St. LOUIS, MO (STL.News) Have COVID-19 restrictions put taken the fun out of your dating life? With nightclubs, sporting events, and movie theaters out of the picture, where can you go? It turns out nature has the answer.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is holding a pair of special outdoor date night events for couples in September that offer safe and socially-distanced fun.  It’s even better that they’re free.

MDC will host Couples Night Hike: Turkey Ridge Trail Saturday, Sept. 19 from 5- 7 p.m. at Forest 44 Conservation Area in High Ridge.  Couples can enjoy a trip on Turkey Ridge trail together or bring a friend or family member.  This brisk two-mile hike highlights interesting glades, bird habitat, and challenging uphill climbs.  You might find it’s even better exercise than dancing. Participants should register each hiker planning on coming, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a flashlight and bug spray for each person.  Open for ages 16 and up.

MDC also invites couples to Way Out Weekend: A Socially Distanced Date Night Saturday, Sept. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood.  Experience a fall evening at this popular conservation area with someone special.  Activities will include a privately set candle lit picnic table, music, crafts, and games.  At 7 p.m. there’ll be a s’mores campfire and storytelling.  Participants should bring their own picnic dinners, blankets, and coolers, but please refrain from alcohol.  A flashlight and bug spray are strongly encouraged.  S’mores kits will be provided.  MDC requests participants sign up all individuals in their party so that effective social distancing can be practiced.  Open for ages 18 and up.

Advanced online registration is required for each event at the following links:

For the safety of participants and our staff, MDC asks all guests to observe social distancing guidelines and maintain at least 6 feet from others.  Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when indoors, or any time visitors are unable to maintain at least six feet from others.  Local ordinances requiring face masks will be observed where applicable.

MDC offers many free educational programs in the St. Louis region to help people discover nature, fishing, hunting, and the outdoors. Stay informed by going to the MDC St. Louis reginal events page at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZP6.

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