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Things to Do in Memphis with Kids Year-Round: Ultimate Family Fun Guide

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Memphis, Tennessee is a city rich in culture, history, and entertainment, making it a perfect destination for family adventures. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there are countless entertaining and memorable things to do in Memphis with kids. Here’s a guide to some of the best family-friendly attractions in Memphis.

1. Meet the Famous Peabody Ducks

The peabody ducks at the famous peabody hotel

One of the most unique and delightful experiences in Memphis is watching the Peabody Ducks. Every day, at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., these feathered celebrities march from their rooftop palace to the lobby fountain of the historic Peabody Hotel. This tradition, which dates back to the 1930s, is a must-see event that will enchant children and adults alike.

The duck march is accompanied by a red carpet and the King Cotton March played by John Philip Sousa, adding a touch of grandeur to the occasion. Tip: Arrive at least 30 minutes early to get a good spot.

Admission Cost: Free

2. Explore the Wonder of Graceland

Graceland in Memphis Tennessee

For a bit of musical history, take your kids to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. While you might think this iconic landmark is more for adults, it offers plenty of attractions to captivate younger visitors too.

The mansion tour allows families to see how Elvis lived, complete with his extravagant decor and personal memorabilia. Kids will be fascinated by the Jungle Room, with its faux fur-covered furniture and green shag carpeting. The Elvis Presley Car Museum is another hit with kids, showcasing a collection of classic cars, motorcycles, and Elvis’s famous pink Cadillac.

Don’t miss the airplanes (The Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II) parked just outside the mansion. Your kids will love exploring the inside of these jets and seeing how Elvis traveled in style.

Admission Cost: Tours start at $28 per person

3. Hands-On Learning at the Children’s Museum of Memphis

The Children’s Museum of Memphis (CMOM) is a haven for young minds eager to explore, play, and learn. This interactive museum offers a variety of exhibits that encourage hands-on learning through play.

Kids can climb aboard a real fire engine, shop in a miniature grocery store, and even try their hand at flying a plane in the FedEx cockpit. The museum also features an art studio where children can unleash their creativity with various craft projects.

Outside, the H2Oh! Splash Park is a hit during the warmer months, offering water play with sprinklers, fountains, and slides. The museum frequently hosts special events and themed days, so check their calendar before you visit to see what’s happening.

Admission Cost: Adults and Children $16

4. Take a Riverboat Ride on the Mississippi

For a unique perspective of Memphis, take your kids on a riverboat ride along the Mississippi River. Companies like Memphis Riverboats offer family-friendly cruises that provide a relaxing way to see the city’s skyline and learn about its history.

The sightseeing cruises include live narration about the role the river played in the development of Memphis. Kids will love being on the water and seeing the city from a different angle. Some cruises even offer themed events, such as pirate adventures, which can add a bit more excitement for younger travelers.

Cost: Cruises start at $25

5. Get Creative at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is a wonderful place to introduce kids to the world of art and nature. The museum features an impressive collection of European and American art.

The Dixon often hosts family days and art workshops specifically designed for children. These events include hands-on art activities, engaging storytelling sessions, and educational garden tours.

The gardens themselves are worth a visit, offering a variety of themed areas including a formal garden, a cutting garden, and a woodland garden. The open spaces and beautiful flowers make it a perfect spot for a leisurely family stroll.

Admission Cost: Free

6. Discover Wildlife at the Memphis Zoo

Animals at the Memphis zoo

The Memphis Zoo is a fantastic place to spend a day with kids. Home to over 3,500 animals representing more than 500 species, the zoo offers a wide variety of exhibits and activities that will thrill young animal lovers.

Start your visit with a trip to the Teton Trek, where you can see grizzly bears, elk, and gray wolves in a beautifully recreated Yellowstone-like environment. Next, head over to the Zambezi River Hippo Camp to watch the hippos swim underwater and the Nile crocodiles bask in the sun.

The China exhibit is another highlight, featuring giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le. The Kids’ Zoo area is perfect for younger children, offering a petting zoo, playground, and a butterfly garden. Don’t forget to catch one of the zoo’s many animal shows or feedings for an up-close experience with the animals.

Admission Cost: Adults (12 and up) $24.95, Children (2-17) $19.95

7. Step Back in Time at the National Civil Rights Museum

While the National Civil Rights Museum deals with some heavy and important topics, it can be a very educational and eye-opening experience for older children. The museum is located at the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and it offers a comprehensive look at the American civil rights movement.

The exhibits are thoughtfully designed and include interactive elements that help engage young visitors. Kids can learn about the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights era through multimedia displays, artifacts, and historical recreations.

It’s a powerful place to visit, and it can spark important conversations with your children about history, equality, and justice. Be prepared to spend a few hours here to fully absorb all the exhibits.

Admission Cost: Adults $20, Child $17

8. Have a Blast at Shelby Farms Park

Shelby Farms Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, offering a vast array of activities for families. With over 4,500 acres of green space, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Woodland Discovery Playground is a favorite among kids. It features innovative play structures that blend seamlessly into the natural environment. The park also offers biking and hiking trails, paddle boating on the lakes, and even horseback riding.

In the summer, the Water Play Sprayground is a perfect place for kids to cool off with water jets and splash pads. Shelby Farms Park also has a herd of buffalo that you can observe in their natural habitat.

Admission Cost: Free

9. Uncover the Mysteries of the Pink Palace Museum

The Pink Palace Museum, part of the Museum of Science & History, is a treasure trove of exhibits that will spark curiosity and wonder in kids of all ages. The museum itself is housed in a stunning pink marble mansion, originally built by Clarence Saunders, the founder of Piggly Wiggly grocery stores.

Inside, you’ll find a wide range of exhibits covering everything from natural history to cultural heritage. The Dinosaur Exhibit is always a hit, featuring life-sized models and fossils that transport you back to the age of the dinosaurs. The Coon Creek Science Center exhibit allows kids to touch real fossils and learn about paleontology.

The museum also boasts an impressive planetarium where you can catch a show about the stars and planets. Don’t miss the Giant Screen Theater, which shows educational and entertaining films on a massive screen, making for a thrilling visual experience.

Admission Cost: Adults $18, Seniors (60+) $17, Child (2-12) $13

10. Dive into History at the Mud Island Park

Mud Island Park offers a fascinating journey through the history of the Mississippi River and its impact on the region. The museum features 18 galleries with over 5,000 artifacts, including a full-scale replica of a riverboat.

Kids will enjoy the interactive exhibits and the Riverwalk, an outdoor scale model of the lower Mississippi River. The Riverwalk allows visitors to walk from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana, learning about the geography and history of the river along the way.

The museum also has an amphitheater, playground, and pedal boats, making it a fun and educational destination for families.

Admission Cost: Free

11. Enjoy Nature at the Memphis Botanical Garden

For a peaceful and picturesque outing, take your kids to the Memphis Botanical Garden. This 96-acre garden offers beautiful landscapes, themed gardens, and plenty of open space for children to explore and play.

The My Big Backyard area is designed specifically for families. It features whimsical playhouses, a treehouse, a giant birdhouse, and interactive garden areas where kids can learn about plants and nature. The garden also offers seasonal events and workshops for children, making it a great place to visit throughout the year.

Stroll through the Butterfly Garden to see these delicate creatures up close, or take a relaxing walk along the winding paths of the Japanese Garden. The garden’s wide open spaces are perfect for a picnic, so pack a lunch and enjoy a meal surrounded by nature.

Admission Cost: Adults $12, Children (2-12) $10, Seniors (65+) $7

12. Explore Art and Culture at the Stax Museum

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a must-visit for music lovers of all ages. Located at the original site of Stax Records, the museum celebrates the rich history of soul music and the artists who recorded there.

The museum features over 2,000 exhibits, including instruments, costumes, and memorabilia from legendary artists like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and Aretha Franklin. The listening stations and video displays will keep kids entertained as they learn about the evolution of soul music.

The reconstructed recording studio and the Express Yourself dance floor are highlights that allow visitors to experience the magic of Stax Records firsthand.

Admission Cost: Adult $15, Child $12

14. Learn and Play at the Fire Museum of Memphis

The Fire Museum of Memphis is a fantastic place for kids to learn about fire safety in a fun and interactive way. The museum is housed in the historic Fire Engine House No. 1 and features exhibits on the history of firefighting and modern fire safety practices.

Children can explore a fire engine, try on firefighter gear, and participate in interactive displays that teach important fire safety lessons. The museum also has a play area where kids can pretend to be firefighters and put to use all they learned at the museum.

Admission Cost: Adult – $10, Child 13-17 $9, Child 3-12 $8, Children 2 and under – Free

Memphis is a city bursting with family-friendly activities and attractions that cater to kids of all ages. Whether you’re meeting the Peabody Ducks, exploring Graceland, or discovering wildlife at the Memphis Zoo, there’s no shortage of fun and educational things to do in Memphis with kids. So pack your bags, gather the family, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Tennessee!

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  1. Oh, this is such a lovely list! I haven't been to Memphis in so long, and even though I don't have kids, this list has so many great ideas for a future trip. Might need to convince the husband to start planning a trip soon. Great post! xx Megan | Southern Charmed
  2. I live in Arkansas and I have been wanting to take my kids to the Memphis Zoo. We will probably make it a weekend getaway when we go and also try to see some of the other sites listed too.
  3. 10,000 years of history!! Wow, what a neat museum. One I'll have to keep in mind if we head that way. Thanks for linking up to #SundayTraveler again.
  4. I've only passed through Memphis - I hope I get to spend longer there someday. I want to see the duck march!

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