The Lookout at Bass Pro Memphis | Larry Kuzniewski

24 Hours in Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid

Holly Whitfield from the I Love Memphis Blog - April 2015

Last week, I set out to spend 24 hours inside Bass Pro Shops at the Memphis Pyramid. Here's how it went. 

Monday, 1 p.m. – Hotel Check-In

The Bass Pro Pyramid has a luxury hotel inside called Big Cypress Lodge. The 100+ rooms are on the second and third floors and have porches with views into the main retail area. A few of the rooms do have windows to the outside. The rooms are really nice, each with a fireplace, jet tub and free snacks. There's also a spa inside the hotel for massages, manicures, pedicures and skin treatments. It smells like lavender heaven in there. The hotel lobby is on the third floor. Big Cypress Lodge has several meeting and events spaces, including an outdoor patio.

3 p.m. – Explore the Pyramid

There's so much to tell about the actual store part of Bass Pro Pyramid. I'll try to break it down a bit, but you have to see it for yourself. Be sure and check the website for the Bass Pro hours before your adventure begins. The first thing you'll notice is the elevator: it lights up in changing colors, and it's the tallest freestanding elevator in the nation.

Myth: There's an alligator tank here. True. There are currently two gators chillin' in a tank right next to the nation's tallest freestanding elevator.

After that, you might notice that the whole place is filled with fake cypress trees; the craftsmanship is incredible. There are also giant fossil imprints hand-carved in the floor, taxidermy in every direction and an aquarium on the first floor. There are indoor ponds occupied by fish, some ducks and boats, some of which you can get on. Other things you find on the first floor of retail: clothes, shoes, sunglasses, ATVs, camp recliners, gifts, toys and every kind of fishing supply you can think of.

Myth: I can bring my dog to shop. True: Animals on leashes are allowed in the retail area, but only service animals are allowed in the restaurants and hotel.

bridge over pond inside bass pro shops at the pyramid
Elevator inside Bass Pro Shops, Memphis
Fish at Bass Pro Shops, Memphis
Pontoon boat in Bass Pro Shops, Memphis Pyramid

4 p.m. – Time For Fudge

I took a quick break to sample the cinnamon roll-flavored fudge in the general store area . . . rich and delicious.

4:15 p.m. – Second Floor and Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Heritage Center

On the second floor, there are grills, smokers, every kind of hunting anything ever, camo, camping supplies, guns and the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Heritage Center, a small museum dedicated to the history and artifacts of duck hunting. The Ducks Unlimited guide gave me a crash course in the history of duck hunting and showed off a rare collection of antique duck calls and decoys.

5 p.m. – Archery Range

The range is open to people with their own bows, or to people who are seriously about to buy a bow and need to try it out.

7 p.m. – Observation Deck

After an afternoon snack and a break in my Big Cypress Lodge room, it was time to turn things up.

Myth: It costs $50 to go up in the elevator. False. It's $10 per person, and kids go for $5 before 4 p.m.

Tickets to the elevator are included for guests of Big Cypress Lodge; otherwise, go to The Lookout kiosk and purchase tickets right before you get on. When you make it to the top, hang around as long as you like. There are outdoor decks facing south and west, and another indoor observation area facing north. 

7:30 p.m. – Sunset

Sweeping views of Memphis, an electric pink and orange sky, a lovely breeze, and a refreshing vodka-lemonade all made for an unforgettable sunset.

Myth: There's a restaurant on top of the Pyramid. True—and a full bar surrounding a circular aquarium. 

Enjoy fine-dining while enjoying some of the best views of the city. Your $10 elevator ticket can be turned in for a food discount with food purchases at the restaurant.  

The Lookout has such a cool atmosphere. There is an aquarium in the center of the circular bar with giant catfish. 

8 p.m. – Bowling With Uncle Buck

The bowling alley at Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl is worth doing for the atmosphere alone: ball returns are shaped like fish, sharks and gators and everything is bathed in blue light, making you feel like you're underwater. The dining room has a saltwater aquarium. Yes, they have bowling shoes.

The menu is American grill food, from alligator bites and fish tacos to burgers. I've heard wait times for a table and food can be quite long, so put your name on the list (or at least ask about wait times) as soon as you arrive at the Pyramid. That way, you can explore, ride the elevator and shop while you wait.

10 p.m. – Bath time and bed time

Time for an epic bubble bath. While I'd been out, a bag of chocolate marshmallow cookies had appeared on the bedside table.

Bass Pro Pyramid Big Cypress lodge
Elvis Presley's Memphis | Andrea Zucker
Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl, Memphis
Bass Pro Shops

Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. – Coffee on the porch

I woke up rested and made some coffee in the room to enjoy on my "porch" and watch Bass Pro come to life.

8:30 a.m. – Room service

Uncle Buck's has a breakfast buffet, but I went with room service for breakfast.

10 a.m. – RNT Duck Call Center and Beretta Center

If you're into duck hunting, you're going to love the custom RNT duck call kiosk Bass Pro has on the second floor. You can get your call polished, engraved, fixed up, tuned - whatever you need. One of several store-within-a-store concepts, the Beretta Center is set up to look very classy, and is full of guns. Also, there is a shooting arcade game on the first floor.

11:30 a.m. – Shopping

I headed back out to the retail floor for some shopping to finish my stay. I got a huge box of fudge to take to friends, and I may or may not own a catfish koozie now.

1 p.m. – Time to leave "paradise" and final thoughts

The bottom line is that Bass Pro Pyramid is worth a visit for quite a few people. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful, and the Big Cypress Lodge staff in particular seemed trained to provide a friendly, luxury experience. If you're a hardcore outdoors person, it goes without saying that this is kind of like your Disney World. Even if you're not into the outdoors or attractions, it's an entertaining spectacle with a genuinely impressive view at the top – and darn good fudge.