Mallards and Music in Memphis

We were fascinated to attend one of Memphis’ interesting attractions. Ducks!  In a Fountain! This sounded rather intriguing so we went along to find out more.

Peabody DucksThe Peabody Hotel is a grand old hotel in downtown Memphis and it has some unusual guests… 5 ducks live in a little duck house on the penthouse floor – at 11am they come down the elevator with their chaperone, and plop into the fountain in the hotel lobby, where they swim all day. Then at 4 or 5pm, they go home – cue another duck parade, chaperoned by the duck master, along a red carpet and up the elevator, back to the duck house. This was really exciting to see and it seemed like all of Memphis had turned out with cameras!

Apparently this bizarre tradition started in the 1930s – the ducks were placed in the fountain of the Peabody Hotel as a practical joke (after too much Jack Daniels apparently!), however it somehow stuck, and in the 1940s they enrolled a circus animal trainer to start the “Duck March”. The circus master became the “Duck Master” (which is a pretty cool job title!).

Anyway, enough of these duck tales… 😉  You can follow the ducks up to the penthouse, where there is a large roof terrace with views over Memphis to the Mississippi River.

MemphisWe went down to the Mississippi River with a view to going across to Mud Island, as apparently there is a scale model of the Mississippi River there that kids can paddle in, which sounded awesome! But unfortunately access to the island was closed for the season. (Disappointing – surely it could be open year round?)

We headed to the Gibson Guitar Factory for a tour of how they make guitars. They take you round the factory floor, which was cool – it wasn’t some sterile tourist version of how guitars are made – you see actual workers hand-making actual guitars, and you are guided round the process to show how they do each step. The only downside was it was a bit too noisy to hear our guide in places, but we really enjoyed this tour and they showcase some of the finished products on the way out. My BF played one of their guitars in the gift-shop afterwards. He might as well – we had no room in our suitcases for a guitar so that’s as close as he’s gonna get to one! 😉

Next post: Walking in Memphis, USA

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