Memphis is rich in history and educational opportunities for your entire family. It is the birthplace of the blues, home to iconic music attractions like the Stax Museum and Graceland as well as a hub in the fight for equal rights. From toddlers to teens, there are so many things to do in Memphis with kids!
*Affiliate links ahead…Don’t worry, I’ll use the money for something practical, like wine…. or a pony!
Things to do in Memphis with Kids
My Big Backyard at the Memphis Botanical Garden is not to be missed by families with children of all ages. Part art gallery, part children’s museum and part horticultural display, My Big Backyard is designed to engage children in the fun of outdoor play and teach them to not only interact with, but respect their environment. Gardeners and guides are readily available to give an impromptu class on earthworms or maybe the life cycle of a plant. Week long camps are available at different times throughout the year as well.
You can’t visit Memphis without visiting the home of the ultimate Rock & Roll legend. Walking into Elvis’ house is like walking back in time, shag carpets, avocado appliances and stained glass, everything is exactly as it was when he lived there. The audio tour is a compilation of stories about Elvis and his life as told by those closest to him. Outbuildings have now become museums housing an array of memorabilia, from awards & costumes to planes & cars. Everything that epitomizes Elvis is located on the grounds of Graceland.
From a glimpse into life on a farm to piloting a Fed-Ex cargo plane, your kids will get to immerse themselves in a fully interactive learning environment designed to engage all their senses. It is one of my favorite things to do in Memphis with kids. The museum’s 20,000 square feet of space is home to a kid’s TV Studio, campground with rock climbing wall, disco castle, tornado simulator and so much more. The kids will be having so much fun they won’t even know they are learning!
Located just outside downtown Memphis, this zoo is home to over 3,500 animals including the giant panda, polar bears, timber wolves and grizzly bears. The Memphis Zoo is one of the few zoos in the country where you can interact with and feed stingrays and baby sharks in a one of a kind exhibit that runs May through October. Zookeepers can be found at very exhibits throughout the day to talk about the animals and their life at the zoo. Make sure to ask for the zoo scavenger hunt when you arrive.*Photo Credit The Peabody Memphis © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.
The march of the Peabody Ducks is a Memphis tradition dating back to the 1930’s. Tourists, celebrities and locals flock to the prestigious Peabody Hotel to watch the famous ducks march. The ducks march daily at 11:00 am and 5:00 pm. Children are always allowed to sit next to the red carpet but get there at least 1/2 hour early to ensure that you can see this 80 year old tradition.Photo Credit Dan Ball © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.
Located on the site of the original Stax recording studio, the Stax museum is the only soul music museum in the world. It has over 2,000 soul music artifacts and pieces of memorabilia. Music history was made here with legends such as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Luther Ingram and Albert King, all who recorded here.
A one of a kind museum in the southeast, the Pink Palace takes you through Memphis history. Walk through a replica of the Piggly Wiggly (the first self- service grocery store in the country) and follow Memphis’ development from the time of Spanish explorers through the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemics. The 3d theater and planetarium make this a must see attraction for families looking to sneak in some learning on vacation.*Photo Credit Kerry Crawford © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.
Located in the motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, the National Civil Rights Museum takes you on a powerful journey through the beginning of slavery in America through the final hours of Martin Luther King, Jr. Through interactive exhibits, storytelling and quotes from those on the front line of the battle for equality, you are taken back to this tumultuous and inspiring period of change.
Located in the historic Firehouse No. 1, the Fire Museum of Memphis is a completely interactive museum that takes you all the way through the early years of firefighting with a horse drawn buggy to the technological advancements of today’s firefighter. Kids can see if they can escape a fire safely in the escape maze and even experience what it really feels like to be in a burning building.
Home to the Mississippi River Museum that showcases 10,000 years of history in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The exhibits detail early inhabitants in the valley to modern day transportation and contain over 5,000 artifacts; including two full size boat replicas which you can board and explore. After you explore the museum catch the monorail to Mud Island where you can explore and play in an exact scale model of the lower Mississippi River.
As you can see there are so many fun things to do in Memphis with kids! What are your favorite Memphis attractions?