A Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt

Ana Picazo - San Francisco Bay Area
February 5, 2013

February has arrived, and love is in the air—just peek inside any stationery store or bake shop, and the plethora of heart-shaped merchandise will confirm it. But if you keep your eyes open, you'll find that hearts abound in every part of town: in sculptures, in murals, and in nature. It's not for nothing that San Francisco's official song is "I left my heart in San Francisco." How many hearts can you and your little sweetheart find?

Here are a few to get you started: 

Hearts in San Francisco

Every year, local artists donate their time to paint identical heart sculptures for the Hearts in San Francisco project. The painted hearts are displayed throughout the year at various locations throughout San Francisco, including Union Square and Yerba Buena Gardens.  Every February, they are auctioned off to benefit the San Francisco General Hospital, and a new crop of heart arrive to take their place.  Many of the previous years' sculptures have found permanent homes around the City, including AT&T Park, the Lyon Street Steps and Golden Gate Park.

Cupid's Span, San Francisco

Take a stroll around the waterfront, along the Embarcadero, and take in the gigantic bow and arrow sculpture known as Cupid's Span. It's half-buried in the grass, so you won't see the heart Cupid has pierced, but you and your little one will have a lot of fun imagining how big it is.

Mi Tierra Mural, Berkeley

There are over 80 decoratively painted buildings and structures located in Berkeley for the public to enjoy, and each one is as unique as the artist that painted it. The mural at Mi Tierra Foods, on the corner of Addison Street and San Pablo Avenue, features all of nature's bounty in a riot of color. See if you can find the heart-shaped leaves among the bounty of corn and squash being harvested!

Garden of Life, Mayfield Community Center, San Jose

With an eight-acre park, community garden, public pool, playground and skate park, San Jose's Mayfield Community Center is a popular destination for local families.  It's not easy to tear little ones away from the playground—it has cute tortoise and salamander climbing sculptures and a water play area with a palm tree fountain—but take a minute to pass by the Community Center entrance and show them the beautiful artwork inspired by the rich cultural history of the Mayfair area. Your little ones will surely want to touch the delicate glass apricots on the bronze apricot branch, but tell them that if they step back and look, they'll notice that the sculpture looks like a heart!

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