By Amy Rea

Next week is Valentine’s Day. Being that it falls on a Thursday, it will likely trickle over into the weekend, and restaurants and florists will be busy. There’s certainly nothing wrong with flowers and a lovely dinner out, but there are other options. Note: reservations are recommended for most of these, so call ahead.

On Feb. 12, the Science Museum teams with Amsterdam Bar and Hall for the monthly edition of Beaker and Brush, a series exploring the intersection of science and art. The apropos topic for Valentine’s week? High Heat, a discussion with jewelry fabricator Betty Jäger and Director of the High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Steven Girschick.

Head over to St. Paul on Valentine’s Eve for the annual Victorian Poetry Slam, taking place Wednesday night at the James J. Hill House. Costumed actors will be on hand to recite poems by Poe, Dickinson, and Browning. There will be refreshments and a house tour as well (worth the visit all by itself).

Out at the Mall of America,the Ice Castles display could arguably be a very romantic spot, especially at night, when the castle’s walls are lit up with multicolored lights.

Three Rivers Park District has several Valentine’s-themed events next week. On Valentine’s Day, Gale Woods Farm has a special dinner (catered by local company Common Roots Catering) and sleigh rides. Richardson Nature Center offers Candlelight & Chocolate, with options including snowshoeing by candlelight, enjoying chocolates and live music by campfire, or take a ride on a kicksled. Hot coffee, tea, and cider will be provided; if you’re over 21, feel free to bring wine or beer. The Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement has a romantic catered dinner in its log cabin lodge. After dinner, take a candlelit snowshoe hike to a campfire. Bring your own wine if you like.

In Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts has Institute of Hearts. Share your love not just for another human, but for a work of art.

Dine out—at the Como Park Conservatory, surrounded by the lush flowers while enjoying live music. Three nights, limited seating, call soon.

For a change of pace, check out the Mondo Juggling and Unicycle Festival, which starts on Feb. 15. You’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at either, or just enjoy watching the pros.

If that’s not enough of a change of pace, then maybe it’s time for a road trip. Valentine’s Day is also the kickoff day for Walker’s annual (and very popular) Eelpout Festival. Eelpout may be ugly (or beautiful to the right beholder), but you can also get in on fish fries, mechanical bull rides, watch auto racing on the lake, enjoy some dancing, and even try your hand at catching your own eelpout.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.


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