Our visit to Morean Arts Center was a breath of fresh air when we were in the Tampa Bay area recently. It’s located in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. If I could pick one word to describe it, I’d say it was calming. If we went with two words, it’d be calming and fun.
We timed our visit to take advantage of the FREE kid-friendly art experience held every Saturday. While Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater gave my family and friends free passes to explore all of their amazing venues – Morean Galleries, Glass Studio and Hot Shop, Morean Arts Center for Clay, and the Chihuly Collection – the kids would’ve been as pleased as punch if we stayed in the education studio the entire day.
For the Omaha crowd, it’s kind of a cross between our own Hot Shops and the arts center at the Omaha Children’s Museum. The free art experience is on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with a lunch break for the instructor tucked in there).
It’s best for ages 5-10, but the two 3-year-olds in our crowd had as much fun as their big brothers. There is an instructor on hand to help explain any o the art stations.
A visit to the Morean Arts Center Galleries is FREE, as is the Saturday art experience for kids. So, kids can pretty much make their own souvenirs from their trip to Florida. Unless you’re the kind of mommy who “accidentally” leaves their works of art at the hotel…
Anyway, the kids enjoyed the quiet time at various stations, and even the three of us adults in our group joined in.
We had to leave the studio for the instructor’s lunch time, so we made our way into the various galleries at Morean. Mooch had the kids’ camera, making our meander a snail pace. The girl takes after her Grampy, taking pictures of pictures.
There are temporary exhibits at Morean, and during our visit, the kids found one they loved. What’s not to love about artwork that sneaks in ninja turtles or Darth Vader?
There’s no guarantee you’ll find a similar exhibit like this one if you go, but the beauty of art is that there’s always a way to strike up a conversation about it with kids, even if it’s simply asking them to pick out their favorite and asking why.
Our next stop was next door: The Morean Glass Studio and Hot Shop. This was a memorable stop!
We arrived in time to watch a live glass blowing demonstration. If you’ve never seen one, these are pretty cool to watch. I’m not sure who was more impressed with the process – me or the kids.
One person explained what was happening as we watched. The resident glass artist, Pauli Nelson Maiville, made it look so easy – but the end result was incredibly beautiful.
I wish we had gotten one of the finished pieces!
However, Mr. Wonderful and Mooch had secretly left our group long enough to pick out a glass necklace for me, and patiently waited to give it to me until Mother’s Day.
If you purchase tickets to the St. Petersburg Art Experience, you’re able to visit Morean Arts Center Galleries and the Glass Studio & Hot Shop, as well as the Chihuly Collection and the Morean Arts Center for Clay. If you had older children, you could easily make the four spread out stops in a day. We were with four kids who were 5 and under, and two stops were our max.
If you go
Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave. (closer to Central Avenue)
Glass Studio & Hot Shop, 719 Central Ave. (closer to First Avenue)
Chihuly Collection, 400 Beach Drive NE
Morean Arts Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. South
Morean Gallery, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (children’s art experience is Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.); Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.
Chihuly Collection, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Glass Studio & Hot Shop, daily noon to 5 p.m.; daily demonstrations are at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m.
Morean Center for Clay, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday
St. Petersburg Art Experience (includes the Chihuly Collection, Glass Studio & Hot Shop, Morean Arts Center Galleries, and the Morean Arts Center for Clay)
Adult: $19.95 (the Chihuly Collection ticket is $14.95 on its own, making this a good value!)
Senior 65+: $17.95
Child & Student: $12.95
Children 5 & under free
Disclaimer: My family and friends were provided complimentary St. Petersburg Art Experience tickets courtesy of Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater so that I could review our experience. All opinions and thoughts were my own.
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Thinking of flying your family to Tampa? Check out my sample two-day itinerary for Tampa Bay! We crammed a lot in, which I actually wouldn’t suggest. Mix and match my recommended places to see:
I also wrote about the Allegiant Air direct flight from Omaha to the Tampa Bay area, so check that out, plus if you need a hotel suggestion and you L-O-V-E food and pampering, read my post about Epicurean Hotel in the beautiful Hyde Park area of Tampa.