It’s tough to review Mud Island River Park in one post. Shoot, I still haven’t seen the whole thing! I guess that’s one of the things that makes this place so special – not only does it have fabulous views of the Mississippi and downtown Memphis, but it’s also a place with a large variety of things to do. And it’s also very affordable (potentially free).
If you park at the Mud Island River Park lot (fee) you’ll need to take the Monorail (fee) or walk across the walkway (free) to get to the island. It’s about a third of a mile. There are great views of the city and river from the walkway. Don’t forget a stroller if you have little ones…or plan on piggyback rides for part of the way if you walk.
The moms also recommend parking on the island for free: “You can park on the north side (on Mud Island). Just drive over the Auction Street bridge and turn left.”
The Riverwalk (free) is a scale model (30″ = 1 mile) of the lower Mississippi River from the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico – 954 miles south. The entire length is 2,000 feet. As you travel down the Mississippi there are cities (with streets and major areas marked), bridges, and plaques providing historical information. You can walk alongside the river, or walk IN the river. So if it’s warm outside have your kids wear sandals or water-proof shoes so they can enjoy the water.
This is a great way to see the river and learn a few things along the way. It’s stroller-friendly and safe for little ones (they won’t fall in the real river) – you’ll just have to help any unsteady toddlers as they walk around the model river.
|My kids checking out Memphis, that’s the
airport in the foreground
|A great spot to see the bridges and
barges on the river
At the end of the Riverwalk is the Gulf of Mexico. There you will find pedal boats available for rent, concessions, more water, and a fabulous view of downtown. If the American Queen steamboat is docked you should get a great view of this huge ship as well.
|A view of the Gulf of Mexico part of Mud Island|
There is also a gift shop along the Riverwalk where you’ll find steamboat coloring books, history books, stuffed animals and small toys with pirate, civil war and Mud Island themes. There are two spots where you can purchase food and drinks – one near the museum and another in the Gulf of Mexico. You can also bring your own drinks and snacks as there are places to sit and enjoy the view.
You can rent a single- or double-person kayak or a double-person canoe for an hour and paddle around on the Wolf River Harbor. They also rent out bikes you can ride around downtown. Check out the Adventure Center section of their website for more details and prices.
Mississippi River Museum
If you have school-aged kids (the moms recommend this for kids who can read) check out the museum (fee). The museum details 10,000 years of history in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The exhibits include over 5,000 artifacts; including two full size boat replicas which you can board and explore.
Mud Island offers a lot of special events. You can Sleep Out on the Mississippi (they provide tents!), enjoy outdoor concerts and festivals at the Amphitheater, participate in walks and rides for charitable organizations and more. Watch the EMM Calendar for family-friendly events.
Mud Island River Park
125 North Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Open April – October, closed Mondays