Mud Island, Memphis

Coordinates: 35°08′46″N 90°03′29″W / 35.146°N 90.058°W / 35.146; -90.058
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Mud Island River Park
Hydraulic scale model of Mississippi
Map of the City of Memphis in the Mississippi River Park

Mud Island is a small peninsula in Memphis, Tennessee.[1] It is bordered by the Mississippi River to the west and the Wolf River and Harbor Town to the east. Mud Island River Park is within the Memphis city limits, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from the coast of downtown. Mud Island includes a museum, restaurants, an amphitheater, and a residential area.[2] It is accessible by the Memphis Suspension Railway (a monorail), by foot (via a footbridge located on top of the monorail), kayak, paddle board, or automobile.[1] Activities on Mud Island include concerts/performances, kayaking, paddle boarding, and biking.[3] The park is managed and operated by the Memphis River Parks Partnership.[4] Admission to the park is free.[1]

Parts of Mud Island[edit]

Mud Island River Park, opened in 1982, is on the south end of the peninsula.[1] It includes bike trails, paddleboats, and kayaks, and a hydraulic scale model of the lower Mississippi River from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans.[1] The model is called the Riverwalk.[5] The replica is carved out of cement to provide a scale model of the Mississippi River.[5] The model is 2,000 feet (610 m) long and includes plaques with details about the river’s history throughout.[5][6]

The Mississippi River Museum is on Mud Island. It includes 18 galleries and exhibits. It presents the history of the lower Mississippi River Valley over the span of the last 10,000 years. The museum also displays over 5,000 artifacts.[7]

The Mud Island Amphitheater is a concrete outdoor amphitheater that seats up to 5,000 people.[8] The structure has been used for concerts and shows since it was built in 1982.[8]

The northern portion of Mud Island ("Harbor Town") includes mansions, single-family homes, and apartment complexes.[9] The total population of Harbor Town is 14,648.[10] Harbor Town offers various trails and ponds, as well as a shopping district and a private school.[11][12] Harbor town also offers a dog park that allows for dogs to be let off the leash.[11]


Kayaks and paddle boards are available to rent on Mud Island at Fourth Cup coffee kiosk in the River Garden.[3] They are available every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.[3] There is also a portion of the Wolf River Greenway on Mud Island that provides a trail for walking, running, or biking.[13]

Mud Island Amphitheater has been used to host concerts and shows since it was built in 1982 but has gone unused since 2018.[8] The city of Memphis is putting $4 million towards renovations on the amphitheater so it can be used as a concert venue again. [14] Artists that have performed there include Bob Dylan, Journey, Eric Clapton, and Peter Frampton.[15]

The River Inn of Harbor Town also offers three restaurants – Paulette’s Restaurant, Tug’s Casual Grill, and Terrace at the River Inn.[16] Café Eclectic also has one location in Harbor Town.[17] The main grocery store on Mud Island, located in Harbor Town, is Cordelia's Market.[18]


Mud Island had been formed by a buildup of silt, gravel, and sand by 1899.[19] It was originally referred to as City Island until the 1950s. Mud Island became the location of the Memphis Downtown Airport in 1959 and was used primarily by wealthy businessmen to access Downtown Memphis.[19] In 1960, the Wolf River Levee was used to divert the flow of the Wolf River.[13] The airport was shut down in 1970 due to the construction of the Interstate 40 bridge.[19] In 1976, the architect responsible for the Memphis International Airport and Memphis College of Art came up with a project to turn 50 acres (20 hectares) of property owned by the city into a destination designed to attract locals and tourists alike.[2] The proposed name for the park was Volunteer Park, but it was later named Mud Island Park when it was opened on July 4, 1982.[2]


The park has been run by several different groups including the Park Commission, The Parks Division, Sidney Shlenkner, and the RDC (Riverfront Development Corporation).[2] The RDC is being in charge of running the park since 2000.[2]

Memphis Sign

Notable events[edit]

On October 1, 2020 a break-in at the Mississippi River Museum was reported to police. Over $50,000 worth of historical artifacts were stolen shortly after the museum shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The burglar(s) have yet to be found as of February 2021.[20]

On Sunday, January 23, 2021 human bones were found scattered in an area of tall grass near the large Memphis sign, located on the southern end of the peninsula, by a landscaping crew.[21] The remains were found in an area that tends to be covered with water at different points in the year, and the police stated the remains may have washed up from the Mississippi River, but it is still unknown at this point.[22] The police have yet to release any further information on the case as of February 21, 2021.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Let's Go See Mud Island River Park". Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mud Island Makeover". Memphis Daily News. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  3. ^ a b c "Kayak, Paddle Board Rentals Coming to River Garden Park". Memphis Flyer. April 17, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  4. ^ Brown, Jackson (11 June 2022). "Memphis City Council approves funding that could re-open the Mud Island monorail / What park advocates are saying about the money". ABC24. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  5. ^ a b c "Scale Model of the Mississippi River on Mud Island". Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  6. ^ "Memphis Mud Island Riverfront Park Scale Model of the Mississippi River (1)". Global-Geography. Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  7. ^ Kennedy, Corinne S. "Mississippi River Museum to open in May for first full season after aesthetic updates". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  8. ^ a b c Poindexter, Arianna (August 13, 2020). "New efforts in place to improve Mud Island Amphitheater". Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  9. ^ "Harbor Town Homes & Real Estate - Harbor Town TN". Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  10. ^ "Household Income, Mud Island Population & Demographics - Point2". Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  11. ^ a b "River Inn at Harbor Town ranked No. 1 in South by Conde Nast Traveler". Memphis Local, Sports, Business & Food News | Daily Memphian. Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  12. ^ "About Us : Harbor Town". Retrieved 2021-02-19.[dead link]
  13. ^ a b "Phase 1: North End Mud Island". Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  14. ^ Hardiman, Samuel. "Strickland unveils $200 million in projects to revive the city's neighborhoods. Here's where Memphis will spend the money". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  15. ^ "The Concert History of Mud Island Amphitheatre Memphis, TN | Concert Archives". Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  16. ^ "Dining". River Inn of Harbor Town. 2018-04-10. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  17. ^ "Cafe Eclectic". Cafe Eclectic. 2021. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  18. ^ "Fun Tips on Things to Do on Mud Island in Memphis TN". Captain and Co. Real Estate LLC. 2020-06-11. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  19. ^ a b c "Tidbits on Mud Island, its history, its name and its opening". Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  20. ^ Broach, Janice (January 5, 2021). "Police investigating $50K worth of artifacts stolen from Memphis River Museum". Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  21. ^ Staff, FOX13 Memphis News. "POLICE: Human bones found on south end of Mud Island". WHBQ. Retrieved 2021-02-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ a b Luther, Chris (January 24, 2021). "Investigation launched after skeletal remains found on Mud Island". Retrieved February 21, 2021.

External links[edit]

35°08′46″N 90°03′29″W / 35.146°N 90.058°W / 35.146; -90.058