20 Kid-Friendly Things To Do In Memphis This Summer

Posted by Holly Whitfield | May 19th 2019 53390 0

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.

Splash Park, Peabody Park, Memphis, Tenn.

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.

12. Check out kid-friendly exhibits at the Brooks Museum.
The Brooks Museum in midtown has a rotating lineup Tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for kids age 17-7, and free for those 6 and under.

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.

Jerry's Snow Cones, Memphis, Tenn.

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.

Show Comments


  1. Ryan says:

    Holly, do you know if they are doing movies on the bluff again this year?  Took the kids to see The Incredibles last year and they loved it.

  2. Jason says:

    In June and July, the Brooks Museum has Wacky Wednesday: http://www.brooksmuseum.org/m-events

  3. Tina says:

    Hey Holly – 

    Actually anyone 10 years old and over can do the Go Ape! Course, 10-15 year old just must have an adult with them to supervise.

  4. Terrice says:

    You forget the 2nd Editions bookstore and free programs at the Memphis Public Library!!!

    • Holly Whitfield says:

      Hi Terrice! I’ll have to check out 2nd Editions. And I didn’t “forget” anyone, this is just a quick list of 20 ideas out of the hundreds of kid-friendly things to do in Memphis. I left the comments open so folks could add their own ideas. Isn’t Memphis awesome?!

  5. Robyn says:

    Visit one of the branches of the Memphis Public Library & Information Center – http://www.memphislibrary.org. There are great materials and programs happening at each of the branches. Participate in the Library's Explore Memphis and earn badges and prizes -http://www.explorememphis.org/. For all ages. 

  6. ssg47 says:

    Memphis Zoo is great!

  7. ssg47 says:

    Visit the Peabody Ducks on the roof .


  8. Brooke says:

    The Morton Museum in Collierville has free summer interactive workshops for kids in June and July. Check their website for the details. http://colliervillemuseum.org. They're also have a free outdoor movie night showing Night at the Museum 3 (PG). 

  9. Ashley says:

    Kids bowl free. Kids skate free.

  10. Memorial Day at Memorial Park Cemetery. This family-friendly event (Monday, May 24 @ 11 a.m.) features live patriotic music, bagpipes, and military honors rendered with a real, live cannon salute by local civil war reenacting group.   Memorial Day is a special day in which we remember Veterans' sacrifice for our nation.  The Memorial Day service is free and open to the public.

  11. Kristi childs says:

    In your list of splash parks, you should include Peabody Park! It's free! 

  12. Aynonmous says:

    It should be noted that Collierville Wc johnson spray park is only for Collierville residents. They will be enforcing this now and charging $10 per person for non-residents. 

  13. Kimberly says:

    There is also a new indoor trampoline park equivalent to Sky Zone called "Jumping World USA" on Shelby Oaks. Took my son and cousins Saturday and the kids had a blast. Groupon has 2/$11 or 4/$25 admission vouchers and they jump for 1 hour. 

  14. Kelley says:

    take your children to a Kids Club! Tipton County friends, there are 11 locations during Throughoit June and July. This is a free, fun event for kids ages 4-12! Fore more info visit gbcatoka.org 

  15. Fannie Shelton says:

    Another excellent article!! 

  16. Adam Ciancioso says:

    I work at Andy B's Bartlett and we participate in the Kids Bowl Free program… Your child gets 2 free games every day throughout the summer (May 22-Aug 14) with the purchase of a shoe rental… There are even family packages for cheap where the parents get to bowl as well… Go to https://www.kidsbowlfree.com/center.php?alley_id=4228 … It's over a $500 value per child

  17. Beverly says:

    Memphis Juneteenth Urban Music Festival Robert R. Church Downtown June 19-21.
    Friday, June 19 Kids & Senior Citizens’ Day (Kids Zone $5.00 Bouncers, Face Painting, etc)

  18. David says:

    Take your child/ren to one of the many farmers markets. Let them help you pick out the next weeks groceries… Also, if you go to the Farmers Market Downtown be sure and get them a popsicle from Mama D's. Since you are already parked, take a quick stroll to the river and watch the Barges go up and down the river or play on the Big catfish/ splash pad.

    Another great place or hidden Gem is Shelby Forest.

    Canoe the Ghost River/ Wolf River

    Drive the AutoBahn…Go cart

    Go Ape  Ropes course

    Fly A kite

    Thanks for the great list ….If you make an additional list feel free to use any or all of these.


  19. Andria says:

    The Pink Palace has free 30-day memberships or $5 summer memberships, but you have to sign up in May: http://www.memphismuseums.org/trial-membership/

  20. “Embark On The Possibilities Summer Program” ages 9-12 from June 1st to June 12th at the University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship. Visit http://www.ENC.Solutions for my info!


  21. latosha says:

    Don't forget about Bartlett movies in the park at w.j freeman park in Bartlett. (free)

    Also the summer drive-in kids 10 and under are free and everyone else is only $7.50 but you get to watch two movies.

  22. ghg says:

    Check out our Summer Chess Camps! http://mschess.org/displaystory.php3?storyid=233

    *disregard the deadline for admission. 

    Our Chess Camp is conducted by veteran scholastic coach Dale Flickinger, whose students and teams have won MANY city and state titles and 13 national titles. It is staffed by top area high school and college players. Plenty of supervision! Students are grouped by age and ability. Beginners learn fundamentals and play other beginners. Experienced players work on new openings, new defenses, tactics, and endgames. Mini-tournaments, ribbons for everyone . . . and MUCH, MUCH MORE! For more information, call Dale Flickinger at 309-2440 (email: Flickmem@aol.com). The phone number at First Assembly Christian School is 458-5543

  23. Paul Volpe says:

    National Geographic’s Earth Explorers exhibit at the new Graceland Exhibition Center!

  24. Judy Stanley says:

    Love your posts!!!!
    Please remember Micco’s snocones and Freakshakes Family friendly with seating as well.

  25. Kim Perry says:

    Thanks so much! This is a great list!

  26. Jill Maxwell says:

    .Hello my name is Jill Maxwell and I am the owner of Thistledome in Byhalia Mississippi. We have a historic 1840s mansion that is open from Tuesday through Saturday 10 AM -6 PM. We offer free home tours as well as the homes history and interesting artifacts that have been found. During the holiday season we have a Christmas shop and during the fall we are showing Family friendly outdoor movies also at no charge. You can find us on Facebook at Thistledome Honeysuckle Society or email me at jillcmaxwell@yahoo.com. Thank you. Jill

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