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Dali Museum

Editor's pick

Categories: Museum, Tourist attraction

Features: Classes offered, Guided tours

Payment options: Credit cards accepted

Alcohol: Beer and wine only

Parking: Garage

Admission: $24, $22 seniors, $17 students and children ages 13-17, $10 children ages 6-12. $10 after 5 p.m. Thursdays.

More in this neighborhood: Downtown St. Petersburg

The museum holds the largest collection outside of Spain of art by the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. Cleveland industrialist Reynolds Morse and his wife, Eleanor, donated the collection, which represents a 45-year friendship between the Morses and Dali and his wife, Gala. 

Built at a cost of $36 million, this astonishing one-of-a-kind structure along St. Petersburg's waterfront is double the size of the old Dali Museum, which opened in 1982. It was designed specifically for the collection, and for the first time in its history, the museum will have room to continuously exhibit all 96 paintings that are in its permanent collection. 

Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Holiday Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 26 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 27, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 28 - 29, noon-7 p.m. Dec.30,  10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Dec. 31.

Read our special report.

The first floor has admissions, a gift shop, cafe, community room, classroom and theater. The third floor houses galleries. The second floor is for administration and a research library and is not open to the public.

It has two distinctive architectural elements:
 
The architectural element known as the "Glass Enigma,' visible from the outside of the museum, is composed of 1,062 glass triangles. It is the only structure of its kind and size in the United States. The panes are cleaned by climbers who can bolt into anchors built into the metal grid holding the glass, then ascend with buckets of soap and water.
 
Inside, a free-standing spiral staircase was created onsite by pouring concrete into molds attached to scaffolding rising 60 feet. Architect Yann Weymouth  said it was tested to withstand the most grueling stress: two rugby teams dancing on it to disco music.
 
The grounds, called the Avant Garden, include examples of the golden rectangle and golden spiral, based on the Fibonacci sequence,  found in natural forms. It's a progressive sequence of numbers in which each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two: 1 + 1 = 2; 1 + 2 = 3; 2 + 3 = 5; 3 + 5 = 8 and so on. When applied to spacial ratios, it forms what many consider to be the most aesthetically beautiful proportions in art and architecture. Dalí used both principles in his paintings (see the Nature Morte Vivante, for example).
 
Another landscape feature is a labyrinth modeled on one at Chartres Cathedral in France. Unlike a maze, there are no wrong turns and there is only one way in and out so you can't get lost.
 
The northwest corner of the building appears to be supported by a large boulder. The "rock' is concrete that surrounds the real support and has been finished to resemble the limestone used in the landscaping. It's fitted with misters and planters.  On one side of the concrete "rock,' a spigot dispenses drinking water that museum director Hank Hine calls the Fountain of Youth.
 
An estimated 1,200 to 1,600 tons of Florida limestone dot the site. Most were excavated from the Homestead area, where the densest examples are found.
 
The only non-Florida rock is one given to the Dali Museum by Cadaques, the village in northeastern Spain where Dali grew up. The area is famous for its stone outcroppings, and Dali used them frequently in his landscapes. Most of the area is considered a protected preserve; special government permission was needed to remove this 4,500-pound rock. It sits alone between two ficus trees on the east side of the garden.
 
The Center for the Arts Plaza connects the Dali Museum to the Mahaffey Theater. It is planted with a grove (called a bosk, which implies a symmetrical design) of crepe myrtle trees strung with LED lights called Tivolis, a broad expanse of lawn and wide grass steps.
 

Events at Dali Museum

Breakfast with Dali for Families
Saturday, May 23, 2015 9:30am

Coffee with a Curator
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 10:30am

Dali and Beyond Film Series
Thursday, May 7, 2015 6:00pm
Doing DaVinci, Episodes 1 & 4, Armored Tank and Machine Gun
Saturday, May 9, 2015 1:00pm
Micmacs
Saturday, May 16, 2015 1:00pm
The Fifth Element
Saturday, May 23, 2015 1:00pm
The Way Things Go
Saturday, May 30, 2015 1:00pm
Sleeper

Opera at the Dali Concert Series
Thursday, May 7, 2015 6:00pm

Storytime for Families
Thursday, May 7, 2015 11:15am
Thursday, May 7, 2015 3:30pm
Thursday, May 14, 2015 11:15am
Thursday, May 14, 2015 3:30pm
Thursday, May 21, 2015 11:15am
Thursday, May 21, 2015 3:30pm
Thursday, May 28, 2015 11:15am
Thursday, May 28, 2015 3:30pm

Student Surrealist Art Exhibit Reception
Saturday, June 27, 2015 4:30pm
Florida Statewide Student Exhibit

The Florida Orchestra: Reaching Out to Families
Saturday, May 16, 2015 10:00am
Whimsical Winds
Saturday, May 16, 2015 11:45am
Whimsical Winds

Yoga & Dali
Sunday, May 10, 2015 12:00pm
Sunday, May 17, 2015 12:00pm
Sunday, May 24, 2015 12:00pm

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Dali Museum - Downtown St. Petersburg