Friday, August 10, 2012

The Great Summer Road Trip 2012: Leg 5--St. Louis to Memphis

We had planned to stay in St. Louis until check-out time so that we could go visit the St. Louis Zoo early in the morning while Pax stayed at the hotel (we have had to be quite conscientious about how hot he got riding in the car and where he would be able to stay while we sight-saw).  The logistics of that became a bit tricky due to some poorly placed construction, etc.  We changed our plan, and Josh took Jackson swimming again while Graham and I took Petey for an oil change.  We left our hotel around 10:45 headed to Memphis!!!   We stopped at Sonic for lunch (my  first time!), and this worked wonderfully since we all stayed in the car.  I fed Graham and Pax was able to continue enjoying the air conditioning.  We got into West Memphis, AR (where our hotel was—about a 10 minute drive over the river into downtown Memphis) just after 3pm.  
The Peabody Hotel has been on our list of must-sees for a while now, so we wanted to be be sure to catch the famous Peabody ducks!  We bought a copy of John Philip Duck and have been reading it to Jackson to prepare for this part of the trip.  He loves it, and he was SOOOOOO excited to get to visit the ducks!!!  

We got to the hotel around 3:30 and hung out with the ducks in the lobby before we staked out a post for the 5pm march.  
We had also brought the book inside, so I sat and read to Jackson while we waited.  If you don’t know the story, you can read it HERE.  But the short version is that five mallard ducks live at the Peabody hotel for about three months at a time, and they are trained to parade from the penthouse down the elevator, up a red carpet and stairs, and into the lobby fountain at 11am each day.  They then stay in the fountain until 5pm when they do the same routine in reverse.  
The Duckmaster set out a red carpet and ropes like at the awards shows.  
He invited all of the kids to sit right up front under the ropes, and then gave us our instructions as spectators: don’t aim camera flashes at the ducks’ eyes and stand close together in case a duck does try to run away—we would block his way!  LOL Jackson LOVED watching the ducks, as did Josh and I!  Josh had seen them once before about seven years ago when he did a massive southeast road trip on his own.  
After the Peabody, we walked over to Beale Street and ate at Pig on Beale.  This was another find of Josh’s from his previous trip, and the food really was delicious.  
After dinner, we went back to the Peabody Hotel, and we rode the elevator up to the very top to see the Ducks' House!!!  They looked super tired after their busy day entertaining guests in the lobby :)  
They even have their own little fountain!
View from the roof of The Peabody.
We headed back to the hotel for baths and bed—quite a successful day!

We planned to stay two nights in Memphis, so we still had a whole day to explore the city on Thursday.  There are some really neat museums showcasing music and different aspects of history, but those are not so pre-schooler friendly.  We started the morning at Mud Island
 We bought tickets to ride the Monorail, which was definitely a highlight for Jackson.  
View from the Monorail--Jackson loved pointing out this pyramid every time we crossed the river!
We spent the rest of the morning exploring The River Walk.  
It is a scale model of the Mississippi River and all that meet it.  
It was amazingly done.  People are welcome to walk the river by getting in the water and wading along its path.  
Jackson followed the “river” from start to finish—it ended up being WAY more kid-friendly than we anticipated!  I love those kinds of surprises :)
The view from the end of The Riverwalk
Jackson was a trooper with our trekking around since we didn’t have a stroller.   Josh wore Graham in the Ergo carrier, and I did carry Jackson some, but his two legs were his main source of transportation!  
We rode the monorail back across the river and went in search of lunch.  
More views of the river as we crossed
We ended up at The Kooky Kanuck, which was quite fantastic!  Josh had the catfish plate and I had buffalo wings with a strawberry jalapeno sauce that was delicious!  After lunch we headed back to the hotel for Jackson to nap.  
After nap we went back to the Peabody Hotel to watch the ducks parade out of the fountain and into the elevator again.  
It was just as big a hit as the first night, especially since we got to really see them get on the elevator and begin their ride up to the top!  We wandered down Beale Street for dinner options and ended up at Johnny G’s.  Josh and I shared two different types of po’ boy sandwiches, and they were yummy!  
After dinner we walked a couple of blocks to catch the Riverfront Trolley.  Its route is a loop that goes down by the river.  
Jackson really wanted to ride one of the trolleys, and we wanted to see a bit more of the city, so this seemed like a win-win.  Jackson did have a wonderful time :)

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