The Most Unusual Experiences in Memphis

Mud Island River Park / (c) Memphis CVB / Flickr
Mud Island River Park / (c) Memphis CVB / Flickr
Photo of Leena Kollar
27 September 2017

If you’ve been to Memphis or plan on visiting soon, you’ve probably seen or intend to see most of the city’s major attractions. But these lesser-known gems are definitely worth checking out too.

Silky O'Sullivan's Goats

Pub, Restaurant, American, $$$
Map View
Silky O'Sullivan's | © Gary J. Wood / Flickr
The Irish pub Silky O’Sullivan’s is more than just a place to grab some BBQ and beer. The highlight of the restaurant is its beer drinking goats. The goats live in an outdoor enclosure next to the patio. Many customers claim that it’s good luck if one of the goats takes the first sip of your beer. The restaurant’s world-famous specialty drink is called The Diver – perhaps because the goats might dive right in and take a sip.

Voodoo Village

Back in the 1960s, a Baptist minister named Wash “Doc” Harris developed a compound on his property that was meant to be a center for spiritual healing. He used strange, Masonic-influenced art pieces as lawn ornaments, which gave his compound a bad reputation. Many Memphis locals now refer to the property as “Voodoo Village,” some resorting to vandalism and harassment. The site is not open to the public, but you can drive past to see the cultish lawn decor for yourself.

Peabody Duck March

Book a night at The Peabody Hotel, and you’re guaranteed to see the Peabody Duck March. In fact, you can watch it even if you aren’t a guest at the hotel. It started back in the 1930s when the Peabody Hotel’s general manager and a friend returned from a hunting trip intoxicated. They thought it would be funny to put some of their live duck hunting decoys in the fountain, and this started the tradition of the Peabody ducks. Then, in 1940, bellman Edward Pembroke offered to help deliver the hotel’s ducks to the fountain each day. During his 50-year tenure as the Peabody Duckmaster, he taught the ducks the famous march, which takes place at the hotel’s lobby fountain each day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Ducks Marching at the Peabody Hotel / (c) Ed Schipul / Flickr | Ducks Marching at the Peabody Hotel / (c) Ed Schipul / Flickr

Bass Pro Shop Pyramid

Also known as the Memphis Pyramid, the Bass Pro Shop Pyramid was originally built in 1991 as a 20,142-seat arena. In 2015, it opened as a Bass Pro Shop megastore, and has an archery range, a laser arcade, restaurants and a bowling alley. It also has the tallest freestanding elevator in America, which, for $10, takes visitors up to the top of the pyramid. At the apex is an observation deck, a restaurant, bar and aquarium. At the base of the pyramid is a 100-room hotel. The pyramid stands at 321 feet (98m) tall.

Aretha Franklin’s Childhood Home

Located in south Memphis, the home where Aretha Franklin spent her childhood isn’t a fancy museum. In fact, the shotgun house hasn’t seen any TLC in years. The windows are boarded and the vacant structure is at risk of complety falling apart. There is talk of a possible renovation and relocation of the home through the DIY Network, but as of now, the home sits empty. A simple drive to the location will at least show visitors where the Queen of Soul was born.

406 Lucy Ave, Memphis, TN, USA

Mud Island River Park

Map View
Mud Island River Park / (c) Memphis CVB / Flickr
Part of Mud Island, Mud Island River Park is home to over 5,000 artifacts, including two full-size boat replicas that visitors can board and explore. There are 18 galleries showcasing 10,000 years of history in the Lower Mississippi River Valley and the park is actually an exact small-scale model of the Lower Mississippi River flowing from the Ohio River at Cairo, IL to the Gulf of Mexico. Twenty cities are mapped along the park’s Riverwalk, and concrete wedges locate the main rivers and engineering structures flowing into the Mississippi. A Swiss-made monorail is also available, with cabins that can carry up to 180 passengers for a 1/3 mile trip offering views of downtown Memphis. Passengers ride across the harbor to Mud Island River Park.