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101 Things To Do In Memphis #43: Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park

by Melissa Thompson

11/22 through 12/28

  • Closed on Monday, November 26
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 6pm-9pm | Friday-Saturday: 6pm-10pm
  • Cost: $20 per car | $50 per van | $150 per bus
  • Special Theme Nights:
    • November 29: Tacky Sweater Night ($5 off)
    • December 3: Run Walk Bike ($5 per person); Starry Nights closed to cars
    • December 6: Decorate Your Car Night ($5 off)
    • December 6:  Member Night (Free Petting Zoo entry + free s’more kit.  Must show Member ID)
    • December 10: Walkin + Woofin ($5 per person; free for four-legged friends!): Starry Nights closed to cars
    • December 13: Scout Night ($5 off)

By and photo credit:

101 Things To Do In Memphis #95: Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park

by Melissa Thompson
Starry Nights is the largest holiday light show and festival in the Mid-South.  It's also the longest running celebration at Shelby Farms Park. The magic of the holidays is brought to life through the drive-through display of twinkling holiday light displays, cozy campfires and visits with Santa.  Each year, over 100,000 visitors cruise through the lights of Starry Nights making it an annual tradition for families.  Now in its 9th consecutive year, Starry Nights is the Conservancy’s largest fundraiser.  Since 2009, Starry Nights has been enjoyed by more than 900,000 visitors!

Open nightly through December 29, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Sunday - Thursday: 6pm-9pm | Friday + Saturday | 6pm-10pm

$20 per car | $15 for Park Members
$50 per large van and limo 
$150 per charter bus or school bus  

1. Save time in line and pre-purchase your tickets at the Lake’s Edge Gift Shop.
2. Purchase tickets in advance at
3. Tickets available at the ticket booth the night of the show.

If you have pre-purchased your tickets, enter through Gate 10 off of Mullins Station Road.
If you need to purchase tickets, enter through the Main Gate off Farm Road.

Participants receive a $5 discount per car on tickets purchased at the gate.

November 30: Tacky Holiday Sweater Night
December 7: Decorate Your Car + Park Member Night + Movie Night
December 14: Scout Night


December 4: Run, Walk, Bike Night (closed to cars) | $5 per person
Parking will be located at the First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center.
Hyde Lake Wheel House will be open for bike rentals!   
Free Starry Yoga at 7:15pm

December 8: Trivia Hike 7pm + 8pm - Take a hike around Hyde Lake and answer holiday trivia questions to win a prize!  Meet at the front desk in the First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center. 

December 11: Walkin’ + Woofin’ Night (closed to cars) | $5 per person
Sponsored by Memphis Veterinary Specialists
Hyde Lake Wheel House will be open for bike rentals!
Free Starry Yoga at 7:15

December 15: Nocturnal Nature Hike 7pm + 8pm - Enjoy a hike through Heart of the Park and learn about nocturnal animals in the Park. Meet at the front desk in the First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center. 

December 22: Holiday Story Hike 7pm + 8pm - Enjoy a walk through Heart of the Park while enjoying a holiday story. Meet at the front desk in the First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center. 

December 29: Mystery Hike 7pm + 8pm - Someone has eaten Santa's cookies.  Use clues from your guide to determine who did it.  Was it Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, Santa's Elves or Frosty the Snowman? Meet at the front desk in the First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center. 
Download a Starry Nights calendar here.

By and photo credit:

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101 Things To Do In Memphis #41: Visiting Santa

by Melissa Thompson

Looking to visit Santa?  There are lots of great options in the area if your kids want to pay Santa a visit, and you want to get some photos of the event.  It’s still early, but Santa is arriving soon and I know some of you don’t want to miss out!

Alpine Village
Trinity Baptist Church, Cordova
A free Santa’s village, reservations required and begins November 19 at noon.

The Avenue at Carriage Crossing
November 19 – December 24 

  • We loved the Santa at carriage crossing! He looks real and is great with kids 🙂
  • Carriage crossing is my favorite place. 
  • The Santa at Carriage Crossing was great last year. He had a plan for making sure we got the best picture possible of our leary 1 year old and was very patient with all the families.

Memphis Zoo Lights
November 18 – December 30 (select nights) EMM Review
$7 members, $9 non-members
90-foot, LED Ferris wheel ($5), Santa in his shop, animal encounters, free train, live reindeer, thousands of LED holiday lights, ice skating ($6), camel rides ($3 members, $4 non-members) and more

Mistletoe Village at Starry Nights
November 18 – December 27 (closed Nov. 21)
Woodland Discovery Playground at Shelby Farms Park
Hot chocolate, camp fire, vendors, petting zoo, camel rides, musical performances, visit with Santa.  EMM Review (of Carriage Ride). $20/car non-members, $15 members.

Bass Pro Shops Winter Wonderland
Saturday, November 14 – December 24
Both Memphis locations
Take family pictures and receive one free 4×6 photo with Santa – and if the line is longer than 30 minutes you can get a Bass Pass so you can walk around the store and come back at your assigned time. Package options will also be available for a price. Enjoy free crafts (M-F 5-7pm, noon-5pm weekends) and free games. EMM Review


Bass Pro Shops

  • ok don’t laugh, but Bass Pro Shop was great last year. I said no when my husband suggested, but then I gave in. 🙂 They have a really cute set up and a really nice Santa
  • Hands down… Bass Pro. He has 14 grandkids. Sweet man. Really good with those kids who are scared. He just has a gift and a heart for his job. (Tip: go on an off night. Lots of one on one time.)
  • we went to Bass last year too bc we ran out of time and it was nice! They even let us take a second photo bc the first wasnt that great 🙂 
  • We LOVE Bass pros santa..its free for one pic and $10 for the smallest package! And theyre set is cute and stuff for the kids to do!
  • We’ve done Bass Pro this year and last. It’s free and Santa is always very good. It gets very crowded close to Christmas though.

Oak Court Mall
November 19 – ?
Oak court mall. No wait and was great with my newborn last year.


Oak Court Mall

Wolfchase Galleria
November 4 – December 24
Caring Santa for special needs kids November 20 from 10 – 11:30am
Breakfast with Santa December 10, 8:30-10am
I thought he was wonderful. 

Children’s Museum of Memphis
Thursday, December 17, 1-4pm
It’s that time of year and Santa Claus will be stopping by CMOM!  Come take pictures with him from 1 PM – 4 PM.  Parents, be sure to bring your own cameras to get that perfect picture!

S’mores with Santa
Memphis Botanic Garden
Sunday, December 11, 5-8pm
Become part of a new holiday tradition as Santa drops in for s’mores and snapshots at Snowy Nights! Stroll through My Big Backyard, decked out in lights and holiday decorations, with outdoor activities, snow play, and more. Bring your own camera to capture magical encounters with Santa and his wintry friends. Tickets include s’mores, hot dog bar, hot cocoa buffet, and all the interactive fun of Snowy Nights. members $12/non-members $15, reservations are required.

Breakfast with Santa
Fire Museum of Memphis
2015: Santa arrives on a fire engine! Breakfast, photos, storytime, face painting and more. Two sessions. Registration required, $10/person.

Brunch with Santa
The Majestic Grill
Saturday, December 17
Enjoy holiday movies and cartoons on the Majestic Screen. Special appearances by North Pole Elves, Mrs. Claus & the Jolly ol’ Elf himself!  Santa’s friends to be announced! Santa will visit every table.  $18 per child ages 2-10, older children and adults order from the menu.  This event is sold out.

Breakfast with Santa
Kid’s Play, Germantown
2015: Breakfast, photos and play. $16 for the first child, $12 for each additional child, and $9 per adult. Call 758-1015 to reserve your spot.


101 Things To Do In Memphis #38: Orion Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park

by Melissa Hayes Thompson

If you aren’t too stuffed from Thanksgiving Dinner, make sure to visit Orion Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park! Open November 21st thru December 28th, including Thanksgiving Day!

Orion Starry Nights is a Mid-South tradition. More than 1.5 million lights illuminate the night sky in the largest holiday light show and festival in the Mid-South. But Starry Nights is more than a show–it’s an experience. This year’s show features 14 new displays that celebrate some of the most iconic places in Memphis, as well as revamped versions of annual favorites.

Experience Starry Nights in a new light every night! Ride in style on an enchanted, horse-drawn carriage or hayride! Decorating your car or wearing your favorite holiday sweater offers you fun ways to earn a $5 discount on tickets on special theme nights! Grab a cup of hot chocolate while you visit Santa, do some holiday shopping with local artisans, visit the Starry Petting Zoo, and even ride a camel in Mistletoe Village. Afterward, gather around a cozy campfire and roast s’mores while you listen to carols in the village on the Starry Stage. Discounts are only valid on specific dates.

All proceeds from Orion Starry Nights benefit Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that manages and operates Shelby Farms Park + Shelby FarmsGreenline.

Purchase tickets ahead of time! You can skip the line at the main entrance (Walnut Grove) and enter through the VIP gate on Mullins Station Road. Buy Tickets Here!

Maybe you are interested in volunteering. Click here to become a part of the magic of Starry Nights.

For more information, visit the website or contact Natalie Wilson, Events Manager at [email protected] or (901) 222-7267.

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