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
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 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.
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.
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.