Things to Do With Kids in Memphis, Tennessee

With all its color and exuberance, Memphis is a great place for kids
With all its color and exuberance, Memphis is a great place for kids | © Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Claudia Glover
8 July 2020

Memphis is an eccentric place that welcomes the playfulness of children. Whether you’re taking them to see a duck parade or to giggle at the Redbird mascot at the baseball game, your children will be enthralled by the music and history of this US city. Meanwhile, there is rock ‘n’ roll and soul food for those kids with more mature expectations.

My Big Backyard at Memphis Botanic Garden

Botanical Garden
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At the back of the botanical gardens in Memphis is a great outdoor area for children. It has sculptures made out of plants, with some even big enough to climb into, an activity that’s actually encouraged. The backyard is also home to tree houses and instruments, and there is a man-made rainfall every half hour off the side of the pavilion. For those wanting to visit using public transport, the 57 bus runs from downtown straight to the gardens.

The Peabody Duck Parade

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In the 1930s, the general manager of the Peabody Hotel returned from a weekend hunting trip – and a few alcoholic beverages – and thought it would be funny to place some live ducks in the lobby fountain. Nearly 100 years later, this practical joke is still being honored. Every day at 11am, a Duckmaster leads the Peabody Duck Parade: an orderly line of mallards, guided from their Duck Palace on a red carpet to the fountain in the lobby, where they swim and splash until they are led back at 5pm. The Peabody Hotel is on South 2nd Street, downtown.

Jones Orchard

Natural Feature
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Have a lovely day out with the family at Jones Orchard. This local orchard has been in business since the 1940s and has peach trees and blackberry bushes. The fruit is succulent and the picking is good exercise. This orchard offers more than just fruit picking for little ones however, the acres of corn fields and woods behind it are home to a giant maze, as well as the site of a Halloween fair every year. Make sure everyone is wearing good shoes and plenty of sunscreen, and bring your own bags. The orchard is a 20-minute drive out of the city.

Golf and Games Family Park

Amusement Park
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If the kids deserve a treat, try this family day out. Golf and Games Family Park features laser tag, mini golf, bumper boats and a Virtual Reality attraction. The day will fly by as you duck beneath lasers, try to get a hole in one and go head to head in the plethora of games that this 40-acre (16-hectare) park offers, before grabbing some delicious snacks and heading home. The park is up Sam Cooper Boulevard in East Memphis, the 57 bus goes straight there.

The Rock 'n' Soul Museum

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A trip to this central museum is not only educational but fun and filled with music. In fact, it’s a lovely way to expose little ones to the fun of live music in Memphis without trying to smuggle them into a gig. The Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is based around Memphis’s musical pioneers including B.B King, Johnny Cash and, of course, Elvis, who overcame racial and socio-economic obstacles to create music that changed the cultural complexion of not only this city, this country, but the entire world. Children younger than four get in free; tickets for children age five to 17 are $10.

Memphis Baseball Stadium

Sports Center
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Finally, you can’t take your family to Memphis and not take them out to a ball game. AutoZone Park contains all the excitement of the with fireworks, minor league talent and even apple pie on a stick. The Memphis Redbird mascot puts on a funny show, the tickets start at $9. The stadium is in the center of town, on the 34 bus route.

These recommendations were updated on July 8, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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