Zoos throughout the country are continuing the Valentine’s Day tradition of naming animals and critters after exes – some of which will meet an unfortunate end in nature’s food chain.
If you’re trying to find a symbolic way to get over a former flame, care to benefit zoo ambassadors or have a Valentine with a ghoulish sense of humor, here are a few wildlife facilities that are hosting name campaigns.
Bronx Zoo’s Name a Roach
New York’s Bronx Zoo is bringing back it Name a Roach campaign for Valentine’s Day. The program, which got its start in 2011, allows zoo guests to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach for $15 – digital certificate included. The naming of a cockroach doesn’t have to be limited to exes, either. The Bronx Zoo encourages customers to name roaches after friends and loved ones. Orders can be placed online, and on Feb. 14, the Valentine’s Day gift recipient will be notified that an insect has been named in their honor.
If that’s not enough, the Bronx Zoo is offering Name a Roach gift bundles that include virtual encounters with Madagascar hissing cockroaches and staff or roach-themed commemorative merchandise. Valentine’s Day shoppers can pick from Roach Socks, a Roach Beanie or both.
Brookfield Zoo’s Name a Cockroach After Your Ex: Un-Happy Valentine’s Day!
The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, is bringing back its annual Name a Cockroach After Your Ex campaign, which has been coined as an “Un-Happy Valentine’s Day” event for that “un-special (or special) someone in your life.” For $15, holiday observers will get to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach. After purchase, customers will receive a Certificate of Naming in their donation receipt for personal displays at home. The donation also gives buyers placement on the Brookfield Zoo’s Cockroach Naming Board outside the Hamill Family Play Zoo on Feb. 14.
Only first names will be displayed for each named cockroach. Personalized messages will be excluded as well. The Brookfield Zoo will share photos of its Cockroach Naming Board on the zoo’s social media pages. If you’d like to make sure your named roach gets on the board in time, donations and submissions must be entered on the zoo’s website by Feb. 7, 2022, at 5 p.m. CST.
Lehigh Valley Zoo’s Buff Off
The Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, is hosting a Valentine’s Day Bug Off event where zoo guests can name crickets after their ex and watch them be fed to zoo ambassadors. Each feeder cricket requires a $5 donation, which will support the Lehigh Valley Zoo’s conservation and animal enrichment efforts. Additional donations are welcome as well.
Weekly cricket feeding will be shared to the Lehigh Valley Zoo’s Facebook page leading up to Valentine’s Day. The videos will show a variety of zoo animal ambassadors munching on the crickets while staff relay information about wildlife.
San Antonio Zoo’s Cry Me a Roach Fundraiser
The San Antonio Zoo in Texas, is bringing back its annual Cry Me a Roach Fundraiser and this time there’s a veggie option. Zoo guests will be able to name a cockroach for $10, a farm-frozen rat for $25 or a vegetable for $5 – all of which get fed to animals at the facility. The zoo says its customers are free to name bugs, rodents and vegetables after an “ex-partner, boss, or bestie.”
Each donation goes on to support the San Antonio Zoo and its conservation effort. Fundraiser participants will receive a customizable certificate showing they took part in the Cry Me a Cockroach event. The zoo is also providing an upgradable personalized video option for 50 donors. The videos will be delivered via email on Feb. 14 and only first names will be displayed during the event due to privacy concerns.
Alternative Valentine’s Day Zoo Activities
If naming a bug or animal that’s destined for feeding isn’t something that appeals to you, zoos are also hosting other Valentine’s Day events that are more uplifting in tone.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will let guests symbolically adopt one of its cougars for Valentine’s Day while the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin, will send personalized video messages to loved ones featuring penguins, elephants, tigers and sloths.
Other zoos are offering one-of-a-kind dining experiences and sweetheart packages for Valentine’s Day celebrants. Check your local zoo’s scheduled event listings to see what’s available in your area.