THE Sunshine city in THE Sunshine state, St Petersburg, Florida makes a perfect place for a day trip with kids, or if you can spare the time, even longer! We recently visited, mainly to check out the Dali Museum but ended up exploring the area as well. Here’s my guide on things to do in St Pete, Florida with kids.
St Pete has a real small town, hipster vibe with some great attractions that could hold their own in any big city. It is an extremely creative community, perhaps why the Dali Museum seems totally at home.
The building itself is stunning, an architectural masterpiece of hard lines and curved glass domes. From inside the dome provides a great view across Tampa bay and makes the museum feel completely light and airy.
It contains the largest selection of Dali’s work outside of Spain and is home to some instantly recognizable masterpieces. The surrealist nature of the paintings and objects are bound to intrigue little ones, making it super family friendly, Piper had a good old giggle at the quirky lobster phone and loved the colours of the strong man.
I was blown away by the dream worlds depicted in many paintings, desperate to understand where such imagination and attention to detail comes from. “Lincoln in Dalivision” was a particular favourite, seeing it lifesize is so so much better than studying it from afar as I did at school.
Audio tours are included in your ticket price and I highly recommend making use of them. They explain what you’re seeing, the history and reasoning behind the paintings and provide a good insight into Dali’s unique personality.
Piper loved the kids audio tour, she was guided around the museum by the rather cheeky “Mr Mustache” and learnt as much about Dali as I think I did without being overwhelmed by some of the weightier representations.
The Dali Museum embraces children and does everything it can to develop their creativity and love of art. We spent time in the hands on area where Piper made use of some of the ideas she picked up on from Dali's work around the museum.
The Garden is probably my favourite part of the museum, there’s a small maze, a shaded bench with Dali's famous melting clock and a beautiful wishes tree, you leave your entrance wristband tied to it and make a wish (probably best to do this after you’ve explored the museum!).
And just a side note – the museum shop is AMAZING! Save some space in your luggage for extra souvenirs!
I recommend spending at least two hours in the museum with extra time to explore the shop and gardens.
One Dali Blvd,
Onsite parking is slightly steep at $10 but is free for members.
St Petersburg is a haven for nature and sea life, with Tampa Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, you’ll be spoilt for choice on which way to look! We spent about an hour wandering along the front playing eyespy. Piper was desperate to feed the (very) friendly squirrels and we marveled at how many huge pelicans we saw.
If you're looking for some shade, the astonishing Banyan trees at North Straub Park offer some much needed shelter. They are huge and look like something from another time but in reality are probably less than 100 years old. Piper was desperate to climb up and swing from the distinctive aerial root system!
The food scene in St Petersburg is huge, mainly focusing on local Floridian produce. We treated ourselves to Bellabrava, a lovely Italian restaurant with a delicious menu and some awesome desserts.
St Petersburg is HOT, it enjoys around 361 days of sunshine a year, no wonder its called the Sunshine City! Luckily it’s overflowing with air conditioned ice cream and frozen yoghurt stores. Just indulge and work off those calories exploring the area!
You could always enjoy your snack on one of the many quirky benches nestled between local shops and restaurants.
St Petes also has a thriving Micro Brewery scene, unfortunately we were driving back to Tampa that evening so couldn’t indulge!
We really wanted to visit the St. Petersburg Museum of History with its interesting collection of alligators and oddities demonstrating the history and heritage of Florida. They have the worlds largest collection of baseballs, an authentic 3,000 year old Egyptian mummy and loads more. Unfortunately we arrived after closing, don’t you just love an excuse to return somewhere!
If you can time your visit right, St Petes hosts a monthly indie market with over 100 vendors, craft beer and live art, offering everything Indie. You can find all the dates here.
If you are lucky enough to have a little more time, these are the top rated family friendly hotels on Tripadvisor in St Pete.
There’s normally space along the main road, make sure you fill up the parking meters and don’t go over your allotted time. Our friends did unfortunately as the Sunday parking rules were a little confusing but in true, friendly St Petes style, if you’re a visitor (and it’s your first offence) and take your ticket to the tourist centre within a day, they will waive the fee. Obviously I don’t recommend this but it just shows what a welcoming town it is.
We visited from Tampa which was a lovely 45 min drive on the I-275 across Old Tampa Bay or if you're visiting the theme parks in Orlando, its around a 2 hour drive.
You can fly into St Petes airport from most cities around the US or if you’re arriving internationally, most countries offer direct flights to Tampa or Orlando.
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