This post is sponsored by the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. Portions of my travels were paid for by the MCVB, but all opinions are my own.
My family recently had the opportunity to visit Memphis, Tennessee for the first time as a family. Neil and I had previously been to Memphis as young adults, and, while there is plenty for the over 21 crowd to do in Memphis, we had never really thought of it as a family destination until our recent visit.
We were all pleasantly surprised by how many activities there are for families to do and places for families to see while visiting Memphis. Much like our beloved Birmingham, Memphis is working daily toward improving their city, and it really showed while we were in town visiting. This list is, by no means, comprehensive, but it will certainly give you a good idea of what you can accomplish with little ones in tow in one weekend.
4. The Peabody Hotel The Peabody Hotel may seem like an odd one to include on this list, but I’ve got a few good reasons. One of the best reasons to visit the Peabody is to see the march of the “Peabody Ducks.” Long story short, a hotel guest, returning late one night from a hunting trip, thought it would be hilarious to let his live duck decoys swim in the fountain while he went to his room to sleep. The next morning, the other guests were so delighted and amused by the fine feathered entertainment that a tradition was born. The ducks have a home on the top of the hotel, but every day at 11am and 5pm, respectively, they “march” to and from the fountain via the hotel elevator, with a little pomp and circumstance thrown in for good measure, of course (I mean, they have a “Duckmaster” and a red carpet for goodness sakes…it’s all way too cute). Your kids will be thrilled to watch the “duck march” and you will get a chance to explore the beautiful lobby areas of this historic hotel.
3. Shelby Farms Park Shelby Farms Park is a relatively new area of Memphis that is currently undergoing a bit of construction, but I can absolutely see the vision they have for this space. 4,500 acres of green space and 6.5 miles of urban trails gives this park massive potential for future projects. We visited their Woodland Discovery Playground, which is a very interesting concept for a playground, and found that not only is it great for several ages and skill sets, but it is also ADA accessible so children of all abilities are able to enjoy the playground. There are six “nests” that include giant tree houses, slides, innovative swinging structures, and an open grassy area that is perfect for a lazy game of catch or to simply run free in. The girls loved the big slides and swings, and they could’ve spent several hours digging in the sand pit if we would’ve had more time. If you need a place for the kids to burn off some steam, this is definitely the spot for you.
2. Children’s Museum of Memphis Children’s Museum of Memphis (CMOM) is an incredible facility in the heart of downtown Memphis. Located on Central Avenue, near the Liberty Bowl stadium, this museum features several hands on exhibits and outdoor attractions that could very well have lasted us all day had we not had one other place to visit. Between the transportation areas (a fire engine, airplane, and car garage just to name a few), the “real” grocery store, and the outdoor playground, my girls were thoroughly entertained. Caroline and Mackenzie squealed with delight on the kid-sized outdoor zip line, but they both said their favorite part was “flying” in the real cockpit of the FedEx delivery plane. Our weather didn’t permit us to try out their splash pad area, but from what I could see over the fence, it looked pretty cool.
1. The Memphis Zoo I had heard that Memphis had a great zoo, but I honestly didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. If you’re following me on Snapchat (which, if you aren’t, you should be!), you saw how amazing and grand just the entrance was! It was even better once we entered the front gates. The first experience that struck me was how incredibly vast the zoo is. It’s certainly one of the biggest zoos I’ve ever been to. Secondly, the exhibits are first class all the way. Where else can you travel to the Far East in the middle of a city zoo? The China exhibit was my personal favorite (one word: pandas!). Caroline loved the penguins, Mackenzie loved the pandas, and they both loved the elephants. As an added bonus, there is a playground right outside the cafe near the front of the zoo that is a perfect spot for parents to catch a little break from walking while still allowing the kids to run and play. Amazing how “tired” kids get walking around somewhere, but the second they see a playground they’ve made a miraculous recovery from their “tiredness.” I wish I had that kind of energy.
Bonus Spot: Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid If you’re unfamiliar with Bass Pro Shops, they are the mecca for hunters, fishermen, hikers, and the general southern “outdoorsman.” Basically, none of what our family is interested in. However, being the good southerners that we are, we know what an entertaining adventure a Bass Pro Shop can be to the young and old alike, thus our desire to visit one wherever we go, even though we are definitely not what you’d consider a “hunting family.” Almost all Bass Pro Shops have a highly amusing “Shootin’ Gallery,” and there are always fish in the ponds or tanks to look at as well as general store candy to be had (what good are our southern roots without general store candy, am I right?). The shop at the Pyramid is enormous, and the indoor ponds are full of massive catfish and other slippery little fellows that fishermen love to weave tall tales about catching. If you’ve never been to a Bass Pro Shop before, let the one at the Pyramid be your first.
We had such a great time on our quick jaunt to Memphis. If you’re within driving distance, Memphis is a great, inexpensive city to visit on a weekend getaway with your family! What’s your favorite thing about Memphis?