Things To Do In Memphis, TN – Museums Outside Of Music

If you are planning on visiting Memphis, chances are high that you will want to check out at least some of the city’s iconic music-related offerings like Elvis Presley’s Graceland and blues-worthy Beale Street. I have dug through them all over the course of two posts. They can be found here and here.

However, not everything about Memphis is related to the music. In fact, the city boasts some compelling museums that have nothing to do with the music at all. So, here are the three museums that you definitely shouldn’t miss out on for things to do in Memphis, TN.

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National Civil Rights Museum

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The National Civil Rights Museum is located on Mulberry Street in the southern part of downtown Memphis. This museum is most notable for being the site where the American civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated. He was assassinated there in 1968. This museum used to be a motel called Lorraine Motel which was where MLK Jr. stayed overnight during his Memphis visit.

This museum covers about five centuries worth of the civil rights movement, starting with the resistance to slavery in 1619 – long before the United States became an independent country. There are currently fifteen exhibits available at the museum for you to explore. By far the most notable exhibit is called King’s Last Hours.

This is where you can visit the iconic motel rooms where MLK Jr. and his aides stayed just before his assassination. This is where you can learn about what happened during MLK Jr.’s last hours. In the exhibit, The Children Shall Lead Them, you will get to visit the jail cell where MLK Jr. was locked up in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

This is where you can learn about the key moments and speeches during MLK Jr.’s civil rights campaign and how it had received intense media attention worldwide. You can also read the text from his iconic Letter from a Birmingham Jail on the wall of his jail cell. Another of the museum’s exhibits is called A Culture of Resistance.

There, you can learn about more than two centuries worth of slavery and the impact that it had on America and the world. You can learn about the capture of slaves, the goods that they produced, and the wealth that slave owners and traders amassed off of them. These are just a few of the exhibits you can explore at the museum.

The admission fees for the museum are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and college students, and $14 for children aged from 5 to 17. Those who are under the age of 5 will get free admission. You can head here to buy your tickets. Also, if you are curious about what other civil rights attractions you can visit in America, I would suggest that you read up on the attractions that you can check out in the US state of Alabama.

Pink Palace Museum

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The Pink Palace Museum is located on Central Avenue in the Chickasaw Gardens area of Memphis which is near the University of Memphis campus. It is about six miles east of downtown. The Pink Palace is so-called because it is covered in pink Georgian marble. This breathtaking building used to be the mansion that belonged to Clarence Saunders who was the founder of the grocery store chain, Piggly Wiggly.

The museum now takes up residence inside the former mansion. It is dedicated to both the natural and cultural history of Memphis. Located in the museum’s original entrance lobby is a three-panel mural commemorating the discovery of the Mississippi River near the site of today’s Memphis.

The natural history aspect of the museum is notable for its showcase of dinosaur fossils, human and animal skeletons and skulls, and rock and mineral specimens. The cultural history aspect focuses on the evolution of Memphis throughout its history. Some notable showcases include a log cabin, a Victorian music room, a battle diorama of the American Civil War, and horse-drawn carriages.

The prices of admission to the museum are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $10 for children aged from 3 to 12. Those who are aged under 3 will enter for free. Metro Eats is the museum’s onsite restaurant. Those of you who are into souvenirs can check out the Museum Store.

Children’s Museum of Memphis

If you happen to have little ones with you when visiting Memphis, you shouldn’t miss out on the Children’s Museum of Memphis is located at the intersection of Central Avenue and South Hollywood Street just a couple miles west of the Pink Palace Museum. The museum houses nearly thirty hands-on exhibits designed specifically to allow your children’s imaginations to run wild.

I will go over some examples. The first exhibit is called Going Places. This is where children can enter the cockpit of a FedEx cargo plane in order to take control and deliver the cargos to a number of places including Paris, the White House, and the North Pole.

The Bankshot Basketball exhibit will give the little ones the opportunity to test their basketball skills by navigating their way through a course of nineteen unconventionally configured backboards. In the Light Bright exhibit, children can get creative with giant LightBrights of different colors in order to create spectacular light displays by placing them into holes on the wall.

For the little ones who want to dance, they can head to the Time Square exhibit. It is brimming with flashing lights and mirrors. In the midst of it all, they can dance and sing to the tune of popular songs. The price for the museum for everyone aged 1 and above is $15. Those who are aged under 1 will enter for free.

These three museums should be at the top of your to-do list for things to do in Memphis, TN. Also, if you would prefer something at least a bit outdoorsy, how about visiting a few beautiful parks in the city? You can go here to learn more.

Memphis Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight during your visit to Memphis, I have got your back. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you to book your stay with.

Comfort Suites West Memphis I-40 I-55

This hotel is located on Stephen Boulevard near the Arkansas 191 interchange with Interstates 40 and 55 in West Memphis, Arkansas which is just across the Mississippi River from Memphis. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Sicily’s, Cracker Barrel, and Kelley’s Kickin Chicken. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center.

All of the hotel’s suites come with WiFi and kitchenettes with microwaves and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $87 to $149. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham West Memphis

This hotel is located on North Sixth Street just south of Interstates 40 and 55 in West Memphis. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. For the hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Cracker Barrel, Kelley’s Kickin Chicken, and Sicily’s. There is an indoor swimming pool as well as a fitness center at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $87 to $181. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these three museums in Memphis before? Feel free to drop a comment below.

Things To Do In Memphis, TN – Parks

Just in case you aren’t aware, Memphis is famous for its rich connections to the music. I have discussed all of the music-related attractions that the city has to offer in my previous two posts which you can check out here and here. If you are in search for things to do in Memphis, TN beyond the music, there are two beautiful parks in the city that you should check out. They are Mud Island River Park and Overton Park.

Mud Island River Park

(Photo courtesy of Memphis CVB via Flickr)

Mud Island River Park is located just off the bluff of downtown Memphis within the mighty Mississippi River. It is very unique because its riverwalk is actually a scale replica of the lower Mississippi River that stretches from Cairo, Illinois all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. As you wind your way on the scenic riverwalk, you will learn interesting information about the river and its engineering feats.

Once you reach the end of the riverwalk, you will be pleasantly surprised to see it emptying into a lovely pool area that represents the Gulf of Mexico. You can go for a sail in a pedal boat within the pool area. You will also be treated to breathtaking views of downtown Memphis and the Mississippi River. Also located in Mud Island River Park is a museum called the Mississippi River Museum.

The museum is located at the northern end of the riverwalk. It is dedicated to exploring 10,000 years worth of lower Mississippi River history. One of the standout features of the museum is a life-size replica of a riverboat that hosted gamblers and revelers. Another thing you will notice at the museum are wax sculptures of historical figures that were connected to the Mississippi River such as Mark Twain and Mike Fink.

The museum contain eighteen galleries for you to explore, including five that are dedicated to the river’s role in the American Civil War. The admission fees to the museum are $10 for adults and $8 for children aged from 4 to 11. Those who are aged under 4 will get free admission.

Overton Park

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Overton Park is located on Prentess Place about 4.5 miles east of downtown Memphis. This beautiful park is home to some attractions that I would like to mention.

Memphis Zoo

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The Memphis Zoo is located in the northwestern portion of the park. This zoo is divided into sixteen distinct areas. They are all well worth exploring, but there are some that I will share here on this post. The first area is called China. It takes up three acres of the zoo and gives you a sampling of China in term of culture, animals, architecture, and horticulture.

The standout animals at the zoo are the giant pandas named Ya Ya and Le Le. Some other animals you can encounter there include Pere David deer, Asian small-clawed otters, white-naped cranes, and Francois langurs. The Dragon’s Lair area is specially designed in order to house the world’s largest lizards. The lizards are known as the Komodo Dragons and are native to small islands in Indonesia.

They are up to ten feet long and weighs up to two hundred pounds. There are three of them for you to encounter there. Those of you who savor penguins will want to head to the Penguin Rock area. It is the home of the black-footed penguins. They are found in a variety of places including Antarctica, Galapagos Island, and southern and southwestern Africa. There are about 22 black-footed penguins at the zoo.

The last area of the zoo to be mentioned here is called the Zambezi River Hippo Camp. This area has a river setting similar to the Zambezi River which is the fourth longest river in Africa, traveling through six countries for 1,600 miles. The star animals in this area are the hippos. They are notable for swimming with their eyes and nostrils above water while the rest of their bodies are submerged underwater.

The zoo’s general admission tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $13 for children aged from 2 to 11. Free admission is given to those under age 2. You can head here to buy your tickets to the zoo.

Brooks Museum of Art

The Brooks Museum of Art is located in the southwestern portion of the park. This is the largest and oldest art museum in the US state of Tennessee. This art museum contain 29 galleries of art to explore throughout three stories of space. The museum is home to a collection of over seven thousand works of art including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and examples of the decorative arts.

The museum is especially notable for its paintings in the Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, and 20th Century themes. Also worth checking out at the museum are works from ancient Greece, Rome, and the Americas. The museum is also known for placing sculptures outdoors on its grounds such as Aquacade, Bronze Babe, Two African Male Lions, and Foil. So, be sure to check them out as well.

The prices of admission to the art museum are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $3 for students as well as youth aged from 7 to 17. Those who are under the age of 7, teachers, and veterans will enter free of charge. Cafe Brooks is the art museum’s onsite restaurant. You can buy souvenirs at the Museum Store.

Formal Gardens, Veterans Plaza, and Trails

The park is home to lovely formal gardens lined with symmetrical plantings. They are shaded by crape myrtles. There are benches available for you to relax and soak in the beauty of the formal gardens.

The two-acre Veterans Plaza is dedicated to honoring more than 2,500 veterans from Memphis and Shelby County who were killed during World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Storm. For those of you wanting to go for a walk or run, the park is home to shaded forest trails, including a 1.4-mile limestone loop.

These two parks offer additional things to do in Memphis, TN. So, if you are looking for something more to do after visiting Memphis’ music-related attractions, I would suggest you visit these beautiful parks.

Memphis Hotel

Should you need a hotel to stay overnight at in Memphis, I am happy to help you out with this. Here is a hotel I would suggest you book your stay with.

Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis – Beale Street

This hotel is located just steps north of Memphis’ famed Beale Street, the official home of the Blues. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, Beale Street has plenty of restaurants to choose from such as B.B. King’s Blues Club, Silky O’Sullivan’s, and Dyer’s Burgers. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with coffee makers and mini refrigerators while the suites come with full kitchens and separate living rooms. They all come with WiFi. The average rate for a standard room range from $155 to $306. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these parks in Memphis in the past? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Memphis, TN – More Music

As I mentioned in my previous post, Memphis is renowned for its rich music heritage. The city was home to Elvis Presley, the legendary rock and roll musician from the mid 20th century. It is the home of historic Sun Studio which is where the rock and roll music genre was born. Elvis recorded his first tunes there. Memphis’ iconic Beale Street is officially known as the home of the blues.

Even with these things, there is more to the music in Memphis than meets the eye. In fact, the city is also home to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and the Blues Hall of Fame Museum. So, if you are hungry for more music-related things to do in Memphis, TN, you should definitely pay a visit to them all.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

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The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located on East McLemore Avenue about 2.6 miles southeast of downtown Memphis, near Interstate 69. This museum is a replica of Stax Records which once operated there from 1957 until 1976 when it had to shut down because of bankruptcy. When Star Records was in operation, it was notable for its recordings in the soul music genre.

Some of the most well known musicians who recorded there include Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, Booker T. & the MGs, and Rufus and Carla Thomas. The museum include a replica of a modest country church that served as the true birthplace of the soul music genre.

Those of you who love to dance will be pleased to know that there is a dance floor called Express Yourself. This is where you can dance to the tune of Stax-recorded tracks. In the Hallowed Ground area of the museum, you can check out recording equipment from the period when Stax Records operated. This area also contains an exact replica of Studio A where the musicians used to cut records.

It is notable for its gently slanted floor which contributed to the special sound of Stax Records. Before it became Studio A, it was once a movie theater. Within the Wall of Sound area, you will notice walls that are filled from floor to ceiling with cases containing all the albums and singles that were released by Stax Records during its operation.

A listening station is also located in this area where you can listen to some of the albums and singles. You will want to make sure to check out the Super Fly area. This is where you can view musician Isaac Hayes’ custom car called Cadillac Eldorado. It was bought in 1972 and is renowned for its special features including a refrigerated mini bar, television, 24-carat gold exterior trim, and white fur floorboard carpeting.

The admission fees for the museum are $13 for adults, $12 for military members, seniors, and students; and $10 for children aged from 9 to 12. Those who are aged under 9 will enter for free.

Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

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The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is located on South B.B. King Boulevard just a short walk south of Beale Street in Memphis. This museum is dedicated to telling the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic obstacles in order to create the music that had a major impact on the world. The museum is divided into seven permanent exhibits.

The first exhibit is called Rural Culture. This exhibit focuses on the farm workers of the Mississippi Delta who sang melodies as they labored to create a new music genre. In the Rural Music exhibit, you will learn about how rural communities in the Mississippi Delta came together to start a musical revolution. Coming to Memphis is the third exhibit.

It tells the story of those who moved to Memphis from the rural communities to work in the cotton mills and warehouses. It shares about how they used this opportunity to share their music on Memphis’ Beale Street, leading to a thriving scene.

In the Sun Records & Youth Culture exhibit, you will learn about how poor and aspiring musicians like Elvis Presley and B.B. King couldn’t afford to record their tunes at a fancy studio. And as you will see, they ended up recording at Sun Records where they ultimately went on to become legendary musicians.

The Soul Music exhibit focuses on legendary black musicians who got their start by walking into Stax Records from the streets. Social Changes is the exhibit that takes a deep dive into how the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century influenced the movement for the rock and roll music genre. The seventh and last permanent exhibit is Bravo Gallery.

This exhibit will highlight the individuals who influenced the world with their tunes. The admission prices for the museum are $13 for adults and $10 for youth aged from 5 to 17. The admission is free of charge for those aged under 5. The museum also houses a gift shop.

Blues Hall of Fame Museum

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The Blues Hall of Fame Museum is located on South Main Street just south of downtown Memphis. This museum opened in 2015, making this a relatively new attraction. It puts the spotlight on the blues music genre and its musicians. There are currently over four hundred inductees into the blues hall of fame. They are divided into five key areas: Performer, Individual, Album, Single, and Literature.

There are ten galleries in total within this museum and they all include interactive touchscreen displays. You can learn about the history of the blues, hear the stories about the inductees, listen to blues music, and watch videos. The museum is also sprinkled with one-of-a-kind blues memorabilia such as R.L. Burnside’s guitar, Koko Taylor’s dress, and Otis Spann’s piano.

The prices of admission to the museum are $10 for adults and $8 for those aged from 13 to 18. Those who are under the age of 13 can enter free of charge. There is also a gift shop onsite if you are interested in souvenirs.

These are the additional things to do in Memphis, TN. Overall, there is plenty for music fans to love about the city.

Memphis Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your Memphis visit, I have got your back. Here is a hotel that I would suggest for you.

The Peabody Memphis

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This is Memphis’ most famous hotel. So, it is absolutely worth the stay. This historic hotel was originally built in 1869 at the corner of Main and Monroe Streets in the heart of downtown Memphis. It remained in operation at that location until 1923.

During that time period, it attracted famous guests such as US presidents Andrew Johnson and William McKinley, Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and Confederate president Jefferson Davis. The hotel then moved one block away to its current location on Union Avenue. It opened again in 1925. This hotel is designed in the Italian Renaissance architectural style.

It is famous for its Peabody Ducks who live on the rooftop and make their daily treks to the lavish lobby. The hotel boasts a whopping seven restaurants and bars. They include Peabody Restaurant, The Grand Lobby, Peabody Deli & Desserts, Peabody Afternoon Tea, Capriccio Grill, Chez Philippe, and Peabody Corner Bar.

In addition to these restaurants and bars, a jaw-dropping six shops are located within the hotel. They include Peabody Lego Shop, Gir Collection, Lansky at The Peabody, Lansky Lucky Duck, Lansky 126, and Lansky Accessories Shop. The hotel’s indoor heated swimming pool, hot tub, and fitness center are all housed in The Peabody Athletic Club.

(Photo courtesy of TonyTheTiger via Wikimedia)

A full-service resort-style spa called Feather Spa at The Peabody is also located onsite. There are also history tours of the hotel available if you are interested. The hotel’s luxurious rooms and suites have recently gone through a multi-million dollar renovation. They feature custom paint colors and commissioned wall art that pays tribute to Memphis, the blues, Mississippi River sunsets, and the Peabody Ducks in subtle ways.

Many of these rooms and suites will offer you gorgeous views of downtown Memphis. Depending on which suite you choose to book at the hotel, you may have access to kitchenettes with microwaves and mini refrigerators, fireplaces, and/or wet bars. WiFi is featured in all the rooms and suites.

The average rate for a standard room range from $168 to $440. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some additional photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to a musical journey to Memphis? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Memphis, TN – Music Roots

Memphis is located on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River in the southeastern corner of the US state of Tennessee. It is renowned for its strong blues connection. In fact, Memphis is the official home of the blues as designated by the US Congress. The city is also famous for being the birthplace of rock and roll. This is also the city where Elvis Presley lived and recorded his tunes. As a result of all this, music fans are sure to find things to do in Memphis, TN.

Graceland

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Graceland is located around eight miles south of downtown Memphis on Elvis Presley Boulevard near Interstate 55. This is the stately estate where Elvis Presley lived. Elvis was a legendary rock and roll musician during the mid 20th century. He lived at the estate from 1957 until his death in 1977 at the age of 42. The mansion is designed in the Colonial Revival architectural style.

The front and side of the mansion feature tan Tishomingo limestones that are sourced from the US state of Mississippi while the building’s rear feature stucco. There are two pairs of white columns on opposing sides of the mansion’s entranceway. The mansion has two floors and a basement. It contains a total of 23 rooms which include eight bedrooms and bathrooms.

There are a few interesting things to point out within the mansion. The Music Room houses a black baby grand piano and a 1950’s style television. The Jungle Room is notable for its indoor waterfall of cut field stone. What is most interesting is that there is a room in the mansion’s basement with a pool table. It turns out that Elvis was an avid pool player who bought the pool table in 1960 to play on within his mansion.

During your tour of the mansion, you will learn the personal side of Elvis, who was known as the King of Rock and Roll. In addition to the mansion itself, the estate grounds also house Elvis Presley’s Memphis which is a collection of museums and/or exhibits dedicated to Elvis’ overall life. Here are a couple of them to note. The first one is Elvis: The Entertainment Career Museum.

This is where you can check out hundreds of artifacts from Elvis’ legendary rock and roll music career such as a collection of gold and platinum records, jumpsuits, and guitars. Elvis was known for his love of cars. He owned at least twenty of them and you can check them out at the Presley Motors Automobile Museum. A few cars on display include a Pink Cadillac, a 1975 Dino Ferrari, and a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk.

As far as tickets are concerned, you will want the Elvis Experience Tour. This will get you access to the entire Graceland estate including the mansion itself and the museums and exhibits. The prices are from $38 to $73. You can head here to buy your tickets. The estate also house numerous onsite restaurants and gift shops. So, you may want to check them out also.

Sun Studio

(Photo courtesy of Mr. Littlehand via Flickr)

Sun Studio is located on Union Avenue just east of downtown Memphis. This is the iconic recording studio where the rock and roll music genre was born. The recording studio began its operation in January of 1950 with the first rock and roll recording being done by Jackie Brenton and his Delta Cats for the single called “Rocket 88”.

Elvis Presley began his legendary career by recording at this studio fresh out of high school in August of 1953. When he first started recording at the studio, he was not very successful. However, after just under one year later, Elvis began to hit it big with his recording of Arthur Crudup’s single, “That’s All Right”.

In addition to Elvis, other famed musicians of the past who recorded at the studio include B.B. King, Ike Turner, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash. The music greats of today who have recorded at the studio include Maroon 5, U2, Paul Simon, and Beck. Today, there are guided tours available for Sun Studio.

You will be led throughout the two floors of the studio by a guide who will narrate its history and how it launched the careers of some of the most famous musicians. The guide will also play some of the songs that were recorded by the famous musicians when they operated out of the studio.

The tour tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students, military members, and seniors. Those who are aged between 5 and 11 will receive free admission. There is also a gift shop available onsite if you are interested in souvenirs.

Beale Street

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikimedia)

Those who have visited Memphis before, will most likely recognize Beale Street. This is the city’s most iconic street. It is the heartbeat of the blues in Memphis. In 1977, the US Congress designated Beale Street as the official home of the blues. As a result, blues-themed restaurants, bars, and shops dominate the brick-paved, largely pedestrian street in downtown Memphis.

And they often host musical performances at the same time. So, they can be overwhelming, but they are all worth checking out as no two musical performances are alike. Famous musicians have been known to surface on Beale Street.

These include Albert King, Louis Armstrong, Memphis Minnie, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King. Beale Street is notable for its cool neon signs that hang from buildings. They all will light up at night. So, it’s well worth visiting the street at night as well.

Music fans won’t want to miss out on these things to do in Memphis, TN. Also, if you are a fan of country music, you will want to consider taking a trip east to Nashville. It is renowned for its association with country music. I encourage you to visit this post to learn more about the world-class country music attractions you can visit in Nashville.

Memphis Hotels

Should you need a place to stay overnight at during your time in Memphis, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis – Beale Street

This hotel is located on Peabody Place which is just off Beale Street to the north. There is free breakfast and coffee available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few dining options just around the corner include Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar, Maciel’s Tortas & Tacos, and Itta Bena. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with coffee makers and mini refrigerators while the suites come with full kitchens and separate living rooms. They all feature WiFi. The average rate for a standard room range from $155 to $306. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Comfort Inn Downtown

This hotel is located on North Front Street in downtown Memphis, about fifteen minutes north of Beale Street. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast and coffee for you to enjoy. If you get hungry, a few restaurants in the immediate area include McEwen’s on Monroe, Blue Plate Cafe Downtown, and Willie Moore’s Restaurant & Lounge. The hotel contains an outdoor, rooftop swimming pool with some nice skyline views.

There is also a fitness center available at the hotel. The hotel rooms and suites on the upper floors will offer breathtaking views of downtown and the Mississippi River. They will also offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $119 to $217. You can visit here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to seeing what Memphis has to offer in connection to its music heritage? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Louisville, Kentucky – Museums Outside Of Downtown

Two posts ago, I talked about the museums that you should check out when you are in the historic downtown area of Louisville. You can go here to read about the city’s downtown museums. Even though you will want to head downtown to check out the museums there, there are a few museums located outside of downtown that are just as worthy of your time for things to do in Louisville, Kentucky. I will cover them in this post.

Kentucky Derby Museum

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Louisville is renowned for being the host to the famous horse race known as the Kentucky Derby which normally takes place on the first Saturday of May annually. So, fans of horse racing will want to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is located on Central Avenue near Interstate 264 in Louisville’s southern section.

It is actually located onsite at the iconic Churchill Downs venue which is where the Kentucky Derby takes place. The museum contains a unique 360 degree theater that displays the film called The Greatest Race. This 18-minute long movie, which is displayed in 4k using the highest quality laser projection available, immerses you into a special behind the scenes look into the Kentucky Derby.

The museum houses two floors filled with Kentucky Derby-related exhibits. There are currently 21 exhibits for you to explore. You will have the opportunity to experience every step of a racing horse’s life from its birth to its appearance at the Kentucky Derby.

You will learn about the history of the Kentucky Derby stretching all the way back to 1875, when it first started, as well as what makes the famous horse race special. One interesting thing you will hear about at the museum is the roles that African-Americans had played in the horse racing industry. In addition to numerous exhibits, the museum also offer guided tours of Churchill Downs.

There are different types of Churchill Downs guided tours to choose from. One fun tour you will want to consider is the Racehorse Workout Tours. This is the tour where you can observe the horses undergoing training exercises in preparation for their races, including running around on the racetrack. You will learn the ins and outs of training during this tour.

This tour is sold separately for $15 per person. You can go here to get your tickets for this tour. The general admission fees for the Kentucky Derby Museum are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $10 for children aged from 5 to 14. Those who are aged under 5 will get free admission. It is worth noting that a free Churchill Downs guided tour, Historic Walking Tour, is included with general admission tickets.

You can buy the tickets by going here. There is also an onsite restaurant called Derby Cafe Express. For those of you looking for souvenirs, a gift shop is located onsite.

Conrad-Caldwell House

(Photo courtesy of Matt Johnson via Flickr)

Located between downtown Louisville and the University of Louisville is a historic district called Old Louisville. This historic district is renowned for its breathtaking Victorian-era architecture. One place you will want to visit in Old Louisville is the Conrad-Caldwell House. It is a gorgeous house that serves as a museum. It is nicknamed Conrad’s Castle because it is designed to resemble a castle.

The house is built of Indiana limestone in the Richardsonian-Romanesque architectural style. The exterior of the house is beautified with gargoyles, archways, and elaborate stone designs. Indoors, the house is known for its beautiful woodwork and parquet floors. The house was built in 1895. It was owned and occupied by Theophile Conrad and his family.

Theophile was among the wealthiest residents in Louisville at that time. He was a prominent tanning businessman who built and owned the Conrad, Fabel, and Mooney Tannery in Louisville. He lived in the house until his death in 1905. In 1908, the house was sold to another wealthy Louisville businessman, William E. Caldwell, who had interests in water tanks through his company, W.E. Caldwell Company.

William then lived at the house with his family until 1938 when he died. As a result, the house is called the Conrad-Caldwell House for these two wealthy Louisville families that lived there. Today, the house houses a massive collection of period-specific items that demonstrate the lavish lifestyle of the two prominent Louisville businessmen and their families.

When you visit the house, you can learn about the two families that lived there, what the neighborhood was like during their days, and the era overall. The fees for visiting the Conrad-Caldwell House are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for students. You can head here to buy your passes.

Speed Art Museum

(Photo courtesy of Sarah Carter via Wikimedia)

The Speed Art Museum is located on South Third Street right next to the University of Louisville campus. It is halfway between the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Conrad-Caldwell House. The Speed Art Museum is the largest art museum in Kentucky. So, art enthusiasts won’t want to miss this museum.

The museum is known for its prominent display of paintings and sculptures, especially from European and American artists. Artwork in the African, ancient, Native American, modernism, and contemporary art categories are also housed at the museum for you to check out.

There are currently seven exhibits available at the museum such as The World Turned Upside Down, Kentucky Women: Enid Yandell, and Andy Warhol: Revelation. The admission prices for the Speed Art Museum are $20 for adults and $14 for seniors, military personnel, and children aged 4 to 17.

Admission is free for those aged under 4. Also, if you get hungry during your time at the museum, you can head to Wiltshire At The Speed which is the museum’s onsite restaurant.

These are the museums outside of downtown that you will want to visit for things to do in Louisville, Kentucky. They are generally located between downtown Louisville and Muhammad Ali International Airport. Also, if you want to see the lovely Kentucky countryside, I would suggest you visit this post from a couple weeks ago for a few suggestions on the horse farms that you should visit.

Louisville Hotels

Should you need a place to stay overnight at during your time in Louisville, I am here to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

Hampton Inn Louisville Airport

This hotel is located on Phillips Lane just across Interstate 264 from the city’s airport. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few dining options nearby include Blue Horse Restaurant, Book & Bourbon Southern Kitchen, and Chili’s. There is an outdoor swimming pool and fitness center available for you to use at the hotel.

All of the hotel rooms come with WiFi, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $98 to $240. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Comfort Suites Airport

This hotel is located on Paramount Park Drive at the interchange of Interstate 65 and Kentucky Route 1747 at the southeastern corner of Muhammad Ali International Airport. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. A few nearby restaurant to dine at include Outback Steakhouse, El Nopal, and Frisch’s Big Boy. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

There is also a fitness center for your workout needs at the hotel. All of the suites at the hotel come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $93 to $181. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these non-downtown museums in Louisville before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

What To Do In Kentucky – Frankfort

Frankfort is located on Interstate 64 in the US state of Kentucky between two vibrant cities that just so happen to start with the letter “L”. They are Louisville and Lexington. Frankfort is nestled in a scenic spot with the Kentucky River winding its way through the city in a S curve. Frankfort serves as the state capital of Kentucky. As such, there are a few places that will give you a reason to visit the city for what to do in Kentucky.

Kentucky State Capitol

(Photo courtesy of TEDD LiGGETT via Wikimedia)

The Kentucky State Capitol is located on Capital Avenue just west of the Kentucky River in the south part of Frankfort. The grand state capitol is designed in the Beaux-Arts architectural style. It was built in 1910. It is built of Indiana limestone and Vermont granite. The interior of the state capitol is renowned for its classical French designs.

The staircases are an example of this as they are replicas of the ones found at Opera Garnier in Paris, France. The state capitol contains three full floors. It houses the office of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear who is himself the son of Steve Beshear, the state’s governor from 2007 to 2015. The state legislature is housed inside two chambers on opposing sides of the state capitol.

One thing that is worth noting is that unlike many other state supreme courts which are housed in buildings that aren’t their state’s capitols, the Kentucky Supreme Court is actually housed inside the state capitol. Located in the rotunda of the state capitol are statues dedicated to notable Kentuckians. The most famous of these is former US President Abraham Lincoln.

(Photo courtesy of Daderot via Wikimedia)

Even though he is widely known for his Illinois roots prior to his presidency, he was actually born in Kentucky. The other statues in the rotunda are for Henry Clay, Dr. Ephraim McDowell, and former US Vice President Alben Barkley. The walk to the state capitol is rewarding in of itself. The main entrance to the building is lined with a wide pink walkway containing a neat median filled with a long lawn and a circular flower bed.

The walkway is lined on both sides by eye-pleasing lampposts and trees. Also located on the state capitol’s beautiful grounds is a floral clock. So, you will want to check that out too. The admission to the state capitol is free of charge for everyone.

Old State Capitol

(Photo courtesy of Daderot via Wikimedia)

The Old State Capitol is located on West Broadway Street in Frankfort’s historic downtown. Before the state government moved into the current state capitol which I just discussed above, it had a more humble beginning at the old state capitol. The old state capitol served as the seat of state government from 1830 until 1910 when the new state capitol was built and the state government relocated there.

The architectural style of the old state capitol is Greek Revival. This particular architectural style was chosen in order to convey the connection of the young state of Kentucky to the ancient Greek concept of popular democratic government. The front of the old state capitol building is reflective of the Temple of Minerva Polias at Priene in ancient Greece.

A few other architectural features of the old state capitol to note of include a self-supporting stone stairway and a domed lantern designed to let in sunlight. The old state capitol served as the climax to the bitterly contested 1899 election for governor of Kentucky. That was when one of the claimants to the governorship, William Goebel, was assassinated just outside the old state capitol building in January of 1900.

He was on his way to being inaugurated as Kentucky’s governor when the assassination happened. There is a plaque posted in front of the old state capitol to mark the spot where the assassination happened. The old state capitol is now a museum where you can learn about the politics of 19th century Kentucky and the contested governor election that led to the assassination of William Goebel.

The admission prices for the old state capitol are $8 for adults and $6 for veterans and youth aged from 6 to 18. Those who are under the age of 6 will get free admission.

Liberty Hall

(Photo courtesy of Christopher L. Riley via Wikimedia)

In addition to being the state capital of Kentucky, Frankfort is known to contain numerous historic homes. One such example of this is Liberty Hall. This historic home is located on Wilkinson Street west of downtown Frankfort near the Kentucky River. It is a two-story, five-bay brick home built in the Federal architectural style. The historic home was built sometime between 1796 and 1800 by John Brown.

John was the first US Senator from the state of Kentucky. He served in this role from June of 1792 to March of 1805. He is best known for his major role in pushing for the form of the state of Kentucky and its admittance into the union. Before Kentucky became a state, it was a part of Virginia.

He pushed for Kentucky’s statehood during serving as a US Representative from Virginia from March of 1789 to June of 1792. Liberty Hall now operates as a museum that contains a collection of artifacts that once belonged to John Brown and his family. The surrounding grounds is beautiful and include a number of gardens on the banks of the Kentucky River.

The admission prices for Liberty Hall are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $4 for youth aged from 6 to 18. There is free admission for those who are aged under 6. You can go here to buy your tickets.

These places offer you an incentive to check out Frankfort for what to do in Kentucky. Also, Frankfort is located in the state’s Bluegrass region which is also known as Horse Country. This region is world famous for being home to hundreds of lovely horse farms.

You can check out this post from last week to learn about a few horse farms you should visit in Kentucky. Also, if you are looking to head to Louisville, I would suggest a few downtown museums to visit. My previous post covers this.

Frankfort, Kentucky Hotels

If you are in need of a hotel to stay overnight at during your visit to Frankfort, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are two hotels I would suggest for you.

Hampton Inn Frankfort

This hotel is located on US Route 127 South just north of its interchange with Interstate 64. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include LongHorn Steakhouse, Ginza’s Japanese and Sushi, and Johnny Carino’s. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at the hotel for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $104 to $160. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Frankfort

This hotel is located on US Route 60 just north of the interchange with Interstate 64. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. Should you feel hungry, a few places nearby to eat out include Cattleman’s Roadhouse, Miguel’s Restaurante, and Cracker Barrel. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is available for your workout needs at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $120 to $189. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited the state capital of Kentucky before? Feel free to drop a comment below.

Things To Do In Louisville, Kentucky – Downtown Museums

The river city of Louisville is blessed to have a bustling downtown to explore. One fun thing you can do downtown is to explore its treasured museums. The museums of downtown Louisville are located in the West Main District. The district contains some of the oldest structures in the city. It houses a neat collection of buildings containing cast iron facades.

In fact, this downtown district has the largest collection of such buildings outside of New York City’s SoHo district. The West Main District is also known as Museum Row because of the concentration of downtown’s museums within the district. If you are heading downtown for things to do in Louisville, Kentucky, here are some museums you will want to check out.

(Photo courtesy of LuAnn Snawder Photography via Flickr)

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

(Photo courtesy of StevenW. via Flickr)

The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is located on West Main Street in downtown Louisville. The museum is remarkably easy to spot thanks in big part to the huge replica of a baseball bat that leans against the museum building. This is the largest baseball bat replica in the world.

It stands at 120 feet high and weighs 68,000 pounds. It is a replica of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat that legendary New York Yankees baseball player, Babe Ruth, once batted with. His baseball bat measured at 34 inches long.

This museum is dedicated to a group of baseball bats called the Louisville Slugger. Believe it or not, this museum is actually also a working factory that has been making the Louisville Slugger baseball bats since 1884. You can even take a tour of the factory in order to witness the world-class baseball bats being made. You can find an impressive 17-ton sculpture of a baseball glove at the museum.

This sculpture is made of Kentucky limestones that are 450 million years old. Be sure to visit the Signature Wall within the museum. This is where you can go to view the names, in both print and signature forms, of all the baseball players who had signed a contract with the Louisville Slugger in order to use their baseball bats during their games.

You will then want to make your way to the museum’s treasured Bat Vault. This is where you can check out more than three thousand original baseball bat models. Some of these models are at least one hundred years old. As you hold these baseball bats, you can learn about the baseball players who had used these models during their games and careers, from Ted Williams to Babe Ruth.

It is now time to actually try out these baseball bats including these used by baseball greats like Bath Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Derek Jeter. You can bat with these baseball bats at Bud’s Batting Cage within the museum. As you visit the museum, you will eventually receive a free Louisville Slugger baseball bat to take home with you as a souvenir.

After you visit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, it will be easy to see why Forbes called this museum one of the greatest sports museums in the world. The admission prices for the museum are $16 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $9 for children aged from 6 to 12. Those who are aged 5 and under will get free admission. You can go here to buy your tickets. The museum also contains an onsite store.

Kentucky Science Center

(Photo courtesy of Kentucky Science Center via Flickr)

The Kentucky Science Center is located across West Main Street to the northeast from the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. This is the largest hands-on science museum in the US state of Kentucky. The museum is divided into six fun hands-on exhibits. The first one is called Science in Play. This is an especially fun exhibit for children.

The exhibit allows them to basically investigate and play around with things in order to see how and/or why things work the way they do. It is divided into nine activity zones. Some of them include Science Depot, Color & Light, Shapes and Stuff Store, and Cityscape. The second hands-on exhibit is called The MakerPlace.

This is basically the exhibit where children aged 8 and up will try to invent things using many tools available to them. This is a chance for them to have fun while at the same time, developing problem-solving skills that are particularly useful in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Uniquely Human is the third hands-on exhibit.

This is the exhibit where you can learn about human beings, their unique characteristics, and how they operate. The World We Create hands-on exhibit is the place where you can learn about and experiment with some of the inventions of man such as rockets, bridges, wind tubes, and construction cranes. The Discovery Gallery hands-on exhibit veers into natural history territory.

This is the exhibit where you can check out cool gems and fossils, get up and personal with two real, life-sized polar bears, and soak yourself into an ancient Egyptian mummy. In the final hands-on exhibit, The World Around Us, you will learn about the planet that we live on – Earth.

The ticket prices for the Kentucky Science Center are $17 for adults and $13 for kids aged from 2 to 12. Free admission is available for those aged under 2. You can head here to purchase your tickets for the museum.

KMAC Museum

(Photo courtesy of PunkToad via Flickr)

the KMAC Museum neighbors the Kentucky Science Center to the east on West Main Street. This is downtown Louisville’s premier museum for art. This is the museum where you can check out gorgeous contemporary artworks, especially these coming from regional artists.

The artworks at the museum take on different forms including pen and ink drawing, ceramics, woodworking, painting, photography, glassmaking, film, video, and found objects. The museum houses a collection of 300 pieces of artwork that explore Kentucky’s geography and culture with themes including agriculture, domestic life, economy, class, religious belief, and rural-influenced pastimes.

The museum currently hosts two main exhibits. They are Julie Baldyga’s Heavenly People and Where Paradise Lay. These exhibits will run through November of 2020. The admission prices for the KMAC Museum are $6 for adults and $5 for seniors and military members. Those who are under the age of 18 will receive free admission to the museum.

You can go here to buy your passes for the museum. It is worth noting that the passes are good through November 8th, 2020. Also, if you get hungry during your visit to the museum, you have the option to head to KMAC Cafe which is located onsite.

These are some museums for you to visit downtown for things to do in Louisville, Kentucky. Also, if you are into boxing, I would suggest you to check out this post from last month. That is because it contains a few key attractions in Louisville that are related to boxing legend, Muhammad Ali.

Louisville Hotel

If you are in need of a hotel to stay at during your time in Louisville visiting these downtown museum, I have got your back. Here is a hotel that I would suggest for you.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Louisville Downtown

This hotel is located on West Market Street just south of all three of the downtown museums I mentioned. It is extremely close to the museums which are located just one street north on West Main Street. You could walk up to them from this hotel in just five minutes or under. There is free breakfast available at the hotel.

Should you get hungry, there surely are plenty of restaurants around the corner including Mussel & Burger Bar Downtown, Proof on Main, and Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant, just to name a few. The hotel houses a fitness center for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, Keurig coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators.

The average rate for a standard room range from $105 to $260. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to visit these downtown Louisville museums? Feel free to leave a comment below.

What To Do In Kentucky – Horse Farms

The US state of Kentucky may be famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby horse racing, but the state is also renowned for being home to peaceful horse farms. Many of them are located in an area of central Kentucky known as the Bluegrass region. This region is home to the vibrant city of Lexington and the state capital of Frankfort. Here are the horse farms you should visit for what to do in Kentucky.

(Photo courtesy of David Ohmer via Flickr)

Sun Valley Farm

Sun Valley Farm is located on New Cut Road around halfway between Frankfort, Kentucky’s capital, and Versailles. The beautiful residence that you see on this horse farm was built in 1831 by Samuel Pepper who was the son of prominent bourbon distiller, Elijah Pepper. Elijah built his bourbon distillery just across the lane from the horse farm. It now operates as the Woodford Reserve Distillery.

The appearance of the residence on the horse farm has remained unchanged from its mid 19th century days. The horse farm is now owned and operated by Barry and Jan Butzer and their son, Brett. This horse farm focuses on the mares who have been known to breed world-class racing horses. The horse mothers are called dams. This horse farm has been known to sell the dams of more than 200 stakes horses worldwide.

That is the most of any horse enterprise in the state of Kentucky. Some dams that had been sold include these of Harlan’s Holiday, Heritage of Gold, Kodiak Kowboy, Kudos, Saga Novel, Raise Suzuran, and Tour of the Cat. All of these horses have won at least one million dollars for their owners. Barry and Jan’s son, Brett, handles the tours at Sun Valley Farm.

On your tour of the horse farm, you can observe the mares and their baby horses (called foals) out on the scenic pastures, see the nursery where the mares and their newly born foals bond with each other, and get a better understanding of the breeding process that the mares go through. The tours will go for $20 for adults and $15 for children. You can go here to book your tour of the horse farm.

Claiborne Farm

(Photo courtesy of Sarah Sapp via Flickr)

Claiborne Farm is located on Winchester Road in Paris, a small town about thirty minutes drive northeast of Lexington. This is another one of the lovely horse farms you will want to visit. Claiborne Farm was the recipient of the prestigious Readers’ Choice Award for #1 Horse Farm by the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper in 2018.

This horse farm has been owned and operated by four generation of Hancock men. Walker Hancock currently owns and runs the horse farm. He took over in 2015 from his father, Seth Hancock, who is still alive. While Sun Valley Farm focuses on the mares who give births to world-class racing horse, Claiborne Farm focuses on the stallions and their offsprings – both of which are renowned racing horses.

So, horse racing fans should be pleased with the opportunity to observe some of these famous racing horses in person. They include War Front, Orb, Runhappy, and Blame. In the more than 100 years that Claiborne Farm has been in operation, more than 300 champion racing horses have been sired (fathered) by stallions who had lived there at some point in its history. That include six of the thirteen Triple Crown winners.

The most famous racing horse to have lived at the horse farm is Secretariat who won the Triple Crown championship in 1973. He died at the horse farm in October of 1989 at the age of nineteen. He is regarded as one of the greatest racing horses of all time. He is currently buried at the horse farm.

This horse farm offer guided walking tours where you can also visit the breeding shed that has given birth to more than eighty champion racing horses, the stalls where some of the most famous racing horses live, and the cemetery where Secretariat is buried. The prices for the tours are $20 for adults and $11 for children aged 12 and under. You can go here to book them.

WinStar Farm

(Photo courtesy of WinStar Farm)

WinStar Farm is located on Pisgah Pike just northeast of Versailles. This horse farm was established in 2000 by Kenny Troutt and his business partner, Bill Casner. This is the newest horse farm that I have mentioned here in this post. Even though this is a relatively new horse farm, the charming farmhouse along with the pond, smokehouse, bank barn, and Osage orange allee have all been there since the 18th century.

As is the case with Claiborne Farm, this horse farm is known for being home to champion racing horses that roam these lush pastures. That includes Justify who is the most recent Triple Crown champion, having won the championship in 2018. Another notable stallion who resides at the horse farm is Pioneerof the Nile. He is the sire of American Pharoah who was the Triple Crown winner in 2015.

WinStar Farm offers a one hour tour of the property. That includes a visit to the state of the art barn where you can get up and personal with some of these stallions and learn about their daily lives. Another place that you will visit is the breeding shed where a collection of stallions breed at least 2,700 mares annually. The booking fee is $30 per person. You can book your tours here.

These are the horse farms that you should visit for what to do in Kentucky. These horse farms are a staple of the Kentucky countryside.

Kentucky Hotels

If you are in need of a hotel to stay at while visiting these lovely horse farms, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest for you. Both of these hotels are located in Lexington as I believe the city is the best hub for reaching all three of the horse farms.

Hampton Inn Lexington South-Keeneland/Airport

This hotel is located on Lakecrest Circle near the interchange of US Route 68 and Kentucky Route 4 on Lexington’s west side. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Bru Burger Bar, Sahara Mediterranean Cuisine, and Texas Roadhouse. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool.

There is also a fitness center available for you to use at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $101 to $208. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lexington Dtwn Area-Keenland

This hotel is located on Sharkey Way near the interchange of US Route 421 and Kentucky Route 4 on Lexington’s northwest side. The hotel offers free breakfast. For the hungry, a few nearby dining options include Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen, Mancino’s Pizza, and Thoroughbred Restaurant. The hotel contains a hybrid indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

A fitness center is also available for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $99 to $197. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to experience Kentucky’s Horse Country with these horse farms? Feel free to leave a comment below.

What To Do In Alabama – Civil Rights

Alabama is a land that is treasured with history related to the American civil rights era. The southeastern US state was once marred by segregation policies. These were a product of the Jim Crow laws that required separate facilities for white and black Americans. Racial segregation was enforced in states across the southern part of the United States sometime after slavery was abolished in the country in the mid 1860’s.

Racial segregation lasted in these states until the 1960’s. It was in Alabama that the civil rights movement was formed and brought down the Jim Crow laws that were responsible for the racial segregation. As a result, there are a few attractions within the state that honors the civil rights legacy. History buffs with an interest in America’s civil rights movement will want to visit these places for what to do in Alabama.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

(Photo courtesy of James Mooney via Flickr)

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located on 16th Street North in the downtown area of Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city. It explores the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The museum also makes note of Birmingham’s contributions to the civil rights movement. You can also learn about the history of African-American life at the museum.

The museum is divided into four galleries. They are Human Rights, Movement, Confrontation, and Barrier. In addition to these four permanent exhibits, there are two special exhibits and five traveling exhibits at the museum for you to explore. The two special exhibits are Odessa Woolfolk Gallery and Blood Mirror by Jordan Eagles.

The five traveling exhibits currently at the museum are Courage Under Fire, Selma-to-Montgomery, Remember 4 Little Girls: A Gallery of Creative Expressions, Elder Grace, and Living in Limbo. The admission prices for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute are $15 for adults, $6 for college students, and $5 for seniors and youth from grades 4 through 12.

Those who are in grades 3 and under will get free admission. You can go here to buy your tickets for the museum.

Birmingham Hotel Suggestion: Drury Inn & Suites Birmingham Lakeshore Drive

This hotel is located on State Farm Parkway next to Interstate 65 south of downtown Birmingham. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. There is an onsite restaurant and bar called 5:30 Kickback that offer a rotating menu of free evening food and beverages. So, if you get hungry in the evening, you may want to check it out. The hotel houses a hybrid indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

There is also a fitness center available at the hotel for you to use. All of the hotel rooms and suites have WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $108 to $178. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

National Voting Rights Museum

(Photo courtesy of Tony Webster via Flickr)

The National Voting Rights Museum is located on US Route 80 BUS in the historic town of Selma which is about 52 minutes drive west of Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama. This museum is located right next to the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge. The bridge was the site of a deadly incident known as Bloody Sunday which took place in March of 1965.

That was when the civil rights demonstrators were attacked and brutally beaten by Alabama state troopers with horses, billy clubs, and tear gas. The demonstrators were attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery to fight for voting rights for African-Americans. After the first two attempts to march from Selma to Montgomery failed, a third attempt took place in late March of 1965.

In the third attempt, demonstrators were successful able to march all the way to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery from Selma in order to demand voting rights for black Americans. At first, their goal for voting rights were limited to the state level in Alabama. However, after the Bloody Sunday incident attracted national and international headlines, the issue of African-American voting rights was tackled at the federal level.

The US Congress passed the Voting Rights Act and former US president Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law in August of 1965. The National Voting Rights Museum is where you can learn all about the historic fight for African-American voting rights in America. The admission fees for the museum are $6.50 for adults and $4.50 for seniors and students.

Rosa Parks Museum

(Photo courtesy of damian entwistle via Flickr)

The Rosa Parks Museum is located on Montgomery Street in downtown Montgomery. The museum is centered around Rosa Parks who was an African-American woman famous for her refusal to get off a front seat on a Montgomery city bus. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the southern US underwent racial segregation throughout the first half of the 20th century and buses were no exception.

Back in Rosa Parks days, African-Americans were required by Montgomery city ordinances to sit in the back of the bus, if told to do so by the bus driver, in order to allow white passengers to sit in the front of the bus. In December of 1955, Rosa Parks was ordered by bus driver James F. Blake to get off her front seat and go to the back of the bus so that a white passenger can sit in that seat.

But she refused to obey the bus driver’s order and was arrested as a result. That sparked the Montgomery bus boycott in order to protest the racial segregation on Montgomery city buses. The bus boycott lasted for one year from December of 1955 to December of 1956.

The bus boycott resulted in a decision by the US Supreme Court that the laws in Alabama and Montgomery that enforced the racial segregation on buses, were unconstitutional. The Montgomery bus boycott marked the beginning of the overall civil rights movement in the US during the 1950’s and 1960’s for equal rights for black Americans.

It also resulted in the emergence of Martin Luther King Jr. as a prominent African-American civil rights leader during that time period. The signature feature of the Rosa Parks Museum is a replica of the city bus that Rosa Parks was on. There are even reenactments of the Rosa Parks bus incident.

The admission prices for the museum are $7.50 for adults and $5.50 for those aged from 4 to 12. Those who are under the age of 4 will have free admission to the museum.

Montgomery Hotel Suggestion: Hampton Inn & Suites Montgomery East Chase

This hotel is located on Eastchase Parkway neighboring Interstate 85 on Montgomery’s east side. There is complimentary breakfast offered at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Urban Cookhouse, Firebirds Wood Fried Grill, and Bonefish Grill. The hotel contains an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $119 to $184. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

So, these are the places that you will want to go to for what to do in Alabama. They will give you a better feel for what the American civil rights movement was like in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the role that Alabama played in it. Also, if you are into rockets and would like to get up and personal with one, the northern Alabama city of Huntsville is your best friend. You can read my previous post to learn more.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these civil rights attractions before? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Huntsville, AL – Rockets And Military

Huntsville is the city located in the northernmost portion of the US state of Alabama, near the state border with Tennessee. If you know anything about the city, you will know that it is dubbed the Rocket City. That is given the fact that Huntsville has a reputation as a major hub for NASA’s rockets and space missions.

The rocket-loving city is also known to be a center of the US Army’s missile development, being home to the US Army Aviation and Missile Command. As a result, those who are fascinated with rockets and the US military will be pleased to know that there are things to do in Huntsville, AL that will appeal to them.

US Space & Rocket Center

(Photo courtesy of David Ellis via Flickr)

The US Space & Rocket Center is located just to the southwest of the interchange of Madison Pike and Interstate 565 in Huntsville. It is the largest space flight museum in the world and one of the most comprehensive US manned space flight hardware museums. So, there is a lot for you to take in during your time there. The museum houses more than 1,5000 items in the rocket and space hardware collection.

When they are put together, they are worth tens of millions of dollars. When you arrive at the museum, you will notice an imposing rocket standing tall outdoors. This rocket is the Saturn V moon rocket. This was the rocket that was used by the US to put man on the moon for the first time ever in 1969. This rocket is about 36 stories tall, making it easy to spot from a certain distance.

You can explore aspects of the Saturn V moon rocket, including the Skylab engineering area, the Apollo 12 mobile quarantine facility, and the Apollo-era Gantry. You can learn about the planning that NASA undertook for America’s historic mission of landing man on the moon. There are also artifacts on display from the moon trip.

These include the Gemini and Project Mercury Astronaut trainer items, an Apollo 12 moon rock, the Saturn V Instrument Unit Ring, and the Apollo 16 command module. Another item that you will see at the museum is Explorer I. This was the first satellite that the United States launched into space. The satellite was launched in February of 1958 which is just over a decade earlier than the historic mission to the moon.

Pathfinder, which is the world’s only full-stack space shuttle to be on display, is also found at this museum. The prices for general admission to the US Space & Rocket Center varies just a little bit depending on the date you choose to visit. The prices for the July 1st to July 9th, 2020 slot are $20 for adults and $15 for children aged 5 to 12. Those who are aged under 5 will get free admission.

You can head here to buy your tickets for the museum. In addition to the museum, there is also a bus tour of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which is located about 12 minutes to the south from the museum. During the bus tour, you will get a glimpse into NASA’s operations in Huntsville. The bus tour is offered by the museum for $20 for those aged 5 and up. It will last for around two to two and a half hours.

US Veterans Memorial Museum

(Photo courtesy of Hichary via Wikimedia)

The US Veterans Memorial Museum is located on Airport Road Southwest near the interchange with US Route 231 in southern Huntsville. This is the museum where you can go and check out all kinds of cool things related to the US military. The items displayed at the museum date all the way back to the American Revolutionary War in the 18th century.

The museum houses more than thirty military vehicles. These include jeeps, tanks, watercraft, aircraft, and motorcycles. The crown jewel of these military vehicles is the Ford Pygmy. This is the oldest surviving jeep. It was produced in November of 1940 during the midst of World War II. You will be able to look inside at least some of these military vehicles at the museum.

A few examples include the UH-1 “Huey” helicopter, the Vietnam-era PBR river patrol boat, and the M-48 Patton tank. In addition to the military vehicles, there are military weapons and uniforms from a variety of periods on display at the museum. The museum is divided into nine exhibits.

They are Pre-Civil War (The Revolutionary War and The Mexican War), Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Present Day, 8th Airforce Briefing Room, and Outdoor Exhibit. During your time at the museum, you will get to hear unique first-hand accounts of some of the most significant conflicts that the US military had been involved in.

The admission to the US Veterans Memorial Museum is free to everybody. However, donations are encouraged. The suggested rates are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for students.

These are the things to do in Huntsville, AL. NASA and US military buffs will feel at home at these two attractions. So, you will want to make sure to visit them when you are in the rocket-friendly Alabama city.

Huntsville Hotels

Should you need a place to lay your head overnight during your time in Huntsville, I am here to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest for you.

Drury Inn & Suites Huntsville at the Space & Rocket Center

This hotel is located on Wynn Drive Northwest in Huntsville, right across Interstate 565 from the US Space & Rocket Center. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you feel hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Connors Steak & Seafood, Ol Heidelberg Cafe, and Grille 29. There is a hybrid indoor/outdoor swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

The hotel also houses a fitness center for you to use. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $117 to $181. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Huntsville-South

This hotel is located on US Route 231, just a five minutes drive south of the US Veterans Memorial Museum. The hotel houses an onsite restaurant called Bistro 6K. So, you can head there if you get hungry. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at the hotel for you to use.

All of the hotel’s suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $118 to $217. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these two attractions in Huntsville in the past? Feel free to leave a comment below.