With over 160 parks and 3,000 acres of green spaces, Memphis is a paradise for both nature-lovers and families. Maintaining all of these areas is the City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods. This incredible organization does a lot for the city, so we wanted to take a closer look.
The City of Memphis Division of Parks & Neighborhoods: A Primer
When it comes to parks, Memphis has a lot more going on than you may realize. The Division manages a wide array of facilities and spaces, including aquatic centers, golf ranges, the Memphis Zoo, and the Memphis Botanical Garden. Simply put, if it’s outdoors, the Division manages it.
History of the Parks Division
Since 1900, when the Parks Commission was first founded, green spaces have been an integral part of Memphis’ DNA. George Kessler, a famous architect of the era, had grand plans for parkway systems throughout the city, much like eastern metropolises like New York and Boston. One of his developments that stands to this day is his parkway system that connects Overton and Riverside Parks. Currently, this area is listed in the National Historic Register.
Since then, the city has expanded with parks and outdoor activities in mind. Concert venues, community centers, and other recreational facilities have become integral to both the city and the Division, making Memphis even more special.
Services & Other Features
When visiting one of the 167 parks in Memphis, you’ll be amazed at how well they are maintained. The Division takes pride in providing the best care and attention to each space, ensuring that everyone gets to benefit.
Hours of Operation
During the summer, all parks are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (March 15th through October 31st). In the winter, the hours are shortened from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you or your kids are interested in athletics, the City of Memphis offers free league play for softball, baseball, kickball, soccer, and flag football. There are child and adult divisions — be sure to check out which parks host which leagues.
In addition to hosted sports, there are numerous tennis courts, golf ranges, and skate parks within the city.
While all parks have a “first come, first serve” rule, citizens can rent specific areas for a small fee. Many of the parks are ideal for celebrations both big and small, from birthday parties to large corporate events.
Highlighted Parks in Memphis
Realistically, there’s no way you can see all 167 parks in the city. Here are our top picks.
Overton Park – 1914 Poplar Ave
This 342-acre area houses multiple attractions, including the Levitt Shell (outdoor amphitheater), Memphis Zoo, and the Memphis College of Art.
Shelby Farms Park – 6903 Great View Dr
Shelby Farms Park is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. With 4,500 acres you can explore 40 miles of trails that are great for walking, biking, running and hiking.
Mississippi Greenbelt Park – 830 Island Dr
The Mississippi River is a landmark in its own right, but this park is the perfect blend of water and greenery. There is also a 1.5-mile trail ready to explore.
Memphis Botanic Garden – 750 Cherry Rd
While the zoo is fun, the Botanic Garden is a natural wonder. There are 31 different gardens within its borders, and each one is magnificent. From butterflies to cacti and succulents, you’ll experience the best that nature has to offer.
Find Out More Here
The City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods is an incredible organization that does a lot of good for the city. Find out more information about what they do, and find a park near you. Explore Memphis the right way.