The verdict is in. Birmingham has caught Buc-ee’s mania.
Ever since the massive 54,000 square foot Buc-ee’s opened up in Leeds on January 25th, the words “Buc-ee’s” and “beaver nuggets” have been trending on local social media.
On the morning of Super Bowl Sunday, I ventured out to see the new Texas-sized travel center. I was not disappointed. In fact, I found some pleasant surprises. Here is my report with photographic evidence.
Early Sunday Morning
If you are trying to avoid the crowds, visiting Buc-ee’s at 7:30AM on a Sunday morning is recommended. There were many more employees in the building than customers, but you could see they were busily preparing for the big pre and post church rush.
One note about the staff, they were all welcoming and helpful throughout the travel center. They really made the visit enjoyable.
125+ Pumps, Jerky and Brisket
During my visit, I filled my gas tank up at one of the 125 gas pumps, dutifully studied the wall of jerky and bought a couple of pouches. I even ordered a BBQ brisket sandwich to go.
So, what surprised me? Let’s begin outside the travel center.
Surprise #1 – Pet Friendly & Funny Poop Signs
Driving around the parking lot, you soon see green spaces along the outer edges. Then it becomes obvious. Much of the entire perimeter of the property is surrounded by grass so you can let your dog and other pets out for a walk. With more and more rest stops closed these days this is perfect for the weary traveler and their four-legged friends who need a bathroom break and chance to stretch their legs.
As you can expect, folks usually don’t carry bags with them to pick up the poop, so they are made available. You also get a chance to giggle at the many signs posted by Buc-ee’s reminding you to pick up the poop.
Surprise #2 – Bike Rack and Air Station
While I was still out on the outer edges of the Buc-ee’s parking lot, I made another surprising find. The Buc-ee’s in Leeds has a dedicated outdoor gathering place and air station for cyclists.
For Birmingham cycling enthusiasts familiar with this part of Leeds and Jefferson County, this is a brilliant idea. Cyclists routinely gather to begin and end their long rides in and around this area in Leeds.
It is great to see Buc-ee’s catering to “wheels” of all kinds.
Surprise #3 -Buc-ee’s Gear and Brands Everywhere
Upon entering Buc-ee’s the one thing I did not expect was seeing so much Buc-ee’s gear and brands of food. The Buc-ee’s beaver is everywhere.
There were plush stuffed Buc-ee’s beaver toys, sleepwear and even an old fashion truck with the beaver on it.
Concerning food and snacks, of course I had heard about the Beaver Nuggets – but there were rows of Buc-ee’s salsa, chips, jerky and bottled water. They even had Buc-ee’s koozies where the beer is sold (not on Sunday morning though). And let’s not forget the coffee.
Surprise #4 – Homemade Fudge
They really have everything here.
After my visit I can see why Birmingham has Buc-ee’s fever. It is more than gas pumps and jerky. It is fun for travelers and locals alike.