Splash pad in Memphis, TN

Money-Saving Memphis

Kids Eat and Play for Less

Shelby Farms Splash Park / Allen Gillespie

Samantha Crespo | May, 2019

Spring break and summer vacation mean warm weather and plenty of family fun in Memphis, but you don't have to spend a fortune to have a memorable trip. We've rounded up some of the best ideas to help maximize your fun on a limited budget. From free museum days and always-free attractions to kid-friendly restaurants offering discounted (or free!) meals for little ones, we've got you covered. 

10 Awesome (and Free!) Activities and Attractions

1. Spot wildlife at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid

Pass the colossal pyramid in downtown Memphis and your kids are bound to ask what’s up. Venture inside to find out: Bass Pro Shops’ largest retail location features thousands of gallons of aquariums—plus an indoor alligator habitat and cypress swamp—that are free to view.   

2. Splash at Beale Street Landing

This pocket-sized splash pad right on the Mississippi River features a mini slide, a giant catfish hide-out and plenty of potential for little ones to cool off in the spray. Adults appreciate the river and skyline views. Always free. 

3. “Art-Walk” at the Brooks Museum in Overton Park

Watch for free Community Days featuring art-making activities, artist demos and more at Memphis’ first art museum. Bonus: Thanks to the museum’s historic Overton Park location, you’re a skip from a playground and green space where kids can run. 

4. Create Something at Dixon Gallery and Gardens

Don’t be deterred by this stately home gallery surrounded by manicured gardens: Admission is free on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon, including monthly Family Studios, when you can drop in and create an art project together. 

5. Dance to the Music at Levitt Shell 

Every summer and fall, this venue where Elvis once performed hosts free concerts. Bring a blanket/chairs and a picnic to enjoy while musicians perform and kids play on the grassy lawn. 

6. Climb Memphis Rox

This brand-new climbing gym across from the Stax Museum of American Soul Music has an inclusive mission: Everyone climbs, regardless of their ability to pay. Pay the suggested fee or pay what you can. 

7. Explore Mud Island River Park 

Walk the Skybridge from downtown Memphis to this island in the middle of the Mississippi River. The centerpiece is a scale replica of the Lower Mississippi that you can walk alongside—or splash in!—for free. 

8. Catch the Duck March at The Peabody Memphis

The famous Peabody Ducks march in the historic tradition of the South’s grandest hotel. This event is free and open to the public every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Arrive early for the best view.

9. Visit the Pink Palace Museum

The Pink Palace Museum houses regional culture and history exhibits, so you’ll see animatronic dinosaurs, a miniature circus and more. Admission is free on Tuesday afternoons, 1 p.m. to close.

10. Play at Shelby Farms Park

Memphis is home to one of the country’s largest urban parks. And while you can pay for select activities onsite, there’s plenty to enjoy for free: hit the award-winning Woodland Discovery Playground, explore paved and forested trails, and observe the resident buffalo herd for starters. 

Fish Tank Inside Bass Pro at the Pyramid
Levitt Shell Dancer
peabody duck march
Make unforgettable memories

5 Local Eats for Less 

Note that most free or discounted kids’ meals require that you dine in, and discounts are subject to change. Always call before you dine to confirm. 

1. Texas De Brazil at the Peabody 

An authentic Brazilian-American “Churrascaria”, or steakhouse, right next door to the historic Peabody Hotel. When purchased with a full-price meal, children 2 and under eat free, 3 to 5 year-olds for $5 and 6 to 12 year-olds for half-price.

2. Belly Acres

Build your own burgers of farm-fresh ingredients inside this colorful restaurant on family-friendly Overton Square. Wednesdays, adult meal purchases earn a free kid’s meal.

3. Central BBQ on Summer Avenue

On Mondays and Tuesdays at this hometown favorite, kids’ meals are free with the purchase of an adult plate (up to two free kids’ meals).

4. Crazy Italians

For fast-casual Italian food, drop in on a Thursday evening. Kids’ entrees are half-priced with the purchase of an adult entree. 

5. Holiday Ham & Deli Co.

Find this Memphis-based sandwich/salad eatery in Midtown and East Memphis. Tuesdays and Thursdays after 3 p.m., kids eat for $1 (excluding drinks and substitutions).