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Things to Do in St. Petersburg: The Salvador Dali Museum

Most people looking for cheap flights to Florida look for flights to Orlando or Miami, but there’s a whole lot more to see and do in the Sunshine state than see Mickey Mouse or party on South Beach. And if you are heading to the theme parks of Orlando, Tampa actually provides an alternative that is often less expensive. It’s only 1.5 hours away from Orlando by car.

If you do fly into the Tampa airport, consider spending a few days in nearby St. Petersburg, which offers some of the coast’s most beautiful beaches, and some surprising attractions – like the Salvador Dali museum.

Salvador Dali, the famous Spanish surrealist painter, probably isn’t who you would normally associate with the city of St. Petersburg, Florida. Yet it’s here that you’ll find the largest collection of the artist’s work outside of Spain. Die hard Dali fans will love it. If you’re considering a visit, here’s what you need to know.

The museum is well-curated, but despite its boast of being the largest Dali collection outside of Spain, it doesn’t display as many works as you might expect (this may be corrected when the new building opens in early 2011). Even taking my time strolling through the museum, pausing to read the detailed story of each work and studying it intently, I was able to make it through the exhibit in less than an hour. When you’re paying $17 per person for an activity like this, you generally expect it to last at least as long as a movie.

However, the museum does offer several special events and activities that are well worth the cost, and this is when I suggest going to really get your money’s worth. On certain Saturdays, they offer breakfast with Dali, a chance to explore the museum before it opens to the public (9:30am – 11:30am), plus enjoy breakfast for $15. On select summer Fridays, admission is half price after 5pm and there is live music, free appetizers, and a cash bar. And on every Thursday, admission is only $5 after 5pm.

Accommodation in St. Petersburg ranges from no-frills to luxury with many hotels with free wi-fi, free breakfasts, and other perks. And though the beaches are equally beautiful on the Gulf side, they tend to be even cheaper than the most cheap hotels in Miami, thanks to a less glamorous, more family-friendly image.

Photo by wendylee19