20 Kid-Friendly Things To Do In Memphis This Summer
The last day of school is coming soon (or already gone) and I can already sense the anticipation from parents who are wondering how to fill a whole summer with activities.
With that in mind, here’s a list of 20 kid- and family-friendly things to do in Memphis in the summer.
I know everyone knows about the Memphis Zoo and the awesome Children’s Museum (and their new Carousel). Some of these things you may have done before, but I hope some are new to you and your family. Most of them are under $10 a person or affordable. Another thing: most of these are fun for adults, too, especially for a date or friend’s day out. I’ve included an additional option for grown-ups where appropriate.
1. Have milkshakes at the historic A. Schwab on Beale
Shakes aren’t super cheap, but the quirky atmosphere of a hodgepodge general store makes it worth it. (Grown folks version: try boozy milkshakes at The Arcade)
2. Explore the state-of-art Woodland Discovery Playground at Shelby Farms
It’s free to play! (Grown folks version: Go Ape! Adventure Course; actually older teens can do Go Ape! as well.) See more Shelby Farms ideas here.
3. Go see a movie at the Pink Palace’s CTI 3D Giant Theater
Tickets are $8-$10 per person for 3D films like Mysteries of China, Apollo 11, and Walking With Dinosaurs. For teens or adults, they’re also showing old-school 2D flicks (like JAWS) on Saturday afternoons.
4. Immerse in essential history at the National Civil Rights Museum
Walk through interactive exhibits and learn about the people who started and continue the fight for equal rights. Tickets are $13 for kids and $16 for adults – but the museum is free on Monday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for TN residents with state ID.
5. See the Peabody Duck March
Classic Memphis. Totally free. (Grown folks version: go to the 5 p.m. march and stick around for martinis.)
6. Try the “Lemonade of the Day” at Lunchbox Eats
Downtown restaurant Lunchbox Eats serves up a different flavor of lemonade (pineapple, honeydew, strawberry, etc.) in a huge mason jar everyday.
7. Play in My Big Backyard at the Memphis Botanic Garden
It’s whimsical, interactive, and outdoors. Admission to the Garden (which included My Big Backyard) is $10 for adults and $5 for kids age 12-2. (Grown folks version: spring for Live At The Garden tickets.)
8. Go to a splash park.
We have several options for keeping cool with a good old-fashioned splash water park for kids. Try Beale Street Landing, Peabody Park in midtown, the Children’s Museum’s Splash Park, W.C. Johnson park in Collierville (for Collierville residents only, please call ahead), the Civic Center plaza, or dip your toes into the Riverwalk at Mud Island.
9. Take your picture at all the I Love Memphis murals.
There are several I Love Memphis murals around town, so take a morning or afternoon to capture the some family pics. For even more murals and public art around town, check out Memphis Art Project.
10. Pick something from the 100 More Things To Eat In Memphis list and go eat it.
This 2013 list is still good to go for delicious Memphis eats. Try something new!
11. Pick something at Jones Orchard.
Head to the farm and get yourself some heirloom peaches, berries, and strawberries this summer. Price depends on how much you pick.
13. Visit a local bookstore.
Kids these days…do they appreciate the joy of spending an hour or two perusing the shelves of real, in-the-flesh books? Take them to one of the city’s many independent bookstores.
14. Wait in line for a Jerry’s Sno Cone.
It’s a rite of passage, and you have to do it at least once a summer. There are two locations. Try a different flavor this time, and don’t sleep on their burgers and corn nuggets.
15. If you live in the ‘burbs or East Memphis, go to Tom Lee Park. If you live downtown/midtown, go to Shelby Farms or Germantown Municipal Park.
There’s something mind-clearing about a change of scenery. There’s something nice about checking out “the other side of town”. You could apply the same principle to movie theaters, restaurants, or anywhere you normally go.
16. Take a trip to Summer Avenue’s Golf & Games.
Shoot around at laser tag, defeat friends in putt-putt, ride go-carts or bumper boats, and play arcade games at Memphis’ classic Golf & Games park. Go here for prices.
17. Find a food truck for lunch or dinner.
Tacos, hot dogs, burritos, kebobs, barbecue, grilled cheese, fresh fried shrimp…the list of Memphis’ food truck offerings seems to grow everyday. Try out something new and enjoy meal from a truck al fresco. Here are 6 ways to find Memphis food trucks.
18. Go to a Redbirds game.
Take ’em out to a ball game: Saturday night fireworks, apple pie on a stick (it’s on my list to try), the very hilarious Rockey the Redbird, an awesome park, and of course…great baseball from future big leaguers. Tickets start at just $9.
19. Check out the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.
Have an hour or two to spare? The Smithsonian-affiliated Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is a great way to introduce the kids to Memphis music and history.
20. Go to the indoor trampoline park.
Need to burn off some energy, but require air-conditioning? The SkyZone indoor trampoline park is what you’re looking for. It’s $10 for a half-hour of open jumping. (Grown folks version: if you’re into some serious exercise, try the heart-pumping Sky Fit classes, offered three times a week.)
Have more ideas? Leave ’em in the comments!
Originally published 2015, latest update 2019.