Known as “Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Memphis Tennessee, located in Shelby County TN, has many family-friendly attractions worth visiting when planning a trip around things to do in Memphis with kids.
There are so many things to do in Memphis with kids, from exploring the Mississippi River on one of their famous riverboats, visiting one of their bass pro shops, going horseback riding at Shelby Farms Park, and visiting the children museum, or seeing the animals at the Memphis Zoo. So get ready to explore Memphis with our top 10 family friendly attractions of things to do in Memphis with kids.
Table of Contents
- Things To Do
- Where To Eat
- Where To Stay
Things To Do
Visit A Park
Did you know that there is a playground in Memphis that was named one of the “16 Coolest Playgrounds in the World”? That’s right, voted by Mental Floss Magazine, Shelby Farms Park was on that list and is a park for all ages and abilities, located in the heart of Memphis.
At Shelby Farms Park, you will find so much more than just a playground – although the playground is worth a visit! They also have a Water Play Sprayground for the kids to enjoy in the hot summers. There is a water tunnel, interactive spray jets, and more to help you stay cool.
Looking for a unique experience for the family to make memories that will last a lifetime? Be sure to check out Shelby Family Stables, where they give horseback riding lessons and horseback rides for the whole family.
National Civil Rights Museum
There are several museums in Memphis that are great attractions when planning things to do in Memphis with kids. The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, located in Memphis TN, is an educational stop in the city that explores the civil rights movement in not only Memphis but America.
You can plan to spend a day at The National Civil Rights Museum, by watching one of their 40 films, or if you’re limited on time, you can be entertained by exploring their 260 artifacts on display. Explore the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and see a statue of Rosa Parks on a replica bus while learning about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. With interactive exhibits, everyone is sure to learn something new on their visit to the National Civil Rights Museum.
Tip – The National Civil Rights Museum is closed on Tuesdays, and a typical museum visit will take around 1.5 hours to explore.
Pink Palace Museum
The Pink Palace Mansion Museum is the place to visit and experience some of the histories of Memphis. This home of a millionaire, turned museum, is a unique attraction in Memphis.
You will see a replica shopping area from a Piggly Wiggly Store, and see the architectural masterpieces of the time period, featuring beautiful stained glass windows and detailed architecture along the staircases.
Children’s Museum Of Memphis
The Children’s Museum of Memphis has been offering fun learning and play to the Memphis area for over 30 years. It is such an entertaining place to take children of all ages when planning things to do in Memphis with kids.
When you first arrive, you will notice the Grand Carousel at the front entrance. The carousel was recently restored to its original grandeur, from1909. Although tickets are an additional $3, it’s a great addition to the Children’s Museum.
The Children’s Museum of Memphis offers programs such as weekly storytime and science experiments. In addition to the programs offered, there are many exhibits for you to explore from rock climbing, a book nook area to read, a dinosaur dig area where kids can uncover fossils, and even a grocery store that the kids will love playing in where they can shop and check out their very own groceries.
Don’t miss your chance to see what it’s like to experience a real tornado while visiting The Children’s Museum of Memphis. In this exhibit, you can stand under a tornado generator, where mist and air are used to create a replica tornado. Tip – use this time to talk about tornado safety and what to do in case of a tornado!
No trip to The Children’s Museum of Memphis is complete for the kiddos without a climb through the Skyscrapper. It’s a 22-foot tall structure, with 8 different stories for exploring. You will watch those gross motor skills and social skills in action as the kid’s twist and turn their way through the Skyscrapper.
If it’s a hot Tennessee day, you will want to check out the H2Oh! Splash Park. Put on those swim clothes and get ready to cool off. The splash park here has over 40 sprayers and jets for kids to explore. The water tunnels are also a fun addition for the kids to climb through. Summer gear is welcomed, as are your own lawn chairs. Picnic tables surround the splash park, but are on a first come- first serve basis.
The Memphis Zoo is a must-stop on your trip when visiting Memphis. The zoo is one of the best things to do in Memphis with kids and is home to over 4,500 animals for you to visit up close and personal. Everyone will enjoy taking a stroll around the park and seeing the animals. Kids of all ages will look on in awe when viewing animals such as hippos, sea lions, giraffes, penguins, polar bears, and even pandas.
If you get hungry during your visit to the zoo, no worries, they have you covered. Located throughout the park you will not be without your favorite drink, snack or meal. There are 6 different food/drink locations in the zoo, from a coffee shop, a snack shack, and more. You will find all of the typical attraction foods such as hotdogs, nachos, popcorn, pizza, sub sandwiches, and even salads if you’re looking for something a little fresher.
Before your trip is complete, be sure to visit a gift shop to purchase a memento for the kids. There are four gift shops located throughout the zoo, with each one geared towards specific animals. Be sure to check out the Panda Gift Shop located in the China area. You will find the cutest panda souvenirs to take home with you to remember your visit!
Something to keep in mind, plan to pay for parking unless you have a membership. Parking is not included with general admission tickets.
See The Ducks
When you think of things to do in Memphis with kids, you think of ducks, right? Of course, not! But this is one event you don’t want to miss. It’s a 90-year tradition that is still ongoing at The Peabody Hotel.
You will not want to plan a trip to Memphis without making plans to catch The Peabody Duck March. Live ducks march march down a red carpet and around the hotel while taking time to float around in the main lobby fountain.
The duck march takes place twice daily, at 11 am and 5 pm inside The Peabody Hotel Memphis. Plan to get there early to grab a good seat for the best views.
Enjoy The Memphis Music Scene
Known as the birthplace of rock, no one comes to Memphis without experiencing at least a little of the Memphis music scene. There is no better way to take in all the music than a visit to the Memphis Rock N Soul Museum.
This museum tells the complete Memphis musical history like none other and is located on the corner of the famous Beale Street, one of the most musically significant streets in the world. Immerse yourself in the world of the blues and you’ll leave with a newfound love and respect for all Memphis music.
Visit Beale Street
The most iconic street in Memphis, Beale Street is where all the action is. Here you will find many restaurants, cafes, music studios, and museums. Entertainment is to be had on Beale Street. Beale Street is a tourist hotspot, where many flock to experience the true history and culture of “Blues music”. Definitely a top destination stop when planning things to do in Memphis.
Visit Sun Studio Memphis
Known as the “birthplace of rock n roll”, Sun Studio is famous for making musicians famous. Some of the greats once made their way to Sun Studio, such as B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and even Jerry Lee Lewis. Although Sun Studio is still a professional recording studio at night, during the day you’re able to visit the studio on a guided 45-minute tour.
Visit The Homeplace of Elvis Presley
Plan a visit to Graceland and see where the king of rock n roll lived, Elvis Presley. After you have experienced and heard the music at the Memphis Rock N Soul Museum, it’s time to come and see the place that Elvis Presley called home.
There is something for everyone to enjoy when visiting Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex. Now, more than just visiting the Graceland Mansion, you can make a day of it and explore the homeplace mansion, Presley Motors Automobile Museum, Elvis The Entertainer Career Museum, Elvis Discovery Exhibits which showcase the impacts that Elvis had on different areas of pop culture.
The Graceland Mansion tour is the original homeplace of Elvis, and is what people think of when they think of “Graceland”. This is a guided tour, walking you through the house Elvis once lived in, and around the property. The tours usually sell out, especially during busy times such as spring break, fall break, and summer, so purchase your tickets early.
Where To Eat
Memphis is famous for many things, but one food that always comes to mind when thinking about Memphis is barbecue. Memphis is arguably known for the best barbecue and ribs in America, so be sure to try some of the sweet and smoky barbecue on your visit.
A local’s favorite barbecue stop, Central BBQ is a great restaurant when you’re wanting to give barbecue a try. From pulled pork to baby back ribs, this place has the smoked meat down to a science. Their dry rubs are their specialty, and all meat is in the marinade a minimum of 24 hours. That’s what I call fall-off-the-bone good!
Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs
Known as a Memphis original, Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs began in 1948 and the tradition continues today. They offer some of the most unique barbecues, because of the way the meat is cooked. Not smoked in a pit, the barbecue at Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs is grilled over hot coals, giving it something different in the city.
Cozy Corner Barbecue
Cozy Corner Barbecue offers authentic barbecue since 1977. They are famous for their dry spice rubs on their perfectly smoked ribs. Their barbecue is so good, they put it on everything, even spaghetti! Come to eat at Cozy Corner Barbecue and you will experience more than just great barbecue, you will get a chance to experience the culture of Memphis.
The oldest cafe in Memphis, founded in 1919, Arcade Restaurant is a unique stop you don’t want to miss. In the beginning, the restaurant cooked their food on potbelly stoves!
Today, the restaurant serves breakfast all day, and they have new daily specials each day. Be sure to check their website before you go to see their daily specials.
Now on to their fourth generation of owners, the family has continued to keep Arcade Restaurant a tradition. You will still experience the glow of the 1920’s signs and architecture, but the food is none other than the best. Arcade Restaurant is truly a Memphis experience.
Where To Stay
With many options of where to stay in Memphis, we have picked our favorites to share with you. Whether you are looking for a hotel in downtown Memphis or a cozy apartment loft, Memphis has options for you when planning your trip of things to do in Memphis with kids.
Harbor Town Home
This 3bd/2b townhome offers exceptional value and location. Enough space for the family to spread out and rest before exploring the city, this townhome is located near the Mississippi River and downtown Memphis, in a little town called Mud Island. The area is known for its quick commute to the city and offers restaurants and shopping close by.
Memphis Gated Condo
This gorgeous 2bd/2.5ba condo is located in the prime downtown Memphis location. When you’re looking to experience all that Memphis has to offer, this condo is it. Located in a quiet area of town, and close to restaurants, get ready to explore Memphis when staying here!
Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis – Beale Street
Located in downtown Memphis, this Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis hotel is a great location and has amenities for all families. Included with your stay are daily breakfast, an indoor pool, and free parking. Parking in the city can be expensive, so this is great when planning your Memphis trip.
SpringHill Suites Memphis Downtown
SpringHill Suites Memphis Downtown is another option when looking for a hotel in the city of Memphis. This property features an outdoor pool and provides a daily breakfast during your stay. Located only 12 miles from the airport, this is a great location when visiting the city of Memphis.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park – Memphis
Experience a little bit of country in the city. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Memphis is a family fun location, featuring campsites and cabin rentals. They have a nice playground on the property, an outdoor pool, and only 5 miles from downtown Memphis.
There you have it – our top 10 attractions of things to do in Memphis with kids. You will have fun exploring the city and experiencing the culture of Memphis, not to mention the famous barbecue that you have to give a try when visiting the city. Memphis is a city to make memories in with the family. Grab a camera and get ready to explore the city of Memphis Tennessee.
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