Various ways to spend Valentines Day

For many couples, Valentine’s Day is filled with corny messages on heart-shaped candies and flowers bought at the last second from Publix.

Yet, all it really takes is a little extra effort and planning to turn this day into more than an over-commercialized Hallmark holiday.

The Oracle does the creative work for you by thinking outside the Russell-Stover box with a list of inventive ways to spend your Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

Go high above the city

For a memorable Valentine’s Day and a fresh perspective of Tampa or St. Petersburg, try a tour with Old City Helicopters.

The company offers numerous specials, including a $170 two-passenger Bay and Downtown Tour. The excursion starts at Davis Island and continues into downtown, offering a sweeping view of towering skyscrapers and landmarks such as the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Florida Aquarium and University of Tampa.

The urban scenery then transforms into a striking landscape as you glide along the coast of the Hillsborough Bay, dropping down low enough to spot bottlenose dolphins and providing an idyllic finish to the evening.

– Annie Castillo

Ditch the corny V-day merchandise

Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year where society rotates in favor of romance and couples.

For many, it is a way for people to express their feelings with gifts and affection. A normally unromantic person can shower their loved one in cards, chocolates, and stuffed animals for a mere $15 and make a night of it.

Yet if you are looking for a far leap from the traditional Valentine’s Day clichs and you really want to impress your significant others, try this plan instead. Make the day entirely devoted to him or her. Instead of generic chocolates and roses, invest in his or her favorite meal and dessert. Make the day completely about one another.

– Shannon Gordon

Try couples’ arts and crafts

Trying to be romantic this Valentine’s Day, but want to do something different? Take your significant other to Color Me Mine, a pottery store in Old Hyde Park Village, and create your own work of art.

Offering a special $10 for two people deal in honor of Valentine’s Day, Color Me Mine makes it easy to be romantic on a budget.

It’s the perfect, intimate setting to get close and bond while exploring something new. Score big with creativity and personalization with handmade gifts this Valentine’s and don’t settle for repetitive and overdone traditions.

– Cheyenne Prosper

Take to trampolines

For a high-flying Valentine’s Day date, head to the Boing! Jump Center in Brandon and reconnect with your younger selves in a trampoline paradise.

The center is a large, open warehouse with floors and walls made of trampolines for bouncing around. Boing! provides participants with specialized Marty McFly-esque trampoline shoes, so all you need to bring is yourself. Be warned, though, that jumping on the trampolines for even 10 minutes is a tiring ordeal and you don’t want to look too winded in front of your date.

There is a small caf available for light snacks and refreshments before heading back onto the trampolines.

– Michael Manganello

Enjoy the great outdoors

Take advantage of Mother Nature and let the Hillsborough River serve as a backdrop to a daytime date at the USF Riverfront Park.

You and your Valentine can play an 18-hole game of disc golf, hike the wooded trails or enjoy one of the pavilion areas – ideal for a picnic. The Riverfront Park is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

For a more aromatic outdoor scene, head to the Botanical Gardens located on the southwest side of campus. Students are only asked for a $1 donation to enjoy the array of flowers and plants from around the world.

– Melanie Wiesen

Laugh your way into love

Whether you’re breaking the ice with a new Valentine or celebrating a broken-in relationship, planning a perfect Valentine’s Day date for the one you love is no joking matter. Make sure your date will be laughing at someone other than you at the end of the night with a romantic dinner at the Tampa Improv, located at 600 E. Eighth Avenue in the heart of Ybor City.

The Improv’s Valentine’s Day Dinner Show, with comedian Pete Correale, not only promises to deliver jokes, but also a three-course dinner, champagne and “a rose for the lady.” Correale has made appearences on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and starred in his own Comedy Central special, “The Things We Do For Love.”

The Improv bar opens at 5:15 p.m. and seating for the show begins at 5:30 p.m. Though this show is only for those 21 and older, many nightclubs in Ybor admit anyone over 18 and are prime people-watching territory, which may provide just as many laughs.

– Anastasia Dawson