Valentine's Day is synonymous with overpriced dinners, predatory jewelry vendors and men on street corners selling oversized teddy bears. Break the mold this year with something new. Whether you're partnered or not, there's sure to be something on this list to spare you from chocolate and clichés. Behold: ten Valentine's Day activities that don't suck.
Let Go: Meditation With Horses
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Medicine Horse Program
People let you down this Valentine's Day? If you're feeling particularly misanthropic this year, consider hanging out with someone who's guaranteed not to judge you and not to say anything stupid — or say anything at all. The rescue horses at Boulder's Medicine Horse Program are used in equine-assisted therapy, including this ninety-minute meditation practice that includes elements of qigong, mindfulness and breath control. Drop in to the event for just $15; visit the Medicine Horse Program online for more information on the best first date you'll ever have.
Valentine's Day at the Range
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bristlecone Shooting, Training and Retail Center
Get your adrenaline flowing at an unexpected place this Valentine's Day — the shooting range. Take your baby out (or pretend you're taking out your no-good baby daddy) for a singular date; Lakewood's Bristlecone is running an all-day special to celebrate that special love between a couple and their firearms. You'll get handgun rental, ammo and an hour of lane time for two for just $45, half off the regular price, and 30 percent off your bill at nearby Westrail Tap & Grill for the rest of the day. Check out the deal's details on Facebook, and remember to always don ear and eye protection before your date (that's just common sense).
Love Potions From the Vine
3 to 4 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Get all hot and bothered at this tour of Boettcher Tropical Conservatory, where steaming up the windows isn't frowned upon at all — in fact, it's inevitable. For $14 (less if you're a student or member of the Botanic Gardens), you'll get a tour of plants that have been used as aphrodisiacs and stimulated lovers'...imaginations...for years. There won't be a refrigerated rose in sight, just lush tropical plants along with some scandalous secrets about botanical sex. Secure your spot on the tour by visiting the Botantic Gardens online, and start the night off right.
Typewriter Poet Michael Prince
4 to 7 p.m.
Want to get someone's attention this Valentine's Day? Skip the unsolicited dick pics and increasingly desperate right swipes in favor of something that's stood the test of time: Passionate poetry has been doing the trick for centuries, and in an era when stringing together more than three words in a text message is considered the height of literacy, a poem — on a piece of paper, no less — might just enthrall (or baffle) the object of your affection to the point of speechlessness. Enter guerilla poet Michael Prince, who will take to his typewriter and compose a verse based on any theme your heart desires for $10. BookBar's website has the details.
DUMP HIM: A Valentine's Day Open Mic
6 to 7:30 p.m.
The Deer Pile
Dan Savage's most indelible contribution to the lexicon (other than his attempt to rebrand a certain Republican senator from Pennsylvania) is this: DTMFA. It's short, succinct and we've all had to do it at one time or another. FemmeLeft, a feminist-Socialist activist group, is putting on an open mic on the most capitalist of holidays where you can hear tales from people faced with the decision to DTMFA. Facebook has details about the event (as well as guidelines for performers) on the event page. You don't even have to be a Wobbly to attend; every leftist — from anarchists to Marxists — is welcome, because relationship trauma spans both sides of the aisle.
Arrow Making for Lovers
6:30 to 8 p.m.
The Craftsman & Apprentice
In theory, Valentine's Day is the time for a pudgy, smiling cherub to shoot (metaphorical) arrows into people's hearts, and the only pain they'll suffer are the sweet pangs of love. In reality, the only arrows most people want to see on Valentine's Day are the ones they'll thrust through their ex's throat. Either way, construct your own projectile at this arrow-making workshop. Cocktails and snacks are included in the price ($75 for two; you can bring your bae, bro or BFF), and all materials are provided. Sign up now at the Craftsman & Apprentice's website.
Knots and Beer
7 to 9 p.m.
Upslope Brewing Company
This Valentine's Day, learn a skill you can put to use immediately. For every person (er...piece of equipment) you may want to restrain, there's a perfect knot for the job. Learn which knots slip, jam, bruise (ahem...break) and capsize in this workshop. You'll be taught eight knots, including the double half-hitch, bowline and sheet bend knot and more for just $20, which includes a beer (lubrication is important in many knot-tying scenarios), an Outdoor Adventure Quest registration, and door prizes. Find out more at Upslope's Facebook page.
CU Boulder Theatre and Dance Building, Room C240
If your idea of romance includes allegory, acreage or affairs of state, you're in luck. An adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm will take the stage tonight, and you'll be able to compare the power dynamics of the most famous threesome in history (that would be Major, Napoleon and Snowball) to your last failed relationship. Tickets are free but must be reserved at the CU Presents website. Remember: All Valentine's Day dates are equal, but some are more equal than others.
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Beginners Swing Dancing
7:45 to 9 p.m.
Mariah Ehlert Photography
Does your internal self-image involve you gracefully tapping down an oddly carless road overlooking twinkling city lights — even though you've never taken a dance lesson in your life? You may not be able to hoof it à la La La Land just yet, but you can get started at Swingin' Denver's six-week swing-dancing class that starts on Valentine's Day. If you sign up for the entire session ($75 per person) you'll master the Lindy Hop and Charleston, but if you're commitment-shy, you can drop into the inaugural class for just $15 and see if you have a right and a left foot. Visit swingindenver.com (SFW, we promise) for info and a complete class schedule.
Glow and Flow: Partner Paint and Play
8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
RiNo Yoga Social
The description for this two-hour yoga workshop definitely contains some jargon (spagyric tincture, anyone?), but the real draw of the event — body painting and black lights — is easily understandable even to those who can't tell their downward dog from their drishti. For $44, couples of all sorts will show up for partnered yoga, meditation, yoga games (blind man's Bikram? Rock, paper, Shiva?) and a bit of massage, all while glowing like a ’90s club kid. Get your tickets at Life in Perfect Balance and prepare to light up the night sky.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's calendar online.