Shelby Farms Park Just Got More Awesome
This coming Thursday September 1 is a big day in Memphis! Not only is it the day of the huge 901 Day event at AutoZone Park (fun, food, entertainment, fireworks, free!) it’s also the grand opening of the “Heart of the Park” new stuff at Shelby Farms Park.
I took a tour of the new and improved areas of the park this week. Here are some photos. Don’t forget to check out the schedule of events that Shelby Farms will host for 30 days straight in September.
The old visitor center was torn down (building materials were recycled, reused, or donated to Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore wherever possible). Here’s the shiny new one:
The porch has huge, quiet fans in the ceiling. Inside, there are restrooms, water fountains, a gift shop and the Kitchenette (coffee, snacks, etc.).
Down the hill from the Visitor Center is a brand-new splash pad for kids. It will have limited hours in September. This thing is awesome.
In the newly expanded Patriot Lake, you’ll be able to kayak and canoe and paddleboard (which is totally new for Shelby Farms). There’s also a boat house where you can bring your own boats.
You’ll still be able to paddle boat (not to be confused with paddleboard) at the other lake, Pine Lake.
This muddy area is an artificially created (but naturally sustainable) wetland/marsh area. It’s expected to attract waterfowl and native plants and wildlife.
There’s also a neat walkway. There’s a deck area with some sweet lounge chairs that you can’t see in this picture.
The walkway that connects the Visitors Center/Patriot lakeside to the new Event Stage.
Three words: Dog. Water. Fountain. (Also, bike racks.)
The new stage! It faces both ways, so performers can either face the lawn or face the water … you’ll be able to “pull up” in your boat to watch a show if you want.
Keep going along this path, and you’ll get to the FedEx Event Center/The Kitchen Bistro restaurant. Don’t get confused: the two spaces share a roof, but there are separate entrances. If you enter through The Kitchen, you can’t sneak into the Event Center and vice versa.
You’ll be able to rent out the Event Center. I imagine there are going to be a lot of weddings there. It’s got a great view and plenty of space.
The Kitchen Bistro will tentatively open to the public on August 31. I’ll have more details and hours and everything soon. I know they’re going to open for dinner first, then shortly thereafter will add lunch and brunch service.
The patio at The Kitchen:
As for their menu, I saw some photos of chicken skins and pork chops from a soft opening earlier this week. Here’s the dinner menu for the Chicago location (entrees there are $27 – $45).
There’s an open kitchen. They’ll have wine and later, maybe cocktails on tap. There’s a private dining room for renting out, too.
Try to stay calm, but they’re going to have brunch soon.
This is the view from in front of The Kitchen/event center. That “beach” (no swimming, please) doubles as canoe parking. Because that’s a thing now!
If you’re a numbers/list person, here’s this:
- increased Patriot Lake from 52 to 80 acres
- added 55 acres of meadow including 3,000 new trees
- built a new First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center/ gift shop / Kitchenette
- built a new FedEx Event Center / Kitchen Bistro restaurant
- installed new biking and walking trails
- built a SMART charging station
- added new restrooms, benches, swings, picnic pavilions, boat/bike rental pavilions
- built an outdoor event stage
What do you think about the improvements at Shelby Farms?