Adventure and fun in Memphis and nearby destinations are in store for grandparents and their grandchildren this summer at amusement parks, museums and at many outdoor activities.


Discovery Park, about two hours away in Union City, Tenn., is a good place to take the grandkids this summer.

Sharon and Bob Regan with grandchildren Elly Grace Davis, Tucker Davis, and twins Parker and Presley Regan.

Among the favorites in Memphis are the Memphis Zoo, the Children’s Museum of Memphis, Memphis Museum of Art and the Pink Palace Museum.

Elvis Presley’s Graceland is another popular attraction. Elvis Week this year will mark the 44th anniversary of the singer’s death. Celebrate the music, movies and legacy of Elvis Aug. 11-17.

(Because of the pandemic, grandparents should check with the attraction they plan to visit to confirm the times of operation.)

The Pink Palace has opened a new exhibit, “Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad” in the Museum of Science and History.

The exhibit will take visitors on a journey along the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century and used by enslaved African-Americans primarily to escape into free states and Canada.

Between 1830 and the end of the Civil War in 1865, an estimated 100,000 enslaved African Americans chose to embark on a journey in search of freedom along the Underground Railroad.

“The exhibit starts in near total darkness, but as visitors travel along the collection of photographs, they edge toward freedom and eventually light,” Caroline Carrico, supervisor of exhibits, said.

The exhibit is a collection of photographs by Jeanine Michna-Bales based on actual sites, cities and places that freedom-seekers passed through during their journey.

Michna-Bales has spent more than a decade researching “fugitive” slaves and the ways they escaped to freedom.

The exhibit features beautifully dramatic color photographs, ephemera and narratives that together tell the story of the Underground Railroad, the museum said.

To learn more about the exhibit, visit

Other offerings of the Pink Palace Family of Museums, include the Pink Palace Giant Screen Theater, which uses Real 3D Digital technology and exhibits, movies and shows at its AutoZone Dome at the Sharpe Planetarium and activities at the Lichterman Nature Center.

There will also be Seasonal Stargazing in the AutoZone Dome. Seasonal Stargazing helps visitors discover what is in the night sky in this full-dome audiovisual experience.

A summer attraction at the Children’s Museum, which features interactive programs and exhibits for children and their families, is H2OH! Splash Park, which is 7,700 square feet of cool fun.

The park has more than 40 sprayers that produce refreshing water in forms that include magic mist and jet sprays.

Take the kids to the Memphis Zoo, which is home to more than 3,500 animals.

Memphis Zoo is home to the world-class Zambezi River Hippo Camp. Zambezi is the culmination of the Zoo’s long history with hippopotamuses spanning more than 100 years. The Zoo was once known as the “Hippo Capital of the World.”

At the Brooks Museum, visit Inside Art, Tennessee’s only Handson family art gallery dedicated to visual literacy.

Visual literacy, making meaning from images you see, is critical to the art museum experience for visitors of all ages.

Inside Art is designed to be a playful space to help children develop the skills and habits they need to have more meaningful art experiences. Inside Art was inspired by the Brooks Museum’s permanent collection of more than 9,000 objects, spanning more than 4,500 years.

Smaller museums in town include the Lichterman Nature Center in East Memphis and the Cotton Museum and Fire Museum downtown. For a combination of history and music, visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum.

Outdoors activities could include a visit the 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The East Memphis park, which has more than a million visitors a year, offers diverse activities, including a water-spray playground and horseback riding.

Other parks include Overton Park in Midtown, Tom Lee Park on the Mississippi River (which will close for renovations at the end of April), Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and Germantown Municipal Park.

Don’t overlook Mud Island River Park and its model of the Mississippi River and the C. H. Nash Museum at the Prehistoric Chucalissa Archaeological Site in T.O. Fuller State Park in Southwest Memphis.

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