Sweet, cheap Valentine’s Day dates for a college budget

Mikala Lugen

Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to spend with your significant other or a group of friends. However, the thought of spending money on a fun activity, dinner and gifts stresses most college students out.

According to the National Retail Federation, the U.S. spends an average of $18.2 billion on Valentine’s Day, with an average person spending approximately $147.

Don’t fret, college students; there are ways of getting around with a small budget.

The Kent State Ice Arena will host a Valentine’s Day themed open-skate on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. Students can skate around in shades of red and pink for $3 with their student ID.

If you want to get out of town for a while, take your sweetheart ice skating at The Rink at Wade Oval at the Cleveland University Circle. College students who bring their ID will pay $1 admission and $2 for skate rental. A movie night will be hosted on the rink on Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. featuring the movie “Valentine’s Day.”

“Pink the Rink” will be Feb. 10 to Feb. 12. You will also be able to show your ice skating wristband at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland History Center and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to receive a $2 discount.

Calling all cheese lovers! Kent Cheesemonger is hosting a Valentines Wine and Cheese class on Tuesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The class will feature five wine and cheese pairings for a nice, casual evening. Tickets are $25 each and can be bought online at eventbrite.com, or at the door before maximum occupancy of 20 people. Each person must be 21 or older.

Looking for some action this Valentine’s Day? Head over to the M.A.C. Center to watch the men’s basketball team play against Miami University of Ohio on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game is free for Kent State students with their student ID, and what better way to spend the holiday than watching sweaty boys run around?

Fannie May & Harry London Chocolate Factory is a gourmet chocolate factory located in North Canton and offers free tours Monday through Thursday, starting at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The 45-minute guided tour takes chocolate-lovers through the step-by-step process of crafting chocolate and onlookers can sample some of Miss Fannie’s creations.

Releasing to the public on Feb. 10, “50 Shades Darker” is a cheap date to go on with a significant other or a group of friends. This movie is the sequel to “50 Shades of Grey.”

Not everyone has a significant other to spend the day with. Instead, spend the day with friends for an at-home spa day and baking session of heart-shaped cookies.

“I love my friends and spending any day with them, including Valentine’s Day, is a day well spent. Especially eating cute little heart cookies,” junior nursing major Elise Carney said.

Instead of buying generic flowers, The Cleveland Botanical Garden is hosting its 14th annual Orchid Mania show, featuring thousands of the world’s most exotic flowers hung from the halls and glasshouse of the building. Adult tickets are $11 each and the show is featured until March 5.

It may be too cold on Valentine’s Day to go outside and watch the stars, but the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is featuring its Dark Universe exhibit. Narrator Neil deGrasse Tyson illustrates cosmic wonders, scientific instruments and deep space while celebrating the technological discoveries of our universe.

The show runs at 2:30 p.m. on weekdays, noon and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. on Sundays. The exhibit itself costs $5, along with a $10 admission fee for the museum with a college ID.

“My girlfriend and I love astronomy and looking up at the stars. This will be an awesome show to see, while also being romantic. 10-out-of-10, would definitely go,” sophomore aeronautics major Konnor Fink said.

The toboggan chutes located at the Cleveland Metroparks’ Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville features the tallest and fastest ice chutes in Ohio, according to Fox 8 Cleveland.

A one-ride ticket is $6 and an all-day ride ticket is $12. College students can show a college ID to get an all-day ride pass for only $9 on Thursdays. A Sweetheart Deal will be featured Feb. 10, offering two all-day toboggan passes, two hot dogs and two hot chocolates for only $20. The toboggan chutes are open from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and all participants are required to wear gloves.

“We’ve done this deal for about ten years now,” Rachel Urig, Cleveland Metropark recreation staff member, said. “The toboggan chutes are refrigerated. (The chutes) can even run without any snow and can reach up to 50 mph. We always have a great turnout of couples each year.”

If you’re really pinching your money, find some classic date ideas for you and your significant other. Stay in, cook dinner together and have a movie or game night.

“It is important to maintain rituals while in a relationship. They don’t have to be expensive, just reoccurring activities the two of you do together,” Jeffrey Child, a communication studies associate professor, said. “Come up with creative events with significance to show your partner their importance to you. Doing these rituals now will summon positive energy in the relationship over time and bring you closer together.”

Mikala Lugen is the student finance reporter, contact her at [email protected].