Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Last Day in Memphis: Ducks, Fish and Alligator Ball Returns

On our last day in Memphis, I had a full itinerary of downtown activities planned. We started at the Peabody Hotel for the Peabody Ducks' parade to the hotel fountain - a truly "Memphis" (tourist) experience that I knew the kids would enjoy.

Christine (my SIL) somehow wasn't completely sick of us yet and tagged along. We got there 45 minutes early and positioned the kids by the fountain where the ducks would pass.

THE fountain.
Hotel staff did a great job of telling everyone where they needed to be (and not be); and surprisingly, sitting with other kids while they waited for the ducks made my three far less miserable and BORED than I would have expected. Before I knew this would be the case, I made sure to supply them with a round of Shirley Temples (and milk for Oliver who doesn't like soda - freak).

As well as mimosa for Christine and me.

Every beverage is served with a duck.
Before we sat down, George chatted with the "Duckmaster" as he started to roll out the red carpet.

About 10 minutes before go time, someone from hotel staff came by to let all of the people standing around (in my case, standing across from my kids so I could snap a few pictures as the ducks passed) know that we had to find a seat. There actually was one where we were standing, but I offered it to Christine - since she takes better pictures. As I scanned the lobby full of very taken seats, it occurred to me that this wasn't such a bad thing. The one I finally found for myself was by the side of the fountain, close enough that I could see them...but not close enough that they could talk to me.

So just in case you plan to do this with your own children at some point, make note: you will have to be sitting down for the parade. Obviously, you can sit with the kids if you have a toddler on your lap - but your only other option for close proximity is the roped off area BEHIND the kids. The most important thing to remember though, is to get a Peabody mimosa. Because sitting in a chair by yourself with a mimosa for 25+ minutes may be the highlight of your family vacation.

Back to the ducks... They arrived right on schedule.

Yes - that's George yelling, "here are the duckies!"

Super cute. Totally worth seeing. And that's not just the mimosa talking.

I did know that we could go upstairs and check out the ducks' penthouse, but we were ready to move on. Our next planned stop was to check out the Riverwalk on Mud Island. This is a short stroll from the hotel (though we unintentionally took a longer route by the water).

It was also hot. Really, really hot.
It was brutally hot, so we climbed some stone steps to a shadier spot with a random (at least to us) cannon.

Cannons to the left of me. Cannons to the right of me. No - I'm not quoting Tennyson. I'm quoting Alafalfa from The Little Rascals, reciting Tennyson. I said that twice in reference to this picture. Only my brother got it. Thank god for siblings.
Finally, we made it to the the Mud Island pedestrian walkway, where we enjoyed more shade AND a breeze. What we didn't enjoy was hearing from someone out on an exercise walk that Mud Island is closed on Mondays. HOW DID I MISS THAT? This is as close as we got:

Sorry folks, park's closed. Moose outside shoulda' told you.

Now in damage control mode, Christine suggested going to the Bass Pro Shop (in the Pyramid).

Hey! Look at me! I'm fun too.
I hadn't included the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid in our road trip plans because it looked like a big retail circus with an elevator you can take to see views of the city. And that's exactly what it WAS. But really, it was so much more. Well, enough to keep the kids entertained (probably more than they would have been at Mud Island). AND it was air conditioned. Christine's mom, Joyce works at City Hall, which is right next to the pedestrian walkway. She took pity on our sweaty band of bedraggled tourists and drove us. Total VIP treatment.

Once there, we enjoyed aquarium exhibits, lunch, bowling and a ride to the top of the world's tallest (I'm pretty sure this is true) free standing elevator to see fantastic city views. It was free to enter and look around. This includes a "lake" full of fish (36 species, including catfish, sturgeon, gar AND a few alligators). But everything else cost approximately one million dollars. Just kidding! It was fine - but not as cheap as Mud Island (which was free). The kids thought it was fab.

Waiting for the elevator up.

That was it for downtown. I wanted to ride a trolley, but they're still under repair. I also thought it would be fun to go to Memphis' A. Schwab for a milkshake, but we were too tired. Actually, Oliver didn't seem like he was feeling well. He kept saying his ear hurt - so we headed back to the hotel.

We did make one more stop though. I forgot to mention Muddy's Bake Shop in my first Memphis post. When we were in Memphis for Matt and Christine's wedding, I was told that we had to drop by Muddy's (just across the street from the Doubletree Sanderlin where we were staying) for a treat.

image via the Muddy's Facebook page
Everyone remembered those cupcakes. We picked some up to bring to Joyce and Kevin's house (Christine's parents' house) on Saturday night. This was when I said, "so much for my plan to 'eat light' on this road trip." And since I was fully committed to gaining a entire clothing size the first week of our trip, we went back for more.

Our only other plans for the day were to do laundry at Joyce's house (she is truly our Memphis guardian angel) and have a swim in the pool. But Oliver was still complaining about his ear. Joyce told me that the nearby Walgreen's had a walk in clinic, so as soon as the laundry was dry, we headed over there. Where he was diagnosed with an ear infection (prescription drops and no pool for four days).

While in the small exam room, the inevitable, "he hit me and all I did was poke him," fighting ensued. And ended with George storming out in a huff (drama queen). Oliver and Eleanor wandered off while I was talking an irate George off the ledge, but quickly reappeared with a whoopee cushion. That was the end of fury and tears, because there was now a WHOOPEE CUSHION in the mix. So of course I bought them all whoopie cushions.

The new soundtrack of our vacation. Where are the scissors...?
OH. And remember how I said we'd go back to Jerry's Sno Cones for the taste test (vs. Jenny's)? We pretended that we hadn't JUST eaten cupcakes a few hours before and headed over to Jerry's.

George and Eleanor split a cotton candy snow cone with cream and anticlimactically declared that..."they're both good." I guess it's hard to judge when there is no such thing as a bad snow cone. Except for those ones I used to buy from the ice cream truck when I was a kid. That was like eating dirty ice flavored with unidentifiable syrup. I loved them.

After a quick goodbye with Matt and Christine back at our hotel (and late night laundry folding/packing while the kids slept) we were ready for the drive to Tulsa. Where the big activity is a local rodeo! More on that later...

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