Park Life Blog

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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 10 June 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 02 June 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 21 May 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 20 May 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:


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



Visit 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 12 May 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  


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 30 April 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 29 April 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
City of Memphis
Rotolo Consusltants

at 22 April 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 13 April 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 25 March 2021
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