Updated February 8th, 2024

7 fun, easy ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day outdoors

Love is in the (fresh) air! It’s time to show some love to you partners, family, friends and community. If you are in need of a few quick ideas to impress your sweetheart or bestie, look to no further than your Five Rivers MetroParks.

Valentine’s Day on ice: Surprise your sweetheart, best friend or family with a MetroParks Ice Rink experience this Valentine’s Day. Special skating opportunities include reduced admission, Sweetheart Skate packages and more.

Aullwood escape: Aullwood Garden MetroPark is home to one of Dayton’s sweetest love stories. Marie Aull met her future husband, John, after he swiftly helped her onto a train she was chasing — and the rest is history. John gifted the Aullwood Garden MetroPark property to Marie as a wedding gift, and for years the couple spent their time planting thousands of flowers. While the Aull’s home is now closed to the public, you can peek inside it to view treasures, photos and more. Check out the giant twin sycamore that Marie used as a photo op when she was a young bride, and then again when she turned 100.

Known as the region’s “grandmother of conservation,” Marie ensured the property was beautiful during all seasons. Enjoy a walk through the wooded trails and then sit along the Stillwater River for even more beautiful views.

Gift goodies: The 2nd Street Market is your one-stop destination for gifts such as flowers, hand-crafted jewelry, body care items and more. If your valentine has a sweet tooth, the Market’s vendors also have a variety of treats, including chocolates, pastries, cookies and more.

Where the wild things are: Outdoor education coordinator Joshua York recommends taking your partner on hike around dusk, when love is in the air for local animals such as owls, frogs, coyotes and mole salamanders (depending on temperature). Remember to bring a flashlight or headlamp if you plan to be out past dark, and note that your MetroParks close at 8 p.m. now through March 31.

Pick up the pace: If your valentine enjoys adventures that get your heart pumping, consider a trail run, challenging hike, bike ride or commit to doing a little of everything by signing up for the MetroParks Trails Challenge.

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If you complete trails listed on the MetroParks Trails Challenge, be sure to check them off and then use the trails log to plan your next outdoor excursion. This year, you can use MetroParks’ mobile app, powered by OuterSpatial, to track your progress.

Plan an adventure together: Celebrate Valentine’s Day a little early during The Adventure Summit on Friday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 10 at Wright State University. Hear from nationally renowned and local adventurers who have embarked on incredible travels, from summiting Mount Everest to paddling the Rio Grande. Visitors can also check out used gear sales, the Summit’s expo and participate in free activities, such as climbing and kayaking. Admission and parking are free.

Learn more about The Adventure Summit presented by Wagner Subaru with addition sponsorship provided by Explorer Chick.

The Adventure Summit is a co-production of Five Rivers MetroParks and Wright State University.

Hidden gems and selfie spots: Discover some of MetroParks’ most beautiful destinations with your favorite someone. Not only are the views great, some make great spots for a Valentine’s Day couples selfie.

If the weather is cold enough, head to Englewood MetroPark to scope out the frozen waterfalls along the 3.8-mile green trail. Patty Falls has stairs to a platform that gets you close to the icy falls.

Share a beautiful sunrise or sunset with your loved one at High View at Twin Creek MetroPark. This location boasts sweeping views of the Twin Valley and is a short walk from the Eby Road parking lot.

Head to the historical farm at Carriage Hill MetroPark to see if you can take a “horsie,” a selfie with you, your valentine and one of the farm’s draft horses in the background. The farm animals are a feature any animal-lover will enjoy, along with the rustic backdrops of the 1880s farm.

Special permits coordinator Chelsea Bates recommends visiting Sunfish pond at Germantown MetroPark to watch the cool morning mist while enjoying some hot chocolate.

Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark is not only beautiful in the spring and summer when the gardens are in full bloom, but also in winter with the gardens’ dark greens and bright witch hazel.

Stay up-to-date with MetroParks events, programs and more by subscribing to one — or a variety of — email newsletters and following its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

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