Zoos throughout the country are continuing the unorthodox 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 the naming campaigns.
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Bronx Zoo’s Name a Roach
New York’s Bronx Zoo is bringing back its “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 now, and on Feb. 14, the Valentine’s Day gift recipient will be notified that an insect has been named in their honor.
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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 a Roach Tote, a Roach Tumbler or both.
Brookfield Zoo’s Name a Cockroach After Your Ex: Un-Happy Valentine’s Day!
The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, 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,” according to facility marketing materials.
For $15, Valentine’s Day 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 from the board as well, but customers have an opportunity to write personalized notes on the certificate that arrives with the donation receipt.
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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. 6, 2023, at 5 p.m. CST.
Lehigh Valley Zoo’s Bug Off
The Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, is hosting its Valentine’s Day “Bug Off” event in 2023.
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 feedings will be shared on 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 educational information about the zoo’s featured wildlife.
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This year, the Lehigh Valley Zoo is also letting zoo guests place name bids on carcasses that’ll be fed to Mexican Gray wolves.
San Antonio Zoo’s Cry Me a Roach Fundraiser
The San Antonio Zoological Society in Texas is bringing back its annual “Cry Me a Cockroach Fundraiser.”
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 San Antonio 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.
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The zoo is also providing an upgradable personalized video option for 20 donors. The upgrade costs $150 and the videos will be delivered via email on Feb. 14. 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.
Check your local zoo’s scheduled event listings to see what’s available in your area.
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Other Valentine’s Day celebrations at zoos include one-of-a-kind dining experiences, sweetheart packages, symbolic animal adoptions and personalized messages.