Sure, anyone can recommend an amazing and romantic restaurant for a Valentine's dinner date. Or you could order a pizza and stay home. You could go all out with expensive jewelery and flowers, or you could find more economical gifts that still express your love. But what about some different places to go and offbeat activities you could share with the one you love?

If you and your partner are animal lovers, consider a trip to the Utica Zoo. Winter is a great time to visit the zoo, and snowshoeing might be a romantic option. You can click here to find out if snowshoeing is available. There are always lots of new animals and exhibits to see. They're open 10am to 4pm, so plan accordingly. And dress accordingly! If you're looking for a UZ-themed present for your sweetheart, consider adopting an animal. Click here to find out more.


 

You could go to the beach for Valentine's Day. Sylvan Beach, that is. The midway won't be open, and you probably won't get to sit in the sand with your significant other. But there are quite a few restaurants that will be open and serving up romantic specials by the lake or the canal. Canal View, Eddie's Restaurant and The Crazy Clam are just a few of your options.


 

Go bowling! It may not seem like the most romantic thing to some people, but if you both love bowling or haven't been in a while this could be the perfect Valentine's activity for you and your partner. Grab a drink at the bar and some munchies and you're good to go. AMF Pin-O-Rama in Utica and King Pin Lanes in Rome have some Valentine's events coming up.


 

Spend an afternoon strolling through the galleries at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. You can always plan some time over the weekend before or after Valentine's Day for your date, but remember they're only open until 5pm. If you're looking for something "artsy" to on Valentine's Day evening, they will be showing the Academy Award nominated films in the categories of Best Animated Short and Best Live Action Short. The series is actually 2 separate programs, running in rotation at 2pm and 7:30pm Tuesday-Friday (February 14-17, 2017)


 

The Stanley's doing something a little early for Valentine's - Saturday, February 4 is Steve Falvo's Easy Money Big Band Sweetheart Swing. Enjoy the show from the seats, or jump on stage and dance along.


 

Don't forget about the kids! A trip to the Utica Public Library or the Utica Children's Museum could be a fun and educational activity to share with your children.

What creative ideas do you have planned for Valentine's Day? Will you be celebrating the weekend before or after, or actually on February 14?