Overton Park in Midtown Memphis , Tennessee, is a large, 342-acre (138 ha) public park. The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis Zoo, a 9-hole golf course, Memphis College of Art, Rainbow Lake, Veterans Plaza, the Greensward, and other amenities are included in the park grounds. One of the few remaining old growth forests in Tennessee, the Old Forest Arboretum of Overton Park, is a natural arboretum with numbered trees along the trails.
Brooks Museum of Art
The Brooks Museum, located in Overton Park, is a privately owned, nonprofit art museum. The Brooks Museum was established in 1916 and is the oldest and largest art museum in the state of Tennessee.
The facility consists of 29 galleries, art classrooms, a print study room with over 4,500 paper works of art, a more than 5,000 volume research library, and an auditorium. There are over 7,000 works of art in the collection, including paintings , sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative art examples.
The Brooks Museum revealed in 2017 that they would be relocating to a downtown Memphis facility.
The famous Shell theater, where Elvis Presley gave his first paid concert on July 30, 1954, also includes Overton Park.
In 1936, as part of the New Deal, the Overton Park Shell was constructed for $11,935 by the City of Memphis and the Works Progress Administration. Crafted by architect Max Furbringer, in Chicago , New York, and St. Louis, it was modelled after similar shells. 27 band shells were constructed by the WPA; the Overton Park Shell is one of only a handful that still remain. The Shell was renamed in 2007 as the Levitt Shell at Overton Park after numerous changes in ownership and a large-scale renovation underwritten by the Levitt Foundation was initiated. The redesign was carried out with state-of-the-art audio and visual architecture by the Memphis firm Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects. On September 8, 2008, with the completion of the renovations, free concerts were now once again held in the Shell.
Memphis College of Art
Located in Overton Park, Memphis College of Art is a small, private college of art and design. It offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, Master of Fine Arts degrees, Master of Arts degrees in Art Education and Master of Arts degrees in Teaching. Graphic design, drawing , painting, printmaking, library arts, computer arts, photography, animation, and illustration are some of the main fields. Established in 1936, it relocated to the facilities at Overton Park in February 1959. Per year, there are about 450 students, with 350 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
In an intimate, diverse culture, Memphis College of Art offers a comprehensive curriculum. It has allowed generations of leading artists , designers and educators to professionally flourish and bring to society valuable ideas. Unfortunately, as of October 2017, due to economic issues, the college is no longer enrolling new students, and will close after the existing student body graduates.
In 1906, when a resident of Memphis couldn’t keep his pet black bear in his backyard, Overton Park Zoo (now called the Memphis Zoo) opened. In the park, he had it installed in an enclosure, which attracted many visitors, prompting the idea of showing more animals. Now one of the largest in the United States, the Memphis Zoo draws 1 million visitors a year. Two local pandas, as well as three polar bears, are housed in the zoo at the Northwest Passage exhibition that opened in March 2006.
More than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species are kept at the Memphis Zoo. For more than 100 years, the Zoo has been a big tenant in Overton Park. In 1988, the Overton Park Master Plan specified the city-owned land currently allocated for the zoo. The Zoo is situated on 31 ha (76 acres) of which approximately 22 ha (55 acres) are grown.
“The Memphis Zoo was named” # 1 Zoo in the U.S. “by TripAdvisor.com in 2008. The Memphis Zoo received a 90 percent overall satisfaction score in independent polls conducted by TripAdvisor, almost 25 percent higher than the national zoo average.
Since the early 1990s, over $77 million has been completed by the Zoo for restoration and expansion. The animal inhabitants of the Zoo live in one-of-a-kind displays, such as Northwest Passage and CHINA, home to Ya Ya and Le Le giant pandas. The Memphis Zoo is an accredited member of the Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Group.
Memphis, Tennessee, is home to some gorgeous green, open spaces and parks for you to lose yourself in. Check out these others you shouldn’t miss:
- Shelby Farms Park
- Memphis Park
- Peabody Park
- Greenbelt Park
- Tom Lee Park
- Martyrs Park
- Heroes Park
- Nesbit Park – Stanky Creek Trails
These amazing parks are located just down the street from our location at South Third Street across from The Southgate Shopping Center. Stop by for a visit anytime!