**UPDATED January 26, 2018**
While the traditional Valentine’s Day staples of flowers, chocolates, and a romantic dinner are wonderful ways to say “I love you,” there are also plenty of ways to take your celebration to the next level. Up the romance (and the adrenaline) with a totally out of the ordinary Valentine’s Day experience this year.
Trying something new as a couple is a great way to strengthen your bond, increase your own confidence, and make memories that will last long after the holiday has come and gone. Here are our top picks for a Valentine’s Day you won’t soon forget.
Bioluminescent kayaking for two
The best way I can describe bioluminescent kayaking is to compare it to real life Avatar. There’s just nothing like dipping your hand into the refreshing water and watching it come alive with the blue glow given off by bioluminescent organisms. Any disturbance in the water will trigger the bioluminescence, so kayaking is a great way to see and experience the wonder for yourself.
A Day Away Kayak Tours is offering several kayaking tours to celebrate the holiday. During the special Valentine’s Day Tour, paddle into the sunset and observe the comb jellyfish bioluminescence viewable this time of year. The 2-hour tour also includes gourmet cupcakes, and a professional photographer will be on site capturing memories. Valentine’s tours are available February 10 and 14th at 5:30pm for $50/person. Alternatively, sign up for the Comb Jelly Bio Paddle & a Pint kayak tour complete with a 90-minute guided tour followed by a free pint of beer at Playalinda Brewing Company – Hardware Store. Tours take place in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. The tour will take place on February 17 from 6:30-9pm and tickets are $45/person.
Cupid’s Undie Run
If you’re a couple who enjoys running, then this annual run will be right up your alley. While you’ve likely seen your significant other in his/her underwear before, you’ve probably never gone out in public in just your underthings in order to run a race, which is exactly what the 1-mile Cupid’s Undie Run invites you to do. Aside from having a good time, you’ll also be running for a good cause. The run benefits The Children’s Tumor Foundation and neurofibromatosis research. This Valentine’s Day-themed event is definitely for the bold and adventurous but looks like a total blast (and a definite photo-op). Celebrate with a party both before and after the race. Registration starts at $40/person. This year’s race will take place on February 17, 2018.
Nighttime zip line
There are tons of places to go zip lining in Central Florida, including Gatorland (my personal favorite), but if you’ve been there done that and want to try something new, check out the nighttime zip line tour being offered at Zoom Air Orlando for Valentine’s Day. In what’s been named the Valentine Moon Zoom, you’ll zip along the course by only the light of the moon. The experience costs $85/couple and the course is located at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Sanford. The Valentine’s Moon Zooms will be offered at various times February 16th and 17th. If you prefer to zip during the day, the park is offering BOGO admission for the Uplands and Rainforest combo on Valentine’s Day only (same day admission). Admission is $54.95/couple.
Adults-Only adventure at Planet Obstacle
On Valentine’s Day from 6-8:30pm, grown-ups get to take over Planet Obstacle in Lake Mary for an active and adventurous evening. The 50,000 square foot park includes challenges that will delight fitness enthusiasts, like an aerial ropes course with zip-line, Ninja Warrior course, vertical drop slide and dodgeball. Tickets are $25 for singles or $40 for couples.
One of a Kind Dining
There are countless Valentine’s dinners to choose from, but if you’re looking for something extra special, there are a few unique dinners happening around town. Enjoy a fun spin on dinner and a movie by attending Enzian Theater’s annual Valentine’s Day Dinner. This year’s flick is the romance classic Casablanca. Another unique dining option, “Rustic ValenDine” at the Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge is an all-inclusive evening outdoors complete with wildlife, a sunset cocktail hour, live music, a gourmet meal and more. For the ultimate romantic setting, make the drive to Bok Tower Gardens for acoustic guitar music, a four-course dinner and unlimited wine at the Pinewood Estate, plus a champagne toast and chocolates at the Singing Tower during the evening carillon concert at 7:30pm.
If I had my way, dessert would always be served before dinner, or maybe even for dinner. For dessert fanatics, there’s no better place to celebrate romance than at Orlando’s sinfully sweet dessert-themed establishment, Better than Sex. The restaurant specializes in desserts and delectable cocktails (think chocolate dipped wine glasses).
For even more sweet-toothed fun, Orlando Brewing is hosting its annual Chocolate & Beer Pairing from 3-10pm on February 14th. During the self-guided tasting, you’ll sample four locally made chocolates from CayCakes Bakery paired perfectly with 5 oz. samples of Orlando Brewing craft beers. Pairings are $18. If wine is more your thing, The Parkview is hosting an exclusive Valentine’s Wine and Dessert Pairing perfect for an after-dinner indulgence. Savor a champagne tasting plus four high-end wines from around the globe paired with four desserts. The pairing is $75/couple.
Over the top experiences
Hot air balloon ride
Orlandoans don’t have to travel far to cross this bucket list item off their list. Flights take place just a short drive away in the Kissimmee/Davenport area with both Orlando Balloon Rides and Bob’s Balloons offering weekly flights (weather permitting). Check an item off your “someday” list as you watch the sun rise over Central Florida. This experience is definitely worth every penny.
Champagne flight on the Orlando Eye
The Orlando Eye may be a bit touristy, but it’s still worth doing as a local. If you want extra points for romance, upgrade your ticket to include champagne. New this year, the “Love is in the Air” package includes a private flight for two in one of the six Valentine’s Day-themed capsules, a long-stemmed rose, a box of specialty chocolates from Chocolate Kingdom, and glass of champagne for $110/couple. The experience is available February 8-18 if you prefer to avoid the Valentine’s Day crowds.
Events to Remember
Tapas and Tango
Hosted by our very own Kristen Manieri, Tapas and Tango will take place at Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Lake Mary on February 16th. Dancers of all levels are invited for an evening of wine, tapas, and learning to dance the tango. Tickets are on sale now for $30/couple.
Amorous Art Show
February is host to an annual amorous (and slightly scandalous) art event: Nude Nite. Nude Nite will take place at the Central Florida Fairgrounds this year from February 16-18th and tickets start at $25/person. The event combines visual art and performance for an evening that may make you blush, but is definitely in a league of its own. Get the full scoop here.
Do Good Date Night
Give Valentine’s Day a volunteering twist by joining us for the Valentine’s Edition of Do Good Date Night. On February 15, we’ll gather at Quantum Leap Winery for an hour of assembling hygiene kits for Clean the World followed by a competitive team wine blending competition. Tickets are $25/person.
How will you shake things up this Valentine’s Day?