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

Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park
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Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park is a two-acre park in East Memphis' Audubon Park, located adjacent to the park's Theater Memphis and Botanic Garden. The park was originally established by the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation as one of more than two dozen similar parks throughout the United States honoring those who have survived battles with various types of cancer. Several elements in the park are shared with all similar parks throughout the country, including a sculpture series by Mexican sculptor Victor Salmones depicting the stages of cancer recovery. Inspirational quotes for cancer survivors are engraved throughout the park's Positive Mental Attitude Walk, while cancer information and medical step instructions are showcased as part of the Road to Recovery. Wildflower plantings are meant to attract butterfly species, while a labyrinth garden offers opportunities for strolling and contemplation.

701 Perkins Exd, Memphis, TN 38117

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2.Chickasaw Heritage Park

Chickasaw Heritage Park
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Chickasaw Heritage Park is an historic Memphis park located adjacent to the city's National Ornamental Metal Museum, originally known as Jackson Mound Park before its renaming in 1913 as DeSoto Park. The park in its current incarnation is constructed around two preserved Paleoindian ceremonial mounds that once serves as the fortress for noted Chickasaw indigenous chief Chisca. Throughout the American Civil War, the mounds were used for munitions storage. They are also believed to be the spot where Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto first viewed the majestic Mississippi River during his expedition through the city in 1541. Visitors can climb atop the mounds and view beautiful panoramas of the city's skyline and riverfront between dawn and dusk.

Memphis, TN 38106, Phone: 901-576-4200

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3.Court Square

Court Square
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Court Square is a charming urban park in downtown Memphis, located along Court Avenue between Second and Main Streets. The park, which was one of Memphis' first four municipal parks laid out in 1819, is the only one of the quartet left intact today, located on land originally set aside for the construction of a city courthouse. Parkgoers can relax amidst beautiful scenery, including several central fountains, a gazebo, and a number of shaded benches and tables for enjoying lunches. Views of the city's restored antique trolley system are offered from the park as cars travel down nearby streets. Annual special events at the park include seasonal farmer's markets and a food truck festival.

62 N Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, Phone: 901-575-0540

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4.Jesse H. Turner Park

Jesse H. Turner Park
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Jesse H. Turner Park is named in honor of American Civil Rights Movement activist Jesse H. Turner, the president of Memphis' Tri-State Bank and the longtime treasurer of the NAACP. The South Memphis park, which is located at the corner of Bellevue and South Parkway, also honor's Turner's son, Jesse Jr., who was the first African-American student to attend classes at a white high school within the Memphis region in 1967. Children can enjoy safe play opportunities at the park's playground, which has been recently updated with new and improved equipment. A lighted baseball field offers opportunities for community and league play, while a basketball court and tennis center are available for pick-up ages. Other amenities include a day-use picnic pavilion available for private event rental.

1310 S Bellevue Blvd, Memphis, TN 38106, Phone: 901-636-6564

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5.Lichterman Nature Center

Lichterman Nature Center
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Lichterman Nature Center is East Memphis' premiere arboretum and nature center facility, overseen by the city's Pink Palace Family of Museums. The nature center is home to a wide variety of indoor and outdoor animal exhibits, including a 65-acre wildlife observation facility that is home to native birds, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians that can be viewed from a three-mile nature path. A two-story forest boardwalk is also offered, along with a plethora of family-friendly exhibits at the facility's visitor center. Hands-on exhibits include preserved animal specimens, a lake cam, and an underwater viewing area. Special events are held throughout the year at the center's pavilion and amphitheater, including overnight youth outdoor programming.

992 Quince Rd, Memphis, TN 38119

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6.Memphis Botanic Garden

Memphis Botanic Garden
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Memphis Botanic Garden is a lovely 96-acre botanical garden in Memphis' Audubon Park, open to the public daily. The gardens were originally established within the park in 1953, with additions landscaped throughout the rest of the decade, including an arboretum, rose garden, and magnolia garden. Today, more than 23 specialty gardens are showcased at the facility, including a bicentennial iris garden, a Japanese tranquility garden, a sensory garden, and the Anne Heard Stokes butterfly garden. Young visitors can play and explore at the My Big Backyard children's garden, which offers interpretive displays and children's activities. Sandwiches and soups are served up throughout the week at Fratelli's Cafe, which offers scenic views of the park's water and sculpture gardens.

750 Cherry Rd, Memphis, TN 38117, Phone: 901-636-4100

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7.Memphis Park

Memphis Park
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Memphis Park, formerly known as Confederate Park, is a beautiful Mississippi River park located on a bluff high atop Memphis' city waterfront. The park, which is located adjacent to the University of Memphis' Law School in the city's downtown district, is meant to honor Tennessee veterans of the American Civil War and World War I. A memorial honors the members of World War I Medical Society Members who died in the line of duty, while a plaque honors famed regional author and suffrage activist Elizabeth Avery Meriwether. Other memorials include a tribute to the 1862 Naval Battle of Memphis and a stone bench honoring the noted Crockett's Rangers Civil War Unit.

N Front St, Memphis, TN 38103, Phone: 901-576-7205

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8.Mississippi Greenbelt Park

Mississippi Greenbelt Park
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Mississippi Greenbelt Park is a spacious 105-acre park in Memphis' downtown district, known as a popular green space for walkers and cyclists throughout the year. A 1.5-mile pedestrian trail traverses the park's length, offering opportunities for complete loop 5K runs or walks. Large open dog walking spaces are offered, along with a boat ramp at the park's northern end, available for launching vessels into the majestic Mississippi River. Explore Bike Share stations are offered at each parking lot at the park, encouraging visitors to take to two wheels for exercise and exploration. Day-use picnic areas provide spectacular waterfront and sunset views.

Island Dr, Memphis, TN 38115, Phone: 901-312-9190

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9.Overton Park

Overton Park
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Overton Park is an expansive 342-acre public park in downtown Memphis, home to some of the city's biggest family-friendly attractions. The park, which was originally developed in 1902 and named in honor of city co-founder John Overton, is home to the 126-acre Old Forest area, which was designated as a State Natural Area in 2011. Visitors can explore the world-renowned Memphis Zoo, one of the United States' most popular zoological parks, or see seasonal concerts at the outdoor Levitt Shell, the venue known for launching Elvis Presley's music career. Other visitor attractions and facilities include the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the nine-hole Overton Golf Course, the 1.3-acre Overton Bark dog park, and the Memphis College of Art.

1914 Poplar Ave #202, Memphis, TN 38104, Phone: 901-214-5450

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10.Peabody Park

Peabody Park
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Peabody Park is a delightful city park located in Memphis' Midtown neighborhood, best known as the home of the Raymond Skinner Center, which offers recreational activities for community members with mental and physical disabilities. Throughout the summer months, young visitors can play at the park's aqua play splash pad, which is home to fountains, geysters, and misters. A children's playground is also offered, along with a small sporting field and two day-use picnic pavilions available for special event rental. Lovely metal sculptures showcase the work of local metalsmith Yvonne Bobo, entitled "Without Boundaries." A number of local festivals are held at the park throughout the year, including live music performances.

712 Tanglewood St, Memphis, TN 38104, Phone: 901-272-2528

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11.Shelby Farms

Shelby Farms
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Shelby Farms is one of the United States' largest urban parks, spanning 4,500 acres, more than five times the size of New York City's famed Central Park. The lovely park was originally opened to the public as a recreational facility in the 1970s, after decades of use as a humanist reformer compound and a government penal farm. In 2008, the park was completely redesigned as part of a city initiative master plan, adding a plethora of hiking and biking trails throughout its grounds. Two lakes offer rowing opportunities, including Patriot Lake, which also offers pedal boat rentals throughout the summer months. Wildlife abounds, including a resident bison herd that can be observed in their natural habitat. Other attractions include the Shelby Farms Greenline trail, an 18-hole disc golf course, and an officially-sanctioned BMX racetrack.

6903 Great View Drive North, Memphis, TN 38134

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12.T. O. Fuller State Park

T. O. Fuller State Park
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T. O. Fuller State Park is a delightful 1,138-acre state park within South Memphis, the only state park within the city's limits. The park, which is named in honor of activist and educator Thomas O. Fuller, was constructed throughout the late 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, serving as one of the first state parks in America to admit African-Americans at the time. During its development, CCC workers unearthed artifacts belonging to an indigenous village at the site of a proposed swimming pool for the park. Today, the site is preserved as the Chucalissa Indian Village, which showcases archaeological excavations, a replica village, and a cultural museum. Park amenities include six miles of hiking trails, basketball, tennis, and softball courts, and day-use picnic facilities. A nature center also offers interpretive programming and natural history exhibits throughout the summer months.

1500 W Mitchell Rd, Memphis, TN 38109, Phone: 901-543-7581

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13.Tom Lee Park

Tom Lee Park
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Tom Lee Park is a 30-acre city park that stretches along Memphis' Mississippi River waterfront, located immediately west of the city's downtown district. The scenic park is named in honor of African-American river worker Tom Lee, known for saving the lives of 32 passengers in 1925 aboard the shipwreck of the M.E. Norman. Today, the park serves as a popular destination for area joggers, walkers, cyclists, and rollerbladers looking for scenic exercise along the Memphis Grizzlies Riverfront Fitness Trail. Six fitness stations are also offered, along with two sand volleyball courts and a soccer field. Every year, the Beale Street Music Festival is held at the park, offering music performances throughout May.

Riverside Dr, Memphis, TN 38103, Phone: 901-312-9190

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12 Best Memphis Parks



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.

History

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.

Attractions

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.

Shopping

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

More Things to Do in Memphis

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.

Exhibition Area:

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!

Additional Information:

The Children’s Museum of Memphis, 2525 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104, Phone: 901-458-2678

Back to: What to do in Memphis