Things to do in Memphis with kids

Sitting on the mighty Mississippi river, Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the most important cities of the American South. With its music legacy, civil rights movement history, gorgeous gardens, and signature barbecue, it's a vibrant and beautiful destination. Visiting with the kids? We can suggest quite a few kid-friendly things to do in Memphis.


What is it?
Elvis Presley's home, featuring a car museum, tours and exhibits, and the singer's final resting place.

Why should you go?
It would be unthinkable not to visit Graceland, the iconic mansion where the King of Rock'n'Roll lived for 20 years. This museum features the world's largest and most comprehensive Elvis collection and offers a range of tours.

Explore the public and personal sides of the King, his gold and platinum records, magnificent jumpsuits, capes, belts, memorabilia from his movies, and much more. Stroll through the mansion and check out the iconic Jungle Room and the Meditation Garden, where the King and members of his family are buried.

We love the Presley Motors Automobile Museum, home to the iconic Pink Cadillac and Elvis's two customized jets: the 1958 Convair 880, named Lisa Marie after his daughter, and a smaller Lockheed JetStar, the Hound Dog II.
Recommended age: strollers are not allowed inside the mansion, the tour may take a few hours, and there's quite a lot of information — so we wouldn't recommend visiting with young children. Kids of school age with a taste for rock'n'roll would definitely enjoy it.
Opening hours: daily from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: tour prices vary and start at $49.75 for adults and $28 for kids aged 5-10; children aged younger than 4 (or 2 for some tours) go free

Memphis Zoo

What is it?
An impressive zoo that is over 100 years old and hosts wildlife from across the globe.

Why should you go?
Founded in 1906, Memphis Zoo is one of the greatest local attractions for families and has consistently received various awards for providing quality entertainment as well as for its conservation efforts. Located in Overton Park, this spacious park is home to over 3,500 animals across 19 exhibits. Here, you can feed a giraffe by hand, watch a sea lion show, marvel at the grace of giant cats, check out the elephants bathing, and see one of the very few nocturnal animal exhibits in the country.

Among other activities, there are nice cafes and snack bars, from a barbecue to a Moroccan place, a playground, rides including a farm train and a carousel, and a Splash Park that kids absolutely adore!
Recommended age: any age — there's something exciting here for all kids!
Opening hours: from March to October: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM for the rest of the year
Cost: $21-$23 for adults, $20-$22 for seniors, $16-$18 for children aged 2-11; younger kids get in free

Fire Museum of Memphis

What is it?
An interactive fire museum located in a historic fire engine house in downtown Memphis.

Why should you go?
Based in the renovated 1910 Fire Engine House, the Fire Museum of Memphis is dedicated to the education of fire safety, the preservation of fire service heritage, and its contribution to society. It's also one of the really fun places to visit!

It is home to a wide range of exhibits, some of which date back to the 19th century. Uniforms, fire helmets, fire extinguishers, models, equipment, memorabilia, and a few fire engines are on display here. The interactive sections include simulations of being in a fire and driving a fire truck, the Arcade Room with fire and life safety video games, and an escape maze. Ol' Billy, an animatronic talking fire horse, is the real star of the museum.
Recommended age: great for kids of all ages, perhaps just a bit less so for toddlers and younger kids
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Cost: $10 for adults, $9 for students aged 13-17 and seniors aged 60+, and $8 for children aged 3-12; younger kids can go for free

Related tours:

Memphis Museum of Science & History

What is it?
Science and history museum with an IMAX theater and a planetarium.

Why should you go?
The MoSH is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the Southeast and houses an extensive collection of historical, educational, and technological attractions in a few buildings.

From fossils and ancient artifacts to state-of-the-art planetarium shows, there's a wide range of exhibits for families to explore. Want to meet an animatronic T-Rex or learn about mastodons who roamed the forests of Memphis millions of years ago? Or study the history of Memphis from its birth as a frontier river town to a vital Victorian Era city? Check out the Piggly Wiggly Store replica: its first outlet opened here in 1916. Finally, gaze at the stars in the marvelous planetarium!
Recommended age: kids of school age and teenagers
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM; closed from January 1 to January 10
Cost: $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, $10 for children aged 3-12

National Civil Rights Museum

What is it?
A complex of museums and historic buildings located on the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Why should you go?
This museum is dedicated to the legacy of the American Civil Rights Movement. It includes the former Lorraine Motel, which used to provide lodging to black guests during the segregation era. The civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was shot on this site in 1968.

The complex includes historic collections, multimedia, and interactive exhibits and organizes educational events about the struggle for human rights, racial equality, and social justice. Paying homage to the legacy of MLK Jr., it provides a great deal of information, from slavery to the modern Civil Rights Movement, from nonviolent protests to armed self-defense.
You'll pass by the museum on our tour of downtown Memphis, so drop by — and don't forget to get the tickets in advance.
Recommended age: this is one of the educational things for kids who are old enough to understand the concept of rights
Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $18 for adults, $16 for seniors aged 55+ and students, and $15 for children aged 5-17; younger kids go for free.

The Rendezvous

What is it?
The quintessential Memphis barbecue joint that has been serving signature dry rub ribs for decades.

Why should you go?
We should warn you: don't expect the locals to agree on which of the barbecue joints in Memphis is the best. However, the Rendezvous is definitely one of the most famous places.

It dates back to 1948, when its founder Charlie Vergos, a descendant of Greek immigrants, opened a restaurant in a basement. He converted an old coal chute into a smoker to add flavor to the ham. In the 1950s, he created the signature dish - dry rub pork ribs. Vergos made a special rub based on his father's Greek chili recipe, the cajun spices he discovered in New Orleans, and paprika for color. The 'Vous ribs have been immensely popular ever since — why not check for yourself right after the tour of downtown Memphis?
Recommended age: any age — the place is kid-friendly and has a children's menu
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM and from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays
Cost: $33 for a full slab of charbroiled pork ribs for two with two beans and two coleslaw portions, $4.75 for a small beer

Beale Street

What is it?
Iconic pedestrian street in downtown Memphis, home to the historic constellation of music and food joints.

Why should you go?
Nicknamed 'Home of the Blues,' the buzzing neon-lit Beale Street is the place to go for fans of live music, restaurants, and street performances. If you're in town for the first time and thinking about what to do in Memphis with kids (or without them) — a stroll along Beale Street is a must (plus, we've got it covered in our tour).

Created in 1841, the street has been historically associated with trade, music and entertainment, and Black-owned businesses. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, B. B. King, and other blues and jazz legends played here and contributed to the development of Memphis Blues. So grab a snack, get a drink, and walk around absorbing the music — it's a truly memorable experience.
Recommended age: any age (but note that minors are not allowed after 11:00 PM)
Opening hours: 24 hours — get your souvenirs and explore history in the daytime, return for booze and blues at night
Cost: $5 per person after 9:00 PM on select Friday, Saturday, and holiday nights

The Peabody Memphis

What is it?
A historic luxury hotel with daily duck marches and amazing views.

Why should you go?
Opened in its current Italian Renaissance building in 1925, the Peabody is best known for its duck parade that takes place twice daily. The tradition goes back to the 1930s. The red carpet is rolled out, fans gather around, and the Duckmaster guides the hotel's five resident Mallards from their penthouse to the lobby fountain (and back in the evening).

The duck march is loved by adults and children alike and is certainly one of the most fun things to do in Memphis with kids. We've got one more tip, by the way: the ducks live in their Royal Duck Palace on the hotel's rooftop, and the views from the roof are simply mesmerizing. Our tour of Memphis includes this attraction, so make sure you're around in time!
Recommended age: any age
Opening hours: 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM — we strongly recommend arriving at least 45 minutes early (yes, the ducks are that popular)
Cost: free

Related tours:

Children's Museum of Memphis

What is it?
A museum with a whole range of interactive and educational experiences targeted specifically at children.

Why should you go?
Looking for things to do in Memphis with kids that would be tailored specifically for the little ones? We've got one! You can spend hours with your kids at this family-oriented center — just watch them play and learn.

There's a multitude of interactive, hands-on exhibits for kids of different age groups, inspiring them to explore, imagine, and create in the process where games merge seamlessly with education. There's a carousel and a rock climbing exhibit, a section for kids aged four and under and a bank simulator, an art and innovation lab, and a garden-themed splash park where you can bring your own summer gear. Trust us, you'll be hard-pressed to get the kids to leave!
Recommended age: 2-10 years old
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $15 for everyone except children under the age of 1

Memphis Botanic Garden

What is it?
Unique gardens and an arboretum spread across 96 acres, with a very popular children's garden called My Big Backyard.

Why should you go?
Located in Audubon Park, this vast urban green space is home to a state-of-the-art arboretum with thousands of trees, and 30 specialty gardens, including Formal Gardens, Japanese Gardens, Woodland, Urban Home Gardens, and others, littered with sculpture and art collections.

The real highlight of the park? My Big Backyard play area, with 16 sections for climbing, splashing, jumping, digging, and daydreaming. This spacious area is chock full of playhouses, musical instruments, mazes, tunnels, and, of course, plants and flowers. The best part of the kids' activities is Raindrop Stop, the water feature that generates a mini-rain falling from the edge of the pavilion roof to cool off in the summer heat.
Recommended age: toddlers and everyone else
Opening hours: from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM during Central Daylight Hours and from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM during winter hours
Cost: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors aged 62+, $7 for children aged 2-12; younger kids go for free

Memphis Pyramid

What is it?
One of the most recognizable structures in town, housing an outdoor gear store, a hotel, a shooting range, and other attractions.

Why should you go?
A former sports arena built around 1954, this pyramid-shaped building is 98 meters tall and is home to a range of attractions. This is the largest single retailer location in the world: Bass Pro Shops — a fishing, hunting, and boating gear vendor - opened here in 2015.

But it's not shopping that makes a trip to the Pyramid an exciting family thing to do. The whole building is a swamp-themed space full of cool stuff: a giant cypress swamp filled with fish and alligators, an aquarium, a bowling alley, an archery range, cafes and restaurants, and a hotel. There's also a 28-story freestanding glass lift that brings you to the observation deck with some of the best views of the city and the river: check out the Mighty Lights!
Recommended age: any age
Opening hours: the shops are open from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday through Saturday and from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Sunday.
Sky High Ride operates from Monday to Saturday from 11:00 AM to 8:30 PM and on Sunday from 11:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
Cost: entry to the shop is free, and Sky High Ride costs $8 for adults and $5 for children aged 4-12

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum

What is it?
A historic house that may have served as a station on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves, with a museum of slavery and the antislavery movement.

Why should you go?
Built in the mid-19th century, this white house is named the Burkle Estate after its owner, who reportedly played an important role in the Underground Railroad, the network of routes and safe spaces that existed to aid the fugitive enslaved people. Mr. Burkle possibly was a so-called conductor on the Railroad.

During the tour of the house, you can see the small cellar where the escaping enslaved people would hide and check out the trapdoors and hidden passages where the fugitives were harbored. There's also a museum that presents the history of slavery and the informal systems that were developed to escape and fight exploitation.
Recommended age: pre-teens and older
Opening hours: from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the summer and from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM from September to the end of May
Cost: $12 for adults, $10 for students aged 4-17, $11 for seniors and college students

The Cotton Museum

What is it?
A museum dedicated to the history of the cotton industry and its impact on life in the South.

Why should you go?
Occupying the former trading floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange in the historic Cotton Row — the 19th-century hub of the world's largest cotton market — this museum shares the story of the 'white gold' and the massive influence it has had on the South's life, culture, and economy.

The space is gorgeous, with its ornate decorations, high ceilings, and beautiful arched windows. Inside, you will find artifacts and interactive exhibits that showcase the nuances of cotton production and trade: you'll get a glimpse of what it was like to work in the field and a booth and focus on the dark relationship between cotton and slavery.

Our walking tour takes place in the vicinity, so you can easily do both in one day.
Recommended age: pre-teens and older
Opening hours: daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $10 for adults, $9.50 for seniors, $9 for students, and $8 for kids aged 6-12; younger kids go for free


What is it?
A multi-purpose arena located in Downtown Memphis, home of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Why should you go?
Should your child wish to go see a basketball game (or some other event), FedExForum is the place to check out. Home of the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA, this space does not only host basketball games but also hockey, boxing, WWE, and MMA, as well as concerts and various shows.

The Forum opened in 2004 and pays homage to the city's musical heritage, with murals of the most famous artists hailing from Memphis, including Justin Timberlake, Elvis Presley, and B.B. King, and music-themed eateries. It's been praised for its organization and comfortable seating. And our walking tour of downtown Memphis actually stops just by the Forum!
Recommended age: school kids and older children
Opening hours: depends on the event; the box office is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays
Cost: depends on the event; kids under the age of 2 usually go free

Mud Island Park

What is it?
A riverside park with a scale model of the Mississippi River

Why should you go?
Nothing else to do this weekend? Come over to Mud Island, then (well, it's actually a peninsula, but those are details). The area might look a bit less polished than most of the other things on our list, but hey, not everything has to be squeaky clean to be charming!

Located in the heart of the Mississippi River, it's accessible via a sky bridge and is within walking distance from downtown. The best part of the space, and the kids' favorite, is the 600-meter scale model of the river that is carved out of cement and includes plaques with details about the river's history. There's also a concrete outdoor amphitheater that seats up to 5,000 people. Great views of Memphis and the Mississippi are an added bonus.
Recommended age: any age
Opening hours: from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Cost: free
  • 1
    What are the must-visit destinations in Memphis with kids?
    • Graceland
    • Memphis Zoo
    • Fire Museum of Memphis
    • The Rendezvous (or any other barbecue place!)
    • Gus's World-Famous Fried Chicken
    • The Peabody Memphis
  • 2
    What are the best free things to do in Memphis with kids?
    • Mud Island Park
    • Beale Street
    • Memphis Pyramid
    • The Peabody Memphis
    • Shelby Farms Park
  • 3
    What are the best things to do In Memphis with toddlers?
    • Memphis Zoo
    • The Peabody Memphis
    • Children's Museum of Memphis
    • Memphis Botanic Garden
  • 4
    What are the best things to do In Memphis with teens?
    • Fire Museum of Memphis
    • Memphis Museum of Science & History
    • Sun Studio
    • Stax Museum of American Soul Music
    • National Civil Rights Museum
    • Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
    • The Cotton Museum
  • 5
    What are the best things to do In Memphis with a baby?
    • Memphis Botanic Garden
    • Memphis Zoo
    • The Peabody Memphis
    • Shelby Farms Park

Related tours: