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Putt-Putt with Alligators


Sniff.

This post brings me to the last of my St. Petersburg/ Clearwater posts. I've had a grand ol' time reliving my favorite moments through these posts.

I saved one of my most favorite moments for this last post.

It's about spontaneity. It's about personal triumph.

It's about putt-putt.

History, Flamenco, and Good Eats at Florida's Oldest Restaurant: A Review of The Columbia, Ybor City, Florida

History, Flamenco, and Good Eats at Florida's Oldest Restaurant: A Review of The Columbia, Ybor City, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

I am bonkers about old things: castles, historical artifacts, books. If it's a little dusty with a few tales to tell, I'm intrigued.

When I found out that Florida's oldest restaurant was just over the big bay from us during our St. Pete trip, I immediately slotted it into our Friday night plans. When Landon found out there was a flamenco show option, he gave his vote for it as well. And when I heard two different Tampa sources recommend it, I was completely sold.

Indian Shores, Florida

Indian Shores, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

My one wish on our recent St. Petersburg trip is that we'd had more time to enjoy the beautiful beaches there. Our hotel was right across the road from the beach, so Landon and I decided on a romantic walk on the beach one day at sunset.

How to Spend a Day at Busch Gardens Tampa without Kids

How to Spend 1 Day at Busch Gardens Tampa without Kids | CosmosMariners.com

(Alt. title: How We Realized We Were Officially Old)

I'm the most cautious adventure seeker out there. I'll jump off that cliff, climb into that parasailing equipment, and strap on my scuba gear, but you better believe that I'll think about every possible negative scenario there is before I do it.

So, it's no stretch of the imagination that I gave the rollercoasters at Busch Gardens Tampa the old hairy eyeball...before clambering to get in line.

St. Pete Eats: Bella Brava


After an intense morning learning about Salvadore Dali, Landon and I headed a few blocks away from the museum into the heart of downtown St. Petersburg for lunch.

Barefoot Beach Resort, Indian Shores, Florida: A Review

Barefoot Beach Resort, Indian Shores, Florida: A Review | CosmosMariners.com

Anyone who's ever traveled and had to stay overnight at a hotel knows that a lot rides on a good night's sleep. If you're not comfortable, you won't be at your best to drive another long stretch, put up with your crazy aunt at the family reunion, and/or make some great memories. (And yes, I know these are all first world problems. 'Tis the life I live.)

I was excited about our home away from home in St. Petersburg and had big hopes that it would be everything I needed it to be. Because if you haven't notice, we packed A LOT into those three days that we were there, and I needed to be relaxed, well-rested, and happy.

No pressure, hotel. No pressure.

St. Pete Eats: Toucan's


The first night we were in the St. Pete/ Clearwater area, Landon and I wanted to eat at a quintessential little beach place. We wanted to eat outside since the weather was gorgeous, and we wanted to be near the beach so we could watch the sunset.

Seeing as how we were on one long, skinny island, we figured that we shouldn't have too much of a problem fulfilling our requirements.

We'd heard great things about Frenchy's Rockaway, so we headed there first. It had an hour wait (on a random Wednesday night at 6:30--I don't know what was going on there), so we figured we could just walk down Mandalay Avenue and find something there.

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Over the next week and a half, I'll be diving into parts of our trip since I couldn't cram everything into my daily overviews. On the agenda: reviews of the places we ate, tons of pictures, and recaps of our favorite places, so get pumped!

First up is a look at the three amazing art collections that we visited. Seriously, if you even have a passing interest in the arts and you're in downtown St. Petersburg, make time in your schedule for these three art museums: the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection, and the Morean Arts Center.

The DalĂ­ Museum

I love all things modernist and post modernist, so you can imagine my glee when I discovered that St. Petersburg had one of the largest collections of Salvadore Dali's works outside of Spain. Landon, who minored in Spanish in college, is also a huge fan of Dali, and both of us were looking forward to experiencing the museum.

The museum absolutely did not disappoint. From the moment that we walked up to the building, we knew we were in for a treat, since it combined elements of nature, concrete, glass, and geometry into a unique, Dali-esque structure.

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com
Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Once inside, we wandered around the Dali portion of the museum, learning about his paintings and changing philosophies. I learned several things while listening to the audio guide:
  • Dali had an older brother who died before he was born. Creepily, the brother's name was also Salvadore Dali, and Dali's parents often treated the living boy as if he was the same person as his dead brother.
  • Dali is known for his surrealist works, but he actually broke with the Surrealist group due to their political differences. 
  • His later works reflect his growing interest in science and religion. The paintings from this period are still very symbolic, but don't have that dreamlike quality of his early works (i.e. he'd left the dripping clocks and oozing figures behind at that point).
Oh, there were a million other things that I learned, but I will spare you the full on art lecture. (Unless you're interested...)

My favorite painting was called "The Holographic Toreador" which had this trompe l'oeil quality to it, since the subject shifts between Venus de Milo and a bullfighter when you stare at it. It's also a giant painting, and, for some reason, I really love huge, room dominating artwork.

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

After our jaunt through the wild mind of Dali, we headed over to the Andy Warhol exhibit on the other side of the museum. When Landon and I were first putting this trip together, we were disappointed to find out that the Warhol exhibit was closing before we would get there--BUT! we were delighted to see a billboard as we drove to the Dali Museum that said that the Warhol exhibit had been extended!

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com


I found it exceedingly odd that Warhol and Dali knew one another and ran in the same social circles in New York in the '60s and '70s. Plus, I found out that Dali was only 24 years older than Warhol--for some reason, I thought Dali was MUCH older than Warhol.

We enjoyed looking at collection, which included sketches from his Pop Art period (including the Campbell's soup can and the U.S. dollar bill), videos he shot, excerpts from his T.V. show, personal photographs, and prints.

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com
Warhol (in the chair) and Dali (standing)


I love interactive exhibits, so I had to participate in the screen test part of the exhibit. It was reminiscent to the three-minute-long screen tests that Warhol recorded: he even had one for Dali! Warhol would slow down the final tapes so that the pieces had a dream-like quality.

After we'd tinkered with all of the fun bits at the Warhol museum, we took a quick run around the gardens outside the museum. I would love to go sit out there, next to the water and the marina, and just read or write. It was so pretty!

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com




The Chihuly Collection

Next up on our jaunt of culture was the Chihuly Collection. I LOVE Chihuly's works, and I was so excited about seeing some of them up close. If you've ever been to the lobbies of the Bellagio or Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, you've seen just a taste of what Chihuly can do.

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

The Collection was pretty great--and I was allowed to take pictures, which was even better.

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com


The Morean Arts Center

The Morean Arts Center, which runs the Chihuly collection, also runs a Hot Shop that does daily glass blowing demonstrations (which we had to do, of course!). I loved seeing how these skilled glassworkers turned a lump of molten glass into a gorgeous red bowl.

The demonstration lasts for about half an hour and is $8.95 per adult. The glassblowers were personable and explained every step of their process, which made the experience much more in-depth. You'll also get access to the hot shop store to purchase some of the works of these talented artists!

Dali, Warhol, and Chihuly: A Trifecta of Arty Awesomeness in St. Petersburg, Florida | CosmosMariners.com




Even if you have smaller children, the museums would be interesting. The Dali had cute art backpacks that the young attendees could use, and the Chihuly has so much color that any kid would enjoy it (just don't touch!!). The Hot Shop would be especially cool (ha--not literally!) for kids to see since the process is quick and gratifying for short attention spans.

Have you visited St. Petersburg's art museums? Which would you be the most interested in?
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