Behind the Line

Animal Safari or Bowling for Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day is rearing its capitalistic head up, yet again. What to do? Where to celebrate? How much is dinner, drinks, flowers and chocolates going to cost? And frankly, will your main squeeze appreciate your efforts? Here's some fun stuff that will make you fork up a few bucks but ... it will be memorable.

Head over to Strike Miami at the Dolphin Mall on Valentine's Day. Order a bottle of champagne (different prices are available starting at $40), and for the special evening you'll get to bowl for free. The Dolphin Mall is a fun place for shopping. When you've purchased your items, go to the second level, pick a lovers lane, clink a few flutes of champagne and throw some balls.

Chef David Burke prepares the dishes at the bowling alley which include barbecue chicken pizza, topped with cheddar and red onions, filet mignon, pulled pork, crispy fish, spicy tempura shrimp, pork ribs and cheesecake lollipops. I've tasted the food and it's delicious. The champagne special is only available on the 14th for walk-ins and includes two free games per person. Open daily from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Parking is free.

Another original idea for this heart throb weekend, The Jungle Island VIP Safari. From the 11th to the 14th Safari guests will be privy to a behind-the-scenes tour. Ruffle some feathers and pet rare animals such as lemurs, tortoises, kangaroos, Capuchin monkeys and the most lethal bird on the planet...the Cassowary. Jungle Island representative Ashley Serrate said, "Guests will be able to get really close and personal with an Andean Condor and many of the animals in the park including the Cassowary from New Guinea. It's an unforgettable experience. Once you've taken the tour, go and enjoy a romantic meal which is included with the tour.

>OK, now you've fondled and cajoled the various species on the tour, including your date, stroll over to the Flamingo Lake Cafe where your taste buds will get pampered with a Hearts of Love salad, a gourmet entree, a strawberry shortcake or key lime pie and a glass of sparkling champagne or refreshing soft drink. The $185-per-person tour has very limited spaces available. After your meal, you'll be guided into the Island Treasures Gift Shop where you'll receive a special free souvenir t-shirt and a discount towards anything that you buy in the gift shop. For reservations cal 305-400-7222.

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Marguerite Gil