Zoos Go Wild for Valentine's Day

Lions in Love
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You may not think of zoo animals as perfect Valentine's Day dates, but that could change this year. Ever heard the term “lovebirds”?

In honor of the day of love, zoos across the country are putting a wild twist on the old chocolate-and-roses routine. Here’s a roundup of our favorites:

Nothing Says Love Like a Cockroach

“Flowers wilt. Candlelight fades. Roaches are forever.” So promises the Bronx Zoo, where you can name one of its 58,000 Madagascar hissing cockroaches after your special someone — or ex–special someone.

It costs $10 to pick a roach’s moniker and send its namesake an e-card. And if you throw in an extra $15, the zoo will ship your sweetie a hand-painted, dark chocolate (edible) roach. Besides giving your date a novel gift, your donation benefits a good cause: the Wildlife Conservation Society and its five New York City parks.

Adopt an Animal

For the slightly more squeamish, the Los Angeles Zoo is offering a Valentine’s Day adoption special that includes more than bugs. All species in the zoo’s collection — including miniature domestic horses, North American River Otters and East African Grey-Crowned Cranes — are up for “adoption.”

Donation prices range from $35 to $1,000, and everyone receives a personalized certificate and fact sheet about the animal. And, no, you don’t actually get to bring the adorable wallaby home with you.

Dating and Mating

It is Valentine’s Day, and some like it hot. Zoos across the country — from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh — plan to celebrate Cupid’s day with presentations about animal dating and mating. In Washington, D.C., The Smithsonian’s National Zoo will host “Woo at the Zoo,” which it bills as “an honest and humorous forum” about animal love and reproductive habits, complete with specialty drinks and the opportunity to decorate Naughty Bits Brownies.

A Night at the Zoo

For those not yet old enough to learn about reproduction, the Oregon Zoo in Portland is hosting its “I Love the Zoo” sleepover this weekend. Kids ages 7 to 13 can spend Saturday night at the zoo, taking guided behind-the-scenes tours and meeting the animals. Let’s hope those kids don’t keep the animals up all night — no one wants an angry crocodile!

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