Notable residents have included blues musicians B.B. King, Junior Parker and Howlin’ Wolf. Staying in West Memphis, Arkansas hotels, you may just get some echoes from the town’s musical past, but you also can sample present attractions, which include:
West Memphis’ own claim to fame is Southland Park Gaming and Racing, where you can bet on anything from poker tournaments to slot machines to greyhound racing. If you do not gamble, there is dancing, trivia tournaments and karaoke in the Juke Joint and drinks in the “Shine Blounge.” This is a great option for an adults’ night out.
To balance out the gambling, you can take your kids across the river to the Memphis Zoo, 70 acres of wildlife (3,500 animals) and wildlife habitat. It has won numerous awards and is only one of four zoos in the country to host giant pandas. The roar you heard at the beginning of MGM movies was recorded here.
Try out anther kind of roar—this one more musical—by touring Sun Studio, the birthplace of rock-and-roll and the most famous recording studio in the world, where you will learn how America’s greatest musical export began because Sam Phillips did not know how to record properly.
Music is only one part of Memphis’ history, and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassination in 1968, will give you and your children a tour not just of the civil rights movement of the last century but of its worldwide impact as well. It has been rated one of the “must see by the age of 15” venues in the country.
You may feel that you’ve seen enough museums by now, so a visit to Memphis’ Shelby Farms Park may be just the ticket for a little exercise. One of the largest urban parks in the country, with rolling hills, open meadows, hiking trails, a children’s discovery center, horseback riding, paddle boats and a dog park, Shelby Farms also gets into the exotic-animal category with a large bison area. Go early for the kids’ section, as it becomes crowded in the summer.
Round out your visit with a movie, Broadway show or concert at the famous Memphis Orpheum Theater, restored to its 1928 opulence with crystal chandeliers, gold molding, tasseled draperies and a Wurlitzer pipe organ. There are ticket lotteries on the day of the show so you can take a chance on last-minute availability. There also is a resident ghost, too — keep your eye out for her.
For easy access to Memphis and all its attractions without big-city prices, hotels in West Memphis, Arkansas (just across the river) are just what you need. After a stay in one of our hotels may just become your favorite home-away-from-home.
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