OUTDOORSY AMOUR: California is one of the few states in which we can walk with our sweethearts, hand-in-hand, outdoors, come Valentine's Day. Oh, we're not claiming it isn't chilly out, because it can be, and there certainly are some frosty days come mid-February. But we're not dashing from building to building and spending our love holiday completely indoors (though there's much to recommend that too, of course: fireplaces, cocoa, et cetera). That's why we're rather fond of those Valentine's-oriented happenings that celebrate something that's outside of our indoor places. Those happenings often celebrate the natural world's connection to romance and to the symbols of romance, so that is nice, too. Plus it is just good to hang with your crush in a non-traditional, not-too-pricey way come the big day. Walnut Creek has two al fresco Valentine's to-dos that are catching our fancy.
LOVERS' ALOE TOUR: The Ruth Bancroft Garden is offering a walk-through -- or perhaps walk-by is the more apt term -- its gorgeous aloe plants a few days ahead of Valentine's Day. It is indeed called the "Lovers' Tour," so bring your sweetheart (or not). The aloes are blooming right now, and if you've seen this sight you know it is pretty singular in the natural world. Date is Sunday, Feb. 10.
WILD VALENTINES: The Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek is doing a special event from Valentine's through Presidents Day called "Wild Valentines." Topics? How "wild animals find mates, raise families, and 'love.'" It's described as family-friendly, but you might want to call the museum for ages, too. It's free with museum admission.