This Week’s Events in St. Augustine: Picasso, Hikes, Tours, Bird Count, Opera, and World Record Attempt at Wedding Vow Renewals

DAILY until May 11, 2013:

Picasso: Art & Arena Exhibit – An exhibition featuring dozens of Picasso originals, including many that have never been seen previously in the United States. Both famous and rare, these pieces were produced in different styles, techniques and media; providing unique insights into one of Picasso’s main themes: bullfighting.  The exhibition will be at the Visitor Information Center,10 Castillo Dr. in St. Augustine. Admission: Adults $10; Seniors $8; Kids 6 & Under – Free; Kids 7 – 12 – $5; Family of 4 – $20; Military in Uniform – Free; Flagler College Student with ID – Free. The Picasso Exhibit will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday – Thursday; Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. www.picassoartandarena.com       904-825-1000

Saturday: February 9

Second Saturdays GTM Reserve Guided Trail Hike – Join GTM Research Reserve volunteers from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. for a 1.5 mile guided walk through the Guana Trail. After the walk, visit the GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center (EEC).  The EEC is located at 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach.  There is a $3.00 parking fee.  904-823-4500 http://gtmnerr2ndtrailhike.eventbrite.com

Flight to Freedom Fort Mose – Unique living history event depicts the flight of slaves from the British colonies to St. Augustine’s Fort Mose where they are freed by the Spanish.  From 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. there will be guided tours, food, drumming and music, authentic historic reenactors, colonial weapons demonstrations and more.  It all takes place at Fort Mose Historic State Park, located at 15 Fort Mose Trail just north of St. Augustine.  Free shuttle service from the Old Jail at 167 San Marco Ave. will be provided.  Admission to the park is $2 per person.  904-823-2232 http://www.floridastateparks.org/fortmose/default.cfm

Great Backyard Bird Count – Two Saturday adventures for birders from novice to expert begin at the Anastasia Island Library, 124 Sea Grove Main Street in St. Augustine.  At 2 p.m. on Feb. 9, an Audubon expert provides an informative presentation on how to identify birds likely to be seen in St. Augustine. Plus, field guide leaders who will be heading out on the bird count the following Saturday will be present and a go-kit with basic birding information will be available.  Then from 10 a..m – 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16, participants will head out to count as many feathered friends as possible!  Guides will offer suggestions on locations and will be present at many key birding sites.  Last year, St. Augustine placed 5th nationally in this nationwide bird counting event. 904-209-3730 e-mail aibirdcount@gmail.com

St. Augustine Chocolate Tour – Guided journey to the finest chocolatiers in St. Augustine.  Learn the history of chocolate while sampling truffles, pastries, and gooey delights.  The 2 hours tour departs at 1:30 p.m. from the Old Town Trolley Welcome Center at 27 San Marco Ave.  The tour cost is $60.  www.trolleytours.com/st-augustine/tour-chocolate.asp        
904-829-3800

First Coast Opera Performs Puccini’s Turandot – First Coast Opera performs Turandot,Puccini’s final operatic masterpiece, sung in Italian by international cast accompanied by a full orchestra. The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St. in St. Augustine.  Advance tickets $25, $30 at door.  Students with ID $10.  904-417-5555 www.FirstCoastOpera.com

 Sunday: February 10

Wedding Vow Renewal:  World Record Attempt – Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in St. Augustine hosts an attempt to set a new record for the world’s largest wedding vow renewal ceremony — 1,087 couples are needed! Registration is from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., with the big ceremony at 2 p.m..  To take the vow, couples need a copy of their marriage license, valid ID and a signed photo release (provided onsite or on website). Participating couples get lots of goodies including a flower, wedding cake, romantic train ride down the bay front, confetti, live music and dancing — it’s all FREE!  Ripley’s is located at 19 San Marco Ave. in St. Augustine.  www.ripleys.com/staugustine  904-824-1606