ACT News


Couple's special plans for Valentine's Day

Who needs roses and chocolates when you have giraffes and lions?

Valentine's Day will be extra special for 18 couples who woke up on Sunday at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge, including Sydney pair  Anthony and Sena Marinho.

 Both 26, they have had a week of celebrations, with Saturday their one-year wedding anniversary and last Thursday Ms Marinho's birthday, which was when Mr Marinho let slip the secret booking with Canberra's most exotic wildlife.

"She was a bit angry with me as we had big plans to come to Melbourne, but she's happy now – waking up with a giraffe eye to eye, that's the thing that got her over the line," he said. 

The couple entered their luxury giraffe treehouse room about 4.30pm and said they were amazed by the views, which cost more than $1000 per night to access, before feeding a giraffe from their balcony. 

Mr Marinho, an auto dismantler and self-confessed animal fanatic, said he and his lawyer wife had been to a few wildlife parks before and were looking forward to the encounters which would continue on Sunday.


"You go through all of them, the lion, the tigers, take the dingoes for a walk, look at an emu," he said. 

The lodge's visitor services manager, Sally Bradley, said all rooms were booked for both Saturday and Sunday nights, as were Sunday's Meet A Cheetah and Zooventure tours. 

"I've been here for 13 years and Valentine's Day is usually a quiet day," she said. 

"This is probably double a normal Valentine's Day."

Ms Bradley said there were many animal couples at the co-located National Zoo and Aquarium, including the giraffe pair.

"We do have a male and female giraffe, she came from Dubbo and he came from Mogo, and that was basically love at first sight," she said. 

'We're hoping there's a baby giraffe some time."

Mr Marinho said breakfast would be at the lodge's "Cave" eatery, and there may be cakes and macaroons for lunch. 

While there may be some champagne, roses or chocolates were not expected, he said.

"She got enough roses on her birthday, and a diamond ring for the anniversary," he said.