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ODDITY: Bama Bucks is a Steakhouse With an Exotic Side

Bama Bucks is nestled in the northeastern part of Alabama, a short drive from I-59, and is one of the more unique stops you’ll find in the area.

If you’re looking for something to do near Birmingham or Hunstville, this place will be a fun day trip. You could even make it an overnight stop and do some hiking.

We gathered all the details about Bama Bucks and a bit about the local area so you can make your plans.

Let’s get started!

About Bama Bucks Steakhouse

Bama Bucks started as an exotic animal park owned by the Turk family. It opened to the public in 2018, nearly 20 years after Terry Turk created the park. 

The menu is a mix of familiar American favorites and exotic game steaks. Chef John Salmon presents burgers and salads that everyone loves. However, what makes Bama Bucks special are the exotic game items on the menu.

You can start your adventurous meal off with gator bites, wild boar, and roasted duck. There are excellent salads and burgers on the menu. But journey down to the exotic game section if you want to get adventurous. Bison steaks, New Zealand red deer, and New Zealand elk join quail and pheasant on the wood-fired grill. 

Before your meal, make sure to tour the exotic game park, which is open to the public Monday and Wednesday for tours. The park features ring-tailed lemurs, ostrich, black bears, kangaroos, and even a camel! There are also bull and camel rides for $5. Make sure to stop by the general store and antique barn before heading off to dinner. 

Consistently ranked 4.5 stars on Tripadvisor, you’ll be sure to find something to please everyone. 

Woman eating steak in restaurant.
Dine on exotic game steaks at Bama Bucks.

Where Is Bama Bucks?

Bama Bucks is in Boaz, Alabama, a town of just under 10,000 residents. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. With Talledega National Forest a short drive away and Guntersville to the north, few places are more scenic to stop. 

Boaz was also a significant shopping attraction until 2016. There is still shopping in Boaz and the promise of more. The Reyes brothers from Albertville, Alabama, plan to revitalize shopping in the area in the near future.

You can get to Bama Bucks off of I-59 by taking 431 north just outside of Attalla. They’re at 292 Bryant Rd, Sardis City, AL 35956. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, opening for dinner on Thursday at 4 pm, and lunch Friday through Sunday at 11 am. 

Who Owns Bama Bucks Restaurant?

Terry Turk began the story of Bama Bucks with the dream of having an exotic animal sanctuary on his family land in Alabama. He had always collected unusual pets, and after an encounter with a deer farmer in 1998, he decided to start his own place. The first deer was so excited to be there the poor thing ran right into the deer fence and broke its neck.

Turk acquired another deer…and another…and another. Today he has more than 250 deer, New Zealand elk, red kangaroos, camels, ostrich, and Mediterranean donkeys. 

The Turk family maintains the sanctuary and has had surprisingly few issues plaguing their wild deer populations. Usually, ticks are a problem, but Turk swears by the garlic he puts in the feed. Not one tick in over 20 years!

Turk loves giving guests their first encounters with exotic animals. Alongside the exotic game park, Bama Bucks restaurant opened to provide guests with a new set of firsts. Turk and his team have set up a top-notch eating experience. 

The menu features some of the same animals in the park. Rest easy, though. The meat on the table did not come from the old Charlie.

Who’s Charlie?

Turk tells the story of Charlie, named after his father. 

On the same day that Turk’s father had brain surgery to remove a tumor, a deformed deer was born in the park. He had a spotted coat and problems that made it hard to walk. Instead of putting it down, Turk named the deer after his father. 

After a few surgeries to fix his legs, Charlie the deer grew into a healthy adult. You can’t miss him walking the fence of his pen, followed by a couple of kangaroos.

You can see in his eyes how much Turk loves these animals.

Pro Tip: After exploring Bama Bucks, stay a while at one of these 7 Best Alabama State Parks for Camping.

Noccalula Falls
There are many stunning natural sites close to Bama Bucks.

Best Hikes Near Bama Bucks

If you want to get outside and enjoy the beauty of this part of Alabama, you won’t be disappointed. Close to Bama Bucks are some excellent local park trails for a family stroll. Further away are more adventurous trails that can work up an appetite. 

The Sand Mountain Park trail near Albertville is good for the whole family. In Lake Guntersville State Park, a bit further north, there are shorter and longer options. There are options for hiking, running, mountain biking, and canoeing in the state park. Pets are welcome on most trails on leash in the park.

South of Boaz in Gadsden are a few other trail options. Noccalula Park offers beautiful waterfall views on some trails. For a shorter hike with views of the falls, try the Noccalula Falls Trail. Just shy of .5 miles out and back for picture-worthy views of the falls. 

Martin Wildlife Park Trail

The Martin Wildlife Park trail follows a bend in the Coosa River near downtown Gadsden. The trail surface is a mix of gravel and boardwalks. Just a little over 2.5 miles out and back, the trail is pet friendly, on a leash, and mostly ADA accessible. There is a lot of wildlife in the area, so make sure to bring a camera!

Noccalula Falls

Head down the Noccalula Falls and Historic Gorge trail for amazing views. This one is good for kids that can handle longer hikes. Be prepared to scramble over rocks, and don’t look down on the suspension bridge. The view of the falls, if you go the entire 2.9 miles, is not to be missed! We don’t recommend bringing pets on this one. 

Best Camping Near Bama Bucks

Noccalula Falls Campground – Gadsden, Alabama

Noccalula Falls Campground in Gadsden is one spot to spend a night or two. Located about 30 minutes from Bama Bucks, the campground has 127 sites. There are sites with only basic amenities and a smaller number with full hookups. There are some pull-through sites, but reviews are mixed on the quality of the roads.

They have the usual amenities: a dump station, laundry, showers, pool, mini-golf, trails, and a playground. The highest-rated amenity might surprise you. It’s the dog park. Rates are right for the night, starting at $19 for partial hookups and $25 for full with a max length of 40 feet. There are also discounts for AARP members, Good Sam’s, military, and seniors (55+.)

Pro Tip: Want to get discounts on campgrounds? We took a closer look at Is Good Sam Club RV Membership Worth It?

Big Willis Creek Campground – Attalla, Alabama

Just north in Attalla, Big Willis Creek Campground is another spot to hook up for the night. The campground offers 30/50-Amp and 110 on all RV sites, plus tent camping and cabin rentals. Attalla is also close to Lake Guntersville State Park to the north, in addition to many trails and outdoor activities.

There are the usual amenities at the campground with a few natural perks. Campers can access the creek for tubing and kayaking. If those aren’t your speed, you can enjoy a quiet putter around in a paddleboat. You also have easy access to Lookout Mountain for a nice view of the region. 

Calling the park is your best bet for reservations as they have various site types up to 65 feet long. However, they don’t provide details or pricing on their website.

Is a Road Trip to Bama Bucks Worth It? 

A road trip to Bama Bucks is absolutely worth the drive. There are plenty of natural beauties around, not to mention native and exotic wildlife. If you’re headed to the Lookout Mountain area and need a stop that’s more than just food, Bama Bucks is your place.

Have you been to Bama Bucks? We’d love to hear about your experience.

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