31 Summer Activities for Families in Memphis and Shelby County

There is no getting around the fact that summer time in Memphis is HOT, but the heat doesn't have to keep your family from activities that can strengthen the brain of your young child and better prepare him or her for the day when they start kindergarten! In fact, Memphis has a lot to offer families in the summer, often for little or no cost. Here is a list of things to do with your children to give them new opportunities to experience and explore!

Kindergarten Readiness

  • Memphis Public Library
    • Take your young child to the library and sign up for a library card! You can enjoy the wealth of books and child friendly events at the library all summer!
      Admission and a library card: FREE.
  • Shelby County Books from Birth
    • Enroll your child in the Shelby County Books from Birth program and receive a FREE, age appropriate children's book in the mail every month until your child's 5th birthday. Parents are not required to pay for the books received or pay any cost to participate in the program.
  • Visit your Elementary School
    • Taking a trip to the school your children could attend someday is a fun activity and can help them to feel more comfortable with what school is like and more familiar with the environment which can ease the first day of school nerves.
  • Memphis Zoo
    • The zoo is a great learning environment to help get your child ready to start school through learning about wildlife and animals to getting to explore different environments and experience new things!
      Admission: Ages 12-59 - $15.00, Ages 2-11 - $10.00 Ages 60+ - $14.00, Parking: $5.00.
      Tennessee Tuesdays: 2:00 pm - close - FREE general admission with valid Tennessee ID (one adult can take up to 5 children under 16 years of age).


  • My Big Backyard at the Botanical Gardens
    • This family garden is a place for jumping, splashing, digging, creating, daydreaming, discovering, and simply enjoying time spent outdoors. The garden is designed to engage children in outdoor play.
      Admission: Adults $8.00, Seniors (62+) $6.50, Children (2-12) $5.00, and Children Under 2 – Free
  • Shelby Farms
  • Greenline
    • The Shelby Farms Greenline Trail is nearly 7 miles of walking/riding trails through the city from Tillman Street in Binghampton to Farm Road in Shelby Farms (map). The trail is open from sunrise to sunset.
      Admission: FREE
  • Overton Park
    • Get outside and experience all that Overton Park has to offer, including a StoryWalk! Even enjoy free concerts during the summer at the Levitt-Shell!
      Admission: FREE.
  • Audubon Park
    • Audubon Park offers several recreational facilities, including a golf course, playground, tennis courts, soccer field and picnic areas.
      Admission: FREE.
  • Jones Orchard
    • Take a drive up to Millington to pick your own blackberries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and apples! Call for picking season information and fruit prices (901) 872-0703

Museums and Arts

  • Children's Museum of Memphis
    • The Children's Museum of Memphis creates memorable learning experiences through the joy of play in hands-on exhibits and programs. The museum has 26 permanent exhibits and hosts traveling exhibits at various times throughout the year.
      Admission: All ages- $12.00.
  • Pink Palace Family of Museums: Pink Palace Museum
    • The Pink Palace Museum is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the Southeast. You can walk through a replica of the first self-service grocery store in the country, Clarence Saunders' Piggly Wiggly and explore the cultural and natural history of the Mid-South.
      Admission: Adult - $11.75, Senior (60+)- $11.25, Children (3-12) - $6.25, and FREE Tuesdays from 1:00 until closing (3:00).
  • Pink Palace Family of Museums: Sharpe Planetarium
    • Journey to distant galaxies, explore the solar system and settle back in a comfortable seat in the Sharpe Planetarium as you take a cosmic voyage through the universe.
      Admission: Adult - $4.50, Senior (60+)- $4.00, Children (3-12) - $4.00
  • Pink Palace Family of Museums: CTI 3D Giant Theater
    • Experience the excitement that only a giant screen with 3D video can deliver. It's a motion picture experience that totally immerses the viewer.
      Admission: Adults- $9.00, Seniors (60+)-$8.00, Kids (3-12): $7.00
  • Pink Palace Family of Museums: Lichterman Nature Center
    • The Lichterman Nature Center has lush gardens featuring native wildflowers and trees, in a 65 acre spread of lake, meadow, and forest and is home to a wide variety of plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.
      Admission: Adult - $6.00, Senior - $5.50, Child (age 3-12) - $4.50, Children under 3 - FREE, and FREE Tuesdays from 1:00 until closing (5:00).
  • Brooks Museum of Art
    • The Brooks is one of the largest and most innovative art museums in the American South, the Brooks is recognized nationally for the museum's innovative educational programs, continual community outreach, and world-class art collection.
      Admission: Adults-$7.00, Seniors(65+)-$6.00, Ages 7-17-$3.00, Children Ages 6 and under - FREE.
  • Dixon Gallery and Gardens
    • The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is a fine art museum and public garden distinguished by its diverse and innovative programs in the arts and horticulture.
      Admission: Adults- $7.00, Seniors (65+) and Students (with ID)- $5.00, ages 7-17- $3.00, Children 6 and under - FREE
  • Fire Museum of Memphis
    • Promotes education of fire and life safety in order to reduce injure, life loss, and property loss related to fire. It also recognizes and preserves the heritage of fire and its contribution to the community.
      Admission: Adults $6.00, Ages 3-12 - $5.00, Children 3 and under are FREE, Tuesdays are two admissions for price of one, Family Pack - $20.00, good anytime for up to 5 family members.
  • Metal Museum
    • The Metal Museum is the only institution in the United States devoted exclusively to the advancement of the art and craft of fine metalwork. You can even watch the metalsmiths at work! Admission: Adults - $6.00, Seniors (62+) - $5.00, Children ages 5-18 - $4.00, Children under 5 – FREE
  • Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM)
    • AMUM hosts innovative temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and culture alongside selections from the African and Egyptian galleries. While you are there, show your child the fountain on the Student Activities Plaza on campus, just a short walk from the museum!
      Admission: FREE.
  • Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art
    • The Belz Museum hosts a collection of art that is designed to reflect the diversity of culture on our planet.
      Admission: Adults-$6.00, Seniors-$5.00, Students-$4.00, Children 5 years and under are FREE.
  • Center for Southern Folklore
    • The CSF is a private non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and presenting the people, music and traditions of the region. Here you can find galleries of art and a media lounge playing documentaries about the South.
      Admission: FREE.
  • Chucalissa Museum
    • Operated by the University of Memphis, the museum serves as a gateway into understanding the science of archeology and the interpretation of Native American and traditional cultures of the area.
      Admission: Ages 4-11= $3.00, Ages 12-59 = $5.00, Children Under 4 - FREE.

Old Fashioned Summer Family Fun

  • Memphis Redbirds and AutoZone Park
    • Take the whole family to see the Redbirds play downtown at AutoZone Park! For only $5 a person, you can sit on the bluff to watch the game and picnic in the grass! You can also take the kids to Petey's Playground (open year-round, enter through the AutoZone Park Plaza).
  • Downtown Memphis Trolley Rides
    • The vintage trolley rail system is a classic part of Memphis culture and can be an exciting adventure for a young child. You can ride the trolley loop and point out all of the city sites together as they pass by the windows.
      Trolley Base Fare: $1.00, Senior Citizens and Individuals with Disabilities: $0.50
  • Peabody Ducks at Peabody Hotel
    • Go watch the Peabody ducks march to and from the fountain in the Peabody Hotel, daily at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
      Admission: FREE
  • Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum in Central Station
    • Memphis Central Station is a historic train station in the south main district of Downtown Memphis. The museum is a great place to learn about trains, and even has a Thomas & Friends exhibit!
      Admission: Adults $3.00, Children under 12 years old - $1.00, Children 3 and under – FREE
  • Mississippi River Museum, Monorail, Mud Island River Walk, and Pedal Boats
    • Make a day of the Mississippi River experience, visit the Mississippi River Museum, take the Monorail across the water to the Riverwalk grounds to see the scale model of the Lower Mississippi River, even take a ride on the Pedal Boats!
      Admission: General admission and skybridge access is FREE, Museum Package (includes a Guided River Walk Tour) Ages 12-59 - $10.00, Seniors-$9.00, Youth (5-11) - $7.00, Children under 5 - FREE.
  • Splash and Swim
    • Visit a local park or community center with a pool or water play area. Teaching your child to swim and be safe around water is valuable, even at a very young age.
  • Jerry's Snow Cones
    • Enjoy a cool sno cone on a hot summer day at Jerry's!
  • Golf Games and Family Park
    • Check out the Funland area with your child, with the Buster Train, a Dino-Carousel ride, and a Red Baron Carousel Ride. They're bright and fun, and sure to entertain your little one.
      Admission: Children's Rides- $3.00 per child, per ride, Putt-Putt golf- $7.75