Make the short drive to Memphis, and discover a place the entire family will love.
As the pandemic puts a pause on big summer vacation plans, many parents are seeking out easy drive trips that are fun for the whole family. While heading for the beach surely tops our lists, how about opting for a nearby city escape that’s a bit less expected? Think a wilderness-inspired hotel and great outdoors playground in a 32-story Pyramid in downtown Memphis, Tenn. Yes, you read correctly.
We recently discovered Big Cypress Lodge and think this rustic retreat tucked inside the iconic Memphis Pyramid is a wildly fun getaway for Birmingham families. The hotel is located on the second and third floors of the 535,000-square-foot Pyramid which was originally built in 1991 as a sports and entertainment arena. After remaining vacant for some years, the Pyramid reopened in 2015 as a 32-story celebration of the great outdoors under the creative vision of new owner Johnny Morris who founded Bass Pro Shops. As with Morris’ world-famous stores, no stone or alligator pond has been left unturned at the Pyramid – which is now called Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid.
Kids will get a kick out of the 103 guest rooms and suites that offer a glamping-in-the-city experience with cabin-style décor, rustic handcrafted furnishings, nature photography and electric fireplaces. Double queen rooms are spacious for families at 518 square feet while a collection of special accommodations – whimsical duck cabins, treehouse rooms and fly fishing lodges – go up to 1,318 square feet. Rooms also include impressive bathrooms with separate soaking tubs and showers while most offer French doors that open to screened-in porches that overlook the vast Cypress Swamp below. Did we mention the complimentary welcome snack basket and warm Mississippi Mud Cookies delivered to rooms each night? Thoughtful amenities also include a hotel lobby and bar that resemble a grand hunting lodge, a full-service spa and a 24-hour fitness center with locker rooms and showers.
Speaking of the Cypress Swamp, the best way to describe it is a wondrous wilderness world that sprawls across the ground level of the Pyramid along with the Bass Pro Shops retail areas and other Pyramid attractions. The swamp environment invites “ooohs” and “aaahs” with soaring replica Cypress trees, a collection of ponds and massive aquariums teeming with 36 kinds of fish, an underwater-themed bowling alley and shipwreck bar, and even an alligator pond. At the center of the Cypress Swamp, take the 28-story glass elevator up to the top of the Pyramid for glass observation decks and birds-eye views of the Mississippi River and surrounding city. More activities and adventures await back inside at the archery range and the Ducks Unlimited National Waterfowling Heritage Center where you and the kids can learn about the history of waterfowling and wetlands conservation.
As life with kids often revolves around food, the hotel and Pyramid have you covered with in-room dining, casual fare at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill and more elevated dishes at The Lookout at the top of the Pyramid, all of which have kids’ menus. New for summer is the Mississippi Terrace outdoor lounge which spans 7,000 square feet and offers scenic views of the Mississippi River and Mighty Lights LED light show which illuminates two nearby bridges at night. It is a beautiful spot to relax in between all the family fun and take in the magic of the mighty Mississippi – like nowhere else in Memphis. www.big-cypress.com; 877-856-5596.
Ready to go? We are giving away a FREE one-night stay with valet parking, PLUS a free game of bowling at Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill (shoes for up to 6 people). For full information on this package, see the description below.
This package is good for a one-night stay in a standard interior or exterior kind or double queen room, valet parking, round of bowling at Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill, and resort fee. The resort fee comprises complimentary Wi-Fi, access to the business center and fitness center, welcome basket, bottled water, coffee station in the third floor lobby, USA Today newspaper, turn down service with Mississippi Mud cookie, and one elevator ticket to the observation deck per person per night. This package is valid from Sunday-Thursday, and excludes holidays or blackout dates, and is subject to availability. This package must be redeemed by December 31, 2020. The winner will receive an official prize package to be redeemed with Big Cypress Lodge.