Valentine’s Day: The Unconventional Way

Looking for something out of the ordinary to do this Valentine’s Day? Don’t follow the herd that’s wining and dining before “Fifty Shades of Grey” – check out these cool things happening in Philly instead and score major points for creativity with your significant other.

Valentine’s Ghost Tour: Love Never Dies
Nothing says “I love you” like huddling in a haunted house on a Saturday night. The Philadelphia Ghost Tour company is leading their sixth annual special Valentine’s Ghost Tour: Love Never Dies starting at the Powel House in the historic district. The 75-minute walking tour will explore the lovelorn past of the haunted colonial-era mansion as well as historic surrounding homes and burial grounds. The tour guide even dresses up in colonial garb and leads you around town with a lantern – that’s dedication. While the scary stories and February air might give you the chills, it’s the perfect opportunity to bundle up and get cozy with your date. Tickets are $24 per person. Tour begins at 7:30 p.m. at 244 S. 3rd Street. Call 215-413-1997 to purchase tickets by phone. Visit http://www.ghosttour.net/hauntedphiladelphia for more information.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens Valentine’s Day Tour
You’ve never seen the Philadelphia Magic Gardens like this before. This special tour catered for couples comes with complimentary wine and is lit by romantic candlelight. Guests will hear about founding artist Isaiah Zagar and his wife Julia while exploring the sparkling mosaic labyrinth. Discover different symbols of love and sex hidden in the gardens artwork. Plus, couples get to view the mosaicked basement that is closed to the general public. Tickets are $15 for non-members. Tours are approximately an hour long. Must be 21 or older to attend and reservations are required. Call 215-733-0390 or visit http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/events/valentines-day-tours/ for more information.

Wild at Heart at the Philadelphia Zoo
Have a wild time this Saturday with the Wild at Heart weekend at the Philadelphia Zoo. Guests can enjoy different love-themed programming that includes watching the animal keepers hand out treats and a tour of animal couples at the zoo. Animal couples! Observe the love lives and attraction rituals among different animals like the African lions and learn about animals that mate for life like the white-handed gibbon. Wild at Heart is included in the price of zoo admission. No registration is required. Visit www.philadelphiazoo.org for more information.

Love Letters
The Love Letter tour is an exploration of beautiful artistic expression. Stephen Powers – a local, established street artist with the tag ESPO – in collaboration with Mural Arts, painted a series of 50 murals on rooftops that serve as a love letter from a boy to girl. Travel by elevated train with tour guides who will tell stories about the murals’ meanings at each stop. The works have been interpreted as a love letter from an artist to his hometown and from local residents to their West Philadelphia neighborhood as well. Join the tour and judge for yourself. “Forever begins when you say yes.” Tours run from 10:30 a.m. – noon and cost $20 per person. Visit http://www.muralarts.org/node/4074 for more information.

Chester County Hot Air Balloon Ride
For valentines with a bigger budget, the United States Hot Air Balloon Team is offering one-hour flights over the Chester, Montgomery, and Berks County countryside. The ride also gives romantic views of the Schuylkill River and Philadelphia skyline. Upon arrival, enjoy a traditional champagne toast and light snack with the pilot and crew. Special offers include photo packets and a flight certificate suitable for framing. The Valentine’s Day deal makes tickets $179 per person. Meeting location is the Pottstown Municipal Airport. Call 800-763-5987 or visit https://my.getinsellout.com/providers/us-hot-air-balloon-team/skus/3-chester-county-hot-air-balloon-ride/ for more information.

Smith Memorial Arch and Whispering Benches
Perfect for couples keeping it simple, the stone seating areas at the Smith Memorial in Fairmount Park are designed for whispering sweet nothings. The Smith Memorial commemorating Pennsylvania’s military heroes of the civil war is a pair of arches surmounted by tall pillars. The stone seats around them create the whispering bench phenomenon – speaking softly into the curved wall at one end can distinctly be heard at the other end. The bench is a popular spot for young couples in the city and is located next to the Smith Memorial Playground – and who can be beat the free price? Pack a picnic basket and make this an unforgettable night. Visit http://smithplayground.org/ for details.

By Jess Smith

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