Do Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid with the Family

Check out the 360-degree views of Memphis and the Mississippi River from the outdoor observation deck. Photo by Allen Gillespie.

Fish at Bass Pro Shops, Memphis

Kids love to stop and watch the fish at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Photo by Holly Whitfield.

Test a boat at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Memphis. Photo by Holly Whitfield.

Homemade fudge and sweets at the General Store inside the Bass Pro Shops. Photo by Allen Gillespie.

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Memphis is a hunter's paradise. Photo by Allen Gillespie.

View from the top of Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, Memphis

Watch the sun set over the Mississippi River atop Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Photo by Holly Whitfield.

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid has a breathtaking observation deck at the top of the 32-story steel pyramid. Photo by Larry Kuzniewski/Brian Groppe.

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid offers something for everyone, from the serious outdoor enthusiast to families looking to have fun. Photo by Joseph Pusateri.

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Downtown Memphis. Photo by Allen Gillespie.

A grand fireplace at the entry of Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Photo by Holly Whitfield.

Tons of shopping and family fun at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Photo by Holly Whitfield.

Get up close and personal with the outdoors at the Bass Pro Shops in Memphis. Photo by Holly Whitfield.

Tons of shopping and family fun at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Photo by Holly Whitfield.

When my husband, daughter and I moved to Memphis, we left our entire family – from our 6-year-old nephew to my 86-year-old mother-in-law – in Florida. Lucky for us, they visit regularly, and we love showing off our new hometown. I’m more excited than ever to welcome them back now that Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid has opened in downtown Memphis. In fact, I couldn’t help imagining their reactions on our recent visit: 

My nephew would beg to bowl at the 13-lane alley inside Uncle Buck’s FishBowl and Grill. He loves the game, but he’s never bowled like this, with a ball that looks like a giant alligator eye and a return that looks like a shark’s toothy mouth!

My sister would stroll the dock that stretches over the cypress swamp, where 100-foot-tall, moss-draped trees soar above you and eight-foot alligator gars hover in the water below. She’d later wander to all 10 of the smaller aquariums (collectively, the waters here house 1,800 fish).  

My mom would settle into a rocking chair, listen to the sounds of the waterfall and smile at black bears crawling across a rocky ledge. (The animals are taxidermy, there are no insects buzzing about and the environment is air-conditioned. This is an adventure she could get behind.)

My brother would gaze up, where the Pyramid’s steel frame comes to an apex 32 stories above our heads. That’s where we’d go next, via the tallest freestanding elevator in the U.S. Through the elevator’s glass walls, even those 100-foot trees would shrink before our eyes.  

We’d empty the elevator to reach my favorite part of the experience: the peak of the Pyramid. It thrills me to step out onto its glass-floored decks and soak in so much of what makes Memphis special: folks enjoying Tom Lee Park; the American Queen steamboat docked at Beale Street Landing; the mighty Mississippi River. It would be fun to ask our family what they see from up here that they’d like to check out when we’re back on the ground. Is Bass Pro Shops in Memphis for you? 

A view from the top of the Pyramid! Read my full post about the new Bass Pro: http://t.co/3UGJ1twCBa pic.twitter.com/8qnkKkVBXB

— Holly Whitfield (@ilovememphis) May 18, 2015

I’m not someone who goes (or takes her family) on grand shopping trips. For me, this isn’t shopping – it’s an experience. The goods are there, of course; in fact, this location features Bass Pro Shops’ largest retail collection of waterfowl-related hunting equipment. But it’s also 600,000-plus gallons of fish and waterfowl habitat; an interactive lesson on conservation and the Mississippi Flyway (courtesy of the National Waterfowling Heritage Center by Ducks Unlimited); a boat show every day, given the number of vessels you can board; and a sensory trip, especially in Uncle Buck’s FishBowl and Grill, where suspended sailfish and a vibrant reef create the sensation of being underwater...all within an architectural wonder.

Take these insider tips when you visit 

  • Daunted by the line for the elevator ride to the top? We were. So, my husband held our place while my daughter and I continued exploring. Even on a busy Saturday morning, he made it to the front of the line in 20 minutes (and wound up waiting on us to return!). If you’re unsure about the line, ask the elevator host for an approximate wait time.
  • Want to bowl? Currently, games are for walk-ins only on a first-come, first-served basis. A group of 4-6 people can play for $30 an hour (shoe rental is extra).
  • Make a day of it! For a snack, follow your nose to the centrally-located pavilion for fudge, cinnamon-glazed nuts and coffee. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, hit Uncle Buck’s FishBowl and Grill on the main level. I can’t wait to nab a seat at the Lookout’s circular bar, where blues music pours from the sound system, steampunk-style fish hang from the ceiling and that epic view of Memphis is just steps away. 
  • Before you go, or as soon as you arrive, ask about free activities – especially on weekends. The day we visited, kids could craft their own Frisbees and try their hands at catch-and-release fishing. 
  • Looking for accommodations? Big Cypress Lodge is the new 100-room hotel inside Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Despite all that’s happening inside this complex, the hotel is a respite: quiet and low-lit with a natural palette of wood and neutral colors – and a spa.

If You Go:

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid
1 Bass Pro Drive
Memphis, TN 38105
901-291-8200 
www.basspro.com/pyramid

A one-way, roundtrip ticket to the top of the Pyramid, including access to the Lookout restaurant and bar, is $10 for adults; $5 for children. After 4 p.m., all tickets are $10. Hours are subject to change due to capacity, special events and seasonality. 

By Samantha Crespo