Celebrating Salvador Dali, the Dali Museum located at One Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, Florida, contains some of the artist’s best works that give visitors a comprehensive insight into his life and art.
Though this may not sound like the best place to take kids, especially with autism, an afternoon visit may chance your mind.
Children of all ages, including those on the autism spectrum seem to connect with the surreal, whimsical almost childish perspective the artist presents in his paintings and sculptures.
What to See
As one walks in, the building is revealed in its entire architectural splendor; curved staircases, giant, mirrored windows and magnificent skylights that provide the structure with much needed natural lighting.
The museum keeps a permanent exhibit that includes the famed Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (the melting clocks), Death of my Brother, Columbus discovering America and The First Day of Spring.
The temporary exhibits change on a regular basis and have included: Dali Revealed, The DaVinci Mind, Andy Warhol.The one we saw during our visit was the well curated Picasso exhibit that focused on the different ways Picasso and Dali, who were contemporaries influenced each other’s art.
Visitors frequently comment on the quality of the pieces at the museum, and how great it is to be able to see the art up close.
The docents are very knowledgeable, and the free tours are worth checking out if you have the time.
For guests pressed for time or who prefer to go at a personal pace, the audio tour is the way to go.
Parents should know there are both adult and child versions of the audio tour and that the museum also offers a fun self-guided ‘scavenger hunt’ for kids to discover the museum’s highlights.
The venue offers regular story time and various fun activities for children; information can be found on the Family Events page on the museum website.
Our son found some of the paintings fun and funny while others had him sit and observe them from afar to ‘understand ‘them better.
The outdoor garden overlooking a Marina is perfect for kids to run around while the adults relax on the Dali replica whimsical park benches and enjoy the waterfront view.
Visitors that happen to drop by on a Sunday morning should check the museum’s Dali and Yoga sessions incorporating pranayama (breathing), asana (posture ), meditation and relaxation.
Noteworthy is the museum’s recycle tree project in the garden’s center where visitors are encouraged to clip their admission tickets and create decorative colorful long paper strings.
The Dali Museum features one of the most comprehensive souvenir stores we’ve seen with a Dali-esque Rolls Royce artifact as its centerpiece.
The store sells books, lithographs, t-shirts, mugs and even stuffed dolls with the artist’s famous designs.Since the museum itself is not interactive, this is the place to take kids that want to touch or play with Dali inspired artifacts.
Autism Travel Tips
- The Museum is recommended for children aged six and up; prohibits bags, large backpacks, bike helmets and large child carriers but oddly does not provide a coat/bag check area.
- The Gala (named after Dali’s wife and inspirational muse) Café on the first floor serves Spanish food and is a good way to introduce kids to the country’s cuisine with the finger sized tapas.
- The museum is wheelchair-accessible and has four wheelchairs for public use (first come first served).
- Service animals are welcomed, while emotional support animals are not.
- Tour options are available in several languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian and Dutch.
- During the school year (September-May), there may be school groups participating in docent-led tours at 10 or 11 am, so it may be better to go in the afternoon during those months to avoid crowds.
Admission Cost & Parking
- General Admission tickets range between 10- $24. Children under five years old are free.
- After 5 pm on Thursdays, Adults can purchase a ticket for $10, and children are $8.
- AAA members can also get a discount as long as the tickets are bought ahead of time at either an AAA Auto Club South branch office or at online.
- Ask at the front desk whether there is any discount for persons with disability and the person accompanying them.
- Parking on-site is $10, but there’s adequate street parking around the venue too.
Disclaimer: Special thanks to the Dali Museum that provided us with complimentary tickets for the review. However, the tips and opinions shared are always our own.