Updated: Nov 17, 2019
By now you have probably figured out that there are a lot of exciting activities and great museums in Memphis, so lets slow things down a bit and talk about some easy going, relaxing travel activities that are also great with families with young children. If you have young children and are particularly fond of water fowl, head over to the Peabody Hotel to watch the famous duck march.
The Legend of the Peabody Memphis Ducks started back in the 1930s, and they still visit the lobby fountain at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. They hop out of the fountain, walk the red carpet, step into the elevator and ride to the rooftop. The whole procession only takes 20 seconds, but the “duck master” talks for about 20 minutes about the history of the hotel and the ducks.
Now you might think this is an odd tourist attraction, and you are right and that is probably why it is so popular. If you have little ones and you need to wear them out for the day, head over to the Memphis Children's Museum. Children will have the opportunity to learn about transportation, camping, art, weather, nutrition and health in a hands-on environment. Exhibits are located both indoors and outdoors, creating year-round fun. Here you can also ride the historic Dentzel Memphis Grand Carousel. The original carousel was constructed in 1909 and has been fully restored. Admission to the museum costs $15 per person and most people spend a great deal of a day here.
The next spot we recommend is the Pink Palace. The Pink Palace is unlike what most people think of when it comes to museums. Learn about everything from agriculture, to dinosaurs, to the civil war! The Pink Palace looks back at the history of Memphis from many perspectives. The museum is undergoing renovations and new and improved exhibitions will soon be made available. It is best to check out their website for updates.
For those who want a little outdoor activity head over to Mud Island.
Located on the Memphis riverfront, Mud Island has various activities to entertain the family. The Riverwalk is an exact scale replica of the Lower Mississippi River. Part splash pad, part history lesson; it provides a unique opportunity to have fun while learning. $4 per person gets you on the monorail which goes across the harbor to the Riverwalk while enjoying spectacular views of Downtown Memphis and the river. Once you’ve walked down the Mississippi you arrive at the ‘Gulf of Mexico’. The ‘Gulf’ is represented a mile acre pond. You can rent paddle boats for $5 per person.
If you are still enjoying the sunshine head over to Overton Park where you will find biking trails and picnic areas as well as the Memphis Zoo and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. You might find a free concert going on at Levitt Shell, the place Elvis was first paid to entertain in 1954. That show is also known as the first ever rock-n-roll concert. Today, Levitt Shell hosts 50 free concerts each year.
Another great park to unwind in is Shelby Farms. Not only is it a huge green space, there is horseback riding and one of the coolest playgrounds you will ever see. In fact, it was named one of 16 coolest playgrounds in the whole world. Look for signs pointing you to the Woodland Discovery Playground. Another great experience for children is the Fire Museum of Memphis which showcases and exhibits firefighting trucks and equipment. Also, the Railroad & Trolley Museum located downtown is a popular spot for train enthusiasts. Keep in mind, however, there is some major renovations going on and they expect to be open in the fall of 2018.
Now the next place we recommend going to may seem a bit odd but it is a pretty neat attraction. Located inside Memphis Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery, the Crystal Shrine Grotto was designed by Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriquez and has been inspiring visitors since the 1930s.
Dionicio dug a cave almost 60 feet into a hill on the grounds of the cemetery and decorated the interior with faux crags made of cement and quartz crystals. Beautiful crystals are exposed to the sunlight on the exterior end to create gorgeous glowing effects. The stonework around the grotto showcases a series of biblical tableaus with two-dimensional figures depicting the life of Jesus Christ. The peaceful scenes are a mixed media of paint and sculpted by a variety of artists. There is a peaceful ambience for those visiting and it’s easy to be in awe of its majestic scenery.
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