Cheap, Free, Fun!
Your family can have plenty of fun this summer without spending a fortune. We've rounded-up some of the best deals and low-cost activities in town. Take off with our week's worth of ideas.
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Show your kids the historic side of downtown. At the Peabody Hotel, ducks parade through the Grand Lobby at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. The National Civil Rights Museum offers free admission Mondays from 3 to 6 p.m. The museum is a must-see, but best for ages 5 and up.
History lessons abound at Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. Artifacts tell the story of slavery and the role of the Underground Railroad. ($7/adults, $5/ages 4 -17.)
To enjoy the outdoors downtown, take the pedestrian bridge to Mud Island River Park, which is always free. Kids will enjoy racing boats in the replica of the Mississippi River. If you plan to ride the monorail, visit the museum, or take a guided tour, a package deal is your best bet ($10/adults, $7/ages 5-11, free for kids under 4). Pedal boats ($5/per half-hour) and canoes are also available.
Tuesday is the most popular free day of the week at museums and restaurants.
Downtown, the Fire Museum of Memphis offers two-for-one admission. You can discover where the wild things are at the Memphis Zoo with free admission from 2 to 5 p.m. (show a Tennessee driver's license). Another great option is the educational exhibits at Pink Palace, with free admission from 1 to 5 p.m. (excludes IMAX and Planetarium shows).
Lichterman Nature Center is free from 1 to 3 p.m. If you’re feeling artsy, Dixon Gallery and Gardens has “Pay What You Can” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come early for the Mini Masters class for children ages 2 to 4. The class, held at 10:30 a.m., has an art activity, story time, and snack. Pre-registration is required ($5/per child).
After so much activity, you’ll be ready for a meal. And happily, more than 40 restaurants in Memphis provide cheap eats for kids, including Chick-Fil-A, Fazoli’s, Golden Corral, Denny’s, and Holiday Ham & Deli. For more deals, go to Cheap Eats for Families at memphisparent.com.
Take a breather at the movies. Malco's Summer Film Fest runs flicks for kids at the Cordova, Collierville, and DeSoto theaters. The shows start at 10 a.m. ($2 per person) on Tuesday and Wednesday, from June 5th to July 31st. Movies include: Charlotte's Web, Over the Hedge, Kung Fu Panda, Puss in Boots, and Shrek. (For a complete schedule, visit malco.com).
Several museums have Wednesday specials. The Brooks Museum is offering Wacky Wednesdays to kids of all ages, with a children’s film series and open studio from 10 a.m. until noon. Museum admission and activities are free, so get creative. Afterwards, spend time playing at Overton Park. Pack a kite and a picnic, romp at the playgrounds, or hike in the Old Forest.
Another great outdoor destination is the children's garden at Memphis Botanic Garden ( $8/adults, $5/ages 2 to 12). Be sure to check out My Big Backyard’s new CandyPlantLand Garden and learn about the botanical beginnings of your favorite sweet treats. While there, it’s the perfect time to explore the Farmers Market, open from 2 to 6 p.m. each Wednesday.