As Big Beach Marathon prepares to celebrate our third year, we are so excited to once again bring so many runners to the beautiful trails of the Gulf State Park and white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. We always strive to show our appreciation for the Southern hospitality of this “Small Town, Big Beach” by each year giving back to the local community, so we are proud to announce that our Charity Partner for 2018 will be the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo  opened in June 1989 in Gulf Shores, Alabama as Zoo Land Animal Park. It is now operated by the Zoo Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and relies on admissions, memberships and contributions for its funding.

 It was the basis of the Animal Planet show “The Little Zoo That Could” that chronicled the relocation, rescue and recovery efforts before, during and after the devastation of Hurricane Ivan’s direct hit in September of 2004.

The zoo is several blocks north of the beach and is home to more than 500 animals including lions, leopards, tigers, wolves, bears, monkeys, macaws…and of course, ‘gators! It includes a petting zoo, reptile house, and aviary, as well as daily animal shows in the summer.

 From Zoo General Manager, Kim Dahlgren:

We have lots of exciting things planned for our zoo in 2018 so we are especially honored that our local Gulf Shores “Big Beach Marathon” will help support those efforts by making the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo their 2018 Charity Partner. We invite all runners, families and spectators to stop by and see us while you are here and  we thank you so much for your donation! Welcome to Gulf Shores, our ‘Small Town, Big Beach’. We hope you have a great run and lots of fun!”