Memphis is home to a wide array of gorgeous public parks, many preserving beautiful waterfront stretches along the city's majestic Mississippi River waterfront. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of family-friendly experiences at the city's acclaimed Overton Park, including visitors to the nationally-renowned Memphis Zoo or the Levitt Shell amphitheater, best known as the site of Elvis Presley's first public performance. Sprawling Shelby Farms spans more than 4,500 acres, one of the United States' largest urban parks, while Mississippi Greenbelt Park and Tom Lee Park provide excellent waterfront walking, jogging, and cycling opportunities. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park
2.Chickasaw Heritage Park
4.Jesse H. Turner Park
5.Lichterman Nature Center
6.Memphis Botanic Garden
8.Mississippi Greenbelt Park
12.T. O. Fuller State Park
13.Tom Lee Park
12 Best Memphis Parks
- Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park, Photo: weedezign/stock.adobe.com
- Chickasaw Heritage Park, Photo: conssuella/stock.adobe.com
- Court Square, Photo: Aleksander/stock.adobe.com
- Jesse H. Turner Park, Photo: fox17/stock.adobe.com
- Lichterman Nature Center, Photo: Aleksey/stock.adobe.com
- Memphis Botanic Garden, Photo: Yvantha/stock.adobe.com
- Memphis Park, Photo: Christopher Boswell/stock.adobe.com
- Mississippi Greenbelt Park, Photo: Jörn/stock.adobe.com
- Overton Park, Photo: Georges/stock.adobe.com
- Peabody Park, Photo: Shcherbyna/stock.adobe.com
- Shelby Farms, Photo: lawsonbe/stock.adobe.com
- T. O. Fuller State Park, Photo: winlyrung/stock.adobe.com
- Tom Lee Park, Photo: Natalia Bratslavsky/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: sframe/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Sun Studio
The Sun Studio is located in Memphis, Tennessee and known as “The Birthplace of Rock and Roll.” Visitors to the Sun Studio will enjoy getting to tour the place that the likes of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash recorded their albums. The Sun Studio was opened in January of 1950 by Sam Phillips, a pioneer in rock-and-roll.
Originally it was named the Memphis Recording Service and shared a facility with Sun Records Label Business. The first single recorded at the studio was the rock and roll hit, “Rocket 88” by Jacking Brenston and the Delta Cats in 1951. The single featured Ike Turner on the keyboard. This single gave the studio the title of “The Birthplace of Rock-and-Roll."
The Sun Studio has seen recording artists of all types. Blues artists and R&B singers that recorded there in the early 1950s include Junior Parker, BB King, and Rosco Gordon. Rock-and-Roll, rockabilly, and country artists that recorded there in the late 1950s include Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
The original location of the Sun Studio on Union Avenue soon became too small and a larger studio was opened in 1959 called the Sam C. Phillips Recording Studio or Phillips Recording. Because Phillips had made investments in the Holiday Inn Hotel chain, he started recording artists in 1963 under the label Holiday Inn Records for Kemmons Wilson.
The original building where Sun Records label and Memphis Recording Service were located was reopened in 1987 by Gary Hardy and renamed Sun Studio. The studio is a tourist attraction and recording label. It has attracted many well-known artists such as Def Leppard, Ringo Starr, Bonnie Raitt, and U2.
Visitors to the Sun Studio can tour the studio for an hour and half and learn why it is known as “The Birthplace of Rock and Roll.” The million-dollar quartet recorded here: Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash.
Other attractions that visitors to the Sun Studio may enjoy include Graceland and The Rock N Soul Museum.
· Graceland- Graceland is the ultimate destination for Rock’n’Roll lovers. Visitors will get the opportunity to explore the home of Elvis Presley the Graceland Mansion. It is a fully immersive experience where visitors learn about the rock’n’roll singer’s life and career. Learn about his roots, artistry, and those that influenced his career. The largest collection of merchandise from Elvis in the world is found here. Several different tour options are available.
· The Ultimate VIP Tour- This tour includes a tour of the mansion with an expert guide, a self-guided tour of Elvis’s planes, a meal voucher, and access to the private lounge, and access to the Elvis Presley Memphis Entertainment Complex.
· VIP Tour- This tour includes the Mansion Audio-guided tour and full access to the Elvis Presley Memphis Entertainment Complex. VIP Tour tickets also allow holders to skip to the front of the line for the Mansion tour and get a backstage pass keepsake.
· Elvis Experience Tour- This tour includes the Mansion tour and allows visitors to explore the exhibits that showcase Elvis’ career, automobiles, wardrobe, gold records and more from the Graceland archives. Visitors can choose to add Elvis’ Airplanes to this tour for an additional fee.
· Mansion Only Tour- This tour allows visitors to tour the Graceland Mansion and includes the opportunity to view artifacts from the archives. Elvis’ Airplanes may be added for additional fee.
· Rock N Soul Museum- Visitors to the Rock N Soul Museum will explore the birth of rock and soul music. Learn how the pioneers of these genres overcame socio-economic and racial barriers for their love of music and created the music that influenced the entire world. The Rock N Soul Museum contains several galleries that explore the history and culture of rock and soul music.
· Rural Culture- This gallery explores the lives of musical legends before they became icons.
· Rural Music- This gallery explores the history or music in the south.
· Coming to Memphis- This gallery explores the migration of sharecroppers to the city and how music crossed color lines in Memphis.
· Sun Records & Youth Culture- This gallery explores the dress, language, and music of the youth during the 1950s in Memphis.
· Soul Music- This gallery explores the African-American soul music genre and how it - influenced the city dynamics of Memphis and world culture.
· Bravo Gallery- This gallery explores how the music influenced the civil rights movement and inspired the leading musicians throughout the world in every genre. That influence continues today.
While visiting Sun Studios and the surrounding attractions visitors should stop in at the Rock Shop. It sells merchandise such as albums, clothing articles, books, concert posters, and other merchandise with the Sun Studio logo.
706 Union Ave., Downtown Memphis, Phone: 800-441-6249
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Attraction Spotlight: Children’s Museum of Memphis
Located in Memphis, the Children’s Museum of Memphis aims to create memorable educational experiences through hands-on exhibitions and interactive programs. Visitors of all ages will learn about a variety of subjects through the joy of play.
American Airways: This exhibit allows visitors to learn about physics through a giant interactive air generator complete with tubes, tunnels, balls, and much more.
Bank: This exhibit allows visitors to experience a visit to the bank, including ATMs, drive-up banking, and also to the study of different currencies from around the world.
Campground: This exhibit features an indoor rock climbing wall, slides, and an interactive campsite.
Canary Corner: This exhibit is home to dozens of canaries that visitors can discover.
CMOM TV: Visitors can get a taste of Hollywood in this exhibit. They can practice singing, acting, or telling the weather, all while watching themselves on TV.
Doodlebug Art Studio: This exhibit allows visitors to get crafty! Children can paint pictures, draw, and participate in a large variety of educational projects.
Earthquake Table: This exhibit features an earthquake simulator table, where children can build a small town with blocks and then simulate a 7.6 magnitude earthquake and watch their blocks come tumbling down.
Engine House 18: In this exhibit, visitors can climb inside a real firetruck, extinguish pretend fires, ride in a sheriff’s car and experience what it’s like to provide safety to the community.
Farm: This barn-shaped exhibit will allow visitors to practice operating their own farm, including milking a cow, harvesting vegetables, and gathering eggs from the chicken coop.
Garage: This exhibit is sponsored by AutoZone and visitors can pretend to drive their very own minivan through the streets of Memphis! They can pump gas, change a tire, and even race LEGO cars.
Going Places: This exhibit features a FedEx plane where visitors can walk on board to see the internal controls, practice flying the planes on a simulator, and even loading the packages for delivery.
Grocery Store: This exhibit is a pin-sized Kroger, where visitors can practice grocery shopping. Complete with mini shopping carts and operational check-out counters, this exhibit will allow for tons of imaginative play.
Healthy Habitat: This exhibit teaches visitors about healthy habits, including proper nutrition, exercise, and how the body works.
Light Bright: This is exhibit is one gigantic bright light! It covers an entire wall and visitors can draft all kinds of unique designs and enjoy the colorful exhibit.
Little Fixins Kitchen: Visitors can practice their cooking skills in this pint-sized kitchen exhibit. Their imaginations can run wild as they prepare food, clean dishes, and operate their own kitchen.
Mississippi River: Visitors can go on a trip down the Mississippi River in this exhibit! There is a 50-foot model of the river filled with flowing water.
Midtown Houses: This exhibit is a row of unique midtown houses representative of the surrounding Memphis neighborhood. Within these houses are various games and activities for visitors to enjoy, including giant tic-tac-toe and a giant loom.
Railroad Safety: This exhibit features a video of a train coming to a crossing and is compete with flashing lights and all the warning signs that warn people about oncoming trains. Hootin’ Andy will sing a song to help children remember how important it is to heed railroad crossing warnings.
Smiles Inc.: This area allows visitors to practice their dentistry skills on a puppet patient – Pearl E. White. There are computer games, puzzles, and other activities to educate visitors about dental hygiene.
Time Square: This exhibit is a miniature Times Square complete with a Hard Rock Café giant guitar and a Sir Dance-A-Lot Disco complete with flashing lights and dancing holograms.
Tornado: This exhibit is an indoor tornado generator that visitors can touch, control, and walk through.
Treehouse: This exhibit promotes the conservation of natural resources and engages visitors with the lifecycle of trees and their contribution to the environment. There are many different play areas inside for visitors of all ages, including building airplanes, listening to bird sounds, and conservation videos.
Bankshot Basketball: Through cooperative play, children will learn about shapes, angles, and math. Bankshot is a fun and challenging game that has been described as mini golf mixed with basketball.
Dinosaur Dig: Visitors can dig for fossils and buried treasure with special excavation tools in this outdoor exhibit area.
H2OH! Splash Park: This exhibit is a 7,700-square-foot water park meant for the younger members of the family! Visitors should bring the swimsuits, towels, and a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon unwinding in the sun.
Playspace: This outdoor playground is truly right out of the imagination and is a perfect place to let the little ones run wild! It is complete with a merry-go-round, two ziplines, and cooling misters!
The Children’s Museum of Memphis, 2525 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104, Phone: 901-458-2678
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