Park Life Blog

2021 Buffalo Run 5K Recap

Caring for a space that's as special as Shelby Farms Park is a big responsibility, and we're so grateful for the 300+ runners who stepped up (literally!) to help support it! Their participation in the 2021 Buffalo Run 5K directly supports the trails, lakes, green spaces and iconic buffalo herd that you love. 

 

 
Thank you, volunteers!

This event would not have been possible without the support of volunteers. From packet pickup to post-event cleanup, a lot of hands helped the event run smoothly! Thank you to the 50+ Park fans who gave the gift of their time to make this event possible!


RUN FUNDRAISING
Shelby Farms Park Conservancy is responsible for raising 75% of the Park's $5+ million operating budget each year, and this wouldn't be possible without the generosity of supporters and donors!

While every participant's race registration fees provide vital support, runners had the option to fundraise for the event. We are proud (and grateful!) that these efforts brought in more than $2,000!
This year's top fundraisers:
Connor Hawthorne
Diane Roberts
Kat Schwartz
Leslie Cacaro
Linda Hughes


To see a photo recap from the event, click here!
 

This year's Buffalo Run 5K + Bison Day Celebration would not have been possible without the support of these sponsors and partners: 

Velo Shelby Farms, Regional One Health, Financial Federal, Siskind Susser, OrthoSouth, Comcast Internet Essentials, Exercise Unlimited, Club Pilates, Grivet Outdoors, 88.5 FM, Bluff City Balloon, Fleet Feet, McCartney Produce.

    

at Thursday, November 11, 2021

St. Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis--An Exciting Week at Shelby Farms Park!

 

This is a very exciting week at Shelby Farms Park!  We are proud to be the site for the St. Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis and can’t wait to host more than 2,400 elite athletes and more than 5,000 spectators on Saturday, October 2 for this special event.  These triathletes will be swimming, biking and running in and around the Park.  
 

The Park is open on Saturday, but please note that the entire Park will be impacted by this event and your time at the Park will not be what you regularly experience. Be prepared for additional traffic, delays and road closures in and around the Park. On Saturday, all traffic must enter off of Mullins Station. CLICK HERE for the traffic impact guide and CLICK HERE for course maps.

Remember to pack your patience and to be careful and courteous as you maneuver through traffic and parking areas! Spectators are welcome to visit the IRONMAN Expo and cheer on the athletes. CLICK HERE for the week’s full event schedule.  

St. Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis Highlights:
Monday through Wednesday, Sept. 27-29
Equipment, trucks, trailers load in and set up.

Thursday, Sept. 30
Athlete check-in.
IRONMAN Expo opens.
Great View Drive N. closes at the three-way at Pine Lake Drive.

Friday, Oct. 1
Practice swim for registered athletes. IRONMAN Expo and IRONKIDS race opens.

Saturday, Oct. 2
Event race day! 

Sunday, Oct 3
Event breakdown and move out.

Looking to volunteer for this event? Click here!

at Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Celebrating Five 901-derful Years

 

It's hard to believe we're already celebrating the 5-year anniversary of Heart of the Park opening to the public! We caught up with Shelby Farms Park Conservancy's CEO, Jen Andrews, in a Q+A below, to find out how the project has shaped Shelby Farms Park's future and what her favorite observations are of the space over the last five years. But first, here's a quick history of Heart of the Park and how it came to be:

A Brief History of Heart of the Park 

At 9:01am on 9.01.2016*, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy opened its biggest improvement project to date⏤Heart of the Park. This project focused on the transformation Shelby Farms Park's largest lake and surrounding landscape, and it served as the keystone for the first phase of the Park's Master Plan. When you visit the Park today, Heart of the Park is a community hub⏤a place to get moving or relax, soak up an unrivaled sunset, grab a bite to eat, rent a boat or bike, splash around at the Water Play Sprayground, or shop in the Lake's Edge Gift Shop to support daily Park operations. At the request of the community in the planning process with world-renowned landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, Heart of the Park was designed to give the community a special space to gather and connect, while allowing the rest of the Park a little wilder with more opportunities to explore. 

*For non-Memphians, 901 is our city's area code, and we couldn't think of a better date and time to celebrate the community that helped make Heart of the Park's transformation possible!

 

While this renovation was a massive undertaking, the project was completed on time and on budget⏤a $52 million budget to be exact⏤and with tremendous public support and minimal disruption to daily park access. In just 24 months, Hyde Lake (formerly Patriot Lake) grew from about 50 acres to roughly 80 acres and the entire watershed was reshaped, creating a healthier, more ecologically sound body of water. In tandem, the First Horizon Foundation Visitor Center and FedEx Event Center we constructed along the lake's edge, creating designated spaces for gathering like the AutoZone Front Porch.

 
Fun fact:
The first beam in the First Horizon Visitor Center went up at the same time the first tree was being planted in Heart of the Park!

 

Q+A with Jen Andrews • Shelby farms Park Conservancy CEO

Why was the completion of Heart of the Park significant for Shelby Farms Park/Shelby Farms Park Conservancy? And for Memphis?
Opening the Heart of the Park amenities to the public represented the culmination of more than a decade of dreaming, planning, pushing, pulling, designing, fundraising and building. Dozens of teammates, community leaders, board members, volunteers, donors, elected officials, friends and supporters gave untold hours to make this dream a reality. It was a huge, heavy community lift, and Memphis should be proud of the gift it has given itself in Shelby Farms Park. 

We set out to create a world class public park for our community, and we did it! We wanted this project (along with the Greenline and Woodland Discovery Playground) to set a new benchmark for what’s possible in our city and to inspire us all to expect more from our public realm. 

 

Any special memory from opening day (9.01.16) that you’d like to share?
What a day. Some of us had been working out of our new visitor center offices for a few months prior to the area being open to the public. It was magical just to see visitors sitting in the Adirondack chairs under the big fans on the front porch, taking in the gorgeous lake view. We all went out to talk with visitors and ask them what they thought. People were astonished and delighted. It was so much fun! For years, we’d been promising something truly special, and getting to see people finally enjoy it was pure joy. 

At the ribbon cutting ceremony (appropriately held at 9:01am on 9/01), I remember looking at my teammates in the crowd and feeling tremendous pride and gratitude. The strength of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy has always been in the people who gather to support it. This park is a magnet for talent, passion and people who love a challenge! 

Heart of the Park Ribbon Cutting - 9.01.16
Heart of the Park Ribbon Cutting September 1, 2016

 

What has surprised you most in the last 5 years?
We knew the new park would be popular, but it would have been hard to guess just how many people it would draw. We are regularly astounded and totally delighted by the crowds. 

This is a very thoughtfully engineered and designed site that we spent many years working on, workshopping and revising. Fortunately, it functions more or less as we had hoped. It is a very complex site, with hundreds of acres of turf, thousands of trees, wetlands, hundred of irrigation heads, wildlife, meadows, a sprayground, boat launches and beaches, more than 2 miles of lakeshore, more than 5 miles of trails and paths, site furniture, lighting, a stage, a great lawn, an event center, two restaurants, a visitor center, staff offices, a gift shop, a geothermal HVAC system, a boathouse and more. Operational expertise has to range from mechanical systems management, to IT, to drainage, to habitat management, to janitorial, and on and on. 

  
Heart of the Park Construction: Baptist Memorial Health Care Promenade, Water Play Sprayground, Geothermal System under Hyde Lake

 

Do you have a favorite spot or activity in Heart of the Park?
This is an impossible question! It’s so hard to pick a favorite. 

James Corner Field Operations' beautiful landscape design work yielded a remarkably varied experience for visitors. The north side of the lake feels like a vibrant urban park hub. As I’m typing this, I’m watching a family kick around a soccer ball on the Visitor Center lawn. Yesterday, there was a fashion shoot on the front porch!  But as you walk the Promenade, your views and perspectives shift with each turn and cove. Sometimes the view feels expansive and vast, and other times you’re sharing an intimate cove with the blue heron standing on the lake shore. Then you emerge into pastoral meadows and hilly terrain. As you approach the Forest Walk, the landscape begins to feel softer, wilder and quieter. As you enter the young cyprus forest, the Promenade is suspended over a wetland with cattails and tall grasses on either side. In a few hundred feet, you’re treated to the big water view from the farthest eastern corner of the lake stretching all the way to the west. 

But I think everyone here knows that my real favorite is getting to enjoy all the dogs that visit Heart of the Park. Other than the truly amazing people I work with, seeing and petting all of your dogs is my #1 job perk. Shoutout to Peabody, Mac, Murphy, J.J., Hugo, Glen, Gumbo the Hedgehog and all the regulars. 

 

Your office overlooks a large portion of Heart of the Park. Describe a typical day through your window. 
First - I am so spoiled. This view is unbelievable and inspiring. 

There is no such thing as a typical day at Shelby Farms Park. The only thing any days have in common is that anything could happen. I’ve been here for 15 years and I’ve never once been bored. 

Here are some things I’ve seen from my office window this week: 
-So many dogs (I love all of them)
-A hedgehog
-Kids playing football 
-Kids playing soccer
-A group of teenagers painting 
-A cross country team stretching 
-A stroller workout class
-Tai Chi 
-A corporate meeting
-Business lunches
-A fashion shoot
-Tik Tok videos being filmed
-A rainstorm rolling in over the lake 


Did someone say, "celebrate?" 

 


 

Shelby Farms Park Conservancy's vision is to give rise to a celebrated 21st century park that defines and shapes a great city, and our mission is to manage, operate, restore and improve Shelby Farms Park in partnership with and for the public. With the support of our volunteers, donors and partners, we are doing just that! Each year, SFPC privately raises funding for Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline through general donations, corporate and foundation support. If you believe in this mission and want to give back to the park you love and to help make projects like Heart of the Park possible, please click here.

at Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Summer Play in the Park

Sunday, June 20 is the official start of summer and Shelby Farms Park is your official headquarters for summer fun.   

Ready to start playing?  Plan your play day here. 
 

Want a little more info?  Check out our bucket list so you don’t miss out on a single adventure at the Park.

Boat rentals - Yippee kayak! Paddling the Park is a great way to beat the heat.  Whether you want canoes, kayaks, SUPs or paddleboats, our team will help you paddle the day away! 

Canoes + Cocktails - This event is the hottest ticket in town and has the best views of Memphis sunsets from iconic Hyde Lake! Enjoy a guided evening sunset paddle on the lake followed by socially-distant cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, yard games and music. We do it every Friday evening through September, but tickets go fast.  Grab yours here

Bike rentals - Cruise through the Park’s paved trails on a bike! We have several adult sizes, plus kids’ bikes and trailers.  Our team will help fit you with the perfect sized bike to comfortably enjoy your day at the Park.  Rent your bikes here

MEMPopS - Looking for a yummy treat after all the fun in the sun?  Pop over to the Lake’s Edge Gift Shop and check out the days’ MEMPopS choices. 

Water Play Sprayground - It’s the coolest place in town!  The Water Play Sprayground has four hours of come and go play time. Grab your pass here for either a morning or afternoon play session of great splashing opportunities. 

Woodland Discovery Playground - The Playground is open!  We missed play days, but are excited that this well-loved space is now open for fun daily from 9am to an hour before sunset. 

Climbing Boulders - While the Playground was closed, we were busy adding a little fun by installing two new kids’ boulders! These climbing boulders are 7 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter and have hand and footholds carved into the surface with varying levels of difficulty.  Want to learn more?  Click here

Fitness Classes - From pilates to tai chi, you’ll see it in our summer line up of free fitness classes. 

We are serving up fun daily from sunrise to sunset and we can’t wait to see you in the Park this summer! 


 
at Friday, June 18, 2021

Wildlife Education: Fish

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of plant and animal species that call the Park "home". Today, let's learn about fish and some of their characteristics!

Fish are a diverse group of animals that share certain characteristics. For example, fish live in water and have fins that are used for swimming, turning, keeping an upright position, and more. (Due to the large variety of species of fish, there are exceptions to some of the characteristics mentioned in the following questions.)

Fish are classified as vertebrates because they have a backbone and skeletal system. This picture below shows a model of a fish skeleton.

 

A fish has gills located on the sides of its head. Most fish use gills to absorb oxygen from the water and release carbon dioxide into the water. Fish have a two-chambered heart (1 atrium and 1 ventricle) that pumps blood. Deoxygenated blood (blood without oxygen) returns to the atrium from the body. Blood travels from the atrium into the ventricle. Blood is pumped out of the ventricle and travels to the gills where the blood becomes oxygenated. The blood carries oxygen to the rest of the body and returns to the atrium.

 

Nature Challenge – Take a nature walk around a lake at Shelby Farms Park (or around a lake near you) and look for fish in the water as you walk.

at Thursday, June 17, 2021

Wildlife Education: Animals With Backbones

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of plant and animal species that call the Park "home". Today, let's learn about animals with backbones!

A variety of living things are classified as animals. However, only 5 major groups of animals have backbones. An animal that has a backbone and skeletal system is called a vertebrate.  Vertebrates are animals with backbones and skeletal systems. A backbone can also be called a spine, spinal column, or vertebral column. The individual bones that make up a backbone are called vertebrae. Can you locate the backbone in the model of this toad skeleton?

 

Insects do not have a backbone or internal skeleton. Instead, they have an exoskeleton which is a hard outer covering that protects their body. The 5 groups of vertebrates (animals that have a backbone) are fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Invertebrates are animals that do not have a backbone. A spider is an invertebrate because it is an animal without a backbone. Spiders are classified as arachnids (not insects). As mentioned above, the 5 major groups of vertebrates are fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. A frog is an amphibian, so it has a backbone. A skink is a reptile, so it has a backbone. A buffalo is a mammal, so it also has a backbone.   


Nature Challenge – Take a nature walk, and find examples of vertebrates. Can you see or hear at least one example from each of the 5 groups of vertebrates?
at Thursday, June 10, 2021

Happy National Trails Day!

National Trails Day is coming up on June 5, 2021! This special day celebrates and recognizes the benefits of trails, and the 40+ miles of trails at Shelby Farms Park play an important role in our community!

Did you know that trail use in Shelby Farms Park nearly tripled in 2020? The trails got a lot of use, and we need your support to help ensure they get some much-needed TLC to keep them in great shape for the busy summer ahead.

Will you please support your trails with a gift of $15?

at Wednesday, June 2, 2021

How You Can Enjoy Park Life This Weekend


What better place to spend your weekend than in Shelby Farms Park! Here are all the ways you can enjoy Parklife this weekend.

Canoes + Cocktails
Kick your weekend off with Canoes + Cocktails every Friday night through September! Enjoy iconic sunset views from a rented canoe or kayak. You can also enjoy the stunning view on your own boat. Afterward, enjoy socially-distant cocktails, music and yard games at Hyde Lake Pavilion. Open rain or shine, learn more and purchase tickets here:

 

Boat + Bike Rentals
Explore the Park on land or water with bike + boat rentals! Now open 7 days a week, rent one of our new fleet of bikes at the Hyde Lake Wheel House or rent a canoe, kayaks or stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) from the Hyde Lake Boat House. Book and reserve your spot here! 


Don’t forget--May is national bike month! Click here to learn how can get in gear to celebrate at the Park!

 

Red Dresses to Honor Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Shelby Farms Park is proud to be a part of the exhibition of Red Dresses to Honor Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. You can find details here.

 

Puppy Play at the Outback Off-Leash Area
Shelby Farms Park is a popular place for pups! Visit here to learn how you and your pup can enjoy the over 100 acres of fun in the Outback Off-Leash Area!


We have some PAWS-itively exciting news! Shelby Farms Park is in the running for a chance to win up to $100,000 in the Dog Park Dash! Visit here 
to learn ways you + your pup can help!
 

at Friday, May 21, 2021

It's National Bike Month!

Get in gear to celebrate National Bike Month at Shelby Farms Park! May is National Bike Month, and what better way to celebrate than by renting a bike and checking out the paved trails at Shelby Farms Park?

You can BYO-Bike, or rent a brand new bike at the Hyde Lake Wheel House which is now open seven days a week!


Our new rental bikes feature a digital monitor that helps keep up with your maximum speed, average speed, trip distance, total distance, and elapsed time. This information is fun and helpful for riders who want to keep up with their trips, but it also helps us monitor and predict maintenance needs so that our fleet stays in tip-top shape!

Step-through and straight-frame bikes are available in several adult sizes.  And, we have kids' bikes and trailers so that the whole family can get in on the fun! Our retail team will help fit you and your family with the perfect size bike so you can comfortably enjoy the paved trails in the Park and on Shelby Farms Greenline.

You may also notice that our new fleet features grease-free carbon belt drives instead of traditional chains. Rubber belts require less maintenance and last longer, which means lower operating expenses for the Park. This eco-friendly upgrade also results in a quieter ride! Reserve your ride online here


Another wheel-y great option for cruising around Shelby Farms Park is the city's first and only eBike fleet! We’ve partnered with Explore Bike Share to bring pedal-assist eBikes to the Park. The electric bikes, powered by Bosch, use an electric
motor and battery to help bike share users power their bike ride. On pedal assist eBikes, the assist only kicks in when pedaling. The motor amplifies the power behind each pedal stroke, providing a natural riding feeling. Stations are located at the First Horizon Foundation Visitor Center and at the South Hyde Lake parking lot and bikes can be reserved through the Explore Bike Share app. Get more info here.

Source: Explore Bike Share

at Thursday, May 20, 2021

Dog Park Dash

We have some PAWS-itively exciting news! Shelby Farms Park is in the running for a chance to win up to $100,000 in the Dog Park Dash! This generous grant funding, supplied by the Boyd Foundation, is being awarded to projects across the state of Tennessee, and we are honored to be selected as a potential award winner!

One of the biggest deciding factors for the awards in community engagement, so we need your help to win! 


We have provided two quick and simple ways that you can show your support and to share this opportunity with your friends:

SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPORT

Showing your support on your social media pages is as easy as 1...2...3!

1. Post a cute picture of your pup (Please consider making your post public to guarantee that it is visible by the granting organization.)

2. Caption your picture with a sentence or two that shares why the Shelby Farms Park dog park is important to you and why you think it deserves this grant funding.

3. Use these hashtags in your post to make that it is counted by the granting organization: #DogParkDash2021 #ShelbyFarmsPark

 

LEAVE A LOVE NOTE

Visit dogparkdash.com/support to fill out this short form (it’s one question!) to let the granting organization know why the Shelby Farms Park dog park is important to you and why you think it deserves funding support!

 

The deadline for sharing posts and submitting notes is May 31, 2021.


Thank you for your help and support!
 

at Wednesday, May 12, 2021

National Fitness Day

May 1 is National Fitness Day and Shelby Farms Park is a great place to get fit.  Whether you are taking the first steps of a fitness journey or are a weekend warrior, you will find just the right activity at the Park  

 

BINGO 
Play the Shelby Farms Park Fitness Challenge Bingo. Challenge yourself to complete a vertical, horizontal or diagonal bingo by completing various fitness activities in the Park. Download or print your card here.

Hit The Trails
Did you know that Shelby Farms Park is home to more than 40 miles of trails? With both paved and unpaved options, you can vary your walks, hikes, runs and bike rides to keep things interesting! You can find trail details here
Keep up with your miles on the Greenline using the Campbell Clinic mile markers!

Outdoor Fitness Stations
Did you know that we have an outdoor circuit workout station? This free-to-use amenity features equipment to help you complete a full-body fitness session at your own pace! You can find detailed instructions and video links that demonstrate how to use the equipment at each station. 

Free Fitness Classes
Catch a free Get Outside! Fitness class.  The class lineup currently includes yoga, pilates, Tai Chi and Total Body Conditioning. Check out the class schedule here.
Thanks to Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation for making these classes possible. 

Think Outside the Trail
We're big fans of hitting the ground running, but a unique way to workout at Shelby Farms Park is to take to the water! You can work up a serious sweat by paddling around the 80-acre Hyde Lake on a canoe, kayak or SUP! You can BYOBoat or rent one at the Hyde Lake boat house. 

at Friday, April 30, 2021

Wildlife Education: Parts of A Flower

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of plant and flower species that call the Park "home". Today, let's learn about the different parts of a flower!

Angiosperms are plants that grow flowers and flowers are the reproductive part of angiosperms. Most angiosperms have brightly colored petals and these petals use these colors to attract pollinators to the flower. Birds and insects are examples of such pollinators. Can you find the bee on the flower in this picture? 

 

The male part of the flower is called the stamen, and it consists of the anther and filament. The anther is the structure that produces pollen, and the filament is the stalk that supports the anther. The pistil (also called the carpel) is the female part of the flower and consists of the stigma, style, and ovary.


 

An ovule is a structure inside the flower’s ovary. Once pollen reaches the ovule, fertilization can occur, and once fertilized, the ovule develops into a plant’s seed. When pollen reaches the ovule, fertilization can occur and the ovule develops into a seed. The plant’s ovary is the structure that contains the seed(s). The ovary develops into a fruit to protect the seed(s). Some fruits have only one seed because the ovary has only one ovule. Some fruits have multiple seeds because the ovary contains multiple ovules.  

Nature Challenge: Take a nature walk, and try to find examples of flowering plants. 

at Thursday, April 29, 2021

Happy Earth Day!

 

Today is a day to celebrate this pretty planet of ours by putting a focus on global efforts to protect and sustain nature's most important resources. While Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, we like to treat every day like Earth Day at Shelby Farms Park! Sustainability is at the heart of all Park operations⏤in projects as large as designing our Visitor Center and Event Center to meet LEED Silver Certification to hosting small-scale volunteer cleanups, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy works hard to keep the Park green at every level!

Check out our activities and events scheduled to celebrate Earth Day. 

Want to learn more about the businesses and organizations that are helping Memphis have a greener future? Join us on Facebook for a virtual panel featuring local sustainability leaders today, April 22, at 5:30pm!

Want to volunteer in honor of Earth Day? We could use a few more helping hands to spread mulch this Saturday, April 24 at 8am! Thank you very "mulch" in advance! Sign Up 

Have you "herd" about our Porch Chats? Learn about the Park’s iconic buffalo herd from the Rangers that take care of them! Meet our Rangers on the AutoZone Front Porch at the First Horizon Foundation Visitor Center for an informal chat as they share info and fun facts about our herd this Sunday, April 25 at 11am!

Reduce - Reuse - Re-Cycle - Help us give the bikes in our old rental fleet new lives! These used bikes have spent a lot of time on the trails, but they still have some life left in them! We'll have 50+ bikes for sale, along with some accessories and parts. Learn more here! Proceeds from this bike sale will help offset the cost of our new rental fleet!

Thanks to our Celebrate Earth Day partners!
International Paper
CN
City of Memphis
Nike
Rotolo Consusltants

at Thursday, April 22, 2021

Adjusting Hyde Lake Levels

April showers bring May flowers...and varying water levels in Hyde Lake! But, did you know that we can control just how much water is in this 80-acre lake?

Maintaining any body of water is a big job, and with a lake this large, the hardworking Park's Operations Team keeps a close eye on water levels every day to help prevent erosion along the shores and to help prevent flooding around the lake. Even the most gentle waves can erode the banks!

 


This valve allows us to raise the lake levels.  It is opened during dry conditions when we are trying to collect additional rainwater runoff to raise the lake level back to normal (“full”) conditions.

 

This photo is the lowering valve that is in the center of the lake spillway.


We can't control the weather, but we can preventatively control water levels!
 The Operations team keeps a close eye on weather forecasts, and when significant rainfall is predicted, whether over a multi-day period or a large amount in a short window of time, they can release water through a special gate on the lake's western edge, lowering the overall water level in the lake and making room for new water. The water flows under Farm Road and, thanks to the watershed, eventually makes its way to the Wolf River. Did you know that one inch of steady rainfall can raise the lake by more than three inches?! And rain isn't the only precipitation that can raise water levels⏤the lake levels were adjusted to accommodate run-off from melting snow and ice in February 2021!

So, the next time you are walking the trail around Hyde Lake and think the lake looks a little different than the last time you saw it, you could be right!

at Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Wildlife Education: Photosynthesis

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of plant and tree species that call the Park "home". Today, let's learn about the process by which these plants get their energy and become green-- photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is the process of using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to produce sugars and oxygen. Sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide are the reactants; sugar and oxygen are the products. One reason why plants play an important role in the environment is because the process of photosynthesis produces oxygen which living things need to survive. Photosynthesis takes place in chloroplasts. Chloroplasts contain chlorophyll which is a pigment that absorbs sunlight and gives leaves their green color.

Autotrophs are organisms that make their own food using sunlight or chemical energy. Because an autotroph can “produce” its own food, it is often called a producer. Many autotrophs such as grasses, trees, and other plants perform photosynthesis. During the process of photosynthesis, these autotrophs absorb sunlight energy and convert it into sugars, which stores chemical energy. 

Take a nature walk and identify 3 examples of organisms (living things) that perform photosynthesis.

To find additional education resources, click here.

Special thanks to International Paper for helping make education programs at Shelby Farms Park possible.

at Thursday, March 25, 2021

Wildlife Education: White-tailed Deer

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of animal and plant species that call the Park "home". Today, let's learn about one of those species, one that can often be seen peeking through the forests and brush of the Park--the white-tailed deer. 

White-tailed deer live in Shelby Farms Park and throughout the state of Tennessee. Because they eat a variety of plant material, white-tailed deer are classified as herbivores. Herbivores are also called plant-eaters because they eat producers such as grasses, parts of trees, and a variety of other plants.* Their agility, leaping ability, and excellent sense of smell help them pick up the scent of nearby predators and escape them. Fawns (young deer) have white spots which also provide camouflage and help them hide from predators. You can spot the difference between male and female white-tailed deer by searching for antlers. Only male white-tailed deer grow antlers, female white-tailed deer do NOT grow antlers. 

*Carnivores are also called meat-eaters, and omnivores eat both plants and meat.

Thanks to International Paper for helping make education programs at Shelby Farms Park possible.


 
at Thursday, March 18, 2021

Green for All

Today is St. Patrick's Day, and it's got us thinking about all things green! Our favorite green thing is, of course, Shelby Farms Greenline (it's got, "green" right there in its name!). Just for fun, we put together six fun facts about the trail:

 

1. Did you know that Shelby Farms Greenline used to be a rail line? Train tracks used to lie where your favorite path is today. Trains hadn't run on this section in many years and the land was pretty much abandoned and unused, so Shelby Farms Park Conservancy teamed up with Shelby County Government to secure a right-of-way for the land, turning it into a cycling and pedestrian trail. This type of transformation is called a rails-to-trail project, and Shelby Farms Greenline is one of the most popular types of rails-to-trails projects in the region!

 

2. Shelby Farms Greenline was built in phases. The first section of trail opened in 2010. This 6.5-mile stretch connects the heart of Memphis to the Park, running from Tillman Street to Farm Road. The second phase extended the trail 4 miles to the east, connecting Farm Road to Old Cordova, and making the trail just over 10 miles long in total. An additional future extension is planned to extend the trail two more miles on the east end.

 

3. The mile markers run east and west. The trail was designed to connect trail fans to the Park and to each other, so the 0.0 mile marker sits at the Farm Road. If you head west, the markers run from 0.0 to 6.5W. If you head east, they run from 0.0 to 4E. Shoutout to our friends at Campbell Clinic for helping us keep track of the miles by sponsoring the markers!

 

4. Nearly 200,000 visitors enjoy the trail each year! How do we know this? A special system of Eco Counters are installed at key points on the trail and in the Park to help the Conservancy better understand where and how* visitors access the Park and Greenline.

*Yes, how! These in-ground counters use a pressure system that is sensitive enough that it can detect whether a cyclist or pedestrian (or cars at vehicle entrances) has crossed the entry point.
 

5. Shelby Farms Greenline runs on love! Keeping this incredible amenity clean, green, safe and open 365-days a year (or 366 days in leap years like 2020) is a big job! From the daily maintenance and care that the Park team provides, to volunteers lending a hand, to the donors whose gifts make this work possible, taking care of a 10+ mile trail is a team effort!


6. Shelby Farms Greenline is growing!
 Learn more about the upcoming extension plan that will further connect Midtown Memphis to the trail here!

at Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Wildlife Education: Deciduous Trees

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of plant and tree species that call the Park "home". Today, let's learn about one of those types of trees--deciduous trees--and why they lose their leaves.

Some trees have broad leaves that change colors in the fall or winter and then fall off. These trees are called deciduous trees. Why do deciduous trees lose their leaves in fall and winter? Deciduous trees, by losing their leaves, can conserve water and energy needed by other parts of the tree. The process of losing its leaves also helps a deciduous tree survive the winter. In addition, this process helps the tree get rid of damaged leaves and prepares the tree to produce new leaves in the upcoming spring. 
 

Chlorophyll is involved in the process of photosynthesis and is also related to why the leaves of deciduous trees change color. Chlorophyll is a pigment that gives leaves their green color. Photosynthesis is the process of using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and sugars. These sugars can be stored or used by the tree for energy. In the fall, deciduous trees begin preparing for the winter. The tree stops producing chlorophyll and breaks down the chlorophyll present in the leaves. However, there are additional pigments present in leaves. When the chlorophyll is broken down and the green color is no longer present, these additional pigments of yellow, orange, or red can be seen in the leaves of deciduous tree species.
 

Thanks to International Paper for helping make education programs at Shelby Farms Park possible.

at Thursday, March 11, 2021

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME IS AROUND THE CORNER

Mark your calendars! Starting March 14th, we will all have one extra hour of daylight. Spend it wisely and use those 60 minutes doing something fun and active with us at Shelby Farms Park!

Here are 8 things to do at Shelby Farms Park with your extra hour of sunlight.

  1. Bring your workout to the great outdoors with free, socially-distant Get Outside! Fitness classes! We all know it’s hard to get motivated to get fit after a busy day when it’s dark before dinner. So use this extra bit of daylight to finally get around to it! The schedule can be found here.

  2. Looking to see more of the Park? Ride a bike or take a hike on the Shelby Farms Greenline! With more time on your hands, there’s no reason not to hit these 10+ miles of trail and get the most out of your day. Find trail tips and learn more here.

  3. And don’t forget about the pup! Let go of the leash and let your dog enjoy the Outback Off-Leash Dog Park.  Find some fresh air for everyone! Be sure to give our rules and tips a glance here before visiting.

  4. Celebrate and enjoy food in the great outdoors at our Park pavillions! There’s no better combo for a picnic than fresh air and fresh food. Learn more and find pavillion forms here.

  5. Rather have someone else make the food for you? Order online from Cheffie's Cafe + Market or make a reservation at Coastal Fish Company! Enjoy an excellent meal outdoors on our fabulous open-air porch overlooking Hyde Lake. Watch the sun set an hour later with some fine dining or a cocktail. For more information and updates, be sure to check out Cheffie's here or Coastal Fish Company's here.

  6. Don’t forget that once it warms up, you can start using your extra spring hours doing even more at Shelby Farms Park. Bring your own kayak, canoe, or paddleboard! Go fishing! We have over 20+ lakes and ponds, so don’t hesitate to hit the water this spring! Learn more about your options here.

  7. Warmer weather and longer days means it will also be perfect conditions to hit the trails and go horseback riding here at Shelby Farms Park. Learn how to saddle up here.

  8. And finally, Go Ape Treetop Adventure and Axe Throwing opened on March 6th! Swing into spring and traipse through trees on these obstacle courses and ziplines or grab your hatchets and stick the target in the beautiful forests of Shelby Farms Park! Learn more and book your session here.

Make the most of your day, every day, and spend your extra hours with us at Shelby Farms Park this spring!

Stay safe and healthy, Park fans!

at Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wildlife Education: What are Producers and Consumers?

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of animal and plant life that call the Park "home". There are many ways to classify plants and animals, one of which being as a producer or a consumer. Today, let's learn about producers and consumers and the differences between them.

 

What is a Producer?
Organisms are living things such as animals, plants, and fungi. Organisms require energy to survive, but they obtain their energy in different ways.  Some organisms make their own food using sunlight or chemical energy. These organisms are often referred to as producers. Producers are also often called autotrophs because an autotroph can “produce” its own food. Autotrophs, such as trees, grass and other plants, are organisms that make their own food using sunlight (solar energy) or chemical energy.

 

What is a Consumer?
Consumers are organisms that must "consume" their energy from other organisms.  Mushrooms and molds obtain energy by absorbing nutrients from organisms in their environment. The great blue heron is another example of an organism that obtains its energy by eating other organisms. Heterotrophs are organisms that obtain their energy by eating or absorbing nutrients from other organisms. Because a heterotroph must “consume” its energy from other organisms, it is also called a consumer.


Take a walk outside and see if you can find examples of producers and consumers in the natural world!

To find additional education resources, click here.

Special thanks to International Paper for helping make education programs at Shelby Farms Park possible.

at Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Winter Weather at the Park

Whether you love the snow or are already counting down the days until spring, we can probably all agree the Park is beautiful in this winter weather.  Enjoy these sights from this week in the Park. Stay safe and warm, Park fans!

 

at Friday, February 19, 2021

The extra magic behind the production of Starry Nights 2020

Starry Nights is the event that powers Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline, and we’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what powers Starry Nights!

Starry Nights is hands down the largest scale and longest running event at Shelby Farms Park, and putting an event of this scale together takes a lot of planning and a lot of teamwork! This year, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy partnered up with ProductionOne, which is a locally owned and operated business that provides audio, video, lighting and staging for events, concerts and special events of all sizes. This talented team at ProductionOne is responsible for the creation, production and installation of Starry Nights, and we want to share some of their history and hard work with you! We recently talked with ProductionOne’s CEO and Founder, Kiley Butler, to learn more about his connections to Shelby Farms Park and the pandemic pivot his company took that led to their role with Starry Nights!

Tell us a little bit about ProductionOne.
Our business started about 20 years ago as a nonprofit. I got a call from a church that needed some help organizing camps and conferences for teenagers and quickly discovered if you're a nonprofit and want to do your own events, then you'd better own your own gear.  So, I bought two projectors and two screens the next day, and that was the start of ProductionOne.

Our mission started, and has always been, to help others achieve their vision for their event.  To this day, seventy-five percent of our clients are nonprofit and government organizations.  We used to be one so we know the importance of creating a big bang on a budget. We try to not be a production company that tells you how you’re going to do your event.  We want to be a partner with the client and help them communicate their message to their audience.  It’s not about us.  It’s about serving the client. 

We are a one stop shop that can offer audio, video, lighting, staging, cameras, and streaming; with ProductionOne your event can be a turn-key experience. 

Besides working with us at Shelby Farms Park, who are some of your other clients?
We have worked with a lot of local businesses including Memphis Zoo, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis Area Association of Realtors, the Halloran Centre and Bartlett Performing Arts Center.  We’ve been on the road with artists including Alison Krauss and Kirk Whalum.

How did the pandemic impact your business?
The majority of our business was meetings, conferences, concerts and other similar events, so all of those events were canceled or postponed when the pandemic hit.

We weren’t doing many events other than the Park’s drive-in movie nights. Those events really helped keep us alive during the summer. 

In the early spring we received a call from the team at the Park to see if we were interested in producing Starry Nights. We’ve been involved with Starry Nights doing some small displays and laser elements for around nine years, but certainly not the whole show.  

Again our main focus was concerts and meetings. We had little experience in specialty events. And, not an event to the scale of Starry Nights. But, because we are creative and motivated, we were able to pivot our concert business to specialty events. 

Starry Nights is a huge event for Memphis; it gives so much to Memphis. But this year, it’s given more than people realize. It helped keep our company alive and it made a difference to a lot of people. 

Were there any big pivot points as you worked on Starry Nights? 
Starry Nights was scheduled to open on Friday, November 27 and my team had been working day and night to get ready. And, we were almost ready. Then, with less than two weeks before the opening night, a big storm came through overnight and really did some damage to the displays.  Over half of show’s displays were torn down from the wind and two of our larger displays - the 35 foot ribbon tree on the Visitor Center lawn and the 25 foot tower of presents - were both toppled. 

We needed some extra help and we needed it quick. So, I called a crew of Memphis-based concert stage hands who were all without work as a result of the pandemic. No concerts means no need for stage hands. So we brought this local group in and they got to work. They helped restore all the displays and the show opened on time and intact on Friday night.  

Starry Nights gives so much to Memphis and this year it’s given more than holiday cheer as it helped my business and also helped many other people who were in need of work. This event has been a blessing to people and been a blessing for people at the same time.

What are some of your favorite pieces of Starry Nights? 
I love the Frosty’s Pinball game as it’s a nod to the old Rolling Balls display. I also love the animated Floating Forrest on Pine Lake. I have a personal favorite and connection to another piece, too. Twenty-two years ago, I asked my wife to marry me right under the large oak tree right at the Starry Nights entry arch.  That tree always looks like it’s bursting with life and now it just bursts with colors.  

Any last words about Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park? 
I’ve loved Shelby Farms Park for a long time and creating this year’s Starry Nights has been a joy. The ProductionOne team has a blast creating something that is so beautiful.  We want Starry Nights to bring smiles and a little magic back in people’s lives.


To learn more about ProductionOne, click here.
To learn more about Starry Nights and to purchase tickets, click here

at Thursday, December 24, 2020

Headed to Starry Nights? Here's what you need to know

Starry Nights will be shining brightly on select nights through January 3, and we've put together some quick tips and reminders to help you plan and enhance your experience! Check out the info below, and if you need more info, head to the Starry Nights event page for full event details, FAQ and more!

LINES
As we get closer to Christmas, lines will be longer and so will wait times. We're working hard to keep traffic flowing without rushing guests through the lights, so please pack your patience and be kind in line!

These locations will help mark estimated approximate wait times from that point to the ticket booth:

  • From Main Entrance Gate (Farm Road and Great View Drive North intersection): approximately 30 minutes

  • From Walnut Grove and Farm Road intersection / Mullins Station Road and Farm Road intersection: approximately 90 minutes

 

ROUTE
The show’s route is 1.5 miles long and it takes approximately 30 minutes to drive through. 

 

TICKETS
Whether you already have a ticket or need to purchase a ticket, all cars should enter Starry Nights from Farm Road on to Great View Drive North through the Park’s main gate. If using a navigation system, use the intersection of "Farm Road + Great View Drive North " as the reference point in your location search. Note: Your system may attempt to reroute you around traffic to another Park gate, but you may only enter through the Park's main gate. Look for the Starry Nights sign at the entrance!

 

QUICK TIPS
Have little ones in your vehicle?  Extra toys and snacks may come in handy to entertain and help pass the time. You can find a free mobile and printable Starry Nights scavenger hunt!

The closest portable restroom is located near the ticket booth.

Fill up with gas before you come! 

Remember to pack your patience and be kind in line.

 

Starry Nights is the largest annual fundraiser for Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline. Proceeds from this event help keep these community assets open and operating for more than 3 million visitors a year. Thank you for your support and for spending part of your holiday with us!


Thanks to our sponsors who help Starry Nights shine!

AutoZone | Brother | nexAir | TMobile
Alston Construction | Choate's Air Condtioning Heating Plumbing 
Compass Intervention Center | Cushman & Wakefield / Commercial Advisors 
Hope Church | Memphis Area Honda Dealers | Mold Terminator
Pfizer | Tioga Environmental Consultants




 
at Wednesday, December 16, 2020

How You Can Make Puppy Play Paw-ssible!

We want to give a very special thank you to everyone who sent photos of their dogs to us! See if you can find your furry friend in the photo above.

This week, we celebrated one of our favorite days of the year - National Dog Day! Shelby Farms Park is a popular place for pups.  And, we have lots of paw-some ways that you can celebrate, remember or honor your four-legged friend.


Visit the Outback Off-Leash Area

The Outback Off-Leash area features more than 100 acres that are designated for off-leash fun for you and your pup! Generously sponsored by Jim Keras Subaru, this area is fun unleashed! Click here to plan your dog's next visit to the Park.


Purchase a Dog Tag or Paver Stone
These personalized tags come in official Park colors and a variety of shapes.  These tags hang on a special sign in the Outback Off-Leash Dog Park. They not only represent a tribute to an adored four-legged friend, but also an investment in this special part of Shelby Farms Park. 

You can also honor a special pet or pet-lover on the Legacy Walk located at the entrance to the Outback Off-Leash Dog Park. With your donation, your personalized engraved paver stone is added to the welcoming walkway in the Dog Park. Remember, all proceeds from the sale of the tags and pavers help maintain the dog park and give our dogs a place to do what they do best -- run, play, socialize and just have some dog-gone fun. Honor your pup here!


Buy a Fun Treat or Cool Gift

Looking for cool gifts for your four-legged friend?  Head over to the Lake's Edge Gift Shop in the First Horizon Foundation Visitor Center where you'll find toys, accessories, dog themed gifts and more!  Plus, all dog merchandise is 25% off through Sunday, August 31. Find hours here

Make a Gift 

Make a donation to Shelby Farms Park in honor or memory of your favorite pup.  Shelby Farms Park is a big park and caring for a big park is a big job.  Your honorary gift helps keep Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline clean, green and safe and a welcome place for dogs. Click here to give now!



 
at Friday, August 28, 2020

Happy Earth Day!

We like to treat every day like Earth Day at Shelby Farms Park, but our official Earth Day celebrations will look a little different this year. While we spent the last year making exciting changes and getting back to the roots of our Down to Earth Festival, we won’t be celebrating in April like we had planned. With the generous support of our partners, the festival will move to August 29, and we hope you can join us then! 

In the meantime, we’re taking a look back at Earth Day in honor of its 50th anniversary! Why did it start? What made it so important? Why are we still celebrating today? Why is Earth day important to Shelby Farms Park? 

The History of Earth Day
The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, giving birth to the modern environmental movement. While we celebrate Earth Day today, that day in 1970 was  a nation-wide day of protest. At that time, the health of the environment was not a priority for industries or government entities, and there weren’t many consequences for the pollution that many industries were causing. Environmental threats and high levels of pollution were rapidly impacting the air, water and lands in ways that were beginning to impact human health. 

What became Earth Day started as an idea to educate the community and inspire public consciousness about air and water pollution. The idea came from Senator Gaylor Nelson of Wisconsin, who recruited other conservation-minded activists and politicians and began to organize teach-ins on college campuses. They promoted their plans with national media and selected April 22 as their day of action.

While the original plan was to educate students through 85 events spread across the nation, as word spread from coast to coast, a variety of organizations and faith groups were inspired to join the effort. As plans expanded, the day got a name--Earth Day. 

The momentum behind the message grew rapidly--more than 20 million Americans showed up in parks, in auditoriums and in the streets to create a visible presence and a collective concern for the current and future damage being done to the environment and calling for change at every legislative level.

This was the first time that a unified voice rose en masse. Small groups with singular focuses--groups fighting to stop factory pollution, oil spills, toxic waste dumps, pesticide use and wilderness destruction--all came together because of their common values. The presence of the protestors inspired a rare political alignment and brought together citizens from all walks of life on a unified front--saving the earth to protect our future. 

That first Earth Day made a difference--it launched the United States Environmental Protection Agency and it initially inspired the passing of important and innovative environmental protection law, including the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Education Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The ripple effect later launched the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, all of which saved millions of men, women, children, animals and ecosystems from unnecessary suffering and preventable extentiction. You can learn more about the history of Earth Day here.

In other words, Earth Day was and is a big deal! 

In the last five decades, the movement has gone global and has inspired hundreds of millions global citizens to work toward building more sustainable communities by thinking globally and acting locally.

What does Earth Day mean to Shelby Farms Park? 
The land that is now Shelby Farms Park had humble beginnings as farmland. Initially it was utilized by small family farms, and over time the farms were purchased by Shelby County and the land became a working prison farm. The penal farm model operated from the 1920s to the 1960s, and once it stopped, the farmland became open for public use. The community embraced the land as a park and utilized it as such for the next several decades. However, the land wasn’t protected as park land, and there was an ongoing risk that it could be sold for surplus profit. There were several times that that risk almost became reality--ideas and plans for a wide variety of developments were drawn up, including turning the land into a golf course, a safari park, or model living communities. 

However, each time the talk of developing the land arose, a group of citizens stood up in favor of keeping the land open as a community green space. Thankfully, local leaders listened and the land continued to be used for recreation for the next few decades. 

That group eventually formalized and became the Shelby Farms Park Alliance, which worked with Shelby County Government to lay out a plan for the future of the land. What came out of those planning sessions was the formation of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy (SFPC or the Conservancy), the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that now manages and operates Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline through a private-public partnership with Shelby County. This exciting milestone happened in 2007, and the Conservancy’s first and arguably most important task was securing a conservation easement, officially and legally protecting the land that is now Shelby Farms Park as park land. So, much like the humble beginnings of the first Earth Day, the formation of one of America’s signature urban parks began with an idea, community education and the inspiration to take action.

It’s truly a miracle that Shelby Farms Park exists in the way that it does today. If a small group of citizens can help preserve thousands of acres of green space for their fellow community members, think of the impact you can have at any scale with your voice, your votes and your daily actions! 


Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. -- The Lorax


Good, Green Design
Sustainability is at the heart of all that we do at Shelby Farms Park. After securing the conservation easement to protect the land, SFPC began connecting with the community to learn what their hopes and dreams for their park were, not only immediately, but for generations to come. 

The public meetings inspired the Master Plan, which was designed by award-winning James Corner Field Operations. Overall, the plan was to create a centralized hub for community engagement (Heart of the Park) while leaving much of the Park to continue serving as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday urban life.

One of the first goals of the plan was to reconnect the island ecosystems that existed within the Park when the Conservancy took over. Because the land was used for agricultural purposes for so long, nearly every element was shaped and deforested in order to aid those long-ago operations. The Master Plan included a strategic planting plan that used native plants and trees to reconnect the Park’s forest and to create wildlife corridors that encouraged diversity of plans and wildlife to grow. Over the last decade, tens of thousands of native trees have been strategically planted, and we have multiple conservation lawns and gardens throughout Heart of the Park to nurture native wildlife. You can help support the ongoing plantings and maintenance of these special landscapes by adopting a tree or giving the Gift of Garden here.

The Master Plan design took sustainability into account for every possible factor--from the way the First Horizon Foundation Visitor Center and FedEx Event Center are heated and cooled to the special ground cover used in the Woodland Discovery Playground. We’ve included some fun facts about a few of the sustainable features in the Park below!


The sandy-colored surface you see in many areas of the Woodland Discovery Playground is a special eco-friendly product called Nike Grind. This surface is made from recycled tennis shoe soles! 


The winding metal arbor that shades the path inside the playground is made from recycled steel, and the vines covering it are native plants.

The Woodland Discovery Playground was one of the first three sites in the world to earn Sustainable SITE Certification (similar to LEED but for outdoor spaces).


Did you know that the buildings in Heart of the Park are heated and cooled using an innovative geothermal system? The water pipes for the system run under the lake, which helps keep the system water at a constant temperature. This helps reduce the energy needed to heat/cool the buildings. 

Both the First Horizon Foundation Visitor Center and FedEx Event Center are LEED certified! 


While our on-site Earth Day celebrations have been paused, the hard work our team puts into caring for Shelby Farms Park and Greenline every day has not. In fact, it has ramped up! Park teams are working harder than ever to care for the trails, conservation lawns, lakes and green spaces that provide homes for native wildlife and places of respite for the more than 3 million visitors who come to the Park each year. Shelby Farms Park is a resource for our community, and we will continue to do the work it takes to keep the gates open and the grounds cared for for you, our visitor, in this unprecedented time. 

If you are able, will you please consider making a one-time or recurring monthly donation?
Your gift will help support the daily operations of Shelby Farms Park and Greenline, and will help preserve them for generations to come.

at Wednesday, April 22, 2020

How To Enjoy The Trails of Shelby Farms Park

This beautiful weather has us thinking about what’s great about being in the great outdoors! While restrooms, bike and boat rentals, the Lake’s Edge Gift Shop and the Visitor Center are temporarily closed, all Park trails, including Shelby Farms Greenline, are still open during regular Park hours. We’ve put together some trail tips to help you enjoy running, biking and walking on any of the scenic trails at Shelby Farms Park!

 

1. There are many trails to choose from! Shelby Farms Park has more than 40 miles of trails, both paved and unpaved, offering visitors a variety of experiences. Popular trails include Shelby Farms Greenline (10.65 miles), the Chickasaw Trail (2.75 miles) and the Baptist Memorial Health Care Promenade around Hyde Lake (2.34 miles). Because these trails are popular, they are often the busiest, so if you’re visiting the Park soon, check out this list to find other less-traveled trails!

We want to give a special thank you to our corporate supporter Campbell Clinic in sponsoring mile markers along the Greenline.

 

2. Trails are shared spaces! Park trails are multi-use, so you can bike, walk on your own or with your pup, provided they're on a leash and that you clean up after them. Yes, dogs must be on-leash on all trails at all times. At this time, visitors should maintain a 6ft distance between each other while enjoying the trails to help slow the potential spread of COVID-19.
 

3. You run the trails, and the trails run on your support! Caring for the Park’s many miles of trails is hard work, and it’s a team effort! Park teams work hard 365 days a year to keep trails clean, green, safe and open. Shelby Farms Park Conservancy relies on the generosity of visitors and supporters to earn and raise $5.2 million a year (that’s about $11,000 a day!) to do the work it takes to keep your Park open and accessible. If you are able, please consider making a one-time or recurring monthly gift here. Even small gifts make a big difference!

Have a safe and healthy week, Park fans!  

You can stay up to date on the Park’s response to COVID-19 as well as updates and any closures that may occur here.

at Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Good, Green Fun

Today is St. Patrick's Day, and it's got us thinking about all things green! Our favorite green thing is, of course, Shelby Farms Greenline (it's got, "green" right there in its name!). Just for fun, we put together five fun facts about the trail:

 

1. Did you know that Shelby Farms Greenline used to be a rail line? Train tracks used to lie where your favorite path is today. Trains hadn't run on this section in many years and the land was pretty much abandoned and unused, so Shelby Farms Park Conservancy teamed up with Shelby County Government to secure a right-of-way for the land, turning it into a cycling and pedestrian trail. This type of transformation is called a rails-to-trail project, and Shelby Farms Greenline is one of the most popular types of rails-to-trails projects in the region!

 

2. Shelby Farms Greenline was built in phases. The first section of trail opened in 2010. This 6.5-mile stretch connects the heart of Memphis to the Park, running from Tillman Street to Farm Road. The second phase extended the trail 4 miles to the east, connecting Farm Road to Old Cordova, and making the trail just over 10 miles long in total. An additional future extension is planned to extend the trail two more miles on the east end.

 

3. The mile markers run east and west. The trail was designed to connect trail fans to the Park and to each other, so the 0.0 mile marker sits at the Farm Road. If you head west, the markers run from 0.0 to 6.5W. If you head east, they run from 0.0 to 4E. Shoutout to our friends at Campbell Clinic for helping us keep track of the miles by sponsoring the markers!

 

4. Nearly 200,000 visitors enjoy the trail each year! How do we know this? A special system of Eco Counters are installed at key points on the trail and in the Park to help the Conservancy better understand where and how* visitors access the Park and Greenline.

*Yes, how! These in-ground counters use a pressure system that is sensitive enough that it can detect whether a cyclist or pedestrian (or cars at vehicle entrances) has crossed the entry point.

 

5. Shelby Farms Greenline runs on love! Keeping this incredible amenity clean, green, safe and open 365-days a year (or 366 days in leap years like 2020) is a big job! From the daily maintenance and care that the Park team provides, to volunteers lending a hand, to the donors whose gifts make this work possible, taking care of a 10+ mile trail is a team effort!
 

Want to show the Greenline some green this March to help support year-round TLC? Click here to give now!


 
at Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How To Spend Your Weekend at Shelby Farms Park

It's the weekend--and it’s going to be a gorgeous one filled with sixty degree temperatures and sunny days! What better place to enjoy this beautiful weather than outdoors at Shelby Farms Park--Here are some of the fun ways you can enjoy your weekend with us.

On Horseback

Saddle up, hit the trails and experience the Park on horseback with our talented trail guides! Learn more about ride times, pricing and reservations here.

Pine Lake Boat House

Paddle the day away with family and friends on Pine Lake in a two or four-seater paddle boat! Find out more about hours and pricing here

GoApe Axe Throwing

Experience the newest addition to Shelby Farms Park--Outdoor Axe Throwing from GoApe! Feel the satisfaction of sticking an axe in the target in the beautiful setting of the Park forest. Learn more about prices and reservations here.

Lake's Edge Gift Shop 

Looking for a great Shelby Farms Park hat, a cold drink or a treat for your four-legged friend? The Lake's Edge Gift Shop is your one-stop shop for quality gifts in the Heart of the Park! Find hours here.

Laser Tag + Paintball

Whether you're planning a small family outing or a large group game, experience the thrill of laser tag or paintball in the wooded fields of Shelby Farms Park! Reserve and learn more about pricing here.

Picnic Pavillions

Come out and enjoy the perfect spot for your company, group or family get-together. Multiple pavilions and picnic areas are located throughout the Park. Learn more and reserve a pavillion here.

Outback Off-Leash Dog Park

Shelby Farms Park is a popular place for pups! The Outback is a multi-use use area that offers more than 100 acres of open fields, ponds and unpaved trails for off-leash fun! Find out more here.

Hyde Lake Wheel House

Do you need some wheels to hit the trails? We can help! Visit Hyde Lake Wheel House to rent a bike for yourself or the entire family! Learn more about hours and pricing here.

 

Have an awesome weekend Park fans!



 
at Friday, March 6, 2020

Let’s Get And Stay Fit Together!


We’re two months into the year--how are your resolutions going? Whether you’re keeping pace with your plan, need some help getting back on track or are just now taking the first steps of your fitness journey, Shelby Farms Park is a great place to work on your health and wellness goals! Check out the tips and ideas below to help you get moving in the great outdoors!

 

Team Effort
Motivation can be hard to come by, especially in the winter months! Find a friend who can help keep you accountable and put together a plan that you can stick with. Try out one of the Park’s free Get Outside! Fitness Programs together, or pick a spot to meet for regular walks, runs, hikes or bike rides!
Get Outside! Fitness programs are made possible by Baptist Memorial Health Care.


Circle Up
Did you know that we recently installed a circuit workout station? This free-to-use amenity features equipment to help you complete a full-body fitness session at your own pace! You can find detailed instructions and video links that demonstrate how to use the equipment at each station. 

 

Go Your Own Way
Did you know that Shelby Farms Park is home to more than 40 miles of trails? With both paved and unpaved options, you can vary your walks, hikes, runs and bike rides to keep things interesting! You can find trail details here. If you want to cruise through the Park but don’t have a set of wheels, we can help! Learn more about year-round bike rentals here (shout out to our Wheel House partners, Smith & Nephew!).
Training Tip: Keep up with your miles on the Greenline using the Campbell Clinic mile markers!

 

Think Outside the Trail
We’re big fans of hitting the ground running, but a unique way to workout at Shelby Farms Park is to take to the water! You can work up a serious sweat by paddling around 80-acre Hyde Lake on a canoe, kayak or SUP or by peddling a paddle boat around Pine Lake! You can BYOBoat or rent one at the Park when the weather warms up.

 

Fun Fact: Park Education + Programs Coordinator Christina has a background in exercise science! We asked her to share some winter wellness tips: 

  • Set a goal and track your workouts - Start small. Set a goal to exercise 3 or 4 days each week for 30 minutes. Write down the date and exercises you completed to motivate yourself to continue pursuing your fitness goals.  

  • Cold weather workouts - Check the forecast and pay attention to wind chill when planning your outdoor winter workouts. Dress for the weather and wear layers in cold weather. 

  • Complete an at home workout - If the weather is too cold or you can’t make it to the Park or gym, bodyweight exercises can still be performed at home without any equipment.


 
at Thursday, February 20, 2020

What To Know at Starry Nights


Starry Nights, presented by International Paper, is a family-friendly holiday experience with drive-through paths of light displays and the magical and festive FedEx Mistletoe Village. Check out the questions below to ensure that you get the most out of the Starry magic! 

 

I already have a ticket.  Where do I go? 
As a pre-purchased ticket holder, enter through Gate 10 off Mullins Station Road (just west of Appling) and follow the signs toward Starry Nights and Mistletoe Village. By entering through this gate, you will avoid the lines at the main entrance. You will turn toward the ticket booth at the second 3-way stop you come to.

You will have the option to visit Mistletoe Village first and then drive through the lights -or- you can drive through lights first and circle back to have fun in Mistletoe Village.

 

I need to buy a ticket.  Where do I go?
AT THE GATE
- Turn onto Great View Drive off Farm Road.  To drive through the lights first and then visit Mistletoe Village, stay in the left lanes and turn left toward the ticket booth.  To visit Mistletoe Village first, stay in the right lanes which will go directly to the Visitor Center/Mistletoe Village

IN THE GIFT SHOP - Tickets are available for purchase in the Lake’s Edge Gift Shop which is located in the Visitor Center/Mistletoe Village.  Follow the signs for Mistletoe Village  

 

I have a reservation for a carriage ride.  Where do I go? 
Enter through Gate 10 off Mullins Station Road (just west of Appling) and follow the signs for “CARRIAGE RIDES”  and “CARRIAGE CHECK-IN.” Park in the lot in front of the Visitor Center/Mistletoe Village.

 

Where is FedEx Mistletoe Village and what can I do there? 
FedEx Mistletoe Village, located in the Visitor Center, is your hub for holiday fun. 

 
  • Go Glice skating at our outdoor eco-friendly ice skating rink

  • Visit with Santa

  • Roast s’mores or marshmallows around the fire pits

  • Do a little holiday shopping at the Lake’s Edge Gift Shop

  • Check out the petting zoo, camel rides, and pony rides in the red and white tent

 

Do I have to drive through the lights before I visit Mistletoe Village? 
There are two ways to have holiday fun:

Visit FedEx Mistletoe Village first and then drive through the lights

OR

Drive through the lights first and then visit FedEx Mistletoe Village

You can find more information about Starry Nights here. You can find an event map here.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Shelby Farms Park!

at Friday, December 13, 2019

RUN THE PARK

The Buffalo 15K + 5K are two of the races the help keep Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline running! While thousands of people run the trails at Shelby Farms Park each year, the trails run on community support, and proceeds from races like these help keep the Park and Greenline in tip-top shape all year round.

More than 850 runners hit the trails for this year’s races on November 9, including our friends at Girls on the Run Memphis! After racing through some of the most scenic areas of the Park, runners enjoyed a high-energy party at the finish line complete with a DJ, tasty snacks from McAlister’s Deli and McCartney Produce, and cold brews from Meddlesome Brewing Company!


     

We’re grateful for everyone who participated, including the more than 100 volunteers who supported this event by monitoring the race courses, handing out refreshments, cleaning up after the race, and more! If you would like to learn more about volunteering at Park events, click here. 

 

This year’s races wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsors. We want to give a big shoutout to the partners below who helped make this event possible.

 

 

Your next chance to run a race that supports the Park will be the BuffaGLO run on January 4, 2020! Click here to learn more about this cool run and sign up to kick start your new year with a race through the lights of Starry Nights, presented by International Paper!

 

at Friday, November 15, 2019

The Upcoming Mercury Transit


Throughout the morning of November 11, a rare and stunning astronomical event will occur called the Mercury Transit. The Memphis Astronomical Society will host a free viewing of this spectacular phenomenon on the Event Stage on November 11 from 6:30am until 12:04 pm, during the time that this transit will be visible. Telescopes will be set up for the public to come and view the planet Mercury pass directly between us and the Sun.

 

What is a transit, and what makes it so special?

The term “transit” is used when a planet crosses the Sun as seen from us on Earth. Due to the way the Earth, Mercury and the Sun are aligned, mercury transits are visible for us only in May and November and the next visible one after November 11 will not be for another 40 years! Memphis Astronomical Society will provide telescopes with special solar filters so that you can safely look through the lens and gaze at the little black dot of mercury sweeping across the glowing giant of the sun. It’s an amazing sight to see! 
 

Stop by before dropping the kids at school or during lunch to witness the majesty of the universe! 

When: Nov. 11, 6:30am - 12:04pm.
Where: The Event Stage at Shelby Farms Park (6903 Great View Drive North, Memphis, TN 38134)

 

at Wednesday, November 6, 2019

We "Herd" tomorrow is National Bison Day

   

National Bison Day is finally here, and we are excited to shine a spotlight on the Park’s most iconic residents! National Bison Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in November, and it was founded in 2016 when the National Bison Legacy Act was signed.This day is meant to celebrate the great American Bison*. Herds used to freely roam by the millions and acted as a vital part in the ecology, economy and culture of America. As communities moved to the west, the sport of bison hunting grew and their species were on the brink of extinction. Thanks to conservancies across the nation working to protect the bison and their habitats, the American bison are no longer on this brink. That’s definitely worth celebrating!


So, why does Shelby Farms Park have a buffalo herd?

Shelby Farms has had American Bison since 1989. Tommy Hill--Shelby County Superintendent for Shelby Farms Park at that time-- brought six bison and two longhorn steer to the park to roam, and they quickly became its most beloved residents. In fact, the buffalo are so popular that they have become the Park’s mascot and one is prominently featured in the Park’s logo! 

 

Caring for these big mammals is a big job! Check out these fun facts to get to know our herd a little better and to learn what it takes to care for them:

  • It takes $11,000 and more than 1,000 Ranger hours each year to keep the herd in tip top shape!

  • In addition to grazing, the Shelby Farms Park herd consumes 50,000 pounds of hay and supplemental feed each year!

  • The buffalo at Shelby Farms are American Bison, commonly known as buffalo. “Bison” is scientifically accurate, but “buffalo” recalls the animal’s role in American history.

  • Males are called "bulls" and females are called "cows."

  • Males can weigh up to 2,000 lbs.

  • Male and female buffalo have short, curved horns, which they use in fighting to defend their status within the herd.                                                                                                                                                                    

  • Buffalo typically mate in August and September and have a 9-9.5 month gestation period, which is about the same as the human gestation period.

  • Calves can stand soon after they are born and can walk with the herd in just a few hours.

  • Calves are born with a rusty red coat which gets darker as they grow up, which has earned them the nickname “red dogs”.

  • Buffalo can run up to 30mph.

  • It’s not always easy to tell bulls from cows at a distance. Bulls have a wider face and thicker hair on their forehead, front legs and beard. Bulls also tend to have shoulders wider than their hips, while females tend to have hips wider than their shoulders.

  • The buffalo hump is made of strong muscles supported by very long vertebrae.

  • Buffalo wallow in dirt or mud, both to remove molting fur patches and to deter flies from biting. Bulls also wallow in mating season to display strength and vigor.

 

*Wait, I thought you had a herd of buffalo! The animals you see at Shelby Farms Park are American Bison(Bison bison) commonly known as buffalo. American buffalo are different are different from African and Asian buffalo. “Bison” is scientifically accurate, while “buffalo” recalls this animal’s central role in American history. We like “buffalo” best!

 

Want to show the Shelby Farms Park buffalo herd some buffalove and help offset the cost of their care? In honor of National Bison Day, we’re launching new giving levels that feature fun, new buffalo-themed gifts! Learn more and support your herd: http://www.shelbyfarmspark.org/support-the-buffalo

at Friday, November 1, 2019

Behind the Scenes at Starry Nights

Starry Nights, presented by International Paper, is a family-friendly holiday experience with drive-through and walking trails of light displays, plus magical FedEx Mistletoe Village!  Starry Nights is the largest annual fundraiser for Shelby Farms Park, and it's a holiday tradition for thousands of families. 

Thousands of lights twinkle and shine throughout the Park and the First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center is transformed into magical FedEx Mistletoe Village which is a hub for holiday fun!

  

But, this long-standing holiday tradition doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a lot more to it than just flipping on the lights--planning for the 38 day event begins when the Memphis heat is still lingering!


 

The entire Park Operations (Ops) team begins work in early October by prepping power connections and preparing wiring. The actual set up of displays begins on November 1, as soon as the Park’s Halloween festivities are over.

The Ops team spends cold days setting up displays and installing lights, followed by cold nights checking and adjusting the displays.


  

Breaks from setting up on cold days are always welcome!
Special thanks to our new friends at Marco’s Pizza who provided hot pizza during the cold days of Starry Nights set up!

Even after the show is open for Visitors, the Ops team continues to work on the event daily during the run of the show maintaining and repairing the lights.

Once all the displays are up and ready to go and Starry Nights is officially open, more than 1,000 volunteers help keep this event shining brightly.  Every night, the Starry Nights volunteers arrive several hours before the show opens and stay several hours after the last visitor leaves the Park.  These volunteers brave the cold temperatures and help with multiple tasks - whether it’s directing traffic and interacting with Visitors or prepping ponies and camels for the nightly rides and helping Santa Claus our volunteers keep this event merry and bright.  They even help us on Thanksgiving night, Christmas Eve and Christmas night!

So, this year when you experience the magic of the holidays at Starry Nights, remember the magic that has happened behind the scenes!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Shelby Farms Park!

Owl Be Back: Screech Owl Release

Monday Mood:


This cute little screech owl was recently found near a Park trail as an abandoned chick. He has since been cared for by the talented team at the Mid-South Raptor Center and was successfully re-released into the woods here at the Park!  

What should you do if you find an animal in the Park that looks alone or like it needs help? Give us a call at (901) 222-PARK! Please don't touch or attempt to move the animal -- our wildlife is, well, wild! We'll take it from there and involve our network of animal experts as needed, just like with this screech owl! 



at Monday, September 10, 2018

Park Life is Brew-fitful: New Beer + Food Truck Event Starts Saturday!

Enjoy cold brews and great views on Saturdays and Sundays in Heart of the Park! Our friends and neighbors at Meddlesome Brewing Company will be pouring pints from 11am-5pm next to the Hyde Lake Wheel House, and we'll have food trucks on site, too!

Head to the calendar for more event listings.

 

at Monday, August 27, 2018

25 in 25

Want to help make Park life twice as nice?

A generous anonymous donor will match all donations made to the Park by June 30, 2018, up to $25,000! 

Check out the ways your gift will help the Park grow below, and click here to help us reach our goal!

at Friday, June 8, 2018

Remember When?

Check out these photos from May 19, 2015 of the first tree being planted in Heart of the Park and of the first beam being installed at the First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center! Did you know that these happened at the same time?  Heart of the Park has come a long way!

 

at Saturday, May 19, 2018

New Greenline Connection Coming Soon!

We have big news, Park fans!

Over the course of the next few weeks, a new Greenline access point will be constructed at the Appling Road crossing! This much-needed access point will physically connect the Greenline with the paved Chickasaw Trail in Shelby Farms Park. We are excited about this new connection, which wouldn’t have been possible without support from Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Shelby County Commissioners Steve Basar, George Chism and David Reaves!
 

Over the next few weeks, you may experience some temporary disruptions in your regular route, but have no fear -- the trails will remain open! 

Here’s a birds eye view of the project:

Gates 9 and 10 will be temporarily and intermittently closed as the new connector trail section is graded and paved. You will still be able to access the event field and Chickasaw Trail from Gate 8, and the Woodland Discovery Playground, Go Ape, Pine Lake Boat House, Stables and Beaver Lake will be accessible via Gate 1 off of Farm Road and through the Event Center entrance off of Walnut Grove.

We can’t wait to hit the new trail with you, and we appreciate your patience as we complete this exciting project!

Stay tuned for opening details!
 

at Tuesday, May 1, 2018

It's Arbor Day!


Every year, Arbor Day is the last friday of April, which means we will be celebrating our trees today!

 

Arbor Day first originated in 1872 in Nebraska with J. Sterling Morton. A nature-lover and journalist, Morton began to spread the word about the importance of planting trees and keeping the land green in his newspaper. He and his fellow pioneers loved the aesthetic of trees and also knew that they would be necessary to block the sun, keep the soil in its place, and to be used for wood that they needed to continue building their community.

Later in his career, as secretary of the Nebraska Territory, Morton proposed a holiday for planting trees and it was happily approved. It was decided that as part of the celebration, there would be a contest for who could properly plant the greatest amount of trees on the first annual Arbor Day, which was on April 10, 1872. More than 1 million trees were planted on this day! By 1882, Arbor Day was recognized nationwide.

The first Arbor Day was a raging success, so let’s make this one just as great! There’s no better place to spend your Arbor Day than the largest green space in Memphis. Appreciate your trees and spend your April 27 with us at Shelby Farms Park!

Looking for a unique way to celebrate Arbor Day?  Help Shelby Farms Park plant One Million Trees.  Adopt a Tree today or symbolically plant one to honor or remember someone special. 

 

"Each generation takes the earth as trustees.” -J. Sterling Morton

 
at Friday, April 27, 2018

Happy National Bike Day!


National Bicycle Day is here! April 19 marks National Bicycle Day! To celebrate, ride the day away at Shelby Farms Park or on Shelby Farms Greenlnie! (At the Park, everyday is Bicycle Day, but we especially encourage you to come out and enjoy a ride on April 19!) 

With more than 40 miles of both paved and unpaved trails, Shelby Farms Park is the place for you, whether you are just biking for fun or mean serious business. 

The Greenline is a rails to trails project that now has 10.65 miles of paved trails that connect pedestrians and cyclists from Midtown all the way to Cordova. With 15 different access points, you’re never too far from the trails, so why not use them! 

Don’t have a bike? You can rent one from us! We have two convenient locations: The Hyde Lake Wheel House at 6903 Great View Drive North or The Greenline Wheel House at 6489 Mullins Station Road. Rentals are available for either 2 or 4 hour rental blocks. We have mountain bikes, hybrid, cruiser, trail, tandem, and kid bikes ready and at your service. 

Please remember that renters must provide a valid driver's license or government issued ID, but riders can be any age. We provide a helmet with each rental, and anyone ages 16 and under must wear their helmet while riding. Safety first! 

We know that sometimes things don’t always go as planned, so we have four free bike repair stations located along the trails for your convenience, just in case something were to get out of gear! Locations include the 0.0 mile marker of Shelby Farms Greenline, Tour de Wolf Trailhead, Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge, and Germantown Trailhead. 

Are you more of an extreme biker? We’ve got the place to be for you too. Shelby Farms Park BMX is located across the street from Hyde Lake. The track has recently been completely renovated and is ready to see what you’ve got! With novice, intermediate, and expert levels, there is competition to be had for all levels of BMX riders. 

Come with a friend, a date, your kids, or on your own -there are plenty of bikes for everyone, so don’t miss out!
 

at Thursday, April 19, 2018

Grow the Park

From planting trees to removing invasive species, Park Rangers are always working hard to keep Park forests healthy and looking good! With hundreds of acres of woods, it's a big task! 

Park forests are plagued with an invasive species of plant -- Chinese privet -- which prevents new growth from occurring. Removing privet isn't easy to do, but our team works hard to strategically tackle the issue. It's something we'll be battling for a while, but knowing that the forests will continue to thrive for generations because of the work happening today is a big motivator! 

Another issue that our forests face is segmentation. What is today a park was once a thriving prison farm, and the land was shaped to meet agricultural needs. In order for fields to grow, vast sections of forests were removed, leaving island ecosystems scattered across the land. Shelby Farms Park Conservancy has been and continues to work toward strategically reconnecting these pieces by removing invasive species from existing forest areas and by planting native trees and plants. As the health of the forest improves, both native and migrating animals benefit. 

 

How can you help?

at Friday, April 13, 2018

Park Operations: Outstanding in their Field

Caring for a big park is a really big job! There are thousands of Park fans who volunteer to help clean up and green up the Park and Greenline each year, but there is also a dedicated team that cares for the Park 365 days a year. 

The Park’s Rangers + Operations Team are some of the most visible caretakers of this special space, but much of their work takes place right under our noses -- often including projects that are seemingly invisible, but that greatly improve the visitor experience and the life of the plants and animals that make their home on park grounds. 

While our team can’t be in all 4,500 acres at once, they do a great job of making it feel like they can! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing a closer look at the hard work that goes into caring for this special space!


Park mornings start early! Our gates open at sunrise daily, which requires Rangers to arrive pre-dawn to get the process started. In the dead of winter, some of our team gets to work at 4:30am!


Shelby Farms Park Conservancy’s mission is to manage, operate, restore and improve Shelby Farms Park in partnership with and for the public. The Park Operations Team (aka Park Ops) is responsible for elevating expectations, standards and resources for landscape and facility management and maintenance, while keeping visitor experience in mind. This team is at the forefront of Park care, helping ensure that the 4,500 acres of Shelby Farms Park and 10+ miles of Shelby Farms Greenline are clean, green and safe for the more than 3 million annual visitors that come to run, bike, explore and play in this incredible place. 

The Park Operations Team is talented crew! This team is made up of Park Rangers, the Maintenance Team and Operations Coordinators. The team is comprised of innovators, educators and very hard workers. While you may not always see a Ranger or Maintenance crew member when you visit the Park, you will always encounter the impact of their work.

Parking Lot Revamp
Ops Team installing parking barriers in the newly revamped Hyde Lake Boat Launch parking lot.
 

From day-to-day care and maintenance of the grounds to long-term improvement projects that will positively improve visitor experiences over time, the Ops team is always thinking about how to keep the Park in tip-top shape.


Operations supervisors planning for a plumbing repair project

The Operations Team works diligently to complete complex improvement and repair projects while minimizing the impact these projects have on visitors. While some of their work would be much easier if the park closed for a day or two, their innovative and creative solutions for keeping as much of the Park open as possible at all times make their work all the more impressive! If there is an opportunity to keep a trail or play space open and safely accessible while work is being done on it, the Ops team will always choose this option.


Ops Team members repairing a bench

Now that you know a little bit about why we do the work we do, stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes posts about the Park crew!
 

at Friday, April 6, 2018

Daylight Saving Time Is around the Corner

Mark your calendars! Starting March 11th, we will all have one extra hour of daylight. Spend it wisely and use those 60 minutes doing something fun and active with us at Shelby Farms Park!

Here are 10 things to do at Shelby Farms Park with your extra hour of sunlight.

  1. Squeeze in that workout that you just haven’t had the time for! We all know it’s hard to get motivated to get fit after a busy day when it’s dark before dinner. So use this extra bit of daylight to finally get around to it! Join us for a free Get Outside! Fitness class. The schedule can be found here.

  2. Group workouts not your thing? Ride a bike or take a hike on the Shelby Farms Greenline! With more time on your hands, there’s no reason not to hit these 10+ miles of trail and get the most out of your day. Get more details here or find your bike here.

  3. Bring the whole family! Daylight saving time affects the kids too, so why not bring them along. Hit up the Woodland Discovery Playground and let the kids enjoy the extra hour jumping and climing and having fun being a kid.. Get more details here.

  4. If your kids are too old for the playground, don’t worry! You can still enjoy some family fun with a Trekker Family Hike while learning about Park history, birds, buffaloes, and more from one of our Park docents. Held on the third Sunday of every month, this is the perfect way to spend your extra bit of time with the family. Learn more here.

  5. And don’t forget about the pup! Let go of the leash and let your dog enjoy the Outback Off-Leash Dog Park.  Find some fresh air for everyone! Be sure to give our rules and tips a glance here before visiting.

  6. Tired of being stuck inside during chilly, dark winter evenings? Pack a picnic for dinner! There’s no better combo than fresh air and fresh food, so get a group together and rent a pavilion to optimize your day and get outside! We have all been waiting for the day its not dark around five or six and it’s finally here, so don’t waste a moment of it!

  7. Rather have someone else make the food for you? Head to The Kitchen BIstro! You can still enjoy an excellent meal outdoors on our fabulous open-air porch overlooking Hyde Lake. Watch the sun set an hour later with some fine dining or a cocktail. Be sure to check out their menu.

  8. Don’t forget that once it warms up, you can start using your extra spring hours doing even more at Shelby Farms Park. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard! Go fishing! We have 20+ lakes and ponds, so don’t hesitate to hit the water this spring! See all your options here.

  9. Warmer weather and longer days means it will also be perfect conditions to hit the trails and go horseback riding here at Shelby Farms Park. Learn how to saddle up here.

  10. And finally, Go Ape on our treetop adventure, which will re-open starting in March! Swing into spring and traipse through trees on these obstacle courses and ziplines. Learn how to book your session here.

 

With so much to do, there’s no reason to stay cooped up inside! Make the most of your day, every day, and spend your extra hours with us at Shelby Farms Park this spring!

at Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March 3rd is World Wildlife Day

Celebrate World Wildlife Day with Shelby Farms Park on March 3! With 4,500 acres of land and  20+ lakes and ponds, we are home to countless species of wildlife. To get everyone excited about this holiday, here are some highlights of the various birds, plants and flowers, mammals, fish, amphibians, and reptiles that you should be on the lookout for at the Park!

 

BIRDS
Head to one of our lakes and chances are, you may see a Mallard Duck. Known for their signature emerald green head, these are the most common wild duck in North America. Male Mallards are referred to as “drakes” and females are referred to as “hens.” Both possess a vivid blue stripe on the back edge of their wings. They have thick, fluffy feathers close to their body to keep them warm, and feathers that are made waterproof by a liquid that is produced near their tail, on top of the other feathers. These migrating ducks can fly up to 40 mph and may lose up to 20-50% of their body weight during their journey.

 

FLOWER
Come summer, one beautiful flower that you can witness blooming at the Park is the Golden Tickseed. A part of the sunflower family, this flower’s plant can grow anywhere from 8 inches to 5 feet tall. However, most are in the 2-3 feet range. This flower gets its peculiar name from the fact that post-flowering, it produces small, dry, fruits that resemble bugs, or ticks. The invitingly beautiful Golden Tickseed is also known to attract bees and butterflies, which makes it all the more appropriate for World Wildlife Day.

 

MAMMALS
Though buffalo are not native to the Park (they were brought here in 1989 by Tommy Hill), they are still an animal that thrives here and one that we revere so much, we made it our logo! You may have heard these huge (they can weigh up to a ton and are North America’s largest land animal!) creatures referred to bison and been confused about what to actually call them. The answer is that if you want to be more scientific, you can use “bison,”but the name “buffalo” is more closely connected to the animal’s history in the Western United States. In the wild, buffalo tend to give birth during thunderstorms as a safety measure for their calves so that the sounds and smells associated with the birth are masked and it is harder for predators to find them. And speaking of baby buffaloes, we had 12 at the park last year! Come and see our favorite animal at the Park!

 

FISH
Largemouth Bass can be found in our Shelby Farms Park ponds and lakes. These solitary fish tend to hang out on their own and are also known to be the predator within their environment. They possess what is called a “lateral line” that gives them a strong ability to detect even the smallest vibrations in the water. If you’re a fisherman, (and bass are the official sport fish of Tennessee), one thing to keep in mind is that bass can “learn from their mistakes.” If they are able to escape a fisherman’s line once, it is likely that they will internalize this and know to avoid similar hooks and lures in the future. It is also believed that bass are able to see the color red most distinctly.  Bass typically live to be about 16 years old, but have been known to make it all the way to 20.

 

REPTILES
One of the many reptiles that lives at the Park is the Eastern Box Turtle. This turtle, which is the state reptile of Tennessee, gets its name from the fact that it is able to completely box itself inside of its shell, which other turtles are not able to do. However, because of their extensive shell and short legs, if they somehow roll onto their back, it is very unlikely that they are able to roll themselves back over. Up until they reach the age of 7, their shell is soft which makes them an easy target for predators. However, most do end up living to be about 30 years old, and some even make it all the way to 100! Come see Tennessee’s favorite turtle! But remember, if it’s hot out, they like to hide in the mud.

 

AMPHIBIANS
The Park is also home to North America’s largest frog, the Bullfrog. This amphibian can be as long as 8 inches and can weight up to 1.5 pounds. You can spot them by their green skin with brown spots and their circular, exterior eardrums (tympanum), which are easily seen on either side of their head. It’s even easier to find them by following their signature call which sounds like a cow’s moo. It is this call that got the frog its name. This invasive species can be not only be found all over the country, but also in Europe and Asia.

 

Where else are you able to find such a wide variety of wild species in the middle of urban America? Now that you know what to look for, come explore your Park today!

at Saturday, March 3, 2018

Need to plan a great date?

Give your valentine the gift of adventure this Valentine’s Day at Shelby Farms Park! Here are 7 ways to spend some one-on-one time with your significant other at the Park: 

Take a spin on a bike made for two! There’s no better way to get in sync this Valentine’s Day than to cozy up and hit the the trails on one of Shelby Farms Park’s tandem bicycles. With 10.6 miles of Greenline and miles and miles of other trails, you can spend the day cruising in style. Find your bike here.

Take the scenic route! Hit the trails and spend the day getting lost with someone special. With more than forty miles of trails, this is the perfect way to disconnect from your busy day-to-day routine and spend some quality one-on-one time in nature with the one you love! Follow the map here.

Get your hearts pumping at a free workout class at the Park! Find your zen with some yoga, get fit and strong by the lake, or find your balance with our mental wellness class. Whichever you choose, these are all sure to get your endorphins going! Find the class schedule here

Channel your inner kid! Or make it a group date, and have fun with paintball or laser tag! This is the perfect lighthearted way to get competitive and have a ball with your Valentine! Learn more and book your session here

Get adventurous and go horseback riding here at Shelby Farms Park! Let your hearts run free on one of our guided horseback rides. Schedule your ride here

Relax and recharge after a day of Valentine’s adventures with a romantic dinner or sunset cocktail at The Kitchen Bistro. With a heart-stopping view of Hyde Lake, there’s no better way to dine and unwind with your Valentine this February 14. Give their special Valentine’s menu a glance and make your reservation now! 

Last, but not least, spend some time giving time together! Extend your Valentine’s celebrations to February 17 and volunteer with us at the Weed Wrangle! We are looking for Volunteers age 16+ to help us remove invasive Chinese privet plants from Park paths. Spend time with your Valentine while helping to improve your Park! Learn more here and join us! 

 

P.S. -- Show us what you love! We look forward to seeing what adventure you find at Shelby Farms Park
for Valentine’s Day this year
-- let us know why you #LoveThePark on social media!
 

at Wednesday, February 7, 2018

See the Park Shine

The magic of the holidays is in full swing at Starry Nights, presented by International Paper! The lights will be shining nightly through December 29 (including Christmas Eve + Christmas Day), and we’ve put some tips and notes together to help you make the most of your visit.

QUICK FACTS
Hours: Sundays-Thursdays: 6pm-9pm, Fridays + Saturdays: 6pm-10pm
Admission: $20 per car, $50 per large van, $150 per bus
Proceeds: All proceeds from your ticket purchase support daily care of Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline.
Entrance: If you plan to purchase a ticket when you arrive, you will enter via the main entrance off of Farm Road. If you have pre-purchased a ticket, you will enter through the pre-sale entrance at Gate 10 on Mullins Station Road. 

TRAFFIC + TICKETS
Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest evenings each week, and Christmas Eve is one of the most popular nights to attend. If you’re looking to save time in line, consider attending on a weekday. You can save time any day that you attend by pre-purchasing your ticket. Pre-sale ticket holders have the option to enter through a separate entrance on Mullins Station, skipping the line at the main entrance off of Farm Road. Tickets can be purchased in the Lake’s Edge Gift Shop (no extra fees) and online via Ticketmaster here (additional processing fees may apply). Pre-sale tickets may be printed or shown on your phone.

MISTLETOE VILLAGE
The First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center (a new location) has transformed into magical Mistletoe VIllage. Here, you can experience the magic of the holiday with the whole family! There is no extra cost to park and visit the Village, but some activities have small fees (details below). While you’ll have an opportunity to visit Mistletoe Village halfway through the drive, we recommend visiting before you start your drive through the lights. Mistletoe Village is open rain or shine, and indoor restrooms are available. An ATM is also available inside -- most of our vendors accept cards, but you can access cash here if you need it!

Village Hours:
Open nighty during Starry Nights
Saturdays + Sundays: 10am-4pm (Petting Zoo: 1pm-4pm)

Visiting Santa
The man in red has set up his workshop in magical Mistletoe Village! Here, you can meet Santa (and sometimes Mrs. Claus), take photos and share your wishlist in a special mailbox that ships straight to the North Pole! There is no cost to visit Santa, but photo packages start at $25 (digital and print options are available). Santa's last night in the Vilalge will be December 23. Mrs. Claus will stop by during Starry Nights on December 15 and in the afternoon on December 22.

You can also visit Santa from 1pm-5pm Wednesdays-Sundays through Decemebr 23.

Get Cozy
Grab a cup of hot chocolate and a s’more kit from Kitchenette and cozy up around a crackling fire. S’more kits are $3 and include all of the elements for two s’mores. Food trucks are on site, so grab a bite before you head through the lights!

Starry Petting Zoo + Camel Rides
Make some new fuzzy friends and even ride  camel! Petting zoo admission is $3 per person, and camel rides are $5 per person.


THEME NIGHTS
Want to save $5 at tickets purchased at the main entrance? Participate in a theme night! We have one more coming up on December 14. Get details here.

SEE STARRY NIGHTS AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT
Race through the lights of Starry Nights in the Starry 4K Fun Run/Walk! This family friendly race is the last chance to see the lights in 2017, and it’s fun for all ages. Each participant will receive a scarf. Scarves cannot be guaranteed for race day registrants, so sign up ahead of time to guarantee yours! Learn more about the race and register here.

at Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Booffalo Bash Recap

We had a great time at the Booffalo Bash, presented by ARS/Conway Services! This new Halloween event featured Trunk-or-Treating, pumpkin painting, spooky story telling, food trucks, music and more. We love celebrating Halloween with hundreds of little Park fans! Check out the pictures below from the event.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Rebecca Dailey at Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Happy National Bison Day!

    

National Bison Day is just around the corner! In May 2016, the National Bison Legacy Act was signed, officially designating bison as the national mammal of the United States, and the first Saturday in November was declared “National Bison Day.”

Why is this a big deal? 
For centuries, the bison population numbered in the millions. Herds roamed freely, and the animals played a crucial part in the ecology, the economy and culture of the United States. As communities began to grow and move westward, bison were hunted for sport, and they were hunted to the brink of extinction.

With population numbers dwindling, conservancies formed across the country began working to protect the bison and to improve their habitats. Thanks to these efforts, bison are no longer considered endangered.

How did Shelby Farms Park wind up with a buffalo herd?
Buffalo have been at Shelby Farms Park since 1989. The Shelby County Superintendent for Shelby Farms Park - Tommy Hill - brought six buffalo and two longhorn steer to the Park from Tennessee Safari Park in Alamo, Tennessee. They quickly became popular Park inhabitants and have lived there ever since.

So, are they bison or buffalo?
The animals you see at Shelby Farms Park are American Bison (Bison bison), commonly known as buffalo. American buffalo are different from African and Asian buffalo. "Bison" is scientifically accurate, while "buffalo" recalls this animal's central role in American history. We like “buffalo” best.

Buffalo Facts:

  • In addition to grazing, the Shelby Farms Park herd consumes 50,000 pounds of hay and supplemental feed each year!
  • It takes $11,000 and more than 1,000 Ranger hours annually to keep the herd in tip top shape!
  • Males are called "bulls" and females are called "cows."
  • Males can weigh up to 2,000 lbs.
  • Males and female buffalo have short, curved horns, which they use in fighting to defend their status within the herd.
  • Buffalo typically mate in August and September and have a 9-9.5 month gestation period.
  • Calves can stand soon after they are born and can walk with the herd in just a few hours.
  • Calves are born with a rusty red coat which gets darker as they grow up.
  • Buffalo can run up to 30mph.
  • It’s not always easy to tell bulls from cows at a distance. Bulls have a wider face and thicker hair on their forehead, front legs and beard. Bulls also tend to have shoulders wider than their hips, while females tend to have hips wider than their shoulders.
  • The buffalo hump is made of strong muscles supported by very long vertebrae.
  • Buffalo wallow in dirt or mud, both to remove molting fur patches and to deter flies from biting. Bulls also wallow in mating season to display strength and vigor.

You can help support these awesome animals by making a contribution to our Feed the Herd program, which helps provide hay and supplemental feed for the Park’s iconic buffalo herd. Learn more and make your gift here.


 

Posted by Rebecca Dailey at Monday, October 30, 2017

Give $10 on 10/10/17

Supporting Shelby Farms Park's iconic buffalo herd has never been easier!
Give $10 on 10/10/17 to help keep the herd in tip-tip shape! Need a few reasons to give? Check out the list below!

 Click here to give $10 today!

at Tuesday, October 10, 2017
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