Things to do with Kids in Memphis, TN
Memphis is a wonderful family destination to visit year round. Check out this list of the best places to play, eat and stay in the Bluff City and be prepared to fall in love with this beautiful place!
What to do in Memphis, TN with Kids
Polar bears, wolves, and hippos, OH MY! The Memphis Zoo is a great place to visit with your kids all year long. Their large variety of animals, education and conservation programs, and interactive exhibits make this zoo a family favorite. Our favorite exhibits include the elephant habitat, the polar bear habitat and the arctic wolves.
Children’s Museum of Memphis
If you are looking for some hands-on fun for your kids, look no further than CMOM. This interactive fun zone and museum is a great way for kids to burn off some energy while learning about the world around them. Our favorite exhibits here are the Going Places exhibit where you can explore a FedEx plane, the Engine House 18 where you can climb in and around different types of first responder vehicles, and CMOM TV where you can try your hand at news reporting against an interactive green screen.
Memphis Botanic Gardens
This isn’t your ordinary botanical garden! These beautiful gardens in the heart of Memphis were designed with kids in mind. Their Big Backyard exhibit is the perfect place for jumping, splashing, digging, creating, daydreaming, discovering, and simply enjoying time spent outdoors. Our family’s favorite activities include splashing in Critter Creek, exploring in the Tree Top Adventure, and popping in and out of the adorable houses on Playhouse Lane.
Fire Museum of Memphis
Located in the historic Firehouse No. 1, the Fire Museum of Memphis is a completely interactive museum that takes you back to the early years of firefighting when they fought fires with a horse drawn buggy all the way through to the technological advancements of today’s firefighter. Our family’s favorite exhibits include the Fire Escape Maze and the Fire Safety Arcade.
The Pink Palace
A one-of-a-kind museum in the southeast, the Pink Palace takes you on an interactive journey through Memphis’ rich history. Walk through a replica of the Piggly Wiggly (the first self-service grocery store in the country) and follow Memphis’ development from the time of Spanish explorers through the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemics. Our family’s favorite exhibits include the 3D giant theater and the Sharpe Planetarium.
Home to the Mississippi River Museum, Mud Island showcases 10,000 years of history in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The exhibits detail early inhabitants in the valley to modern day transportation and contain over 5,000 artifacts, including two full-size boat replicas which you can board and explore. After you explore, take an exciting ride on the monorail to Mud Island River Park where you can play in an exact scale model of the lower Mississippi River. Mud Island is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm from April through October.
I can’t talk about Memphis without mentioning Graceland. While this isn’t a great place to take young kids (age 10 and under), it is good for older kids that are interested in music and especially music history. Walking into this iconic house is like stepping into a time capsule. Everything is exactly as it was when Elvis lived there, from the shag carpet and avocado appliances to the stained glass peppered throughout the house. Our family’s favorite exhibits include the Elvis Presley Auto Museum and Elvis’ Custom Jets.
Best Places to Eat in Memphis with Kids
High Point Pizza
Tables that are vintage video game consoles, an expansive pizza menu with unique and traditional toppings, and friendly staff are just some of the reasons that families love High Point Pizza! Our favorite dishes are the Cajun Chicken Pizza, Fried Macaroni & Cheese and the Buffalo Chicken Supreme Pizza.
Trolley Stop Market
This local eatery is half farmers market, half restaurant and all delicious! The Trolley Stop Market prides themselves on supporting local farmers whenever possible, and their healthy yet yummy menu is a win-win for parents and kids. Our favorite dishes are the Pimento Cheese Burger, the Jive Turkey Hoagie and the homemade hummus and pita bread.
Since Memphis is also the Barbecued Pork Capital of the World according to the Travel Channel, I would be remiss not to mention at least one BBQ joint. Central BBQ is the place to be if you want true Memphis BBQ. They are consistently ranked in the top 3 BBQ places in Memphis for the last 12 years. Our favorite dishes are the homemade potato chips, pork plate and the ribs.
Where to Stay in Memphis
DoubleTree Memphis Downtown
Stay in the heart of Memphis at DoubleTree Memphis Downtown. This family-friendly hotel, boasting freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies upon arrival, is within walking distance to many downtown Memphis attractions and a short drive to Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion and the Memphis International Airport.
This landmark hotel features modern guest rooms with upgraded bedding, flat-screen TVs, WiFi and large work desks. Complimentary shuttles to and from the airport, plus close proximity to attractions like Graceland and the Memphis Zoo, make Hilton Memphis a great choice for families visiting the Bluff City.
We had such a fun time when we visited Memphis and know that you will too! If you have visited Memphis do you have a favorite attraction or restaurant that I missed? Please share it in the comments below!
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Know Before You Go
- The National Civil Rights Museum is at the Lorraine Motel, which is known for being the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.
- The Fire Museum of Memphis is unique with entirely interactive exhibits along with a Fire Escape Maze and a Fire Safety Arcade.
- Known as “The Official Home of the Blues,” Beale Street is the ideal spot to hear the best music Memphis has to offer.
- Elvis Presley’s home Graceland will provide hours of exploration, entertainment, and history. The tour of the property is entirely interactive with an iPad tour.