Fabulous First Dates

Brains floating in formaldehyde, “The Gates of Hell,” loaded handguns… Though it sounds like a first date from hell, why not make it the basis of an original date, something more unique than dinner and

Brains floating in formaldehyde, “The Gates of Hell,” loaded handguns… Though it sounds like a first date from hell, why not make it the basis of an original date, something more unique than dinner and a movie at the Ritz?

Whether you have a wad to spend or nothing at all, the big city is an excellent place for a memorable rendezvous.

There’s nothing cheaper than Fairmount Park, so if you haven’t any cash, tie your sneakers and tell your honey to do the same.

Throw a Frisbee in the baseball fields or walk the trails in Wissahickon. If you have all day, or if you’re just feeling campy, pack some PB&J’s for a picnic lunch.

It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the fall weather.

Philadelphia boasts a variety of museums, most of which offer student discounts with a college ID Though many students fail to take advantage of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it is truly a local treasure.

It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, with extended hours on Wednesday and Friday, until 8:45 p.m. Admission is $7 with a student ID, $10 without, and on Sundays the price is pay what you wish (read free).

Currently on display is “Munakata Shiko: Japanese Master of the Modern Print,” a collection of prints, paintings, calligraphy and ceramics.

Just a few blocks down the parkway, the Rodin Museum is one of two museums in the world dedicated entirely to French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

The famed “The Thinker” sits just outside the gates. Near the entrance are “The Gates of Hell,” a massive bronze interpretation of Dante’s “Inferno.”

A $3 suggested donation (don’t be cheap, just pay) gets you into the museum, where you’ll view larger-than-life busts and full-body sculptures.

Most of Rodin’s work is bronze, but the museum also exhibits some plaster and marble pieces.

The huge, six-person bronze “The Burghers of Calais” serves as the centerpiece and historical and mythological figures make up much of the other work.

If you’re really digging the place, spend an extra $5 and get an audio tour.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

Continued down to 19 S. 21st St. and you’ll find yourself at the College of Physicians’ Mutter Museum.

You will find a motley collection of preserved body parts, wax models of skin and eye diseases and a load of reasons not to contract syphilis; the Mutter Museum is quite possibly the coolest museum in Philly.

If you’ve been there before, go again. You’ve probably forgotten how gross it really is. Admission is $5 with a student ID and $8 without.

Currently on display is “Infectious Diseases: Ancient Scourge and Modern Menace,” which examines everything from the plague through smallpox and HIV/AIDS.

A “Philadelphia Stories” special highlights outbreaks in Philly: yellow fever, influenza and the 1976 attack of Legionnaires Disease.

Once in the museum, you’ll view a brutal-looking post-mortem tool kit, hole riddled, syphilitic skulls, an eight-foot colon and an entire cabinet of objects – safety pins, buttons, nails, rocks, jacks and more – removed from the air and food passages of patients.

What better than floating, deformed fetuses to drive you against your honey’s shoulder?

If you’re determined to do dinner and a movie (and are at least 21,) wait until Monday night when you can see a free one at the Balcony Bar at 10th and Arch Streets.

The screenings start at 8 p.m. and feature everything from cult classics to modern silliness. Previous screenings include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Barfly and Run Lola Run. Get liquored up until the credits roll.

Whether you go before or after the movie, make dinner an experience.

Try Fez, a Moroccan restaurant at 620 S. Second St. that offers a $20 prix-fixe dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.

Get a bottle of wine and enjoy the comfy pillow seating, multi-course meal and the belly dancers.

If money is of no concern, head south for target practice.

The South Philadelphia Archery and Gun Range at 831 Ellsworth St. will rent you and your date all the necessary equipment and give you lessons for $60 a person.

It sounds pricey, but it’s really not, considering that equipment, instruction and all-day practice is included.

And beware boys, some ranges do have ladies’ night specials.

You’ll never go on a date more charged than one at the shooting range, so spend the money and try it at least once.

Remember, no matter your budget, you can always indulge in a date spot more imaginative than food and flicks.

Rachel Barbara can be reached at Rbarbara@temple.edu

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