still of the monumental murals he created for our state Capitol. The museum is adjacent to the Florida Botanical Gardens and Heritage Village so there's something for everyone close by.

Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art

600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs

Of course, if you're in Tarpon Springs you must visit the charming downtown area with its sponge docks, but I suggest you also book time for the Leepa- Rattner Museum of Art. It has an interesting and informative special show of arts and crafts woodblock prints, but the big draw is its collection of works by Abraham Rattner, a contemporary and friend of great modern artists such as Pablo Picasso. Bring in two canned goods through December (proteins would be most appreciated) and get free admission.

5 museums to wow out-of-town guests 12/24/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 3:30am]

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