South Florida Museum Offers a Full Slate of Programs this Week for Valentine’s Day

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There Are Plenty of Ways to Find Love This Week
at the South Florida Museum

  • Join us for a discussion of the biology of love at our think + drink (science) program tomorrow – Wednesday, February 11 at 7 pm – and take a “Pathway of Love” gallery tour before the program.
  • Bring your ocean lover to the opening reception of our newest exhibition Ocean Soul this Thursday, February 12 at 5:30 pm.
  • See an award-winning documentary about a couple fighting a system that made their marriage illegal at Film Fridays this Friday, February 13 at 6 pm.
  • Learn why February’s night skies offer a brilliant backdrop for romance later this month at Stelliferous Live – Wednesday, February 25 at 7 pm.

think + drink (science)

When we humans say we’re attracted to someone for their mind, it really is true — though not in the way we might think.

Our human brains have evolved to help us survive — to find food, to avoid predators and to procreate. It’s the latter, of course, that draws our interest this month as Valentine’s Day approaches. But how much control do we really have over our romantic interests?

Find out at the South Florida Museum’s next think + drink (science) at 7 pm Wednesday, February 11, when behavioral neurologist Dr. Alan Grindal joins us with the topic “Love is Complicated: The Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology of Sexual Attraction.”

The science behind human behavior has historically been a difficult area of study because the tools just didn’t exist to unlock some of the most complex neurological processes. But that is changing as new technologies have been developed that help us delve deeper into brain chemistry and link it to human behavior, Dr. Grindal says. “We’re

finding that much of our human behavior is tied to our basic biological needs. And there is a great degree to which we are unconscious of this.”

Are we attracted to the world’s Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies for their looks? Perhaps, but that could be because on a biological level, their physical features indicate fertility (for Jolie) and security (for Pitt). “Across cultures we see the same kinds of attractions, so this is not just some arbitrary concept of beauty,” Dr. Grindal says.

New evidence also indicates that gender preferences are developed early in life — perhaps even in utero, Dr. Grindal says. “To a great degree, the evidence we’re seeing today is dispelling the idea that gender identity is based on environmental influence.”

And what about our hormones? How do they affect us? We hear a lot about testosterone and progesterone, but what about oxytocin?

“We know there are hormones that promote trust and love — oxytocin is one of them,” Dr. Grindal says. “One of the highest pulses of oxytocin measured occurs during delivery and we know that one of the strongest human bonds that exists is between a mother and a child. We also know that hugs and touches and smiles also cause us to release oxytocin.”

Join us for the conversation as Dr. Grindal explores these topics of brains, biology and love.


think + drink (science), 7-9 pm Wednesday, February 11. Cost: $3 for Museum Members, $5 for non-members. Seating is limited. Purchase tickets now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit

Take the “Pathway of Love” with Cupid as your guide!

Pathways are an innovative way of looking at a variety of objects and specimens in our natural world and connecting them to tell a single narrative. Connect with us this Valentine’s season to explore how the objects here at the South Florida Museum can reveal a thing or two about love in ways that may surprise you. (The tour lasts approximately 10 – 15 minutes.)


Pathway of Love” Gallery Tour, 6:15 & 6:30 pm Wednesday, February 11 – before think + drink (science). Free for Museum Members and the general public. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13.

New Exhibition Reception A Must for Ocean Lovers

Visitors to the South Florida Museum are taking a voyage across the oceans and into the depths of mystery and wonder with National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry’s Ocean Soul exhibition. This National Geographic Traveling Exhibition opened on February 7 and runs through June 7 as it showcases Skerry’s stunning visual display of the ocean environment and the creatures living there.

The South Florida Museum is hosting an Exhibition Reception from 5:30 pm to 7 pm on Thursday, February 12. Visitors have the opportunity to speak with museum staff as they browse the exhibition. To complement the amazing imagery of the Ocean Soul exhibition, marine biologist Capt. Eric Weather will be on hand to display live specimens and some of the technology used to explore the soul of our local marine environment. Light refreshments and a cash bar.




Ocean Soul: Exhibition Reception, 5:30 pm to 7 pm Thursday, February 13. Free for Museum Members and $5 for the general public. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit

Film Fridays: The Loving Story

Join us at the South Florida Museum for The Loving Story, an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary that follows the inspiring story of two young people in love and the Supreme Court case that followed, at 6 pm on Friday, February 13.

In 1958, a white man named Richard Loving married Mildred Delores Jeter who was of African-American and Cherokee descent in Virginia. Acting on a tip, the local sheriff arrested them for violating the state’s “Racial Integrity Act.” Eventually, the pair pled guilty and, as part of their plea agreement, were forced to leave the state and “not return together for 25 years.”

By 1963, they had enough and, with the Civil Rights movement growing, Mildred petitioned Attorney General Robert Kennedy for help. He referred them to the American Civil Liberties Union, which took on the couple’s case. Attend this screening to witness their plight.


Film Fridays: The Loving Story, showing at 6 pm on Friday, February 13. Admission is $5 for Museum Members and $7 for non-members. Purchase tickets now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit

Love is in the Night Sky for Stelliferous Live

Join us at 7 pm Wednesday, February 25 for all the latest news from the night sky, which in February brings us some of the most brilliant views of the year as the biggest planet and the brightest star take center stage. February also brings the conjunction of Venus and Mars — and a tale of love ripped from the headlines of Roman mythology. We’ll also be talking about some of the latest news about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe as we follow the path of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.


Stelliferous Live is at 7 pm Wednesday, February 25. $5 general admission, $3 for Museum Members. Children 16 and younger get in free. Reserve your spot now. Call 941-746-4131, ext. 13 or visit

About the South Florida Museum
The largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum offers engaging exhibits as well as educational programs which interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world and our universe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum features a constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions – offering something new to discover with each visit. The facility also includes both the all-digital Bishop Planetarium Theater and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Outfitted with a brand new, state-of-the-art Planetarium and projection system in October of 2013, the Bishop Planetarium is the region’s premier astronomy education facility with stunning new multimedia capabilities. The Parker Manatee Aquarium is home to Snooty™, Manatee County’s official mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world. Snooty shares his Aquarium pool with young manatees from the Manatee Rehabilitation and Release Partnership. These injured or orphaned animals are taken care of by the Parker Aquarium staff until they are ready to be released into the wild. For more information about current exhibitions and special programs, membership, hours, or admission prices please call 941-746-4131 or visit


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