Last year The Bloke didn’t really have much of a birthday celebration – we were getting married a few days afterwards and still dealing with flowers and centrepieces and general wedding nonsense, so this year I made a promise to myself that I would make a huge effort.
Today he turned 50. The big Five-0. He’s not a fan of birthdays and let’s just say that he is far from pleased about reaching this particular milestone, so I did what I usually do… I completely ignored his bah humbug birthday attitude and have spent several weeks planning an epic ‘The-Bloke-is-50-and-not-happy-about-it’ celebration with the help of my sister-in-law.
So, where do you take a 50-year-old man for his birthday? After much deliberation and research there has ended up being numerous parts separated out over the space of a few weeks.
Part one was a VIP giraffe-feeding experience at West Midland Safari Park.
The Bloke is a huge animal enthusiast, so when my lovely sister-in-law asked for an idea for a mini-adventure for him rather than a physical gift, the VIP giraffe-feeding experience was something interesting and unique that we knew he would love.
There’s always a dilemma when attempting to arrange a surprise for The Bloke, mainly because I have to take into account whether he would want to photograph it and so would need to bring his camera, which is heavy and comes with a bajillion lenses of all different sizes. However, it was specifically stated within the T’s & C’s that photography isn’t allowed during the time with the giraffes, so that pretty much solved my problem – our keeper would take some pictures on our behalf and we could collect them on a memory stick on our way home.
He had no idea about where we were going this morning – I just told him that we needed to be somewhere for 9.00am, that he needed to wear his boots and that he wasn’t allowed to bring his camera, and then directed him to the park (which was still closed to the public) where we were met by our lovely keeper, Leanne. From there we were shown to the giraffe house and spent some time in the morning with the giraffes – hand-feeding them with their favourite foods (who knew giraffes go crazy for bananas?), learning about them and their breeding programme (the park currently has a three-week old baby), dodging the horrendously enormous amount of projectile snot sent in our direction by one of them and generally having an awesome time. Click on the images for the full pictures…
My favourite – Henry – was particularly interested in the carrots and had no problem with using his enormous tongue to take them directly out of my hand. We then went to the cafe afterwards for a croissant and a chat with Leanne and learned all about her job and history. What an incredible experience (thanks, Leanne!) and what an amazing present from my sister-in-law.
The experience also included entrance into the park, a box of animal feed and a return ticket for the future, so we spent the rest of the morning driving round the safari area and then annoying the penguins, and after lunch we picked up our photos.
When he got home he started working out what to do with Part Two of his present:
A mint-condition, still boxed and retired Lego Millennium Falcon.
Lego released a new Millennium Falcon a while ago, retiring the previous one in the process. At £650 I knew that it would be well out of my price range and so I spent months searching eBay, eventually finding the retired version in mint condition for a more than reasonable price. It has been sitting in my wardrobe for two months. He’s ALWAYS wanted one, it’s been on my list of things that I’ve always wanted to get him and his face this morning when he opened it was utterly amazeballs. Totally worth the wait.
Part Three of his birthday extravaganza will happen in a few weeks, when we will be going down to London. We will be staying in a kick-ass Airbnb, going to see Wicked on the West End and then to Harry Potter World. As you do. He does know about this – mainly because of the camera dilemma – and to be honest I don’t think I could have been able to keep this a secret successfully… I barely made it through the Giraffe part without giving anything away!
Want to meet some incredible animals in person? West Midland Safari Park offers numerous VIP experiences, and they’re worth every penny! Check out the link below for more info!
What about you guys? What are the best birthday gifts you have ever received?
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