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Enjoying a towering pyramid without a long flight to Egypt
By Tom Adkinson
March 19, 2021

(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of travel stories spotlighting destinations and activities to consider in a time of coronavirus and to inspire safe outings elsewhere.)

pyramid memphis
Rustic entrance to Pyramid. Image by Tom Adkinson.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – You may never travel to Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, whose glory once reflected in a branch of the Nile River, but you certainly can get to the Pyramid in Memphis, which gleams in the sunshine right beside the mighty Mississippi River. Even though the Tennessee pyramid is 32 stories tall, it isn’t as big as the one in Giza, but the Egyptian pyramid doesn’t have a restaurant and an observation deck at the top, either.

Windy observation deck at memphis pyramid
Windy observation deck. Image by Tom Adkinson.

The Memphis structure opened in 1991 for sporting events and concerts, but it didn’t meet expectations. It sat empty for several years until outdoor recreation entrepreneur Johnny Morris moved in with a Bass Pro Shops, the 103-room Big Cypress Lodge wilderness hotel, the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center, restaurants, an archery and pistol range, a mesmerizing aquarium and what building officials call the tallest freestanding elevator in the world (28 stories). Even the pharaohs of ancient Egypt would be impressed and entertained.

Trip Planning Resources: Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, Big Cypress Lodge and Memphis Travel

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

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