The Dixons were a childless couple who collected art, both fine and decorative and left it all to the city when they died. The travelling exhibits, are often spectacular and have included Faberge eggs, glassworks by Seattle artist Dale Chihuly, and an explosion of color from Raoul Dufy. The 17-acre (7-hectare) garden is usually open for strolling, except during outdoor concerts, picnics, or theater productions. The museum shop often has items from Memphis' Great Wonders exhibits! The museum is free for everyone on every Saturday between 10 am to noon.
Memphis Botanic Garden is a collection of gardens that covers over 96 acres (39 hectares) in East Memphis. The lovely Japanese garden, with its bridges, ponds and goldfish is a favorite with visitors, who come for the candlelight evening tours in the summer. In the spring, the Ketchum Iris Garden glows with a myriad of colors, while the Municipal Rose Garden is at its best in May, June, and September. There is even a Sensory Garden that is designed to appeal to all five senses.
Memphis' main museum is housed in a marble building completed in 1916. The architecturally beautiful rooms house an outstanding collection of medieval art and a small but worthwhile collection of Impressionist works. One room is dedicated to a "touch" exhibit for vision-impaired visitors. Temporary exhibits include a patriotic show held during the Memphis in May Festival. The restaurant, the Brushmark, is a fine place to lunch, especially when the outside patio is open, which looks out on Overton Park.
The 2800 animals from over 400 species here have cared for in environments as close to their native habitats as possible. From African veldt to Asian temple ruins, Peruvian rain forests or Jamaican caverns, the animals roam free. Young children will enjoy the "Once Upon a Farm" exhibit and the amusement rides. The whole family will love watching the apes and monkeys in Primate Canyon. Do not miss the lions and tigers in Cat Country. Trams make getting around the park easy; wheelchairs and strollers can be rented.
Rum Boogie Cafe's Blues Hall features live music every night of the week. The venue itself isn't the most glamorous, but the talent is undeniable. The resident performers, Dr. Feelgood Potts and his band play Friday through Monday. It's located next to the Rum Boogie Cafe, which is known for its delicious Cajun and barbecue dishes. Make a night of it and visit this venue for some great blues.
Once home to music legend Elvis Presley, Graceland epitomizes the flamboyant style that the unforgettable seventies packed in. Life came a full circle for the King of Rock 'n' Roll when he purchased this Colonial Revival house in Memphis from Stephen Toof, a way of honoring the city that fed his musical ambitions and set him on his way to becoming a rising star. Rumoured to be the second most-visited house in the United States, Graceland is preserved exactly as it was when Elvis lived here. Elvis Presley bought this 13.8 acre (5.6 hectares) estate in 1957 and spent a large part of his life expanding and improving the opulent property. On the boulevard named after the legend himself, a sleek entertainment complex and adjoining visitors centre feed Elvis' fans still-extant frenzy through a wealth of displays and exhibits that revolve around the musician's life. The Elvis Entertainer Career Museum highlights the main aspects of his singing career, and display his most iconic sartorial collections, while the Automobile Museum showcases the stunning fleet of cars that Elvis rode in, from the Cadillac Eldorado to the Stutz Blackhawk. On August 16, the anniversary of Elvis' death, a candlelight vigil draws worldwide fans to this exceptional monument.
This 12,000-seat stadium is the home of the AAA baseball team, the Redbirds. Sponsored by AutoZone, a locally founded and headquartered car parts business, the stadium features 1500 club seats and 44 luxury suites with waiters, a lounge, and a bar for the high-rollers. The attached children's playground is an inspired touch, which will be much appreciated by families with restless youngsters. The architecture of the stadium has won awards, although there has been some criticism on the lack of parking provided for those attending games here.
At Mud Island, see the twists and turns of the Mississippi River following the River Walk. Learn about the shipping of cotton on the river and the musical history made in cities along the river, from New Orleans jazz to Memphis blues. See the Memphis Belle, a historic WWII airplane. The Mud Island Amphitheatre on the island hosts concerts in the summer. To get there, ride the monorail.
Center for Southern Folklore is worth the visit if you want to sit and hear some blues or have a beer and learn about Southern culture. This private, non-profit organization is dedicated to informing people about Southern history with an emphasis on music and art. The interior, decorated by local artists, is eclectic and includes a gift shop and coffee bar. The gift shop is a great place to get books or albums featuring Memphis and Memphis artists. They also have live music Friday and Saturday evenings.
If you wanted to see how Memphis looked like about six or seven decades earlier, Withers Collection Museum & Gallery is the right place to head to. The museum has a wide and varied collection by Ernest C. Withers. There are photographs that represent the city's political dynamics, African-American lifestyles, and the changes in the social lives of people. The museum offers guided tours and group tours as well.