Talk about a wild date. No need to jet off to Africa for a safari when you can get up close and personal with the exotic animals at this wildlife preserve situated 75 miles southwest of Dallas. Guests can explore 1,800 acres from the comfort of their car and encounter a variety of wildlife, ranging from giraffes to rhinos, zebras and emus. Want to take the experience up a notch? Then book one of Fossil Rim's Single-Group Safari Tours for 1-10 people, which takes guests along the 7.2-mile Gosdin Scenic Drive as well as onto roads where the self-guided tours are not allowed to go. Private tours are priced at $500 for the group. Self-guided tour admission is $19.95 for children and $24.95 for adults. Oh, and there are also cozy cabins for those who want to make a night of it.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is a magical place for animal lovers.
Ilene's expert tip: Note that all tickets must be purchased online before coming. Private tours should be booked as far in advance as possible.
For those who like urban adventures, there's not a better way to see downtown Dallas than with a two-hour gliding tour with Segway Nation. Tours are offered 4 times a day and include visits through all the famous Downtown landmarks such as Thanksgiving Square, Dealey Plaza, and the 6th Floor Museum. Ideal date night activity? A Segway ride through downtown and the Dallas Arts District after the sun goes down. There are no special skills required and they'll teach you all you need to know to get rolling. Reservations are a must.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Rolling through Dallas on a Segway is a blast whether you're a visitor or a local.
Ilene's expert tip: For a limited time, all tours are being offered for $59 when booked online.
Whether you're a pro golfer or have never swung a club before, TopGolf is an ideal date night spot for couples who enjoy engaging in little friendly competition. This massive golf entertainment complex features 70 climate-controlled hitting bays equipped with a variety of high-tech games that use Toptracer technology allowing guests to track the path of every golf shot via a real-time display on an HD screen. Oh, and did we mention that each bay comes with a host that provides food and drink service? Prices start at $27 an hour per bay. Walk-ins are welcomed, but reservations are advised.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: TopGolf is a terrific date night spot for those who want to drink, eat and engage in some spirited competition.
Ilene's expert tip: All game play is half price on Tuesdays.
More unforgettable experiences in Dallas
There's nothing like a little laughter to get those romantic sparks flying, and one place that promises a hilariously good time is the Dallas Comedy Club, the go-to venue for some of the best comedic talent in the city. Here, you can get your funny fix on five nights a week with everything from improv, open mic, and drunk trivia to stand-up, sketch, and more. Much of the talent comes from students and faculty members of DCC's training facility, but nationally known comedians are also known to hit the stage. Along with two enclosed theaters plus an outdoor stage, the venue boasts a full-service bar, a beer garden, and an eclectic food menu made for sharing. The shows are all reasonably priced with ticket prices generally running $10-$15 and the improv/open-mic performances are always free.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: DCC is the best place for romantic couples to get their endorphins flowing.
Ilene's expert tip: For the closest places to park: find surface lots at Main and Hall as well as metered spots on Hall, Elm, and Main. DCC is 21+ after 10 p.m.
Romantic movie dates are all well and good, but how about taking your date to a cinematic experience where you can actually step into the story? Enter Dreamscape Immersive, sort of a cross between a cinema and theme park ride which with the aid of body-mapping and real-time motion capture technology, participants can interact as full-body avatars within a virtual 3D environment. Adventures range from visiting an alien zoo to a scuba diving expedition to reunite a family of whales. Tickets are $19.99, and each adventure, from beginning to end, takes approximately 35 minutes (including check-in and gearing up).
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Dreamscape is ideal for those who want to take a movie date to another level.
Ilene's expert tip: It's best to purchase tickets online in advance as showings tend to book up quickly. Dreamscape is located at NorthPark Center on level two between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
For couples looking to add a unique twist on wining and dining, Grapevine Wine Tours may be right up your alley. In case you don't know, Texas happens to be the fifth largest wine-producing state in the nation, and the town of Grapevine (located about 25 miles from Dallas) is home to the Urban Wine Trail featuring tasting rooms from some of the state's most acclaimed wineries and winemakers. The tours last approximately four hours and include stops at several wine-centric venues where guests are treated to 4-5 different wines as well as a 3-course meal with more wine. Guests will also have a chance to learn more about Texas wine making, the north Texas wine scene and local history. Prices range from $125 per person for lunch to $135 per person for dinner.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Grapevine Wine Tours is a perfect date option for wine lovers.
Ilene's expert tip: The tours commence from several appointed area hotels. Note that the Embassy Suites DFW North and Hilton DFW Lakes offer free parking. Weekend tours sell out quick, so it's recommended to book as far in advance as possible.
They say chocolate is an aphrodisiac, so what better way to seduce your date than with a chocolate crawl through four of the city's dreamiest chocolate boutiques? Tours last approximately 3.5 hours and include samples from four of Dallas' top sweet shops. Special Valentine's themed tours include champagne toasts with the option to purchase add-ons such as a dozen roses, a bottle of champagne and a 16-piece box of chocolates from Chocolate Secrets. Not into chocolate? No problem. The company also features barbecue and brewery tours; taco and margarita excursions; speakeasy tours and more. Ticket prices start at $45 per person and include motor-coach transport, food, and non-alcoholic beverages on board.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Dallas by Chocolate is the best way to explore Dallas' culinary side.
Ilene's expert tip: Take $3 per ticket off your entire first order (limit 4 tickets)with the code 3EAT.
Strolling through Mother Nature is nice and all but galloping through it is infinitely better. Widowmaker Trail Rides provides small groups of novice and experienced riders alike guided horseback rides along the scenic shores of Lake Grapevine, located just 30 minutes from downtown Dallas. Trails wind through 1000-acres of stunning landscape that includes everything from lush forests to meadows, hills, and creeks. The two-hour rides are priced at $100 per person and are offered year-round by appointment only. Even better? Most of the rides end up being private ones.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: It doesn't get any more romantic than a sunset horseback ride along the shores of Lake Grapevine.
Ilene's expert tip: Depending on the schedule, private rides can also be arranged.
Nothing says love like an adrenaline rush. Just minutes from downtown Dallas lies Trinity Forest Adventure Park, a seven-acre combination obstacle course and zip line park boasting over twenty zip-lines which are spread out over six aerial obstacle courses. The courses are all self-guided to allow everyone to move at their own pace, but it's important to watch your time since tickets are only valid for three hours. The price for a 3-hour adventure tour is $59.95 for ages 16 and up. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Trinity Forest Adventure Park is great for those who enjoy active dates.
Ilene's expert tip: Reserve online and save $5 off the listed ticket price. Note that weekends often sell out in advance.
There is nothing more romantic than a gondola ride through the canals of Venice. But if you can't swing a trip to Italy, the next best thing is to book a private gondola ride through the waterways of the Mandalay Canal and Lake Carolyn. Gondola Adventures offers plenty of options for making it a date to remember, ranging from one-hour classic tours to dessert, pizza, breakfast, and Italian dinner cruises. Plus, they offer a variety of ways to ramp up the love factor with specialty enhancements like scattered rose petals and special messages delivered in a decorative bottle. Prices start from $155 for two people.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Nothing spells romance like a gondola ride on a canal.
Ilene's expert tip: Be sure to reserve in advance, and also request a singing gondolier.