With the temperature heating up outside, there are plenty of places in Memphis that can offer the weary vacationer a few hours of respite while giving them a lesson on Memphis culture and history. Whether you are interested in music, social activism or just want to provide your kids with some hands-on fun, Memphis has the perfect place for you to visit.
The Pink Palace Museum is as unique as the city it makes its home in, featuring exhibits that cover everything from dinosaurs to the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain. The museum offers patrons a historical look at Memphis through interesting collections, exhibitions and programs. Current exhibits include the Cultural History of the Mid-South, the Natural History of the Mid-South and The Mansion, which offers a glimpse into 20th century Memphis.
A great museum for kids and their parents is The Children’s Museum of Memphis. Kids can experience hands-on, interactive exhibits that will stimulate their imagination, like the Growing Healthy exhibit where they can learn about human anatomy or Art Smart exhibit which allows kids to paint, sculpt or perform. Traveling exhibits rotate every few months, and there is a snack area inside the museum so you can visit a few times each and spend the whole day.
Built as a tribute to the Civil Rights Movement, the National Civil Rights Museum features stunning exhibits chronicling events from pre-Revolutionary times to the present day, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Learn the stories of people who have helped shape our world with their struggle for equality and fairness.
This Mother’s Day, do something Mom won’t soon forget by reserving her a seat aboard the 1880 Train in Mount Rushmore. The 1880 Train is a completely restored authentic steam engine train that takes you on a beautiful trip through the Black Hills of South Dakota from Keystone to Hill City and back. On May 8, Mom will be treated like a queen as she enjoys champagne, a yummy treat, a delectable dessert and an Old West style shootout. Make sure to stop by the gift shop before or after your journey to buy Mom a Wooden Whistle or Solid Brass Christmas Ornament commemorating her special day. You can also make lodging reservations in Mount Rushmore as well.
While staying in Mount Rushmore, you will want to visit The Journey Museum for what is sure to be an eye-opening and educational experience. The Journey Museum tells the story of the people who first shaped the area’s history and the scientists who study the Western Great Plains region. You will have the opportunity to explore the past in a fascinating and interactive way at the Museum of Geology, Sioux Indian Museum and the Archaeological Research Center. There is also an extensive collection of Sioux arts and crafts within The Duhamel Collection of Native American Artifacts.
You won’t want to miss visiting the National Presidential Wax Museum in Keystone, South Dakota. The museum displays life-sized, life-like replicas of every one of the American presidents for a patriotic journey through our nation’s history. While you are there, stop by the gift shop, which is considered an attraction on its own. The store offers museum-quality souvenirs of everything presidential including a wide variety of collectibles, fine porcelain, sculptures and presidential china.
The Mastodons and Mammoths exhibit at the Chicago Field Museum will be open from now until September 6th for guests to come and examine. This exciting collection gives you the chance to see a real baby mammoth that was found and carefully preserved by scientists as well as videos about saber tooth tigers and giant bears. This exhibit even gives you the chance to see what scientists believe caused mastodons and mammoths to become extinct.
If you’re interested in seeing the Mastodons and Mammoths exhibit at The Field Museum and also want to visit many of Chicago’s other hot attractions, get the Go Chicago Card. This card gives you admission The Field Museum, Chicago Children’s Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, 2 Day Hop on Hop off Trolley Pass, Shoreline Skyline Boat Tour, and over 30 other attractions, museums, and tours. You even get special offers on meals and shopping. It’s an activity perfect for the smart saver who enjoys doing a lot at one low price.
While you’re in Chicago for the exhibit, you can’t miss out on the chance to get your live, history entertainment at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. This dinner and show combination will transport you back to the time of lords and ladies for dramatic sword fights, jousting, and other medieval games. While you’re watching the show, a server will give you a meal of spare rib, roasted chicken, and herb baked potatoes that is fit for a king!
This year the Museum Mile is being generous yet again by hosting the 32nd Annual Museums on the Mile Festival in New York City, NY. The event takes place on 5th Avenue on June 8th from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. For the entire day, 5th Avenue is blocked off so visitors and New Yorkers can celebrate art and history at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, Museum of the City of New York, and four other museums. It’s both fun and educational!
Since you’ll be saving so much with your free admission to nine of the best museums in the country, indulge yourself with some great activities while you’re in New York. Go sightseeing and get acquainted with New York on the Helicopter Flights of NYC tour. This bird’s eye view of New York City is one of the best ways to get a comprehensive tour of the Big Apple. See the famous Hudson River, New York Harbor, Rockefeller Center, and more with one of these great flight tours.
Of course, while you’re in New York City, you can’t miss out on going to Broadway. See the incredible Broadway musical Wicked while you’re in town. Wicked is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West. This popular musical has been running on Broadway for several years and never fails to please the audience. Talented performers combined with an incredible story make it a fascinating and entertaining show!
If you’re looking for excitement and true Irish celebration this St. Patrick’s Day, look no farther than Chicago, Illinois. Chicago has not one, but two incredible St. Patrick’s Day parades. Complete with the traditional bagpipes, kilts, and drinks, both the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day parade and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade are noteworthy events in Chicago. The Chicago River is even turned green for the celebration. Take part in the party of the year with the Chicago Irish community and those who celebrate with them.
While you’re in Chicago taking in the Irish culture, don’t forget to visit some of the noteworthy museums and other attractions Chicago has to offer. Check out the CityPass for admission to three of the most remarkable museums in Chicago as well as the Shedd Aquarium and Alder Planetarium. The CityPass offers great value and even has VIP entry and fast pass privileges with two of the locations.
After a day full of learning and studying the exhibits, cut loose and see the nightlife of Chicago. Listen to the blues Chicago is so well-known for and see the clubs in the Chicago Club Crawl. With this pass there is no coverage charge, and you will be given a drink at each location. Transportation is also included so you can relax and not worry about driving afterwards. Also check out the Chicago Night Life Pass which gives you access to several clubs and allows you to skip the long waiting lines.
Whether you’re trying to fill a Saturday or trying to keep the kids busy on a break from school, Memphis has plenty of one-day activities for you to choose from. You can choose everything from city tours to museums. Your family is sure to love Memphis for a day.
Elvis Fans One-Day Get-Away
If you are a fan of The King, there are several things you can do to fill a day in Memphis. The first is the Graceland Platinum Experience. During this tour of Graceland, you will spend the first part of the tour guided through eight rooms of the main house. Following the guided tour you will be allowed to explore Elvis’ two custom airplanes, his collection of cars and motorcycles, and the Sincerely Elvis Memorabilia Museum. At the museum guests can see his personal wardrobe, Presley home movies, and family photos. Before leaving, be sure to stop in the Meditation Garden and leave flowers on his final resting place.
After visiting the home of The King, fans should definitely see where he worked. The Sun Studio Guided Tour leads you through the Memphis studio where Elvis recorded his early albums. You will see the microphone he used to record “That’s All Right” and other memorabilia. After the guided tour, be sure to stop at the Sun Studio Soda Shop and Record Store for a fountain soda and souvenirs.
If you are looking to entertain a younger crowd, the Children’s Museum of Memphis is the perfect place for a day-trip. This museum is filled with hands-on exhibits ranging from Growing Healthy, which teaches kids about anatomy, to Art Smart, where kids can paint, sculpt, or perform. There are hundreds of things for your little ones to do, and you’re more than likely to enjoy it, too. If you don’t want to go out to eat, bring a picnic lunch and let the kids play the day away. The Children’s Museum of Memphis is the perfect place for a family day of fun!
If you and the family simply want to explore Memphis and get a feel for this wonderful city, jump aboard the bus! The Memphis Mojo Tour is a guided bus tour of the city. You will visit Cotton Row, The Lorraine Motel, Sun Studio and Stax. Your “guides” will keep you laughing and singing, and the best part is guests are encouraged to help out with the music. Just grab one of the many shakers, bongos or tambourines on the bus and join in! Don’t miss this chance to soak up a little of American music history and have a little fun at the same time.
If you are planning on attending the Country Music Awards on November 11, in Nashville, you may want to stay for the weekend. There is plenty to keep any country music fan entertained should you choose to stick around Music City for a few days.
The legendary Grand Ole Opry in Nashville has housed some of the greatest country music performances in history. For fans of country music, this is reason enough to visit Nashville. If you’re already going to be there you can’t miss this experience! Not only do audience members get to see a great show, they get to be a part of it. Cheering and applause is encouraged and fans are allowed to “rush the stage” to get close-up pictures of their favorite stars. The weekend following the CMA’s, Steve Wariner, The Band Perry, and Carrie Underwood are scheduled to perform. Reserve your seats early so you don’t miss these fabulous shows!
The 40,000 square-foot building is beautiful, but it’s what’s inside that the fans are after! You have to stop at the wall of honors, which showcases every gold and platinum record to grace the country music charts. You will get to hear rare recordings and see memorabilia, traveling exhibits and exhibits dedicated to the legends of country music. If you get hungry during your visit, there is a restaurant near the 5,500 square-foot gift shop.
The most devoted fans won’t want to miss this guided tour of Nashville. This tour chauffeurs you around to the homes of your favorite Nashville residents. Don’t forget your camera because you will be seeing the homes of Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton and many more! The comfortable 25-passenger bus picks you up at your hotel lobby and you spend the rest of the day star gazing!
When in Nashville, you can’t ignore the presence of the King. Elvis still rules Nashville and there is an entire show dedicated to his reign. Tribute to the King is a show performed by Award-winning John Beardsley and showcases more than 30 of Elvis’ hits. These hits span the length of Elvis’ career from the studios of Nashville to the stages in Las Vegas. Don’t miss the opportunity to re-live one of the greatest performers in music history!
Nashville is famous for its country music attractions such as the Grand Ole Opry House and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, but the city also has many other star attractions including a quality zoo and The Hermitage, once President Andrew Jackson’s personal estate. So the next time you come to visit Nashville, in addition to the Grand Ole Opry, come visit the zoo, a museum or historical site as well by paying a visit to one or more of these great vacation ideas!
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
A trip to Nashville would not be complete without a stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum where you can pay tribute to the performers that built Nashville. The building stretches across an entire block and includes a wall of honor that features every gold and platinum record to make it on the country music charts. During 2009, you can see a special tribute to Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr. at the Family Traditions: The Williams Family Legacy exhibit. In addition, enjoy rare memorabilia and a unique gift shop where you can buy a variety of country music paraphernalia.
Tour the home of former President Andrew Jackson at The Hermitage. This remarkable estate includes a mansion, a log farmhouse and numerous other buildings. View the garden Andrew Jackson designed for his wife, the stables where he housed horses, and the Tulip Grove Mansion he made home.
For family fun, do not overlook the Nashville Zoo. Let your children explore the expansive Jungle Gym playground, which can accommodate 1000 children. Then check out feature exhibits like ‘The Meerkat Exhibit,’ which houses a family of meerkats, and ‘The Unseen World,’ which features 75 species of birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians that have special camouflage abilities. Each exhibit tries to display the animals in the most natural surroundings possible, making the Nashville Zoo an exceptional zoological experience.