For the Kid In All of Us: The Children’s Museum of Memphis

Entertain, engage, and escape at CMOM

Get up close and personal with the inner-workings of a firehouse and first-responder vehicles at the Children's Museum of Memphis. Photo by Andrea Zucker
Cockpit at Children's Museum of Memphis. Photo Credit: Andrea Zucker
Kids love the flight simulator, wind tunnel and hot air balloon at the Children's Museum of Memphis. Photo by Andrea Zucker.
Peabody Duck March. Photo Credit: The Peabody Memphis
See the ducks march in the famous Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. Photo courtesy of the Peabody Memphis.
Memphis Zoo Sea Lions: Commercial Appeal
Sea Lions at the Memphis Zoo
Children's Museum of Memphis: Andrea Zucker
Looking for something for your kids to do in Memphis? Check out the Children's Museum of Memphis. Photo by Andrea Zucker.
Panda Ya Ya at Memphis Zoo: Memphis Zoo
Ya Ya at Memphis Zoo
Climb high at the Children's Museum of Memphis. Photo by Andrea Zucker.
Let kids explore the Children's Museum of Memphis. Photo by Andrea Zucker.
Dinosaur exhibit at the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis. Photo by Bob Hazlett.
Kids love to explore and play at the Children's Museum of Memphis. Photo by Andrea Zucker.

Whether its school, sports, clubs or music lessons, kids’ days are jam-packed and super scheduled. We worry that they don’t have enough down time. But the truth is kids these days (yeah, we said it) crave experiences.

The upside is that kids are incredibly curious. The downside is that parents have to get creative about keeping their kids busy and doing it in a way that both educates and entertains them.

The Children’s Museum of Memphis understands this. It’s one of the many reasons why The Children’s Museum of Memphis is such a great thing to do for kids and families when visiting Memphis.

A private, nonprofit organization, The Children’s Museum of Memphis’ mission is to create learning experiences through hands-on exhibits and programs. By harnessing the power of play and hands-on engagement, kids essentially experience classroom-like curriculum in fresh new ways. In fact, you know the second you drive up to the museum and see its massive multi-colored letter blocks that you’re in for a very different experience.

It would take a good week or so to do everything at the Children’s Museum of Memphis. But in case you’ve only got a day or two, here are some experiences you shouldn’t miss.

Engine House 18
Maybe it’s the uniform or the flashing lights, but kids are hard-wired to love fireman and policeman. This exhibit lets kids get up close and personal with the inner-workings of a firehouse and first-responder vehicles. Kids done fire equipment, jump in a real-life fire engine, and sit on a police motorcycle.

Going Places
With FedEx based in Memphis, it makes perfect sense that our children’s museum would explore the joy and science of flight and distribution. The Going Places exhibit does just that by allowing kids to experience a state-of-the-art flight simulator, sit in an actual airplane cockpit, and load real packages onto a FedEx conveyor system.

Living In Space
Getting into space is no easy task, on a lot of levels. In fact, only a fraction of a percent of applicants to NASA’s space-training program gain acceptance. But the Children’s Museum has a way around that for kids. Through its Living In Space exhibit, kids get to become an International Space Station crewmember for a day. This hands-on immersive experience is organized into three categories: Life in Space, what it’s like to sleep, eat, and use the bathroom in space; Work in Space, which focuses on maintenance work and science experiments; and Play in Space, which shows how crewmembers entertain themselves in zero gravity environments. 

Honeybee Hives
It’s not all trucks, planes and space ships. The museum also allows kids to experience living things. With two hives made visible by glass, kids can safely observe the inner workings of bee colonies, understand the different parts of a beehive using a model they can take apart and put back together, and experience the life of a beekeeper by walking a few feet in their suit.

H2OH! Splash Park
And of course, after a full day of imagination and curiosity, the H2OH! Splash Park. Not your average everyday splash park, the H2OH! gives kids over 7,700 square feet to cool off, run around and get soaking wet from any one of the more than 40 sprayers. Not content with just chrome water heads, the Children’s Museum took a creative approach by designing the sprayers to look like flowers, leaves, jet streams, magic mists, turtles, crabs, snails and, of course, an everything-is-awesome water tunnel.

These are just a few of the exhibits you’ll find at the Children’s Museum of Memphis. Take our word for it this list just barely scratches the surface.

Take these insider tips when you visit 

  • Where: The museum is located at 2525 Central Ave, not far from Christian Brothers University and midtown institution, Central BBQ. Find them online at www.cmom.com or by phone at 901-458-2678
  • Hours: The museum is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, it’s open to 6 p.m. The Splash Park has its own hours. It’s only open during the summer, from Memorial Day to Labor day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The only days the museum is closed are on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • Ages: At the Children’s Museum of Memphis, they like to think everyone has enough kid in them to have a great. However, the museum’s sweet spot seems to be between toddlers and eight to ten years old.
  • How Much: No matter your age, the price of admission is the same: $12 per person. However, if you make frequent trips to Memphis, you may want to consider becoming a member. 
  • Misc. Tips
    • Bathrooms – Every bathroom has a changing station, so don’t worry. Also, there’s a family bathroom.
    • Nursing – In the museum’s toddler area, there is a super-comfy nursing area.
    • Leaving – A good idea is to give your little ones a 10-minute warning before leaving and ask them if there’s anything they want to do again before heading back home or to your hotel.
    • Rest – Kids have tremendous endurance. Us adults sometimes need to take a load off. With this in mind, there are benches throughout the museum for parents to take a breather.

By Peter Short