Hop On To Memphis to Experience A Water Park Paradise
Memphis’ latest nugget for visitors isn’t an attraction – it’s an easy, inexpensive way to reach the city’s existing attractions.
Meet Memphis Hop, a cheery-looking bus that connect the city’s must-sees: Graceland; the Stax Museum of American Soul Music; the Children’s Museum of Memphis; the Pink Palace Museum; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Memphis Zoo; the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Beale Street; AutoZone Park and The Peabody Memphis; the National Civil Rights Museum and the Blues Hall of Fame; and the National Ornamental Metal Museum. The bus stops at each venue once an hour, but you’re welcome to stay aboard for the entire loop.
Catch Memphis Hop Tuesday through Sunday between 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. You can buy tickets on the bus, online, or at AutoZone Park, Graceland or the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. One-day tickets (good for 24 hours) cost $20 for adults and $15 for youths 12-17; children under 12 “hop on” for free. Want to ride two days? Adults get a $5 discount ($3 discount for youths).
Hop to This Splashy New Park
If you’re riding Memphis Hop with kids, you’re likely hopping off at the Children’s Museum of Memphis. Honestly, it would be hard not to once they see the hoopla happening right outside the museum’s doors:
Welcome to H2Oh! Splash, 7,700 square feet soaked by 40-some water features. This afternoon, I kicked back in a shaded Adirondack chair as my elementary-aged research assistants flirted with geysers, ran through misting loops and leaping streams, squealed beneath buckets alternately dripping and dumping, and spun on adorable play structures like this one:
In fact, the whole spray pad is cute as a button. With garden and ocean themes, nearly every element colorfully conjures a flower, mushroom, leaf or critter, the most popular of which may be the “whale organ” positioned at the pad’s center: As kids cover streams of water that sputter from holes along the whale’s back, sounds emerge. On a day like today (with a gentle breeze), I closed my eyes and half-convinced myself I was at the spa.
For your convenience, Jason’s Deli serves lunch inside the museum 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and a small snack bar sells drinks, crackers and such outside. I like the option of packing a cooler, lawn chairs and a blanket – or lucking into one of the chairs or picnic tables adjacent to H2Oh! Splash. If your kid is anything like mine (alternating bites of food with runs through the sprayers), I think you’ll like this option, too. By the way, swim diapers are required for splashers 3 and under, and the pad is grounded with a soft (safe) surface.
H2Oh! Splash debuted May 27 and will remain open through Labor Day or later, weather-depending. Admission is separate from admission to the Children’s Museum ($8 for non-members Monday through Thursday; $10 for non-members Friday through Sunday and holidays; members pay $3 anytime). Be prepared to pay for the kids and any adult chaperones. H2Oh! Splash will be open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – again, weather-depending.
Zipcars! New flights!
Memphis Hop isn’t the only innovation simplifying travel around town: Zipcar recently arrived in Memphis, establishing stations across the city to bring you 24/7 access (no lines!) to automobiles. An online map points you to the stations and availability (luxury, hybrids and fuel-efficient models are offered). You’ll pay a small application fee and an annual membership fee, but the pay-as-you-drive plans include gas and insurance from $8.50/hour or $69/day.
At Memphis International Airport, Southwest Airlines is preparing to add six daily nonstop flights between Memphis and five destinations: Baltimore-Washington, Chicago Midway and Orlando to begin in August; Houston Hobby and Tampa to begin in November. Flights are already available for booking.
Have you ridden Memphis Hop around town yet? Tell us about your favorite “Hop Stop” in the comments section below!