If you are not too squeamish about taxidermy, I do hope you've paid a visit to Paxton Gate, the natural sciences store up on N Mississippi, because it's fascinating. In addition to some stuffed specimens that go far beyond hunting lodge/PNW dining decor variety, they have a huge selection of mounted insects, an excellent books section, unusual jewelry (and jewelry supplies if you are pissed they don't have rattlesnake teeth at your favorite bead store or whatever), and a lovely gardening section, too. Last time my niece and nephew were in town I think we spent an hour in there.

Anyhow, they're having an event next Saturday (Nov 9) that sounds like an excellent date: Having an insect expert giving guided tours (safaris, if you will) of their bug selection along with beer and wine (and "something non-alcoholic")—it's all free, and sounds totally fascinating and fun. More about the guide, Don Ehlen:

Ehlen has been interested in and studying insects since the age of five. He spent his childhood in Minnesota collecting specimens and reading every book about bugs that he could find. He took up serious collecting as a young adult while attending the University of Minnesota in 1981. After relocating to New Mexico in 1982 his collection grew dramatically. After studying entomology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque he traveled around the Southwest searching for new and interesting specimens. He relocated to Washington State in 1989 and soon after began voluntarily showing his collection to school children. Don started Insect Safari in 1994 as a response to the encouragement of teachers that such a program was much needed in order to support insect study in elementary curriculums.

Stop in from 2-5 to get bugged out, with or without a date.

  • Paxton Gate