The kids had some extra days off for Presidents’ Day, so my mom and I threw the boys in the car and took off for a weekend in Memphis.
We left early Saturday morning and drove straight to the National Civil Rights Museum. The main building of this museum is closed for renovations until January 2014, which was disappointing, but there was something so sacred about standing in the very place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. If I had never even entered the museum I think it would have been worth the trip to stand here and see where he spoke his final words.
It didn’t take as long as I had planned to tour the museum, so we ate an early lunch and then saw a movie (Life of Pi...LOVE!) before heading to our hotel. We stayed at a La Quinta on the east side of Memphis. Our main criteria was that we wanted a pool and free breakfast.
There is something so fun about being able to swim in the winter. We made several visits to the pool.
The next morning we swam some more, then headed out for an early lunch before hitting the Memphis Zoo.
The Memphis Zoo is amazing!
I kind of forget that we have such a great zoo so near to Little Rock (2 hours). It is worth a day trip now and then for sure. Every time I have been there are new exhibits. We love the pandas!! And we spent a lot of time at the farm animal exhibit, which is so cute. It is set up like a little farm with a barn, silo and stream that runs through it. There are even local crops planted and chickens roaming the grounds like in a real farm.
We rested on the farm porch.
You can sit inside and watch the polar bears and sea lions swim. They are so graceful under the water. I could have sat there all day watching. Mother too. She was a big fan of the indoor exhibits since it was so cold outside!
She loved this indoor bird exhibit too!
Later on at dinner, I asked the kids to name their favorite animals: penguins, tigers (even a white tiger!), elephants, hippos, elk, wolves, all different kinds of bears and the cheetahs all made the list.
We were so tired by the end of our zoo day that Cole was having to carry Simon back to the entrance. We spent three hours there, but you could easily have spent four I think. It was really cold, but I think you get to see more of the animals in the winter. It seems like they all come out to play in colder weather.
We also ate some insanely good food in Memphis. I had a list of suggestions, plus I had done a little reading and research.
Our favorites were Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Q, listed as one of the 10 top BBQ joints in the US by National Geographic, Cafe Eclectic (my favorite), Molly’s La Casita and Huey’s, a Memphis staple.
We didn’t even make it to half of the restaurants on our list since we ate breakfast at the hotel, but I’m pretty sure you could plan an entire trip to Memphis just around eating.
Memphis is a great city, and it’s so close to Little Rock, so it’s perfect for a weekend escape. Do you have some favorite spots in Memphis? Please share!