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Sugar House in Review: Valentine’s Day cheap-kid extravaganza challenge

Graphic by Angie Merkley

Graphic by Angie Merkley

I’ve been with my husband for nearly four years, and we are already bored of Valentine’s Day. I knew chocolates and expensive dinners weren’t going to cut it this year, and I wanted to service those in a similar situation. I needed a challenge. So, I made one.

Last month, Huffington Post published a list of 10 activities couples could do on Valentine’s Day. The list was filled with cliché activities, which were pricey enough for college students to only want to do one or two of them. I decided to do all 10 in one day with a college-student budget.

Here are my results:

Scheel’s—Ride a Ferris Wheel

At the top of the list, we had to take a romantic ride around the ferris wheel. This one was a challenge to figure out, seeing as how it’s the middle of winter. Then again, did you know there is a ferris wheel inside Scheel’s, a giant sporting goods store in Sandy?

For $1 a ticket, I would say it’s worth about that much. Everyone in line was an exacerbated adult with a dozen or two screaming children on their limbs. I would recommend it as a good break between your shopping, but not as a romantic getaway. It was a bit boring, and you get yelled at when you try to Snapchat at the top.

Classic Fun Center—Dancing, Skating and Music

I didn’t expect so many children to be involved with my Valentine’s Day challenge, but there were hundreds. The Classic Fun Center had the potential to be great. However, on a Saturday afternoon, all of the parents in the county thought the same.

The center let me cross three activities off my list: take a dance class, skate away and make it about music.

For the dance class, well, I cheated a little. But in the name of a college-student’s budget, I counted playing dance-based arcade games. I will say, being a “big kid” in a children’s fun center can have its benefits, at least in the arcade section. Many were terrified by my towering 5-foot-4 physique, and they quickly deserted the area.

At the skating rink, they got their vengeance.

Stumbling around on retro skates is hard enough, but throw in a few dozen sticky goblins, and you are in purgatory.

The rink blasts classic hits to current pop music, which let me cross off the music activity along with the skating. However, dodging 6-year-olds on their scooters sort of killed the romance. My recommendation would be to visit on a Saturday night at 10 p.m. The rink opens up only to those 16 or up for disco night.

Digital Scavenger Hunt

This is already free, so I didn’t do it. Instead, I took incredibly awkward selfies at my destinations.

The Liquor Store—Go to a Wine Tasting

For those 21 and up, we accomplished this task by stopping by a nearby liquor store and purchasing an array of wine coolers and passing them around in red solo cups.They tasted like soda, and I got a stomach ache from all of the corn syrup.

Home—Cooking, Massages and Dining

Cooking classes are expensive, but YouTube isn’t. There are hundreds of cooking channels online, but we settled for Nerdy Nummies, an adorable YouTube personality that teaches you easy, Pinterest-worthy snacks. This also accomplished our in-room dining activity, since we just ended up eating our crappy snacks.

Another activity was couple’s massages. Have a willing partner? Then you have a masseuse.

Cahoots—Go to a Fortune Teller or Psychic

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Big,” then you’re familiar with the Zoltar machine. The novelty gift store, Cahoots, happens to host one, which costs only a buck to have your future revealed.

The most I can compare it to is a giant talking fortune cookie. But, just like the ferris wheel, you get what you paid for.


This challenge succeeded in making me feel extremely productive but not very romantic. All of the screaming children and uneffective alcohol sort of fizzled out any passion or enchantment that Valentine’s Day glorifies.

Nonetheless, this was a fun day filled with laughs and chaos. If you’re also bored with Valentine’s Day, I recommend trying a challenge like this. It’s cheap, silly and can be done any day of the year.

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