Day 2b: Memphis

A few hours Northeast of Little Rock, AR lies the city of Memphis.  It sits on the Mississippi River and connects Tennessee to this important body of water.  On the banks of the Mississippi lies the Great Pyramid of Memphis.  So far this is the closest thing to the Great Pyramids of Giza that we have had the opportunity to see in person.  Unfortunately, it now stands empty and alone.  Chain link fence surrounds the property and this amazing edifice appears forgotten.  We have heard rumblings of a Bass Pro Shop developing the property and putting a store in the pyramid that once housed the University of Memphis basketball team as well as the Memphis Grizzlies.  We hope that in a few years we will be able to come back and go inside this unique structure sitting on the banks of the Mississippi and that it will no longer be cursed by poor plumbing.  (The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan uses the Memphis Pyramid as part of its plot.)

There are many things to see and do in Memphis besides the now defunct pyramid.  Unfortunately, due to timing, costs or age requirements we were unable to do some of them.  Sun Studios, where Elvis Presley recorded, offers tours but due to the “personal nature” children must be five or older.  Since we couldn’t leave our 2 four year olds sitting outside, we nixed that idea.  Based on the costs of Graceland and the fact that we aren’t huge Elvis fans, that option also came off the list.  We drove by several of the places, but we ended up going to The Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium from 3:30-5:00 PM.  

The Pink Palace was going to be the 30,000+ square foot home of Clarence Saunders, founder of Piggly Wiggly.  Unfortunately, a year into the project he lost the home and had to file for bankruptcy.  The museum gives more information about what happened as well as a replica of the very first self-service grocery store which Clarence Saunders opened. 

The museum houses a planetarium, IMAX, natural history, history of the Mid South and history of Memphis.  They also have a temporary dinosaur exhibit where the kids enjoyed digging for dinosaur bones.  Overall, it was a nice way to get out and do something and learn a little more about the area.  We had to rush through the Mid South history area as the museum closed at 5:00 PM, but since we didn’t have to pay the admission cost, it was okay.  How did our family of six save $48.50 and get in for free, you ask?  No, my blog is not big enough to earn us free admissions. 

Several years ago I learned about the wonderful benefits of annual memberships at museums or zoos.  Since that time we have had one or more memberships that have given us free or cheaper admission to hundreds of zoos and museums across the country.  We save hundreds of dollars every year and help support our local museum(s) and zoo.  This year we have a membership with the Houston Zoo and through the end of July we have our Children’s Museum of Houston membership that is reciprocal to other ASTC museums.  The Pink Palace Museum was on the list.  I will go into more detail about reciprocal programs in another blog post and I encourage you to look into the possible benefits for you and/or your family. 

To celebrate my husband’s birthday and experience more of Memphis we decided to find some Memphis BBQ.  We did not travel hundreds of miles to eat at Olive Garden or P.F. Chang’s.  When you travel don’t be afraid to eat where the locals eat.  The best onion rings I have ever had were in a small restaurant in Augusta, Maine.  The show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is a great way to find out about restaurants you may want to try to visit or just ask people once you get to your destination. 

Beale Street is a popular place for BBQ and Blues, but we decided to go somewhere less touristy and tried Neely’s BBQ.  We got a lot of food and tried BBQ Spaghetti for the first time.  Evan loved it.  It was way too much meat for me, but it was very good.  

The Liberty Bowl
There are lots of things to do in Memphis.  The official guide to Memphis can be found here.  I am looking forward to seeing more things on future trips through Memphis.  Feel free to share your recommendations with us in the comments section.


Julia Nutter said…

A friend recommended Mud Island as a place to visit in Memphis. It is open Tuesday through Sunday. It is going on our list of things to do next time we visit Memphis.

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