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When you were in grade school, it was most likely a day marked with the exchange of treats and tiny cardboard notes. The middle and high school years probably included some kind of holiday dance.

Later it could have become a day featuring an elaborate date, complete with the glitziest dress, highest heels and some kind of deliciousness on a plate shared with a loved one.

Or it could be a day you have and always will avoid like the plague.

The truth is everything about Valentine’s Day can change as you grow up, but the message remains the same. It is a day to embrace life and the loved ones who make it special. Since that can (and often does) mean different things to everyone, here are a few creative ideas to consider as you make your Valentine’s Day plans in Lake Country this year.

Daddy-daughter date ideas

Life pulls dads in a million directions these days, making time one of the most precious gifts a dad can give their kids. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for fun and unique daddy-daughter dates in and around Lake Country that will be just as enjoyable for dads as for their baby girls.

Mother-son date ideas

While it may not be true for everyone, many little boys love the same things. They love to explore. They love to run off steam. And, more often than not, they love their mamas. There are all kinds of ways to bring all of that together into a clever mother-son date in the Lake Country area.

  • Adventure abounds on a trip to Milwaukee to visit the public museum, where there’s plenty to see and explore. In addition to the highlights throughout the museum, a planetarium program is always included with admission. The museum is the first venue in the world to debut Digistar 6 technology on its six-story tall screen with wraparound digital sound.
  • For a second stop, or a trip all its own, consider swinging by Betty Brinn Children’s Museum on Saturday, Feb. 11 for its annual ice cream social and sock hop event. Visitors can build their own ice cream sundaes enjoy special activities and treats and create something special for each other in the craft room.
  • For the bookworms, local libraries have a lot to offer in February. The Hartland Public Library is hosting a book signing with local author Dawn D’Amico in collaboration with a family-friendly crafting event and a reading with Brick the Therapy Dog on Saturday, Feb. 11. Roaming the goodies at Kowabunga Comics in Oconomowoc is another likely hit for book lovers of the comic variety.

Whole family date ideas

Setting aside some time to pause and do something together as a family is a scientifically supported way to recharge. Studies show time with family can help reduce stress and anxiety, in addition to being just plain fun.

  • Craft from home after a visit to the art supply store or local dollar store for supplies of your choosing. Start with an idea in mind or see where the supplies take you, then bring it all home and enjoy some hot chocolate as you work together to create something as a family.
  • Exploring the Retzer Nature Center any time of year is fun, but the Waukesha County landmark creates a uniquely festive experience on its trails during Wild Winter Nights in February. On Saturdays throughout the month, sky watch with telescopes, enjoy a planetarium show and choose from a variety indoor  children’s activities and crafts.
  • Too often it’s too easy to take for granted the beauty of the Lake Country area. Consider approaching your town as a visitor might, with a family bike ride or ice fishing around and on Pewaukee Lake. Grab a bite at a new restaurant nearby, like The Machine Shed or Casa Tequila.
  • Do more than make memories together – preserve them. Schedule some family photos with a local photographer like Molly Johnson Photography in Genesee Depot.

Valentine’s Day may continue to evolve as you do, but one thing doesn’t ever have to change.

Take the day, or even the month, to spend some time with the loved ones that make it all possible.

Ty Schmidt is a freelance writer and Lake Country mom to two boys.

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