Memphis is about halfway between St. Louis and Shreveport (roughly five hours from each), so I suggested to my dad that we meet him and my step-mom there for a long weekend during spring break. Due to some events taking place in Memphis, we weren't able to make that weekend work, so we bumped it back to April and were rewarded with a weekend of beautiful weather (sandwiched between several stormy days). We found a great little AirBNB cabin in the Cooper-Young neighborhood, which is filled with shops and restaurants and so close to everything. After a quick stop at a local coffee shop for breakfast, our first stop was the Memphis Zoo.
First, let me say that every time we leave St. Louis, I am reminded how wonderful it is to live in a place where the zoo, science center, and a ton of other attractions are all FREE. I don't know how we would afford to do much of anything if we lived in another city. Thankfully, we're members of the STL zoo, which gets us reciprocal benefits at other zoos, which helped a lot in Memphis.The Memphis Zoo was great. It is clearly in a transitional period where they're working to update a lot of the exhibits, and the new ones (like the grizzly space) are really impressive. Others, like the pandas, left something to be desired. The panda habitat was particularly underwhelming because Memphis is one of only four zoos in the U.S. that currently host giant pandas, so I thought their home would be more impressive. Maybe it's on the list for improvement.
Still, it was a lovely zoo, and it was fun to see some animals that we don't have at the STL zoo.
On Saturday morning, we treated ourselves to a delicious breakfast before heading downtown to see the Peabody ducks. We got there about 30 minutes early to ensure we'd be able to see, and though B didn't really know what was going on, he anxiously awaited the ducks' arrival.
Soon, the elevator opened, and there they were. They move fast, so it was over before we knew it, but we waddled over to the fountain for a closer look afterward.
There was no shortage of BBQ on our trip. When in Rome, right? The famous Central BBQ was located in our neighborhood, and we ate out on the patio for dinner one evening. On Saturday, we devoured the delicious ribs at Rendezvous Ribs downtown after visiting Mud Island.
Mud Island is a great little treasure in Memphis. First, you get to ride a cable car (made famous in a certain John Grisham movie) over the river to the island. Once there, you can visit the museum (not free) or just check out the awesome Riverwalk (free), an exact scale model of the lower Mississippi (in other words, no STL love).
The entire model covers the length of five blocks. It starts just south of St. Louis and travels down to the gulf. You can walk in, around, and over, and B had a blast jumping over the "river" and crossing the many bridges.
And you know no trip with a toddler would be complete without a few trips to the park. Memphis was good for that, too.By the end of the weekend, we were all pretty pooped, but what a great time! Thanks, Memphis!