Henry Vilas Zoo
Bear hug, anyone?
While dancing and dining are traditional Valentine evening activities, spending the day hanging out together is romantic, too. Sure, there's always the bowling alley, but why take the conventional route?
Hike up the hill to the tiny chapel, St. Mary of the Oaks, built in 1857 by Dane County pioneer farmer John Endres as a gesture of thanks after his family survived a diphtheria outbreak. It's also a token of family love that's endured over 150 years. 8183 Hwy. 19, west of Hwy. 12.
3. Paint your own pottery studios
Paint each other a valentine plate, vase, bowl or whatnot. You create; the store fires on the glaze; you'll pick it up post-firing about a week later. West-siders can head to (11 a.m.-8 p.m., 425-B West Cottage Grove Road, in Cottage Grove).
You may know this greenhouse as Orchids by the Ackers. It's been in the business of growing orchids since the 1950's. Browse through the greenhouses, where room after room of the exotic flowers combine the psychedelic with something very feminine. Open Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 4823 Hwy. Q, about a half-mile north on Hwy. M, just outside Middleton.