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Valentine's Day at Safari West

Sonoma Couples Workshops

Dr. John Gottman tells a story about studying at the Kinsey Institute (Indiana University) which is dedicated to the study of human sexuality. In order to help students overcome their inhibitions about talking about sex the institute showed films of every known mammal having sex (giraffes, mice, elephants, etc...). John was impressed by the practices of the porcupine. Before sex the male porcupine faces the female and soothingly rubs her face until she decides to lower her rear quills. The male would be in big trouble if he thoughtlessly started a sex act while his partner's sharp quills were raised defensively. Dr. Gottman proposes that we humans have a lot to learn from porcupines.

Last Saturday, my wife, Robynne, and I participated in an annual event at Safari West in the hills east of Santa Rosa. Safari West is a 400 acre park that is home to over 400 species of exotic animals. Once a year they host an event titled "Wild Jungle Love" in celebration of Valentine's Day. The event starts with wine and chocolate in the afternoon as a prelude to a guided tour of the facility on four wheel drive vehicles complete with enlightening and entertaining on the spot lectures about the reproductive habits of various animals. The day is then capped off with dinner and dancing in the Elephant Room, which is a showcase for some examples of the woodcraft of Safari West owner/creator, Peter Lang.

Robynne and I strongly recommend a visit to Safari West (, and think that many couples would really like "Wild Jungle Love". By the way, we did get a glimpse of some African Porcupines, but the male seemed to lack patience and it did not look like a lucky Valentine's Day for him.

Mike Basta