Arguably the best part of giving or receiving a gift is the element of surprise. Amidst the struggle to find the perfect Christmas gift for our mom, my sister and I decided to take a note from the Kardashians sisters and do something a little more unconventional this year—Malibu Wine Safari, a ranch in the middle of Malibu, complete with Stanley the giraffe, zebras, llamas, donkeys, wine, bison, Tibetan yaks, and alpacas. In order to pull off the surprise, we let our mom know a few weeks in advance the date we needed her to be free for some quality mother-daughter bonding, aka romping around a 1,000 acre vineyard feeding animals and taking selfies. We let her know the day before where we were going, so we would all be prepared for our tour. As we excitedly planned our outfits and where we would go to lunch afterward, we were all just eager to go on a new adventure with each other. It can be really easy to save the newest movie or trendiest brunch spot for your friends over your family, but most parents or siblings prefer making memories together over material gifts…especially if you’re still using their credit cards to pay for their presents.
Here are my highlights of my trip to Malibu Wine Safari:
- Meeting Stanley the Giraffe
Stanley! You may already recognize him from his time spent in Hollywood; his most famous role in the Hangover 3, a Target commercial, or featured on a celebrity’s Instagram. Stanley is by far the most affectionate animal on the safari. He was raised and bottled-fed by humans, so he is exceptionally friendly. From the second he sees the open truck rolling into his area, he is prepared to play with you. Since Stanley is a Hollywood giraffe, he is constantly working his angles for your selfies, especially if you give him bananas.
- Taking Pictures with the Zebras
You will quickly learn that you can’t pet these little guys because they can literally bite your finger off. Your guide will tell you this as she is handing you a carrot to feed one, but you will do it anyway because how often do you get the chance to feed a zebra? Plus, they love taking pictures with you. As I fed them carrots, I made sure to toss them into their mouths, to ensure I left with the same number of fingers I came with. I, also, died when they mentioned the name of the youngest zebra is “Justin Zebiber,” after Justin Bieber.
- Feeding the Scottish Highland Cow
By far one of the funniest animals on the farm is the Scottish Highland Cow. He is massive and a little aggressive but his facial expressions are extremely entertaining. Make sure to take a video feeding this one. Also, watch your fingers…
- Stopping Around the Vineyard
The grounds of Malibu Wine Safari are stunning and full of interesting pieces of art that overlook the mountains. Depending on your tour package, you will get the opportunity to take a few stops between animals and enjoy crackers, lemonade, and wine.
Photo Tip: The photo above is a panorama. We actually stood still to take the photo on the left then ran around our tour guide for the one of the right!
- Doing Something Unexpected
It’s easy to get stuck in the same routine or go to the same familiar places. Take a moment during this break or when planning you’re planning your schedule to try something new and adventurous. Each ticket was $55, which is cheaper than a ticket to Disneyland ($99) or Universal Studios ($95). Priceless memories without having to break the bank (or drive to Anaheim).