I’ve had lots of photos to edit since Blair and I returned from our Tennessee trip! So far, I’ve shared 2 hotels [Hu Hotel, Memphis and Sleep Inn, Dyersburg] plus behind-the-scenes of the Grand Opening we attended. Today, I’m sharing all the things we did during our 24 hours in Memphis! Here’s what to do if you have 24 hours in Memphis with kids…
This post is sponsored by Memphis Tourism and Graceland.
[Linking our travel outfits here. This dress is perfect for travel–doesn’t wrinkle, has pockets, and easy to throw on and look put together!]
After checking into our beautiful room at the Hu Hotel, the first thing we did was take a ride on the Memphis Riverboats. Honestly, I was pretty nervous taking her on the boat. The cruise is about 90 minutes long, and I didn’t know how a 2-year-old would handle that. But, we both love the water so I decided to give it a go!
I’m happy to report she loved it! This was Blair’s first time on a boat, and she was really into it. They had snacks for sale, which always helps.
Our tour guide said the first two bridge piers were built by hand, and the third was made by machine as more technological advancements were made. He was very informative and talked almost the entire 90 minutes.
A few tips for the Memphis Riverboat cruises:
- Bring some activities and snacks for kids. I packed Blair’s little backpack full of toys, books, and snacks she could enjoy. This helps with the downtime while waiting for the boat to leave.
- Arrive early to pick your seat! There are limited seats on the upper deck, which was where we sat. The lower level is enclosed and air conditioned, if that is your preference.
- Most days only have 1 cruise, so check the schedule ahead of time and plan your other activities accordingly.
Peabody Duck March
Our next stop after the river cruise was The Peabody Hotel for their famous Peabody Duck March. This is a phenomenon unique to Memphis. The Peabody has ducks living in the penthouse! At 11am each morning, the ducks ride the elevator down and march the red carpet to their fountain in the lobby, where they splash and play during the day. At 5pm, they march back into the elevator and go to their penthouse for the evening.
Our river cruise lasted until 4pm, then we were at The Peabody by 4:30. Their website says to arrive at least 30 minutes early, but you need to get there earlier if you don’t have kids with you. There is a HUGE CROWD for this–people even watch from the upper level, as you can see in the photo above.
Children are allowed to sit right next to the red carpet, so Blair and I had an excellent view. Only 1 adult is allowed to sit with each child, so plan accordingly if you’re traveling as a family. [This rule is strictly enforced!]
Additional adults and those without children will have to stand behind the red rope [visible in the photo above], in the bar/lobby seating area, or upstairs. If you want a seat in the bar, you’ll need to get there an hour or more early, at least for the 5:00 march. The bar and lobby seating was all full when we arrived at 4:30.
Blair and I had a front row seat, though!
The Peabody Duck March was the highlight of our trip for Blair. She’s told me about watching the “duckies” go into the “ella-ate-er” every day since we got home.
Peabody ducks are a must-see if you’re in Memphis with young kids!
Bass Pro Pyramid
One of the most unique spot in Memphis is the Bass Pro Pyramid. It’s right on the Mississippi River–in fact, you can see it behind Blair and I in the very first photo of this post, on the river cruise. We headed over to check it out after the duck march ended.
Memphis’ namesake is in Egypt, hence the pyramid. Originally, it served as home to the University of Memphis men’s basketball team and, eventually, the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. Once the Grizzlies left, the pyramid didn’t have a consistent use until 2015, when Bass Pro Shops moved in. Now, the pyramid contains a Bass Pro store as well as a hotel, restaurants, etc.
My phone was almost dead by the time we got here, so the photo above is the only one I have. It shows Sky High Ride, the elevator that takes you up to The Lookout, where you can see amazing city views.
The elevator is $10 to ride; Blair was free. The views from the top are great–you can even step onto glass and see the city below. Blair and I had a great meal at The Lookout. You don’t have to eat there after riding the elevator, but we were both hungry so decided to go for it.
The next step in my 24 hours in Memphis with kids was Hu Hotel, where we were staying for the evening. They have a rooftop as well, so we checked out more Memphis skyline views.
After spending a bit of time in our room, we decided to head out for some ice cream. Blair is 100% my daughter with her love of ice cream! [If you’ve been following me on IG for awhile, you may even remember when I had “lover of ice cream” in my bio!]
We walked over to Margie’s 901 and split an ice cream while enjoying some of the sights of downtown Memphis. If we had more time, I would’ve loved to ride the trolley and explore more downtown, but it was already getting past Blair’s bedtime.
The next morning, we headed out to Graceland, aka Elvis Presley’s house.
When you arrive at Graceland, you’re not actually at Graceland. You park and head in to buy your tickets, and it’s almost a little Elvis city set up. There’s an Elvis shaved ice truck, various souvenir shops, cafes, etc. Heads up, parking is $10 so make sure to plan for that.
You’ll want to get to Graceland early to make sure you have enough time to explore all the areas you’re interested in. Blair and I chose to only do the house and grounds, as we had a long drive back to Kansas City ahead of us. But there are lots of other exhibits, such as Elvis’ cars and planes, plus various traveling exhibits that you’ll want to have the option to explore. Ticket prices vary based on the exhibits you choose.
The tour begins by watching a brief video about Elvis, then you’re photographed for a souvenir photo, given a tablet + headphones for the tour, and load onto a bus to drive across the street to the actual Graceland grounds.
Exploring the outdoors was my favorite part. I really enjoyed seeing the horses, plus the architecture of the house was absolutely stunning.
Above are a few of my favorite rooms from Graceland. Elvis’s kitchen, the famous Jungle Room, and a pool table room.
Elvis and his family are buried right by the pool. The entire property is beautiful, and I really enjoyed seeing it.
24 Hours in Memphis with Kids
And that’s how Blair and I spent 24 hours in Memphis! If you’re planning 24 hours in Memphis with kids, I hope this post was helpful.
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