When it’s cold and dreary outside, all I want to do is pack my bags and head south. I think to get through the winter months we all need a little something to look forward to from time to time. To get out of this slump, this past long weekend, the boys, grandma and I hopped in the car and headed for Memphis, Tennessee. It was also my mom’s birthday weekend, and given that she went to business school in Memphis, we decided to surprise her with a little trip to a city that holds a special place in her heart.

We had an absolute blast exploring all the things Memphis had to offer. For any STL mom looking for a little vacation to a vibrant city full of kid-friendly haunts, good eats, and is only a short road trip away, then Memphis is a perfect weekend getaway.

I love Memphis

Here are some of our favorite places we went that I would highly recommend for a mini vacay that are family friendly and super fun.

  1. Children’s Museum of Memphis

The Children’s Museum in Memphis is a must visit for families looking for a day full of non stop fun. My boys had an amazing time exploring all the exhibits the museum had to offer. They climbed in and out of fire trucks and police cars, had a dance party in the disco ball area, pretended to pump gas and change oil, raced mini cars, role played that they were movie stars in front of a green screen, visited a pretend bank, and even got to pretend to be dentists! Their favorite exhibit was the Little Planter’s Pasture, where they got to see how a farm grows the food we eat. There was even a little cow they could pretend to milk and a chicken coop. My boys love chickens.

Memphis Children's Museum

Not to mention there’s also an art studio area, a water area where kids can play, and tons of climbable jungle gyms with slides and rock walls. My boys loved buying groceries at the Kroger market and pretending to fly the Fed Ex plane. While you’re at the museum, don’t forget to visit the beautiful Grand Carousel, that has been renovated and restored from the 1909 original. The carousel even has a bench for handicapped children, making it accessible to all.


What’s also great about the Children’s Museum is that once you have your ticket, you can leave and come back later in the day. We took advantage of this and went to lunch at Memphis Pizza Café, and afterwards for dessert we popped inside a cute little candy shop Sweet Noshings for a sweet treat. Then it was back to the museum where we spent the rest of the afternoon!

2. Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid

Bass Pro Pyramid

If your kids are anything like my boys, then you have to pay a visit to Bass Pro shops at the Pyramid. This place is massive, and totally decked out and decorated from top to bottom to look like a giant swamp. There are fish tanks, alligators, waterfalls, and even a restaurant and bowling alley. Check out groupon before visiting for coupons on bowling at the Fish Bowl! Also if your kids like fish, plan your visit for the afternoon, where there are fish feedings at 1 pm and 3 pm. Before you leave, make sure to ride the elevator to the top of the pyramid, where you can check out the view of the city of Memphis.

Memphis Bass Pro

3. Make Way for Peabody Ducks!

If you’ve ever heard anything about Memphis, chances are you’ve heard about the Peabody Hotel ducks. Every day at 11 am and 5 pm, the ducks come downstairs from the elevator and are paraded down the red carpet to the fountain by none other than the “duck master.” The whole thing is a big production that kids will love, but make sure to arrive early to get a good vantage point! Seeing the ducks is free but there is a tour that costs $10 a person and reservations are recommended. Also, a little pro tip is to have one of your kids chat up the duck master. When we asked him for a picture, he let Logan and Mason hold the duck cane and even gave them duck pins. For an added bonus, he gave us a free cookie coupons. So sweet!

Peabody Ducks

4. Checking out Murals

Whenever I go to a new city, I love visiting art murals! There are some really fun ones you can visit for a cute photo in Memphis, and the best part is seeing this murals is totally free! Here are some of the locations of my favorites that you can go and visit; on the side of Wet Willy’s at 219 Beale Street, on the corner of Cooper and York (near 768 Cooper Street) and on 419 N. Watkins Street

5. Tennessee Safari Park

The Tennessee Safari Park is hands down, the funniest place we have ever visited. The whole time we were there, the boys and I could not stop cracking up! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life. This park is a must for families looking for a one-of-a-kind animal experience that’ll leave you in stitches.

When you enter the park in your car, you pay per person (cash only) and can buy food to feed the animals, which I highly recommend if you want to get up close and personal visits from all of the critters. Feed cups are $3 each or $10 for 4. As you’re driving through the park, when you shake the bowl out of the window the animals come running, so be prepared! There were ostriches, zebras, camels, alpacas, llamas and more that we fed right from our car. So fun!

Tennessee Safari Park

You can also visit another area of the park where you can get out of the car and walk around. Here we could see giraffes, peacocks, and pet baby goats. In an indoor area in the shop, you can also see reptiles. The park is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, with the last car at 4 pm. On Sundays it opens at 12. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for kids (1 and under are free).

Tennessee Safari Park

You can visit the Safari Park on your way to or from Memphis. It’s about an hour and a half northeast of the city, and a perfect road trip stop for kids. Logan and Mason are already asking when we can go again!

Because we were only in Memphis for a short weekend, there was still loads more to see that we didn’t get to. Here’s a quick list of things I think would be great stops while you’re in town:

  1. Graceland
  2. Memphis Main Street Trolley
  3. Civil Rights Museum
  4. Memphis Zoo
  5. Beale Street Back Flippers
  6. Memphis Fire House Museum

Where We Stayed, The Drury Inn and Suites

While we were in town, we stayed at the always enjoyable and comfortable, Drury Inn and Suites Memphis Southaven. The hotel is right off the highway, providing easy access in and out of the area. The hotel itself is actually located in Mississippi, but still minutes from all of the Memphis attractions and surrounded by loads of restaurant and shopping options, such as an outlet mall right by the hotel.

The Drury is great for traveling families with their free not-your-average breakfast. My boys are obsessed with all the breakfast options they offer, like waffles and breakfast tacos, although the Lucky Charms are still always popular! The Drury also offers kick back hour every night from 5:30 to 7 pm, which features three free drinks for adults and tons of snacks. For my family, the snacks are more like a meal, which are not only tasty but are a cheap and easy alternative to going out to a restaurant every night for dinner. They have a huge variety of options including chicken tacos, chicken noodle soup, nachos, and hotdogs.

Drury hotels breakfast

One of my boys’ favorite things about the Drury is their indoor/outdoor pool, which is a heated pool featuring a wall you can swim under to go from inside to outside. They love swimming back and forth!

Where we ate:

While in Memphis, we stopped at a bunch of tasty restaurants that had great options for kids, who, let’s face it, can be super picky! My friend Stacey gave me loads of great suggestions that we tried. Here’s a list of all the yummy places we visited:

  1. Marlowe’s Restaurant, which can pick you up from hotels close to Graceland in a pink Cadillac! (For this experience, you have to call ahead and make a reservation).
  2. Huey’s, which was voted one of the top places to eat in Memphis for the best burgers.
  3. Gus’s fried chicken, the original, hot and spicy chicken.
  4. Hog and Hominy, which is an Italian Southern fusion.
  5. The Peabody desserts, at the Peabody, they have duck shaped chocolates, cookies, and amazing treats.  
  6. Belly Acres, farm fresh and close to the Children’s Museum in Overton Square
  7. Railgarten, Music, drinks, food and a huge outdoor area with a large fenced in play area for kids. Perfect when the weather is nice.
  8. Muddy’s DESSERTS

I love Memphis

So when you’re planning your next weekend getaway to escape the cold and make memories with your family, give Memphis a visit! It’s a great Southern city with family friendly attractions, delicious restaurants, and one of a kind experiences. Have you been to Memphis? Let me know what your favorite part was.

If you are looking for similar trips check out: Nashville, Branson, Echo Bluff, St. Louis Arch, St. Charles, Gulf Shores

Sarah Out and About wants to thank all of our partners for this trip. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.