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101 Things To Do In Memphis #11: Mud Island River Park

by Melissa Thompson

Though not literally an island, Mud Island is a small peninsula surround by the Mississippi River and Wolf River Harbor.  Mud Island opened to the public in 1982 and features restaurants, a museum, and an amphitheater.  You can get to Mud Island either by car, foot, monorail or ferry. 

At Mud Island River Park, you can experience the Mighty Mississippi River up close. There is 5 block long river walk model that you can hike down and see the Mississippi in miniature. Major cities and small towns located on the river are marked in the scale model, and markers explain history and facts about the river. The model empties into a "Gulf of Mexico" replica, which was once a waterpark named Bud Boogie Beach, and on the other side is a small wooden boat named the Maymay, which is no longer open to the public. The park also includes bike trails, pedal boats, and rafts.

Inside the 18 gallery Mississippi River Museum, you can explore two full size boat models you can board. The museum also presents the history of the lower Mississippi river valley, with most of its emphasis on the steamboat. The mission of the museum is to preserve and promote the natural and cultural history of the Lower Mississippi River Valley through excellence in education, interpretation and exhibits. Admission to the museum is $10 for Adults (12-59), $9 for Seniors (60 Plus), $7 for Youths (5 – 11), and Children (4 and under) are FREE.

Mud Island is home to a 5,000 seat outdoor amphitheater which has been used for a summer concert series for over two decades. The band Dash Rip Rock which has played there several times, recorded a song named Mud Island that can be found on two of their albums. James Taylor performed at the amphitheater during a light rainstorm in 1992, stuck his arm out into the falling water and remarked, "Mud Island... ominous name, eh?"

Call 800.507.6507 or 901.576.7241 and visit the website for additional information.


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101 Things To Do In Memphis #6: Fire Museum of Memphis

by Melissa Thompson

The Fire Museum of Memphis is quite literally the Mid-South's hottest attraction. It is America's Premiere Interactive Fire Museum. The Museum is located in the legendary Fire Engine House No.1 on Adams Ave in Downtown Memphis, which is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Fire Station No. 1 opened in 1910 at 118 Adams Avenue in Downtown Memphis. Fire Station No.1 was built during the term of the infamous Mayor of Memphis, EH "Boss" Crump, and Fire Chief, John E. McFadden.  In the early 90’s, the city of Memphis experienced an unusually high fire fatality (up to 2.5 times the national average).  During their search for a solution, The Memphis Fire Department decided to create not just a fire museum housing its rich history, but to impact the fire problem through the creation of an institute for learning and teaching fire and life safety. As such, the mission of the Fire Museum of Memphis is to promote the education of fire and life safety, to reduce injury, life-loss and property-loss related to fire and to recognize and preserve the heritage of the fire service and its contribution to the community. 

At the Fire Museum of Memphis, you can step back in time to a turn-of-the-century firehouse. Fight the flames of a burning skyscraper from a Snorkel basket. Take a look at the horse-drawn era of firefighting from a horse's prospective. Test your ability to find an escape route to survive a fire. Feel the heat of the FedEx Fire Room. Learn about the most devastating fires in the history of Memphis. Test your ability to outsmart “Squirt,” the transformer-like fire truck in the Arcade Room. Discover the proud history of Memphis' first African-American firefighters and much more.

To learn more about the Fire Museum of Memphis and to find their hours of operation and admission prices, check out their website or call 901.636.5650


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101 Things To Do In Memphis #2: Stax Museum of American Soul Music

by Melissa Thompson

Known as the only soul music museum in the world, Stax Museum has been open since 2003.  It is located a 926 East McLemore Ave, which was the home of Stax Records until its bankruptcy in 1976.

The Stax Museum is a replica of the Stax recording studio, the former Capitol Theatre, down to the sloping floor of studio A. The 17,000-square-foot museum features more than 2,000 videos, films, photographs, original instruments used to record Stax hits, stage costumes, interactive exhibits, and other items of memorabilia. Some of the standout exhibits include the Soul Train dance floor, Isaac Hayes' restored 1972 gold-trimmed Cadillac El Dorado, and a changing gallery where special exhibits change five times each year.

Stax Museum is operated by Soulsville USA, which also operates the adjacent Stax Music Academy.  The Stax Music Academy is a state-of-the-art facility where primarily at-risk youth are mentored through music education and unique performance opportunities they would otherwise likely never experience. The building also houses The Soulsville Charter School, an academically rigorous, musically rich school where students study math, language arts, science, social studies, and orchestra. Their Soulsville Symphony Orchestra has played for the likes of Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and Isaac Hayes.

Stax Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 1pm – 5pm.  Admission is $13 for adults, $12 for seniors 62 +, Active Military, and students with proper ID, and $10 for children aged 9-12. Children under 8 are free with a paid adult.  Visit the website or call 901.942.7685

If you not been to this gem of American Soul Music history, make plans to go today!

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101 Things To Do In Memphis #99: The Cotton Museum

by Melissa Thompson

When you visit the Cotton Museum, you're treading on the legendary floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange where cotton traders once stood at the center of the global cotton economy. Once, only the elite members of the Cotton Exchange were allowed to enter.  Today, this historic space is open to the public and is devoted to sharing the story of cotton – the crop that created empires, transformed American culture and changed the history of a nation and the world.

The museum was founded in 2006 to preserve the history of this worldwide market place and to tell the epic story of the famed cash crop and its profound influence on the city of Memphis and, in fact, America's history and culture at large. Since opening its doors, the Cotton Museum has attracted nearly 100,000 visitors from across the country and around the world. Their mission is to share the story of the cotton and the influences of the people that were gathered here around the industry not only with a growing international audience, but with Memphis area residents- especially the city's youth.

It's been said that downtown Memphis is the place where the Mississippi Delta begins. And whether you are a tourist, Memphis native, or elementary school student, the Cotton Museum is a great place to start an exploration of the Delta's history and our dynamic urban culture. Our Museum tells the story of how Memphis came to be. Engaging exhibits help visitors understand our city's place in time and explain how the art, history and music that is so important to our culture evolved from the confluence of people that were originally gathered here around the cotton industry.

At the historic Cotton Museum in downtown Memphis they’re re-discovering the American South and telling the dynamic story of the plant that built the Bluff City. Learn all about how the fabric of our lives influenced the cultural fabric of the Mid-South.


Purchase tickets in the Gift shop or in advance:
Adult: $10.00
Seniors: $9.00
Students: $9.00
Military: $8.00
Kids 6-12: $7.00
Children under 6: free


The Cotton Museum At The Memphis Cotton Exchange
65 Union Avenue • Memphis, Tennessee 38103
Phone 901.531.7826 | Fax 901.531.7827


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101 Things To Do In Memphis #97: Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

by Melissa Thompson

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum’s exhibition about the birth of rock and soul music, created by the Smithsonian Institution, tells the story of musical pioneers who, for the love of music, overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create the music that shook the entire world.

The museum offers a comprehensive Memphis music experience from the rural field hollers and sharecroppers of the 1930s, through the explosion of Sun, Stax and Hi Records and Memphis’ musical heyday in the 70s, to its global musical influence. The museum’s digital audio tour guide is packed with over 300 minutes of information, including over 100 songs, and takes visitors at their own pace through seven galleries featuring 3 audio visual programs, more than 30 instruments, 40 costumes and other musical treasures.

History of Rock 'n' Soul Museum born on April 29, 2000, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Inc. has welcomed over 200,000 visitors from all over the world, including thousands of school students who participate in the museum’s Education Program to learn about the social changes that impacted the nation and led to the development of rock ‘n’ roll.

The museum and gift shop are open daily, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for youth age 5-17. Shelby County, Tennessee residents are offered free admission any Tuesday afternoon between the hours of 2 and 7 p.m. by simply showing a photo ID with proof of residence.

Located at 191 Beale, on the corner of legendary Highway 61, “The Blues Highway,” and world famous Beale Street, at the FedExForum sports and entertainment complex.

Visit www. or call 901-205-2533 for more information.

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101 Things To Do In Memphis #82: National Civil Rights Museum

by Melissa Thompson










The National Civil Rights Museum is a complex of museums and historic buildings in Memphis, Tennessee; its exhibits trace the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the 17th century to the present. Through interactive exhibits, historic collections, dynamic speakers and special events, the museum offers visitors a chance to walk through history and learn more about a tumultuous and inspiring period of change. Noted as one of the nation’s premier heritage and cultural museums, the National Civil Rights Museum is steadfast in its mission to share the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement and explore how this significant era continues to shape equality and freedom globally.

Established in 1991, the museum is built around the former Lorraine Motel, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Two other buildings and their adjacent property, also connected with the King assassination, have been acquired as part of the museum complex.

The museum offers 260 artifacts, more than 40 new films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts that guide visitors through five centuries of history – from the beginning of the resistance during slavery, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, and the seminal events of the late 20th century that inspired people around the world to stand up to equality.

When it comes to civil rights, its important not only to learn about historical milestones but also to interpret them in a way that can be applied to todays challenges. Through multi-sensory and multi-media innovations, historical artifacts and structures, events, speakers and online resources, the National Civil Rights Museum champions educational programming and offers visitors a full immersion experience.

Call 901.521.9699 or visit the website for additional info.

National Civil Rights Museum

450 Mulberry Street
Memphis, TN  38103


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101 Things To Do In Memphis #73: Pink Palace Museum

by Melissa Thompson

The Pink Palace Museum is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the Southeast. You can walk through a replica of the first self-service grocery store in the country, Clarence Saunders’ Piggly Wiggly. Explore the cultural and natural history of the Mid-South through exciting exhibits, dioramas, and audio-visuals. Trace Memphis’ development from the time of Spanish explorers through the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemics. Learn from the award-winning medical exhibit how health care grew to be Memphis’ largest industry. You will also see how dinosaurs and fossils dramatically chronicle our ever-changing planet. The Museum also hosts a number of touring exhibits for you to see and experience throughout the year.

Kids as young as 3 years-old will be able to enjoy this museum. Older kids will have a greater appreciation for what it has to offer; adults will love it! Depending on the age (and attention span) of your kiddos, plan to spend 1-2 hours touring the museum.

The four story IMAX with state-of-the-art digital surround sound is a don’t-miss. There are a handful of times to see an IMAX show, so check the website for times and arrange your visit accordingly. You cannot enter an IMAX show once it has started, so don’t be late!

Visit on a Tuesday after 1pm and your museum admission is free. Even if you never expect to get back to Memphis, check the membership rates for a discount. If you plan to do the Planetarium and IMAX with 2 kids or more, the membership might save you some money. 
Bella Café offers sandwiches, salads, coffee and desserts. They are Project Green Fork Certified, and you can even come and eat at the Café without being a museum guest. You can picnic on the lawn or at the picnic tables, too. 

Be Sure Not to Miss the Following Exhibits:
Birds, Bats and Bugs
The Birds, Bats and Bugs room is open Thursdays from 9am – 1pm. This is a touch-and-feel discovery room that my son would have stayed in all day. The staff member in this room held his attention and gently showed him around. I would pay full price just for access to this room and staff member! It was great.

Discovery Days
On select days of the month (usually 2 per month) the museum offers activities for kids that complement one of the permanent or temporary exhibits at the museum. See the website for dates and more information. 

Scavenger Hunt
You can make this a fun educational experience by leveraging the scavenger hunt worksheet or discovery worksheets found on the website. 

”Real” Dinosaur
Don’t miss the life-sized triceratops, but be forewarned that it is mechanical. As you approach it, he comes to life with roaring and animated movement. My brave little 4 year-old was frightened at first since neither of us was expecting this. He quickly warmed up to the big guy and continues to talk about it even to this day.

Visit the website or call 901.636.2362 for ticket pricing, hours of operation, directions and additional information.

The Pink Palace 
3050 Central Ave 
Memphis, TN 


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Pink Palace Family of Museums FREE 3 Month Summer Trial!

by Your Key to Memphis Team

Looking for Something to Do with Your Family This Summer?

The Pink Palace Family of Museums inspires people to learn how history, science, technology, and nature shape the Mid-South. Through rich collections, thought-provoking exhibitions, and engaging programs, the Pink Palace Museum encourages our diverse community to reflect on the past, understand the present, and influence the future.

The Memphis Pink Palace is offering a FREE 3 month trial Summer Membership, which includes the Pink Palace Museum and Lichterman Nature Center. Plus, you will receive discounts on IMAX and Planetarium tickets and a discount in the Museum store. To take part YOU MUST: log on to to enroll.  Registration ends May 31, so act fast! What a great way for your child to spend the summer!

Remember to visit for all of your Real Estate needs.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8