Animal attraction at Lincoln Park Zoo

February 8, 2011 3:32:21 PM PST
Valentine's Day is for the birds. And giraffes and 75 people who were invited to party with the animals on February 14.

After Lincoln Park Zoo closes on Valentine's Day, it's all about animal attraction.

"We're having an event here on Valentine's Day. We're serving chocolates and champagne and talking about some of the fun breeding behaviors and courtship displays that you may see some of our animals displaying. It's adults only so we're talking a little bit about the more risque side of animal behavior," said Dr. Megan Ross, v.p. of animal care.

Animal experts stationed in different locations around the zoo will tell the stories of animal infatuation --and affection.

"We look at our animals to see who would be a good genetic match and sometimes we factor in their personality types to see who would be a good pair," Dr. Ross said.

The behind-the-scenes event explains what amounts to the animal version of eharmony or match. For instance, the zoo's male pigmy hippo will get a girlfriend in the near future. Zookeepers will run tests to make sure the potential mates are compatible and then it's up to the lady.

"She will accept him if she feels he's the right male for her. ... And that's all on her determination," Dr. Rachel Santymire, zoo endocrinologist, said. "She decides."

So there are some similarities in the animal world- but do these creatures really love like humans?

"I don't know if I can answer that, but they can love each other briefly enough to mate," said Dr. Santymire. "It's quick love."

Joining the love birds, meerkats and necking giraffes will cost $45 a person. To register or find out more about the event, visit