Wild Valentines in Walnut Creek

A few holiday-sweet programs fill the Lindsay Wildlife Museum.

FEBRUARY FUR-CUTE FUN: It used to be, back in the day -- "the day" here meaning a couple of decades ago, give or take -- that animal parks and beastie-focused institutions were a warm-weather activity, for many families. "A day out at the zoo" was about donning shorts and sundresses and taking in some rays in addition to waving at wildlife. But those who house and help animals regularly reach out to the public on a year-round schedule now via a host of interesting and educational events and happenings. One of the most interesting, and definitely well-attended or at least able to pique curiosity, occurs around Valentine's Day. It's the to-do that's designed for adults, and just adults, and it is all about animal mating and reproduction. And it is a good thing, too, for those thousands of people who thought they got all of the knowledge they needed back in Biology 101 or basic science and have gone on to learn a lot more. As in, a lot regarding animal amour. Zoos and preserves and animal-minded institutions across California will be hosting such happenings, and the Lindsay Wildlife Museum is a part of that info-delightful, only slightly blush-worthy scene. But the Walnut Creek gem is going a step further by offering a few Valentine's events, including some goings-on for the little ones, too.

THE GROWN-UP NIGHT OUT... is called Kiss and Tail -- An Evening of Wild Romance, and it broadens people's horizons on Thursday, Feb. 12 (bites and wine are part of the $30 ticket). As for the youngster's heart-nice, animal-cool happenings? Wild Valentines'll reign at the museum from Feb. 11 through 16 (think holiday-specific crafts and the petting of animals). And We Love Animals is a four-week every-Wednesday class that looks at "how animals raise their babies and live together in family groups." So important, so fascinating, and so timely to February. Who knew that we'd go back to school, in a sense, each wintertime, with our local animal museums, and their staffers, helping grow our knowledge? Knowing more about animal amour, and how they raise their critters, is treat for the mind as well as the (Valentine's) heart.

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