We went to the Memphis Zoo. Very nice zoo but mostly smaller animals, geared more toward younger guests, but we were able to feed the giraffes, one of Dave’s favorite things to do!
After the zoo visit, we stopped by the St. Jude Research Hospital. As it turned out, we just missed Marlo Thomas! She had been at the complex for a board meeting the previous day and stopped by the Danny & Marie Rose Thomas Memorial Garden for a visit before she headed to the airport. A lot of history is displayed in the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion which is next to the gardens. A very nice & worthwhile visit!
After we visited the flagship Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, MO, we’ve become fascinated with the different wildlife displays they have in each store. The Bass Pro Shop in Memphis is a giant pyramid (32 floors, one of the largest pyramids in the world!) and houses the Big Cypress Lodge on the 2nd & 3rd floor (it actually has giant cypress in the lobby!), an indoor swamp & bowling alley! There’s an observation deck on the 28th floor and provides awesome sunset views over Memphis! There is also a restaurant & bar at the top of the pyramid that offers panoramic views.
Memphis has a historical tie to pyramids, Memphis was named after a city in Egypt when it was founded in 1819. The pyramid was originally built back in 1991 as an event center and housed the Memphis Grizzlies until the FedEx Forum was opened in 2004. The pyramid was vacant until Bass Pro opened in 2015.
The FedEx Forum is located at the end of Beale Street in downtown Memphis. We went to a Grizzlies game the last night we were in town, they played the Washington Wizards.
April 2018 was the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel. We stopped by the Lorraine Motel, walked around and looked at the historic buildings but did not go into the National Civil Rights Museum. Dave was interviewed by an online news source in front of the Lorraine Motel, they were interested in his views on the MLK era vs what’s going on today; as you may guess, Dave, being the political guy his is, had plenty to say!
On our last day, before the Grizzlies game, we did a final check to make sure we hit everything we wanted to see. We had walked through and around Beale Street but hadn’t taken the time to take it all in, so we spent some time checking out the ‘Blues’ shops and had some BBQ. Although the music was good, it’s very touristy, not really our thing.
No trip to Memphis is complete without seeing the Marching of the Ducks at the Peabody Hotel! The ducks are in ‘teams’ of 5 North American Mallards, 1 male & 4 female, every morning & afternoon they come down (or go up) the lobby elevator and ‘march’ on a red carpet to/from the fountain in the Grand Lobby to the tune King Cotton March by John Philip Sousa.
Fun Facts: no duck is served at The Peabody, possibly making Chez Philippe (on-site restaurant) the only French restaurant in the world to not offer duck; when the ducks are not in the fountain, they are on the roof, living in a $200k structure made of marble & glass, features its very own fountain, includes a small house (replica of the hotel) where the ducks can nest and has a soft, grassy ‘front yard’; and the ducks are raised on a local farm and are not intended to be domesticated, each team of 5 only serves 3 mos and then they are returned to the local farm to live as wild ducks.
There is a Peabody Hotel in Orlando, FL, the Marching of the Ducks is done there too, we saw it there many years ago.
And, yes, even with all that we did in/around Memphis in only one week, we still got in 2 rounds of golf! We golfed at a course called Miramichi Golf Course – Miramichi is a Native American word meaning ‘place of happy retreat’ (Dave thinks that’s an appropriate name for a golf course!); the course was previously known as Big Creek Country Club and had been earmarked for commercial development.
In 2009, Justin Timberlake bought it and put $16m into renovating the golf course to Audubon Classic Sanctuary status, the first golf course to get that status designation. Timberlake, an avid golfer, renamed the course to Miramichi, he & his family sponsored charity tournaments during his ownership period, then it was sold to a local businessman for $500k in 2014.
The course was about 20 mins outside of Memphis in Millington, TN, and not many people played it during the week, it was like having our own private golf course! Although some of the facility looked a little rundown, the course was in decent shape, especially for the time of year and all the rain they had recently.
We’ve had a very nice (busy) time in Memphis . . . onto Little Rock, AR!