Let’s face it: spring has sprung. The arboretum is blooming, the Quad is buzzing, and short skirts are making a comeback. With all these pheromones in the air, it’s time to start scoping out some new date ideas for the warm months ahead, whether you’re happily coupled or single and on the prowl.
Below you will find fun, romantic and free date ideas that are bound to get you out of your rut and into … well, wherever it is you’re hoping to get into.
Explore The North Davis Greenbelt
Lush greenery, winding footpaths, weird statues and baby ducklings. Could you ask for a better date spot?
The North Davis Greenbelt is part of a series of interconnected parks and bike paths that surround the city, and are usually found by getting lost above Covell Boulevard, within North Davis‘ network of residential neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for a planned itinerary, start out by parking on Pamplona Street, (Google-Map it) and walk to the end of the block where you will find an open park containing a sculpture of four giant dominoes.
After climbing the sculpture and taking the necessary photo ops, meander down the footpaths, and keep an eye out for the strange statues of a puppy on a tricycle and a dog chasing a frightened chicken.
When you’re ready to move on, head back across Anderson to Norte Avenue, where you’ll find the Northstar Nature Trail which includes several large ponds and a grassy area that is begging to host a picnic for two.
“In the two years that I’ve lived near the greenbelt, it has never failed in giving me with something new to find,” said Justin Chan, a junior sociology major. “It amazes me that a small town like Davis has such an intricate network of beauty and serenity.“
Take a nighttime stroll through the Moon Garden
Few students have experienced the moonlit beauty of Carolee Shields‘ White Flower Garden and Gazebo, easily one of the most romantic spots in the arboretum.
Named in honor of Mrs. Peter J. Shields, the luminous “Moon Garden” nestles a year-round collection of beautiful white flowers that are best viewed in tandem under a glowing full moon.
Located at the west end of the arboretum near the veterinary hospital, bring your date and follow the footpath until you reach the large wooden gazebo that marks the entrance to the garden.
Melissa Boreal, a UC Davis graduate and project manager for the California Center for Urban Horticulture, created the sign you’ll see at the entrance which tells the intriguing history of white flower gardens in England and ancient India.
“Historically, white flower gardens were used by aristocrats of ancient India, and later by English socialites for outdoor parties before air conditioning was invented,” she said. “In order to escape summer heat, parties were held in the evening, and white flowers were ideal because they shine in the light of the moon.“
Boreal recommends taking an evening stroll through the flowerbeds, and keeping an eye out for the White-Lined Sphinx moths that pollinate the flowers by moonlight when their scent is strongest.
Travel back in time
After following the Geology department’s “UCD Geology Rocks!” walking tour, you will never see campus the same way again.
Travel with your date 1.8 billion years back in time, when the Mondavi Center’s ticket office was just a deposit of sandstone, and the basalt forming the UC Davis Official Seal was bubbling inside a Hawaiian volcano.
Janice Fong, the illustrator and co-creator of the tour encourages more students to embark on it.
“It’s really fun,” she said. “We do the tour with some of our geology classes, but outside of our department I don’t think many students know about it.”
You can print out a map on-line at geology.ucdavis.edu/fun/geologyrocks/index.html
Go Wine Tasting
If you’re 21 and looking for a classy date, bring your sweetie to The Rominger West Winery, located in downtown Davis at 4602 Second St.
The family owned, local winery is known for its Syrah and sustainable farming practices, and holds complimentary tastings from noon to 5 p.m. every day except Sunday.
“The tasting room is located inside the actual production facility so it provides a nice atmosphere to taste the wine, given that next to the bar are stacks of barrels,” said Patricia Tompkins, a junior at UC Davis who has interned with the winery. “We also host monthly 21 events that are open to the public [that are] definitely worth checking out.”
MICHELLE IMMEL can be reached at email@example.com.