50 children of Big Oak Ranch got to see the light show at the Birmingham Zoo

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Kids from Big Oak Ranch show off their tickets to ZooLight Safari. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

On December 19, fifty children from Big Oak Ranch took a field trip out to the amazing ZooLight Safari lightshow at the Birmingham Zoo. Learn more about Big Oak Ranch and why this was such a big deal for the children!

Spreading the Holiday Cheer

Children of Big Oak Ranch loved their tickets to the Birmingham Zoo! Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

RealtySouth enjoys giving back to the Birmingham community in a way that focuses on families and homes. For instance, RealtySouth recently joined forces with Habitat for Humanity to help a Birmingham woman’s dream of home ownership come true. Focusing on families and homes is RealtySouth’s speciality!

So, RealtySouth chose to treat the families of Big Oak Ranch to a night out at the Birmingham Zoo. Since the Birmingham Zoo is celebrating Christmas with a fantastic lightshow during the ZooLight Safari, this was the perfect chance for the kids to visit.

“At RealtySouth, we love to give back to the community in a way that focuses on families and homes. Big Oak Ranch is like a neighborhood for the kids, and gives them a true family for life.”

Richard Grimes, CEO and President, RealtySouth

What is Big Oak Ranch?

The kids of Big Oak Ranch loved seeing the lights at the zoo! Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Big Oak Ranch is a Christian home in Northeast Alabama for abused, neglected and abandoned children. Started by former Alabama football player John Croyle in 1974, Big Oak Ranch aims to provide a stable, healthy home for children in need. Over 2,000 kids have come through the program.

Currently, more than 160 children live on Big Oak Ranch’s two campuses. Up to eight children live in each of the ranch’s two-story brick homes, and a dedicated couple serve as mom and dad.

On the Ranch, children have the chance to thrive in a loving home.

RealtySouth Treats the Families to a Night Out

RealtySouth member Jennifer Causey presents the tickets to the kids of Big Oak Ranch. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

For over 12 years, RealtySouth President and CEO Richard Grimes has served as chairman of the board of Big Oak Ranch. Both Richard and RealtySouth support the program financially and with fun experiences like ZooLight Safari.

“My wife and I wanted to get involved with the children and find a way to give back. We found out that the Christian ministry at Big Oak Ranch was top tier, and that all the money we donated directly helped the children.”

Richard Grimes, CEO and President, RealtySouth

A Fun-Filled Night at the Zoo

Look at the Birmingham Zoo all lit up! Photo via Birmingham Zoo

“The kids absolutely love trips like this. We love to do trips like these as a family. For several kids, this is their first trip to the zoo. It is so rewarding to see their faces light up when we go on these trips.”

Brodie Croyle, Executive Director, Big Oak Ranch

When the kids first arrived, you could feel the excitement in the air.

Some of the younger children had never been to the zoo. Although the older children tried to play it cool, they were just as thrilled to be there.

After cheering, “Happy Holidays,” the kids ran off to explore the wonders of ZooLight Safari. Thanks to RealtySouth, they had the chance to experience one of Birmingham’s best winter attractions!

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Author: Nathan Watson

Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.