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Salvador Dalí Museum newest jewel on St. Petersburg's waterfront

An architectural element known as the Glass Enigma, a puzzle of 1,026 glass triangles, greets visitors at the entrance to the new Dalí Museum along the downtown waterfront in St. Petersburg.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

An architectural element known as the Glass Enigma, a puzzle of 1,026 glass triangles, greets visitors at the entrance to the new Dalí Museum along the downtown waterfront in St. Petersburg.

As of Tuesday, there will be a new Dalí in town. That's the day that the bold museum with its big, bubblelike protrusions of gridded glass on St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront opens.

If you haven't been to the hip and happening waterfront section of St. Petersburg for a few years, use the new Dalí as your excuse to visit. Sidewalk cafes, late-night dance clubs and the Chihuly Collection are just some of the attractions that have turned sleepy St. Petersburg into a vibrant destination. Look to Sunday's Latitudes section of the St. Petersburg Times for a visitor's guide to the Dalí and downtown and go to tampabay.com for a special report.

In the meantime, act now if you want to get inside on opening day. Organizers are expecting a big crowd, and walkups likely won't be admitted. But now through Tuesday, you can become a member of the Dalí Museum and be guaranteed admittance on opening day and any day for the following year. You can also get a preview peek Sunday at a members-only party.

Everyone is invited to a free celebration opening day on the grounds of the museum and in its lovely new gardens. To tour the new museum, though, you'll need to be a member or buy a ticket in advance. Memberships are $40 for students and teachers, $60 for individuals and $90 for families (two memberships). Even if you're a member, there may be a 15- to 30-minute wait on opening day. To join online and get more details, go to thedali.org.

Lennie Bennett, Times art critic

Schedule of events

Sunday: Dia de Fantasia for members only, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you aren't a member, you may join at the party. There will be guided tours of the museum, refreshments, crafts, films and entertainment.

Tuesday Opening day, 9:30 a.m.

A "Surreal Procession" begins at the former museum building, 1000 Third St. S, and ends eight blocks north on the grounds of the new museum at 1 Dali Blvd. Costumed revelers will lead the way, and everyone is invited to dress up and join in.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A dedication program on the museum grounds with special guest Infanta Cristina of Spain, duchess of Palma de Mallorca, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with members of the Spanish royal family are at 11 a.m., and entertainment will continue until 3 p.m.

12:45 to 4 p.m.

The museum will be open, but you must be a member or have a timed ticket purchased online in advance to be admitted. Tickets are limited and may be sold out.

Wednesday

Regular hours begin at 10 a.m. Tickets may be purchased online and at the front desk. Because of expected crowds, advance purchase is recommended. Admission is $21 for adults; $19 for seniors, military, police and firefighters; $18 for children 13 to 18 and students over 18 with valid ID; $7 for children 6 to 12; and free for children under 5.

Salvador Dalí Museum newest jewel on St. Petersburg's waterfront 01/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 3:30am]

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