Let me start by saying: If you love a candlelit dinner and a walk on the beach, more power to you. But if you’re tired of the same old night out or you want to impress your date, I’m on your side: Let’s try something new.
Twilight Hours at Panther Ridge
Right off the bat, we’re getting a little wild with it. The Twilight Hours at Panther Ridge Conservation Center invites you into the oasis that is Panther Ridge’s Loxahatchee Groves property for an evening with big cats at their most frisky. As the sun sets, the cats — safe inside their beautifully manicured enclosures — become more playful and really show their personalities. It’s a great opportunity to spend a few hours outside with the sun setting in the distance, with the purrs and chitters of rare, endangered and threatened species of cats surrounding you. Among the species you’ll see and learn about from the talented docents: clouded leopards, caracals, fishing cats, cheetahs and servals. You will be outside, so dress comfortably and wear shoes that are good for standing and walking.
What: Twilight Hours at Panther Ridge Conservation Center
Where: 2143 D Road, Loxahatchee Groves
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 18
Cost: $50 per adult, $25 per child age 2-12
Information: Call 561-795-8914 or click here to get more information or book your tour
Book a Selfie Studio Session
Book an hour to snap some selfies with your sweetie at the brand new So Selfless Selfie Studio at the Mall at Wellington Green. So Selfless includes 16 stylized selfie booths, and themes include poker, a Parisian cafe, a ball pit and a red British-style telephone booth. Founder Taneisha Dunkley said she designed the space to bring joy to people’s lives, the same way she experienced joy with a friend when exploring the Texas Selfie Museum in San Antonio. You can still grab dinner — or you can grab a sweet treat from Flamango’s across the hall or Wonder Sweets Bakery upstairs. Dunkley is running a deal for Valentine’s Day, with $50 per couple. If you bring your gals for a session on Feb. 14 to celebrate Galentine’s Day, you each get a heart-shaped ring to model in your photos and take home as a sparkly souvenir.
What: Selfie Studio Valentine’s Day Deal
Where: Mall at Wellington Green, on the first level outside Dillard’s, 10300 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington
When: All day Valentine’s Day
Cost: $50 per couple
Information: Call 561-429-5989 or go to www.soselfless.com to book your session online
Go for a hike
This one’s for the nature lover on a budget. If money is an issue, you can save a ton of cash by finding a beautiful place to go for a hike with your sweetheart. In the “where” section below, I’ve included several ideas for locations in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach. You can pack a picnic or some snacks and find a quiet place to sit, chat and connect. You can buy a picnic backpack from Amazon that includes just about everything you need, short of the food itself. If you want something a little more versatile, check out a cooler backpack instead. Or, you can grab your own backpack and DIY it with some reusable containers and insulated bags from Dollar Tree. Either way, your date will know you’ve put a lot of thought into the moment, and that’s what matters. The park and preserve options I’ve listed below also include a mix of parks with pleasant, shorter walks to ones that have honest-to-God, sweat-inducing hiking trails. It’s always a good idea to pay a short visit to plan where you want to stop for a bite while on your walk, and then you can impress your date later with your knowledge of the park and its features. (“Oh yes, my love! The bathroom is right over here!”)
What: Take a hike!
Where: Wellington Environmental Preserve, 3491 Flying Cow Ranch Road, Wellington; Peaceful Waters Sanctuary, 11676 Pierson Road, Wellington (inside Village Park); Commons Park, 11600 Poinciana Blvd., Royal Palm Beach; Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area, 110 Nature’s Way, Royal Palm Beach.
When: Hours vary; click the links above for the parks for details
Cost: Park entry is free, you just need to bring the food
The new Wood Paper Glass art studio in the original Wellington Mall has a variety of options for couples to enjoy some time together while watching each other attempt to make — I don’t know, maybe something close to art? Whatever it is, it will be beautiful, and you’ll have the memories of making it together. Book a stained glass crash course for yourself and your date, or plan to take the Kissing Booth Box making course at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 13, a one hour and 30 minute class for $30 per person.
What: Wood Paper Glass
Where: Original Wellington Mall, 12794 Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 4, Wellington
When: Times vary
Cost: $30 for the Kissing Booth Box course; $60 for the three-hour stained glass crash course; $35 to make a glass-on-glass mosaic; other courses may cost less or more
Information: Go to www.woodpaperglass.com
Did you know we have one of the premier paintball facilities in the state right here in our backyard? Piquet Entertainment and Race Park (a kart track opens soon) is on Southern Boulevard just west of the Palm Beach State College campus in Loxahatchee Groves. Re-enact that adorable scene from “10 Things I Hate About You” where Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger shoot each other on the paintball field. (Don’t make out right there, though. I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed.) This one requires some planning: Make sure you book your times and pay in advance, and it’s also important that you dress appropriately, so this isn’t the kind of Valentine’s Day date your spring on your partner at the last second. Still, you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time while learning how to work together — or against each other.
What: Piquet Entertainment and Race Park
Where: 16169 Southern Blvd., Loxahatchee Groves
When: Noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday
Cost: Prices vary; click here for full details
Information: Call 561-781-9145 or go to www.piquetracepark.com