I don’t know about you but I find it so difficult finding a decent but different gift for men for Valentines. I hate buying the typical gifts, i.e aftershave, alcohol, watches. Personally I think men have it sooo easy when it comes to buying gifts for women. There’s literally so much to choose from! Perfumes, jewellery, food, makeup, spa days, haircut, candles, flowers… the list goes on. This Valentines I wanted to come up with something different, cool and fun for the both of us. After a ton of googling I finally came across Colchester Zoo! Turns out it’s also Max’s favourite zoo so bonus points for me.
I decided straight away that we would stay overnight at a nearby hotel and travel back the next day as we live an hour and a half away from the zoo and after walking all day around a zoo, I didn’t really fancy driving home. So I went ahead and booked tickets for Colchester Zoo and a night in a nearby Travelodge (which was an absolute nightmare to find in the dark) for Saturday 16th February.
Keeping it a secret was hard. When I’m excited about something, all I do is talk about it. Talk, talk and talk. Luckily the weekend came round pretty quick so I didn’t have to keep it secret for long. The week before Colchester Zoo I looked at the route for the drive and realised Felixstowe (a seaside town) was only half hour from our hotel so instead of driving home early Sunday morning, I decided we would pop into Felixstowe and spend the day and drive home in the evening. Perfect.
We arrived at the zoo just before 10am and were through the gates in no time, we grabbed a map and were on our way! We followed the map round to the right and kept on the yellow line (this was a yellow line on the floor mapping out the path to the enclosures, a bit like the yellow brick road in Wizard of Oz).
We saw some absolutely beautiful animals and I took all the photo’s featured in this post via my iPhone 7 (pretty decent quality in all fairness). I loved feeding the Lorikeets (the beautiful colourful birds above) in the Australian Rainbows enclosure. You can buy a pot of nectar and the birds will fly onto you and feed from the pots. Max and I also fed goats and sheep which was pretty cool too!
My absolute favourite part of the day was the giraffes. Giraffes are my all time favourite animal and if you were to have a tour of my room, you’d find plenty of cute giraffe ornaments and teddies spread around. I also have a giraffe tattoo at the top of my sleeve tattoo. At Colchester Zoo you can queue to feed the giraffes for free at set times throughout the day (AWESOME right?!). Of course I jumped at the chance. We queued for about 20-30 minutes and only fed the giraffe a lousy leaf… Although this was the best experience ever, it was also rather disappointing but hey ho, we moved on. We walked around the giraffe enclosure and by the time we got to the other side, feeding time was over and the giraffes were roaming free.
We were so incredibly lucky as the giraffes came right over to us at the other side of their enclosure and stayed with us for a good half hour. The giraffes started leaning over and eating from the bush surrounding their enclosure and with that a few people near us started pulling branches off and feeding them. Of course I couldn’t resist either… I got a ton of amazing photo’s of these beautiful creatures but this one is by far my favourite.
Just look how beautiful he/she is. How can you not love giraffes?! This was by far the BEST experience of my life. We then found Penguini’s, a pizza/pasta restaurant in the zoo where we got dinner. Max and I both expected it to cost a good chunk out of our pockets but were pleasantly surprised when it cost us less than £13.00 for a main meal, side and 2 drinks each. It was also a very decent portion and we were both full at the end of it.
Our day at Colchester Zoo ended with a quick spend up in the gift shop (I couldn’t resist a cute giraffe keyring) and then back to the car. Our hotel was a short 20 minute drive from the zoo but it was so hard to find. My sat nav kept taking us to a petrol station and it was pitch black so we missed the actual turning for the hotel so we had to go back on ourselves… but we finally made it! The hotel was spotless, basic but had everything we needed for a 1 night stay. Once we were finally in bed and relaxing, I checked my health app on my phone and was shocked to find we had walked 13,000 steps (almost 6 miles!!!).
The next morning we woke up with no alarm as check out wasn’t till noon (THANK GOD!). Once we were all packed up, we were on our way to Felixstowe.
We were so lucky with the weather both days. A little chilly but not a drop of rain in sight. Felixstowe was beautiful. The beach was outlined with cute beach huts and behind those were amusements and ice cream shops.
We started off in a cute vintage amusements which was filled with 2p machines and a variety of arcade games. To the left was an indoor ten pin bowling alley and to the back was an indoor 13 hole crazy golf. Outside was a giant market (only on Sundays) and a few fairground rides. It was honestly the best place ever. We paid £3.00 each for the crazy golf and had so much fun competing against each other (I lost). We also went on the Waltzers which was a good laugh. Definitely recommend checking out Mannings Amusements if you’re in Felixstowe!
We then headed to the other 2 amusement arcades near by and spent a few pounds in each of those before finding some fish and chips. We scoffed our food down and went on the hunt for a good mr whippy ice cream to eat along the sea front. By now it had got pretty chilly but it didn’t stop us from walking all the way along the promenade. For the walk back to the car I got a hot chocolate to finish the day off nicely.
Overall our weekend was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for better weather to be honest and I couldn’t of asked for better company. It was such a shame driving home back to reality but we both knew there’ll be plenty more days like this to come.