Guest Author - Eve Carr
Many people come to St. Petersburg, Florida, to lounge on its incredible beaches and just soak up the sun. But, there’s even more to do here. The city is actually a rich and varied cultural Mecca. Here you can enjoy everything from celebrity rock and roll concerts to ballet, Broadway shows to symphony performances, and sports such as the Grand Prix and St. Anthony’s Triathlon.
With a diverse array of museums in the heart of downtown, St. Pete offers something to match every interest. If it’s the art scene that attracts you, check out the Salvador Dali Museum. This permanent collection of over 1,000 pieces of Dali’s work is the world’s most extensive private collection of this Spanish master. You could spend days here just admiring his work—or trying to figure out what was going on in the mind of this flamboyant artist as he brought life to his creations.
For more traditional art, the Museum of Fine Arts offers a comprehensive art collection that includes works by such artists as Monet, Rodin, Bellows, and O’Keeffe. For a personalized art experience, visit The Arts Center, a fine arts gallery that offers classes for adults and children.
The Florida Holocaust Museum, containing a variety of photographs, memorabilia, films and videos.
Kids of all ages will enjoy Great Explorations, an innovative hands-on museum. It re-opened in the summer of 2003 after a $2.7 million renovation that created all new exhibits and formats.
Adjacent to St. Petersburg’s Sunken Gardens, Great Explorations’ exhibits include a raceway where visitors build a tabletop racecar and a sailboat exhibit where visitors learn about wind direction and air pressure. The Great Splash area opened this year and uses water games to help children gain an understanding of water conversation, the water cycle, and the importance of water in our lives. www.greatexplorations.org
Nature lovers will want to visit the Sunken Gardens botanical gardens with over 50,000 tropical plants and a butterfly garden, as well as enjoy a Dolphin Landings cruise to watch for dolphins, visit an unspoiled natural barrier island, or just relax with a sunset cruise.
Sports fans will find plenty of action at Tropicana Field, Florida’s first domed stadium, which is home to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and holds a range of other athletic events, conventions, trade shows and concerts.
Accommodations in the St. Petersburg area range from the practical to the downright sumptuous. For those on a budget, there are the Superior Small Lodgings, which offer neat, clean accommodations in a cozy, homey setting. At the Seahorse Cottages on nearby Treasure Island, for example, you can rent cottages and housekeeping units that are right on the beach.
For truly upscale accommodations, there’s the luxurious Renaissance Vinoy Resort. Originally built in 1925, this stylish resort in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, pampers guests with its elegant setting, a variety of fine dining experiences, and attentive, yet unpretentious service. For more information about attractions in the St. Petersburg area, visit www.floridasbeach.com