Showing posts with label Big Cypress Lodge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Big Cypress Lodge. Show all posts

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Finishing Memphis at Big Cypress Lodge

It was our final day in Memphis, but we decided to leave in the evening so we’d have a full day to enjoy it.

Angela, Kylie, Brittany, and I woke up around 8:00. 

We were staying in Big Cypress Lodge, within the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid, and could hear the rustling of those getting the store ready below us.

We dressed and went downstairs for breakfast at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl. 

This nautical-themed restaurant has a saltwater aquarium as well as a 13-land bowling alley that gives the feeling of actually bowling underwater.

There wasn’t enough free time on our schedule for bowling, but we did enjoy the egg sandwiches and pancakes before our tour.

It’s hard to even begin to explain everything within this massive 535,000 square foot pyramid that houses Bass Pro Shops and Big Cypress Lodge, which itself has 103 rooms and suites.

We began the tour walking through the common areas of the lodge and saw one of the suites (the rest were all full). 

The accommodations were spread apart from both the store and the other rooms with a sense of “wilderness” in between, so much so that you could feel like you were outside.

When you looked down at Bass Pro Shops from the room level, it almost looked like an amusement park with its endless activities and sections.  

This was exactly what Johnny Morris, the company’s owner, had envisioned when he and friend Bill Dance, a Memphisnative, had first seen the pyramid.

We walked through the huge store, though “stores” is probably a more accurate description.

There is a shop for sunglasses, sections of apparel and accessories, plenty of home goods and pottery, large aquariums, an alligator habitat (yes, they are alive), an archery range, watersports, and the General Store, where you can buy homemade fudge, novelty snacks, and sauces.

The Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid also includes an interactive Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Heritage Center and a lake where you can try boats out before you buy them.

That is a good basis of what you can find there, but I suggest spending a full day to get the true feel of this destination.

After checking out the store levels, we went back down to the main floor to get to The Lookout.

In order to get to the top of the Pyramid, you take the world’s tallest freestanding elevator (28 stories).

When you arrive at the top, you’ll find The Lookout restaurant and bar, with a giant circular aquarium in the middle. From there, you can go outside for some amazing views.

You can see three states from The Lookout – Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

After the tour, we got in the car and headed to the Memphis Zoo.  We had fun seeing all the animals, but the highlight was feeding the giraffes.

We all had a great time and I’d recommend this zoo as a good day trip for all ages, especially since they’ve added in the Zambezi River Hippo Camp, which explores the animals along this African River.

We left the zoo and headed back to Big Cypress Lodge to pack up our things. It had been an amazing trip and we will certainly be back to Memphis in the future.

Special thanks to Memphis Tourism for arranging such a comprehensive trip.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Music and Civil Rights in Memphis

My trip to Memphis with my friends was a very full one, and we were enjoying it all.

On day three, we were up bright and early to pack up and check out of the Madison Hotel. We had enjoyed our stay, but we’d be checking into Big Cypress Lodge in the afternoon for a completely different atmosphere.

My breakfast stop with Brittany, Angela, and Kylie had a very familiar name, Frost Bake Shop. Ironically, it was not a relative and not anyone’s name (it’s owned by the Kloos family), it was a play on words for “frosting.”

Although the bakery was a bit out of the city, I had received a tip that it was well worth the trip and it certainly was.

Frost Bake Shop provides cheesecakes to William Sonoma and also makes cupcakes, pies, and other baked goods that are loved all over Memphis.

We were able to sample all types of goodies, including their top sellers – Gooey Butter Cookies and the Memphis Cream Cupcake.

I didn’t leave without also tasting the delicious cheesecake and taking a box full of goodies to go.

Our next stop was yet another memorable Memphis attraction, Stax Museum of American Soul Music . It’s located on the site of the original Stax Records, which was also the home of the Stax Recording Studio.

It has great memorabilia, more displays of musical history, from Chicago Blues to the birth of Soul. We saw instruments and costumes from famous soul performers, such as
Ike and Tina Turner.

We enjoyed walking through the hallways of albums. We even got to try on some costumes of our own for a little trip back into the 60s

After Stax, we were hungry and ready to finally try some Memphis barbecue. Central BBQ was recommended and we headed there.

We ate some great barbecue nachos and pulled pork, their specialty. I also loved the Southern sweet tea.

From lunch, we went to what is probably now my favorite museum in the country. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis underwent a huge renovation around the Lorraine Motel, the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed.

The exploration of civil rights in this venue is as complete as I’ve ever seen anywhere, still preserving the rooms King was in just before he was killed, and the balcony he was on when he was shot.

Powerful exhibits are everywhere you look. They begin with slaves arriving to U.S. from Africa and end with the 2008 election of an African American President, and civil rights violations today around the world.

Among the things you can’t miss at the Civil Rights Museum are a wonderful exhibit on the Brown V. Board of Education decision and its effect on schools throughout the country; the bus from Montgomery Bus Boycott; the lunch counter from Jackson MS sit-in; and an actual partially burned freedom ride greyhound bus.

We left the museum and went to check in at Big Cypress Lodgeat the Bass Pro Shops in the Pyramid.

This is without a doubt the most unusual accommodation I’ve ever been to, with 103 rooms and suites spaced around the pyramid, with balconies overlooking the store.

Our rustic room and the great outdoors feel of Bass Pro Shops made it feel like we were really staying in the wilderness, but the service and attention to detail was more like a luxurious accommodation.

I had stayed at Bass Pro Shops' other resort, Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri two years ago, and it definitely has some of the same touches, such as the delicious warm cookies delivered to the room every night.

I also liked the living areas between rooms at Big Cypress that made it comfortable to relax in.

We had the night free and we decided it was time to head down to Beale Street in Memphis
It reminded me a lot of New Orleans, with music in the street, restaurants, and stores. 

We did some shopping and decided on the Blues City Café for dinner and blues.

When we got back to the Big Cypress Lodge , exhausted from the long day, all was quiet at Bass Pro Shop and we had a peaceful night sleep, before our final day in Memphis.