Shelby Farms Park's size and central location allow for diversity of uses. With more than one million visits a year, the Park is a popular destination for locals, a regional draw and a tourist attraction.
A 20 minute drive makes the Park accessible to roughly one million people, and new pedestrian connections like the Shelby Farms Greenline, Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge and Wolf River Greenway have dramatically increased accessibility to those without access to vehicles. New draws like the groundbreaking Woodland Discovery Playground are rapidly increasing the frequency of visits. In fact, participation in the Park's membership support has nearly doubled in one year, with 2,000 regularly contributing members since December 2011. Reflecting its role as a regional park, few places boast more diversity--among race, income level and age.
Much larger than New York City's Central Park or San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Shelby Farms Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The Park teems with activity--walkers and joggers on forest paths or paved surfaces; off-road cyclists headed for hidden forest trails and road cyclists cruising from the Shelby Farms Greenline and Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge; equestrians putting their horses through their paces; visitors riding at the Stables; athletes training for the Greenline Half Marathon; picnickers reclining on blankets; boatball members congregating on Patriot Lake; parties and reunions being enjoyed at shelters; and delighted children exploring the Woodland Discovery Playground.
Imaginative Conservancy programming has positioned the Park not only as an important recreational area, but as the community's living laboratory and outdoor classroom--a place for school field trips, independent projects and major university research along with camps and workshops focused on healthy families, youth development and environmental stewardship.
Wildlife + Vegetation
Shelby Farms Park is home to an array of wildlife, with the forest, meadows and pine woods attracting more than 200 species of birds, bobcats, deer, reptiles, rabbits, minks, fish, muskrats, beavers, squirrels and foxes in the heart of one of America's largest urban parks.
Trees include a significant pine forest and large numbers of red oak, cypress, maple, ash, elm, sweet gum, sycamore, tupelo gum, white oak, hackberry and birch. But many of the park's forests are fragmented and are seriously threatened by invasive species, like Chinese privet and kudzu. The Conservancy's Master Plan calls for planting one million new trees and restoring health to the Park's forests.
Key elements of the park
Shelby Farms Greenline
A 6.5 mile urban trail that connects Midtown Memphis to Shelby Farms Park.
Lucius Burch Natural Area
A hardwood forest adjacent to the Wolf River, preserved by a state act in honor of Lucius Burch.
A facility used for office space that includes rooms available for rental.
Woodland Discovery Playground
An innovative new play landscape that combines the best in play theory with sustainable design (certified through the Sustainable SITES initiative.
More than 20 bodies of water.
Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge
A beautiful new pedestrian bridge linking the Park and its Wolf River Trails over the Wolf River to the Wolf River Greenway and neighborhoods south of the Park. The Wolf River Trails are primitive, single-track paths winding through the river bottoms.
Including Shelby County Community Gardens, Area 10 is 50 acres of land set aside for use by Shelby County and a garden divided into plots and cultivated by community members.
More than 120 acres designated for off-leash dog activities, including meadows, three lakes and wooded trails.
The Stables + Equestrian Area
Trails designated for private equestrian use and a rental stable for visitors to go on guided trail rides.
50 acre pasture that is home to our herd of American Bison (buffalo).
Shelters and uncovered picnic areas available for rental.
Wooden "O" Amphitheater
Recently restored natural amphitheater space featuring Shakespeare in the Park and other performances.
Raised bed organic garden space used as a teaching tool for Park programming.
Paved trails include Shelby Farms Greenline, Chickasaw Trail, Patriot Lake Trail and Connector Trails. Unpaved trails include Tour de Wolf, Yellow Trail, Blue Trail and White Trail and other equestrian and unmarked trails.
Agricenter International, Farmers Market, Ducks Unlimited + Show Place Arena