My husband recently had to spend some time on the Navy base near Memphis, TN, so we took the opportunity to check out the Memphis area as a family, and of course we had to check out one of the must-see attractions in the area--Elvis Presley's Graceland. I must say, we were very impressed and it was much more than we expected, even our 5 year old enjoyed taking the tour. We took the platinum tour, which included:
*Graceland Mansion & Grounds tour with the audio-guide which included Elvis' living room, music room, parent's bedroom, dining room, kitchen, TV Room, pool room and the famous Jungle Room. As part of the tour we were able to walk through Elvis' trophy building. This amazing collection of his gold and platinum records was exceptional. It also pointed out his charitable endeavors. It was nice to learn how extremely generous Elvis was with his money. Before we left the Graceland Mansion Grounds we visited the Meditation Garden where Elvis and members of his family have been laid to rest.
*Next we took a self-guided tour through 2 of Elvis' custom airplanes, a 1958 Convair 880 named the Lisa Marie after his daughter and Elvis' smaller Lockheed Jet. The Lisa Marie features a living room, conference room, sitting room, and private bedroom, as well as gold-plated seat belts, suede chairs, leather covered tables, 24 Karat Gold-flecked sinks and more. One story that I enjoyed was a time when Elvis realized that Lisa Marie had never seen snow, so they jumped in the plane and flew to Colorado. Played in the snow for a few hours and then flew back to Graceland. The Lisa Marie was seriously like an apartment in the air, very impressive.
*Elvis' Automobile Museum displays over 33 vehicles owned by Elvis, include his famous Pink Cadillac, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Stutz Blackhawk and even a John Deere tractor he used on his ranch and at Graceland. This is a great exhibit for any auto enthusiast (including our 5 year old, who wanted all the black cars, he told me I could have the pink one).
*The Elvis on Tour Exhibit was a self-guided in-depth look at the "Elvis on Tour" award winning documentary about Elvis’s multi city tour in April of 1972. We enjoyed view the movie and how it was made and the large amount of memorabilia from that time.
*The ICON: The Influence of Elvis Presley Presented by Fender, was an interesting and self-guided look at how many of today's biggest names in music have been influenced by the King of Rock 'n' Roll. After looking through this exhibit, I really came to realize the impact he had on not only music but also fashion and I find myself watching for it in stars of today!
*We walked over to a strip mall nearby called Graceland Crossing and were able to view the Elvis Lives: The King and Pop Culture Exhibit. This exhibit really allowed us to experience how Elvis has influenced pop culture as we know it today. Through video, photos and special displays, we will be able to trace Elvis’ impact on music and the world, explore Elvis’ music through listening stations and more.
*The '68 Special Exhibit is also at Graceland Crossing and offers a look at the historic television event through videos, photos and displays of artifacts from the special. The displays include some of the outfits Elvis wore during the '68 Special, a script and a timeline of significant historical events occurring in the U.S. at that time.
We got to Graceland right around the time it opened in the morning and our wait time to catch our tour bus the Graceland Mansion and grounds wasn't too long, but we did notice the lines were significantly longer later. The website states the Average Tour Time for our platinum tour package was 2.5 to 3 hours--much of that would depend on how long you spent at each exhibit--we took about 4 hours, but we really took our time and enjoyed learning, reading and listening to everything. They also have a Graceland Elvis Entourage VIP tour with includes even more specialized treatment, including a special exhibit called Elvis...through his daughter's eyes, and a basic Graceland Mansion tour for people who are short on time. They also have special seasonal exhibits as well--this summer they have Graceland Stable Tours.
For kids, there is a lot of areas that are look only--no touch--so that might prove to be a challenge for some kiddos but my 5 year didn't have any issues with that. He would dance along to the music that was playing through his headphones on the mansion/grounds tour or through whatever speaker system was in place for that particular exhibit. He loved all the mirrors down the stairway in the Mansion and just looking at everything, we of course had to remind him a few times not to touch but since he is such a musical kid, Graceland really interested him--he now points out everything that reminds him of Elvis and recognizes many of Elvis' songs and his voice. He loved it. Graceland was very educational for kids (and adults) when it comes to music history! You can check out some of the other ideas for kids on the Graceland website.
There are plenty of food options available throughout Graceland, we of course had to get our son a Grilled Peanut Butter & Banana. You can take still photographs throughout the property for your personal, as long as you do not use any flash and video taping of any type within any exhibit is prohibited.
We truly enjoyed Graceland, and agree that it is a must-see attraction for all, Elvis fan and beyond, I know that we hope to make a repeat visit their in the future when my son is a bit older and will take in even more!
Thank you to Graceland for our tickets used in this review, opinions are honest. Review by Michelle. Personal photos used in this review belong to My Springfield Mommy and may not be used by anyone without written permission.
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