The South Florida Museum Offers a Full Slate of Programs this Week for Valentine’s Day!

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  • Join us for a discussion of the biology of love at our think + drink (science) program tomorrow – Wednesday, February 11 at 7 pm – and take a “Pathway of Love” gallery tour before the program.
  • Bring your ocean lover to the opening reception of our newest exhibition Ocean Soul this Thursday, February 12 at 5:30 pm.
  • See an award-winning documentary about a couple fighting a system that made their marriage illegal at Film Fridays this Friday, February 13 at 6 pm.
  • Learn why February’s night skies offer a brilliant backdrop for romance later this month at Stelliferous Live – Wednesday, February 25 at 7 pm.

think + drink (science)

When we humans say we’re attracted to someone for their mind, it really is true — though not in the way we might think.

Our human brains have evolved to help us survive — to find food, to avoid predators and to procreate. It’s the latter, of course, that draws our interest this month as Valentine’s Day approaches. But how much control do we really have over our romantic interests?

Find out at the South Florida Museum’s next think + drink (science) at 7 pm Wednesday, February 11, when behavioral neurologist Dr. Alan Grindal joins us with the topic “Love is Complicated: The Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology of Sexual Attraction.”

The science behind human behavior has historically been a difficult area of study because the tools just didn’t exist to unlock some of the most complex neurological processes. But that is changing as new technologies have been developed that help us delve deeper into brain chemistry and link it to human behavior, Dr. Grindal says. “We’re

finding that much of our human behavior is tied to our basic biological needs. And there is a great degree to which we are unconscious of this.”

Are we attracted to the world’s Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies for their looks? Perhaps, but that could be because on a biological level, their physical features indicate fertility (for Jolie) and security (for Pitt). “Across cultures we see the same kinds of attractions, so this is not just some arbitrary concept of beauty,” Dr. Grindal says.

New evidence also indicates that gender preferences are developed early in life — perhaps even in utero, Dr. Grindal says. “To a great degree, the evidence we’re seeing today is dispelling the idea that gender identity is based on environmental influence.”

And what about our hormones? How do they affect us? We hear a lot about testosterone and progesterone, but what about oxytocin?

“We know there are hormones that promote trust and love — oxytocin is one of them,” Dr. Grindal says. “One of the highest pulses of oxytocin measured occurs during delivery and we know that one of the strongest human bonds that exists is between a mother and a child. We also know that hugs and touches and smiles also cause us to release oxytocin.”

Join us for the conversation as Dr. Grindal explores these topics of brains, biology and love.


think + drink (science), 7-9 pm Wednesday, February 11. Cost: $3 for Museum Members, $5 for non-members. Seating is limited. Purchase tickets now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit

Take the “Pathway of Love” with Cupid as your guide!

Pathways are an innovative way of looking at a variety of objects and specimens in our natural world and connecting them to tell a single narrative. Connect with us this Valentine’s season to explore how the objects here at the South Florida Museum can reveal a thing or two about love in ways that may surprise you. (The tour lasts approximately 10 – 15 minutes.)


“Pathway of Love” Gallery Tour, 6:15 & 6:30 pm Wednesday, February 11 – before think + drink (science). Free for Museum Members and the general public. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13.

New Exhibition Reception A Must for Ocean Lovers

Visitors to the South Florida Museum are taking a voyage across the oceans and into the depths of mystery and wonder with National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry’s Ocean Soul exhibition. This National Geographic Traveling Exhibition opened on February 7 and runs through June 7 as it showcases Skerry’s stunning visual display of the ocean environment and the creatures living there.

The South Florida Museum is hosting an Exhibition Reception from 5:30 pm to 7 pm on Thursday, February 12. Visitors have the opportunity to speak with museum staff as they browse the exhibition. To complement the amazing imagery of the Ocean Soul exhibition, marine biologist Capt. Eric Weather will be on hand to display live specimens and some of the technology used to explore the soul of our local marine environment. Light refreshments and a cash bar.


Ocean Soul: Exhibition Reception, 5:30 pm to 7 pm Thursday, February 13. Free for Museum Members and $5 for the general public. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit

Film Fridays: The Loving Story

Join us at the South Florida Museum for The Loving Story, an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary that follows the inspiring story of two young people in love and the Supreme Court case that followed, at 6 pm on Friday, February 13.

In 1958, a white man named Richard Loving married Mildred Delores Jeter who was of African-American and Cherokee descent in Virginia. Acting on a tip, the local sheriff arrested them for violating the state’s “Racial Integrity Act.” Eventually, the pair pled guilty and, as part of their plea agreement, were forced to leave the state and “not return together for 25 years.”

By 1963, they had enough and, with the Civil Rights movement growing, Mildred petitioned Attorney General Robert Kennedy for help. He referred them to the American Civil Liberties Union, which took on the couple’s case. Attend this screening to witness their plight.


Film Fridays: The Loving Story, showing at 6 pm on Friday, February 13. Admission is $5 for Museum Members and $7 for non-members. Purchase tickets now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit

Love is in the Night Sky for Stelliferous Live

Join us at 7 pm Wednesday, February 25 for all the latest news from the night sky, which in February brings us some of the most brilliant views of the year as the biggest planet and the brightest star take center stage. February also brings the conjunction of Venus and Mars — and a tale of love ripped from the headlines of Roman mythology. We’ll also be talking about some of the latest news about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe as we follow the path of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.


Stelliferous Live is at 7 pm Wednesday, February 25. $5 general admission, $3 for Museum Members. Children 16 and younger get in free. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit

About the South Florida Museum The largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum offers engaging exhibits as well as educational programs which interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world and our universe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum features a constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions – offering something new to discover with each visit. The facility also includes both the all-digital Bishop Planetarium Theater and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Outfitted with a brand new, state-of-the-art Planetarium and projection system in October of 2013, the Bishop Planetarium is the region’s premier astronomy education facility with stunning new multimedia capabilities. The Parker Manatee Aquarium is home to Snooty™, Manatee County’s official mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world. Snooty shares his Aquarium pool with young manatees from the Manatee Rehabilitation and Release Partnership. These injured or orphaned animals are taken care of by the Parker Aquarium staff until they are ready to be released into the wild. For more information about current exhibitions and special programs, membership, hours, or admission prices please call 941-746-4131 or visit


Say Hueque Uncorks Self-Drive Honeymoon Adventure in Argentina

It’s time for romance to hit the road. Say Hueque (, a leading tour operator specializing in authentic experiences for independent travelers in Argentina and Chile, announces a newly launched 18-day, self-drive honeymoon adventure through northern Argentina.

Designed to be simultaneously romantic and adventurous, the trip highlights several less-touristed regions of Argentina including Salta, Mendoza and Iguassu Falls. Say Hueque does the advance planning, including booking all accommodations and domestic flights (extra cost).

With lodging and suggested routes prearranged, this is the perfect tour for a couple seeking a unique and exploratory launch to their life together. Instead of relaxing on a beach, they will bond with their spouse while navigating through national parks, ruins and picturesque villages while taking in the unique scenery of Argentina. The trip begins and ends in Buenos Aires.

Because this is customizable by the participants, the final per couple rate is based on the choice and quality of lodgings with four different price categories starting at $3,030 per couple (two people). Contact Say Hueque for a quote. Prices are exclusive of most lunches and dinners and in-country flights. Included are four nights in Buenos Aires, two in Iguazu, two in Salta, one in Cachi, one in Cafayate, two in Purmamarca, three in Chacras de Coria (Mendoza) and one La Chacra, most breakfasts, tours as described in the itinerary and the services of a Bilingual guide (English / Spanish).

In-country flights; Buenos Aires – Posadas – Salta – Mendoza – Buenos Aires, are extra and cost approximately $250 to $350 USD per segment (destination). Special rates on flights for this tailor-made itinerary are available through Say Hueque.

For more information please see:

After touring and tango for three nights in Buenos Aires, guests move from the plains into the tropics, self-driving to Iguassu in order to explore the falls from both Argentina and Brazil before flying to Salta.

An immersion in landscape and geology follows with a stop at Santa Rosa del Tastil, a pre Inca city with 18th Century ruins, Salinas Grandes (Big Salts Flats) which once accommodated a pre-historic people, and Humahuaca Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once part of the Camino Inca trade route dating back 10,000 years.

Tilcara (7217 Ft.) is along the route with its Pucará (old Indian fortress) as well as the Archaeological Museum, and the old church of Uquial. Enroute are farmers, ranchers and artisans carrying on centuries-old traditions. A flight to Mendoza brings guests to the foothills of the Andes and vineyards, plus opportunities to sip wine and coffee at outdoor cafes on tree-lined streets.

As Say Hueque owner Rafael Mayer explains, “We are a group of Argentine travel professionals who are passionate about our country. We have hiked in Patagonia, felt the mist of Iguassu Falls on our smiling faces, walked along glaciers and cruised the deep blue lakes of South America. We have visited hundreds of hotels, sampled hundreds of restaurants and discovered the best wineries around, so we know exactly where to get a delicious steak, a sublime Malbec and a comfy bed along the way.”

Say Hueque creates customized tours for independent travelers throughout Argentina’s and Chile´s national parks and cities. Popular destinations and experiences include Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls, Perito Moreno Glacier, hiking in Patagonia, wine tasting in Mendoza, horseback riding at traditional estancias and glacier cruises.

Say Hueque adopted its name from the last tribal chief that surrendered to the Europeans in their conquest of the American lands, in 1885. The Great Cacique Say Hueque was the leader of a powerful tribe that occupied the region of central Patagonia. Their cultural influence is still very strong at some locations close to the Andes Range.

About Say Hueque
Founded in 1999, Say Hueque specializes in customized travel itineraries to the farthest corners of Argentina and Chile.  Careful focus is placed on creating unique travel experiences that embrace local cultures and celebrate the natural wonders nature.

Based in Buenos Aires the Say Hueque staff is comprised of young, enthusiastic English-speaking professionals who share the passion of traveling as much their clients. With intimate experience and strong local connections they provide 24/7 assistance and support when traveling.

Say Hueque has been recommended by the world’s most popular travel guides such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, Footprints, and Time Out year after year. The company has partnerships with and membership in Sustainable Travel International (STI), Responsible Travel, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), ASTA and LATA.

For more information please call +1.718.395.5504 (US and Canada) visit: or Email:

Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman Present Heartbreak Hotel


Tampa Theatre and Soulshine Music are proud to announce Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman present Heartbreak Hotel, performing LIVE on the Theatre’s historic stage at 8:00 p.m. Valentine’s Day, Saturday, Feb. 14 (doors open at 7:00 p.m.).

Tickets are $40 & $50 (plus applicable service fees) and will go on sale at noon Friday, Jan. 23 at the Tampa Theatre Box Office, located at 711 N. Franklin Street in downtown Tampa, and online at A very limited number of meet & greet tickets will also be available for $200 (plus fees).

Provocative, irreverent, controversial and wildly creative, Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls; Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra) is a fearless singer, songwriter, playwright, blogger and an audaciously expressive pianist who simultaneously embraces – and explodes – traditional frameworks of music, theater and art.

Credited with being one of the creators of modern comics, Neil Gaiman (CORALINE; The Graveyard Book) is an author whose work crosses genres and reaches audiences of all ages. He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama.

Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman present Heartbreak Hotel is a special Valentine’s Day “one-night stand” of music and stories, featuring the most heartbreaking work the duo has ever made, and just possibly some lovey stuff too. Couples are hesitantly welcomed.

A Night of Romance: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Philippine American Society


The public is invited to attend “A Night of Romance,” the 15th annual formal Valentine’s Dinner Dance, hosted by the Philippine American Society (PAS) of Palm Beach County. The event will take place on February 14, 2015, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Marriott hotel at 630 Clearwater Park Road in West Palm Beach, Florida. Hors d’oeuvres begin at 7 p.m., with dinner at 7:30 p.m. and dancing to follow. Officials hope the fundraiser will help further the organization’s mission of promoting Filipino heritage, culture and traditions to Filipino-Americans and to people of all cultures.

PAS President Marlyn Sepanik said the annual event is a much-anticipated, well-attended gala. “The Dinner Dance brings Filipinos together with community supporters in a fun setting,” she said. “People are looking for something fun to do for Valentine’s Day. By attending our fundraiser, you have it all: romance, dinner, dancing and supporting a good cause all at once!”
Tickets to the Dinner Dance are $70.00 each, and the funds raised from the event will go to the PAS scholarship fund. To purchase a ticket, contact Marlyn Sepanik at (561) 289-0837(561) 289-0837, Mercy Abellana at (561) 315-2316(561) 315-2316, Cristina Regino at (561) 723-9323, Lloyd Flores at (561) 352-6527(561) 352-6527 or Conchita Mateo at (561) 386-1209(561) 386-1209.

Dreamy Inns & Two Wheel Escapes for Romantics

Bring on the cycling romantics!  Bicycle Adventures, a Pacific Northwest-based active travel company specializing in two-wheel tours in North America, Hawaii (the Big Island) and internationally, helps keep the love light glowing, even after Valentine’s Day has come and gone.

In honor of Feb. 14, this company has shared its short list of what its staff consider are the most romantic lodges guests can enjoy on a Bicycle Adventures vacation.

“Most of our cycling vacationers are couples seeking a mix of road miles through gorgeous scenery, good food, wine and, ideally, romantic accommodations,” said Todd Starnes, Bicycle Adventures’ Owner and President. “In other words, day-by-day, minute-to-minute quality of life counts.”

“Whether you opt for an active week exploring the countryside with Bicycle Adventures ( or you seek a cozy weekend retreat on your own, here’s a list of our very favorite inns and lodges where romance reigns.”

Two San Juan Islands resorts were featured by Fox news in its “10 Romantic Getaways in Washington State”. Bicycle Adventures uses both on three different itineraries. Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes is located between Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Here guests enjoy the experience of lakeside views from the property’s lodge. Outlook Inn offers an experience of Orcas Island culture including watching the rising and falling tides. The following trips utilize these classics: San Juan Islands 4 Day, San Juan Islands 6 Day and San Juan Islands & Victoria.

At Moraine Lake Lodge on Moraine Lake in the Rocky Mountains, a naturalist guide tempts guests to hike if he/she can get the guests up from the Adirondack chairs they’ve settled into with a glass of wine to toast the glaciers. Luxury Travel Magazine hailed it as ‘the ultimate romantic getaway’ and Bicycle Adventures’ guests rave about it in trip reviews of the following trips: Banff-Jasper 6 Day and Glacier-Banff-Jasper (8 days).

Casa de San Pedro in southern Arizona is said to be “The Most Romantic Inn in Arizona” from its perch on 10 acres adjacent to the San Pedro River and Riparian National Conservation Area. Over 355 species of birds and hundreds of butterflies call this place home. Adobe, cacti and the history of the Old West make this a place to be remembered on Bicycle Adventure’s Cactus Classic.

“The Most Romantic Getaway” in Central Oregon (according to Bend Living) is Five Pine Lodge. This was also named one of the top five hotels in the US by TripAdvisor in 2014.  Surrounded by the Three Sisters and a thriving craft brew culture, there’s plenty of added value on Bicycle Adventure’s Bend Breakaway.

For more information on these inns and associated trips contact the romantics at Bicycle Adventures by phone: 800.443.6060800.443.6060 FREE, email: or visit online at:

Fall in love with science as MOSI’s S.T.E.A.M.punks create a Valentine’s Day mess at Mess Fest


On Saturday, February 14 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., MOSI offers guests the opportunity to team up with Cupid’s helpers, the S.T.E.A.M.punks as they uncover the science of love. Guests can impress their true love by creating color-changing flowers, performing the slushy dance to create pink lemonade slushies and spinning sugar into sweet, fluffy cotton candy.

Mess Fest will take place outside of MOSI’s Kids in Charge! building. Mess Fest is included with the cost of general admission and free for MOSI members. MOSI admission, which includes MOSI exhibits and a documentary IMAX film, is $22.95 for adults, $20.95 for seniors (60+), $18.95 for children (3-12), and children 2 and under are free. Museum hours are Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information, call 813-987-6000813-987-6000 or visit

World’s Top Animal Romantics in Time for Valentine’s Day

“All the world loves a lover,” mused American thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson.  That being said, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, here’s a week’s worth of romantic and beautiful courtship rituals of the wild kingdom.

Wild Planet Adventures, the recognized experts in viewing wildlife through habitat-sustaining practices, call these rituals “animal Valentines.” Following are founder Josh Cohen’s personal favorites.

1) Gibbons: Nature’s Great Crooners: For these tree-top swingers, marital harmony begins with sonic harmony. Each morning, males and females of these Asian apes sing love duets to each other as the mist burns off the rainforest. The duet is repeated in such precise sequences that it often takes newlyweds many months to learn to make beautiful music together. In a duet between a male and a female, the female’s part is a long, rising series of notes that end in a fast “twitter”. The male’s song is less complicated. He grunts, squeals and whistles in delight.

And the best place to see Gibbons in the wild: From an exotic treehouse in Thailand. Wild Planet Adventures suggested trip: Thailand – Ultimate Wildlife 15-Day EcoTour (also 11 days) starting at $4,498 per person double.

2) Tarsiers – Tiny Tenors: These tiny, uber-cute, wide-eyed primates also use sound as part of their courtship rituals, but these are performed by the male. During courting, potential partners often chase each other around while making distinctive soft sounds. The male, if aroused, will escalate his sound within five minutes of merely looking at an attractive female. The female, if receptive, will display her genitals invitingly; however, if she is not sufficiently wooed, she’ll emit an antagonistic call, often followed by biting and pushing the male away. Ironically, when mating begins, they maintain complete silence. Once bonded, Tarsiers are extremely vocal and make loud shrieks with their partners. In fact, they call in harmony, with each partner making its own distinct sounds.

Best place to see Tarsiers in the wild: Borneo.  Wild Planet Adventures arranges special nocturnal expeditions to see both Tarsiers and Slow Loris on Borneo – Weird & Wonderful Wildlife 12-Day EcoTour at $6,496 per person double.

3) Resplendent Quetzel: Beauty with Equality: Perhaps the most beautiful of all birds, the resplendent quetzal sports gorgeous two-foot-long green tail feathers, a red breast, blue sides and green crown. In February, just in time for Valentine’s Day, males begin an elaborate courtship ritual to entice females. In a dazzling display of color and sensuality, they circle in the sky with their long tails dancing behind them, then dive down to the cloud forest treetops in hopes of attracting females. By March, once a mate has been selected and the mating process is underway, males can easily be seen sharing nesting duties with females, alternating guarding the eggs every half hour, including sitting on them.

Best places to see Quetzals: Monteverde Cloudforest on Wild Planet Adventures Costa Rica – Ultimate Wildlife 14-Day EcoTour (also 10.5 and 9-day tours) starting at $4,998 per person double. La’ Amistad National Park, in Panama is another on Panama – Ultimate Wildlife 10-Day EcoTour (also available in 8 days) starting at $3,998 per person double.

4) Tigress – Saving Herself for True Love? Female tigers distinguish between true love and “friends with benefits”. Normally tigers take as long as a full day to develop mutual confidence, through ritualized purring, playing and moving their tails left to right with spring in their steps.  Once the tigress has developed confidence, she will roll over on her back in a playful manner, rub her face, and move closer to the male tiger, who will mount her. Their climax is signaled by a loud roar. Then the tigress turns her head and takes a swipe at the tiger with her foreleg. The tiger instinctively takes evasive action. The tigress then rolls over her back to facilitate insemination. However, if the tiger is a transient male just passing through the area and its dominance is not clearly established, the tigress will treat him like a “friend with benefits”, engaging in “false mating”, but not rolling over on her back.

Best places to see Tigers in the wild: Kanha National Park, India. Wild Planet Adventures suggested trip is India – Ultimate Wildlife Safari 19-Day: Leopards, Tigers & Palaces (other itineraries offered) at $7,498 per person double. Bardia National Park in Nepal is another great destination for tiger viewing. Untamed India & Nepal 19-Day Wildlife Safari is the trip to take.

5) Giraffes – Nature’s Great Neckers: Male Giraffes will establish dominance by swinging their heads and necks at each other, followed by a longer period where they will caress one another with their necks and then actually have sex, including reaching climax. Interested females also rub their necks against potential mates as part of their courtship. Recently, researchers also observed adolescent giraffes performing a complicated, prancing, dance-like step that some observers have compared to the fox-trot.  Could giraffes be nature’s greatest romantics?

Best place to see Giraffes in the wild: Zambia.  The trip: Zambia – Ultimate Wildlife 18-Day Safari (also 15, 12 and 10-day programs) at $13,998 per person double and less. Here you can see a journey of giraffes right from your luxury tent, and perhaps view a live birth on a unique walking safari.

6) Waved Albatross – Kissing Fools: The complex and expressive courtship ritual of waved albatross includes extensive kissing and bill-fencing, in which the partners bend, face each other in an exaggerated upright posture, open their bills wide and shut them with a loud clap, often alternating with rapidly clattering their bills or slapping them back and forth. If that isn’t strange enough, they will also bow and circle each another while swaying their heads from side to side in an exaggerated manner.  The newer the pair, the longer and more elaborate the dance.

Best place to see Waved Albatross: Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. The trip: Galapagos – Ultimate Wildlife Cruise – M/Y Eric, Letty and Flamingo at $4,100 per person double.

For detailed itineraries, exciting wildlife photos and video galleries and booking information, visit, call 1-800-990-43761-800-990-4376 FREE or email