there's nothing like a first.

and being that this would be our first celebration of booboo's birthday, i'd wanted to make sure it'd be something truly memorable (for us both, if at all possible). one of the things i know we both share a love for is animals and there definitely was a special experience i was saving in my back pocket: a visit to an elephant sanctuary!

when i'd first heard about this experience from a girlfriend years ago, i was pretty blown away. i just knew from hearing her recount her experience that the elephant bathing portion would be the most special and for a long time after learning that there was such a magical place, wanted to reserve that experience for an equally special time. funnily enough, i'd actually thought that i'd eventually end up making the trip alone (as a gift to myself) but what a blessing it has turned out to be that i'd held on to this special plan because, by some stroke of good luck, whilst trying to look up guides that could take us (as i'd remembered someone else telling me it was rather strenuous a task for them to locate the place), i found a pretty sweet deal on klook and after the absolute meltdown of my first booking, i made for damn sure that we would not be suffering the same fate with this booking.

the day tour package i had purchased included a couple of extra stops, too. deerland?! SCORE. this was going to be a pretty epic birthday gift, if i did think so myself. turns out, though, booboo wasn't quite as impressed with the deer as he'd grown up with a legitimate forest in his backyard and saw wild deer all the time.

luckily though, deerland is also home to quite a number of additional tenants so it still made for a worthwhile visit.

and just to be clear here: you know, as my luck goes with these things— our morning was not off to any promising start. our tour guide had somehow gotten the wrong tour schedule and as a result, had ended up taking us to... batu caves.
determined to not be wet blankets, though, booboo and i just made the best of the spontaneous detour and, finally, after all this time, i made it all the way up the 272 steps of batu caves to see for myself what was at the very top(!)
although, i must say that i was quite happy that the unplanned detour was very much still keeping in line with my animal theme for the day!

owing to the schedule mix-up, we didn't have a choice but to forgo our visit to the aboriginal settlement. i was a bit disappointed but understandably, there would not have been time to go with our original tour schedule now that the miscommunication had taken place. besides, the important thing was still that we got to the elephant sanctuary in time enough to participate in the feeding as well as the bathing.

and fortunately for us, everything went swimmingly at the sanctuary. our day concluded with a simple lunch at the café on the grounds before we hopped back into the van to brave the drive back home.