Our next stop in Florida was Tampa. On the way there from Tallahassee, we stopped at a few gas stations. Some were small and dirty. Others were big, clean, and with some fast-food restaurants built in, like a mini-mall. At one gas station, the bathroom doors were decorated in a really interesting way.

In the morning, we went to the beach. My uncle and aunt were renting a beach house, and it was next to a really great spot. There was already a tent set up, complete with pool noodles and chairs. We sat in the chairs watching the ocean and the birds that walked along the shoreline. Sometimes they were just a few feet away from us. For example, we saw some white herons with bright yellow feet. On the way back from the beach, we saw a few different kinds of palm trees with fruit that looked like mangos.

In the afternoon, we went to the Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg, near Tampa. Salvador Dali was a famous surrealistic painter in the early 1900s. Surrealism is a style of art where all the pieces in a painting or sculpture by themselves make sense and are real objects, but the whole picture together is kind of like a dream. Or a nightmare. The Art Institute of Chicago has a lot of Dali's paintings and some sculptures.

The museum in St. Petersburg also has a lot of Dali's original paintings. The paintings aren't the only cool thing there, though. The museum itself is built in a very interesting way. The main staircase is in the shape of a spiral. The museum is like a bubble wrapped around a huge cube. The bubble part is made out of triangular sections. No two sections are identical. When they were shipping the triangles to the site where they were going to build the museum, they had to number them so that when the triangles arrived, they knew where to put each one.

Dali liked to create paintings with optical illusions in them. For example, there's a painting of Dali's wife standing on a cliff over the sea. If you look at it from a distance, you can see Abraham Lincoln's face, kind of made out of pixels. There's also a painting with a picture of a toreador hidden in it.

The museum was holding a limited-time "Dali and da Vinci" exhibit. Both Dali and da Vinci were interested in using math to make better art. The exhibit compared and contrasted their artwork. It also showed how da Vinci's artwork influenced Dali's. For example, there was a grid made by da Vinci and a painting by Dali, next to each other. The exhibit was also about how exactly math is used in art. It talked about the Golden Ratio and how grids are used in paintings.

There was a period in Dali's life when he kept trying to invent things. Most of his inventions were completely useless and weren't used. For example(I'm saying "for example" a lot, don't you think?), he invented mirrored fingernails. Some of his inventions are on display in the museum.


A fishtank in the shape of a human

Those mirrored fingernails I was talking about earlier

Springy shoes. Looks like fun!

We had a great time in Tampa. The next morning, we packed up and drove to West Palm Beach.