Outdoor Activities in Memphis, TN
Take a Swiss-made monorail to Mud Island River Park. Mud Island is a unique park made up of several distinct areas focused on the Mississippi River and its people - a River Walk provides a unique scale model representation of the river, complete with cities, bridges, and watersheds. The "1,000" mile journey ends at the Gulf of Mexico, a one-acre enclosure that holds 1.3 million gallons of water where you can enjoy a leisurely pedal boat ride. The Mississippi River Museum is 18 galleries showcasing various eras of history, including exhibits from early inhabitants to modern day transportation. More than 5,000 artifacts tell the story of early settlement, riverboats and barges, the Civil War on the river and the Delta's music, from rhythm and blues to rock ‘n roll. Explore Wolf River Harbor in a kayak or a canoe, or on land on a mountain bike.
Part of a group of museums in mid-town Memphis, the Lichterman Nature Center features a tradition of environmental education set in 65 acres. Home to an assortment of birds, plants, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, Lichterman is an urban nature center. The Backyard Wildlife Center features live animals, hands-on explorations, a two-story forest boardwalk, and an underwater viewing area. The 16,000-sqaure-foot Visitor Center presents wildlife exhibits focused on the site's three main habitats of forest, meadow and pond. Hike the extensive trail system that winds through native species of trees and brush that provide homes for migrating birds and more permanent residents. A self-guided Family Discovery Backpack program provides tools and guides to add to the enjoyment of this activity. Visitors can enjoy plant sales, festivals and other entertaining activities designed to build connections between you and the natural world.
Located near both the University of Memphis and Oak Court Mall, Audubon Park is a large (375 acres) park in east Memphis. Open from dawn to dusk every day, you can play indoor or outdoor tennis, tee off on a recently renovated golf course, run, walk or jog on one of the jogging/walking trails. You can also enjoy a more sedate visit by bird watching or having a picnic in one of several picnic areas. There are also open spaces for soccer and other sports. The Memphis Botanic Garden is a part of Audubon Park, too, so arrange your schedule to allow time to see some of the beauty in this gorgeous spot.
Memphis in May is a rare combo of international culture, exciting popular music, and fabulous food, all on the banks of the Mississippi River. Depending on which time of the month you visit, you can enjoy three days and nights of stellar musical acts first part of the month, or delve into the country of the year, or enjoy mouth-watering barbecue prepared by world experts. The Music Festival hosts such well-known musicians as Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Van Morrison, Allison Krauss, the Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Elvis Costello and Al Green. Plus all month long each year, Memphis honors the customs, culture and heritage of a different country (in 2012 it is the Phillippines), complete with live performances, food festivals, and educational opportunities. The final weekend of the month is a sunset symphony and a dazzling display of beautiful fireworks.
A 342 acre gem in mid-town Memphis, Overton Park has been known by Memphians for over a century as a great place to hike, bike, play golf, or bird watch in the serenity of the Old Forest nature trail. The Old Forest trail is 170 acres of old woodland with three different natural landscapes. These trails are great for walking, running or biking, and are lined with wild phlox, and spring beauties under old oak and hickory trees. The park also houses some favorite haunts of tourists and natives alike, including Levitt Shell, where Elvis had his first professional performance, the Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis Zoo, Rainbow Lake, Veteran's Plaza, and a 21-acre Greensward where you can jog, ride bikes, fly kites or just hang out.