Kid-Friendly Memphis in Summer

Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

Memphis is a hot destination for domestic and international visitors alike, and while a lot of the fun is centered on adults and music tourists, there are lots of fun activities for the whole family.

Whether visiting Memphis from England or Japan, or you’ve lived in the Bluff City for 20 years, these kid-friendly Memphis activities in the summer will please the whole family.

Enjoy Shelby Farms

There are several ways the whole family can enjoy Shelby Farms, the massive 4,500-acre park in East Memphis. Walkers, runners and cyclists can make their way to Midtown along the shaded Shelby Farms Greenline, a nearly seven-mile paved trail that is a former rail line through the heart of Memphis. There are plenty of lakes for fishing, kayaking or paddleboat riding. Children are sure to enjoy the Woodland Discovery Playground or the Go Ape! Adventure Course.

Catch a Movie Classic

The Orpheum Theatre’s annual Orpheum Summer Movie Series features family-friendly movies throughout the summer, from classics like “The Wizard of Oz” to more modern features like “Hook” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

Discover ‘The Art of Video Games’

Kids these days, all they want to do is play video games it seems. The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is bringing video games to the artistic side with “The Art of Video Games,” an exhibition through Sept. 13 that showcases 40 years of video game art, videos, interviews and even interactive games. “The Art of Video Games” explores 85 examples of the genre, ranging from early works for Atari to the cutting-edge games of PlayStation 3. It reflects the choices of 119,000 people from 175 countries who cast 3.7 million votes to decide which, among hundreds of games, were the most important. 

Attend a Memphis Redbirds Game

This seems like a no-brainer, but I've been surprised lately to discover in conversation how many parents have never taken their families to a Redbirds game. It's shocking, really, especially considering how affordable it is to buy tickets to sit in one of the two new bluff seating areas in left and right field. Saturday evening games feature fireworks and Sundays give kids the chance to run the bases after the game.

Understand Civil Rights

The National Civil Rights Museum is a treasure in the Memphis community. Help your children understand the struggle for civil rights in the U.S. that continues today. Set at the Lorraine Motel, the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the museum is an important history lesson for visitors.

Discover Music History

It can get costly to take the whole family to visit Graceland, the Rock 'n' Soul Museum, Sun Studio and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Pick one or two or just spread the visits throughout the summer. Children are never too young to be exposed to the great music that Memphis played a part in creating. There are plenty of fun ways to discover music in the Bluff City with Memphis music museums.

Hands-On Learning

The Children's Museum of Memphis and Fire Museum of Memphis give children the opportunity to learn in a fun environment. Both museums are worthwhile for families, particularly those with younger children in tow. The Children's Museum of Memphis also has a fun splash park for kids.

Discover the Mississippi River

Children of all ages -- and their parents, too -- find the Mississippi River to be mesmerizing. Under the massive shade trees in Greenbelt Park on Mud Island is one fun spot to get close to the river. The Metal Museum provides arguably the best views of the river below. Of course Tom Lee Park and Beale Street Landing give easy access to the river, not to mention the fun playground at the Landing. Consider a steamboat ride or even the Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island River Park is a great way to enjoy the day.

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