As you drive across the Memphis-Arkansas bridge on I-55, also known as the ‘old bridge’ to locals, you will likely be impressed by the Mississippi River, downtown Memphis skyline or perhaps even Mud Island. But wait…there is one other attraction that has always played an integral part in welcoming visitors from the other side of the Mississippi River – The Pyramid. Today visitors will be delighted to see that this attraction is now home to ‘Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid’ and we decided to take a look at what all the fuss was about.
Why is this unique? I am not usually a fan of exploring a store like Bass Pro Shops but this is more than just a shopping excursion, instead it offers an experience with a myriad of attractions that will keep you occupied for several hours.
History of the Pyramid
The unique design of the Pyramid dates back to 1991 when it was initially opened but of course it has seen a lot of transformation since then. The original name was ‘The Great American Pyramid’ and after several other colloquial names, it is locally referred to as simply ‘The Pyramid’.
Standing at 321 feet tall, it is recognized globally as one of the tallest pyramid designs around and of course mirrors the ancient Egyptian architectural masterpieces that we all love.
The Pyramid has played host to a number of sporting events including the fight between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson in 2002. As the former home of the University of Memphis basketball team and also Memphis Grizzlies, it was renowned as an iconic venue.
Utilizing this venue has a sports arena or entertainment complex never materialized, partially through the opening of the nearby FedEx Forum and also because of concerns relating to the Pyramid’s infrastructure and whether it fit the needs of a NBA franchise or similar entity.
In 2005, discussions opened with Bass Pro Shops and 5 years later an agreement was made to allow the transformation from this abandoned structure into a diverse attraction that we see today. The store had its grand opening in April 2015, ten years after the initial plans were considered.
Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid – Why Visit?
Have you ever set foot inside a Bass Pro Shops around the United States? I am not sure whether to say I have been fortunate or unfortunate to have visited several. They are not really my thing given that their focus is on fishing and hunting, but they do have some pretty cool features and of course the outdoor camping section is always worthwhile investigating to see if there is anything that can help us on our travels.
Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid is more than just a store; it’s an adventure.
Every Bass Pro Shops I have visited has been pretty similar, until we visited Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Memphis. I want to share what I consider to be 5 epic reasons that differentiates this store from any other Bass Pro Shops and encourage you to check out this for yourselves the next time you head to Memphis.
1. The Lookout at the Pyramid
If you love death-defying experiences, look no further than the Lookout at the Pyramid. Ok so I may be dramatizing the experience a little given that the Lookout is primairly an overlook on a glass observation deck, but for anyone with a fear of heights this may well be a challenging encounter.
After climbing the world’s tallest freestanding elevator at 25 floors, you are presented with stunning views across two sides of the pyramid.
Both have a solid (reassurance time folks!) glass observation deck that offers stability along with an opportunity to peer over the edge and gaze down on the gorgeous intricate details of the Pyramid design.
Peer across the Mississippi River and into Arkansas before panning around to the downtown Memphis metropolis which gives a completely different look as you see this from a birds-eye angle.
Did you overcome your fears? Great, now head back inside to the Lookout restaurant and grab a bite to eat from the appetizing yet select menu, or perhaps you need a strong beverage to relax yourself.
Admission to the Lookout is $10 which is reasonable given that you can spend as much time as you like at the summit. Although the views are limited given that you can only see two sides, you can pretty much see everything wortwhile in the surrounding area and beyond.
2. Cypress Swamp Habitat
Wandering around Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, you immediately notice that you are engulfed in more than just a retail experience. Instead as we glanced around at our surroundings we felt like we were in the heart of the Everglades or other swampland with the towering Cypress trees and various bridges crossing over the natural habitat of alligators.
Of course we were not left disappointed as we noticed several live alligators relaxing as they felt right at home despite the number of onlookers gazing into their abode.
The details included within this natural environment can certainly be attested to Bass Pro Shops and their attempts to ensure the animals are kept in a suitable habitat while at the same time providing an intriguing exhibit for visitors.
3. Big Cypress Lodge
Emphasizing the importance of visitors having a wholesome experience, Bass Pro Shops have included yet another first in their store at the Pyramid. Big Cypress Lodge is a hotel located inside Bass Pro Shops and offers a rustic feel and experience for visitors wishing to stay on premise.
With 103 various rooms to choose from, each with a unique look and feel ranging from the quirky rusticness to the treehouse style design, visitors have plenty of options. These treehouse designed rooms are really cool as you gaze up and see them suspended perilously from the Cypress trees.
This is the design Bass Pro Shops envisioned and what better way to emphasize the overall adventure experience than by having such rooms available for those interested in spending time here.
4. Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill
By the time you have finished exploring all of Bass Pro Shops’ awesome attractions inside the Pyramid, you will likely be ready to grab something to eat. Perhaps the Lookout menu isn’t sufficient, so head on over to Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill for a real dining experience.
I was particularly impressed by the menu variety on offer and would love to have had time to sample some of this fine cuisine, but what intrigued me the most about this restaurant was the nautical-themed design along with the 13-lane bowling alley. Be sure to head over and find out when the specials are taking place because you can really have a great experience while sampling some delicious food.
A saltwater aquarium is also located within Bass Pro Shops and is accessible from both within the restaurant and outside. The variety of fish on display makes this a marine lovers dream so be sure to check this out before you leave.
5. Retail Therapy
Ok, so the final reason why you should visit Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid may not seem like anything out of the ordinary given that this is a retail store.
But the variety on offer ranging from leading outdoor brands to the Tracker Boat Center where you can find something to meet all your needs, ensures that this location is well-equipped to satisfy all visitors from around the world.
If you have a sweet tooth, the fudge store will likely grab your attention with a variety of flavors available to sample and purchase.
The general store area has a myriad of food selections available, from weird and wonderful bbq sauces to other snacks that may tempt you.
We spent a full afternoon exploring the new Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. The location is great, the attractions are awesome and of course everything you would stereotypically associate with a Bass Pro Shop is present here…plus much more!
I would say that the Lookout is my favorite attraction here, probably because I love skyscrapers and anything that provides a panoramic view over a city or other surrounding area. I recommend taking the time to pay The Pyramid a visit even if you are not a retail therapist because as Bass Pro Shops like to emphasize, it is “an adventure” rather than just a retail store!
I’ve been to a Bass Pro shop in Calgary, Canada just to look around. I’m not a hunter or really much of an outdoors person but it was pretty impressive. This one in Memphis looks really cool – that Lookout has some pretty cool views.
I have to admit that I did not expect any of the things you listed in this post when I read the title. What a great and weird retail experience – only in America! My favourite has to be the fact that there are real alligators!! #WeekendWanderlust
Cool! I’ve been to Memphis only briefly and saw the Pyramid from the distance. This looks like a place where you can take your kids to buy stuff and actually have an enjoyable experience shopping (as opposed to dragging recalcitrant whiny kids around). Love the whole entertainment/shopping/eating idea.
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These kind of manufactured amusement and shopping centers have me scratching my head in amazement. I imagine that locals spend a lot of time there when the weather doesn’t let them out of the office or house without bundling up. But when I’m traveling, shopping isn’t high on my list unless I have to. Now if I had little kids traveling with me it’d be a different story…
I knew about this pyramid because is one of the few in the few in the United States. However, I didn’t know it was occupied by this retail store. I am not a fan of Bass Pro Shops. There is one in Vegas and my husband and his friends can be hours in there. But, I have to say I am intrigued by the Memphis one because of the location. I would like to go to the top.
What an unusual place! I can imagine my kids loving it, but I am with you: the lookout would probably be my favourite part. I’ve never been to that part of the USA but would love to see the Mississippi river – to me, Italian, it’s a truly evocative name! Very happy I discovered #weekendwanderlust, I just linked up! Looking forward to read more posts!