The Dali Museum, Tampa Florida
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The Salvador Dali Museum in Tampa, Florida was incredibly family friendly and packed full of amazing art in perfectly curated exhibits. I was amazed how many people commented on my Instagram photos with exhibitions they had seen through the years at the Dali museum. If you are in Tampa, FL make sure you add the Salvador Dali Museum to your itinerary.
Alright, here is everything you need to know for your visit.
The Building & Parking
The Salvador Dali Museum is located in St. Petersburg, a peninsula which is adjacent to Tampa. We visited on a Tuesday afternoon in April and the museum was full but not crowded. I had just my Big Little (7) with me.
The building itself is part of the charm of the museum. It is designed to evoke Dali’s art by being both rational and irrational. It is a stunning building that draws children in. The far corner, with the main entrance, has a fountain built into it. There is also a garden out back that you can visit without an admission ticket.
Parking is located in a lot behind the building. It was $10 at the time of our visit. We made the most of our parking fee by visiting the museum, walking to lunch and going to the nearby playground, all without moving our car.
As part of our Charlotte Mason education we study different artists. In preparation for our visit to the Dali museum I was able to interweave in some of Dali’s art through looking at pictures online. I also used Artsy Crafty Mom’s Salvador Dali projects for some hands-on studies.
The Big Little is also very into Donald Duck Comics, so I located a copy of the Mickey Mouse Salvador Dali Collaboration comic. This was a great way to introduce some of the concepts and ideas of Dali’s art before we arrived at the museum.
I also love the Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists series which has a book on Salvador Dali. My library carries these books. They are wonderful resources for studying artists.
Once inside the museum you grab your audio guide (more on this later) and head upstairs. You can take the elevator but the circular stairs that run up the center of the building, seemingly through the roof, are hard to resist.
The museum’s architecture takes full advantage of the Florida light and seemed to draw my Big Little upstairs and into the galleries.
The Big Little couldn’t help but go right over to the windows first to take in the view.
We also took a silly selfie before even starting our tour!
The audio tour is included and simple to use. You choose which tour you want – there was one for the special collection, one for the permanent collection and a children’s “mustache” tour. Once you have selected your tour you just tap the picture of the piece of art you are standing in front of and the narration starts. The pieces that have narration are denoted on their wall placards.
In addition to the children’s tour there is also a gallery scavenger hunt you can pick up at the stands by the elevator. The Big Little was so engrossed in his audio tour and scavenger hunt that he was nearly oblivious to the other visitors.
In addition to the audio tours, there are a variety of free, in person, guided tours that happen throughout the day. We didn’t take advantage of one as a self paced visit is typically better for my kids. However we saw an architecture themed tour begin. Another tour focused on Dali’s wife as a muse was also parading around the museum during our visit.
When you are done the audio guide also offers a little quiz about what you’ve just seen. The Big Little and I completed our quiz together. We got 7 out of 7 – so we must have learned something!
My journey as a lover of art started with my parents taking me to the High Museum in Atlanta as a child to see the exhibitions that came there. My appreciation truly grew as I explored museums in Europe with my kids and artist bestie. She always took the time to look not only at the subject and composition, but at the brush strokes and texture that you can really only appreciate in person.
It is so interesting to see samples of one artist’s full portfolio. We were able to see Dali’s paintings before he was experimenting with subject matter.
I was blown away by Dali’s paintings’ complexity. He was able to paint this portrait of his wife looking out a window which is also a modern art piece in the colored squares. Then, when looked at from a distance, it’s the face of Abe Lincoln. I can’t even wrap my head around it.
I also just want to show a few other paintings that I found so interesting that represent the complexity of Dali’s art. He is so playful with his compositions. My Big and I were both lost in some of the paintings’ imaginary worlds.
Anyway, just wanted to share a few more with you.
I would love to know which one is your favorite!
The museum does a great job with some immersive exhibitions. They have a Virtual Reality experience where you can walk around in one of Dali’s landscapes. We skipped this due to the line (and my son’s lack of interest) but we did watch someone else on their adventure.
Instead we played in the cloud room.
Here it is as if you are in one of the surreal paintings with clouds and people surrounding you.
You can also use computer screens to make yourself part of the art.
A visit to the bathroom also gives you an opportunity to be like Dali and sport a mustache.
Back on the first floor, past the stairs and the movie theater is a kids room. This is a great place for kids to spend a little time learning more about art and Dali.
The room was packed with art supplies and art toys. There were also bins with Dali specific activities, which we of course had to check out!
A paper with different cloud drawings encouraged kids to find animals in the images.
There was also a fun station to give Dali a mustache that you could manipulate.
There was also a mirror and some pipe cleaners to make your own Dali mustache!
No visit is complete without heading out back to the Garden. You can actually come visit the Garden even if you do not go to the museum.
The Dali Bench is a fun place to start. It is nestled under a wishing tree, where you can leave a wish and tie it to straps dangling from the tree branches.
You’ll want to find the little bird who sports a mustache.
There is also a place to sport one of your own… if you are tall enough.
The Big Little was most thrilled though to explore the labyrinth. I think he has been missing these since leaving Europe. We wandered around in circles until we reached the center of the maze and then wound ourselves back out again.
The Dali Museum is the perfect launching point to explore the area further. We walked down the water and found several restaurants just a few blocks away. There is also a playground just across the street.
This post contains affiliate links. Making a purchase through one of these links allows Dutch, Dutch, Goose to receive a small payment at no cost to you. Further, our visit to the Dali museum was complimentary for the purpose of writing this review. As always all opinions are my own.