Mud Island

Our adventure today will take us to Mud Island.  With our picnic lunch packed we crossed the Mississippi from our Arkansas campground to Tennessee (about a 10-15 minute drive) to this little island in the river.  You have to pay $6 to park for the day.  The lot only had 3 or 4 other cars in it so there was no trouble finding a spot.  What were we doing here?  Why does one venture onto Mud Island?  Because as you watch a portion of the Mighty Mississippi flow by the island you can also enjoy viewing and playing in the entire length of the Mini Mississippi:  a 2000 foot long exact scale model of the Mississippi river!  You can read all the stats and detailed info here.

Amazing details

This place was way better than I expected.  I was amazed by the detail.  And not only the horizontal detail capturing the twists and turns of the river but also the vertical detail.  You could see shipping channels, sand bars, flood plains, lakes and islands.  In fact, we were able to find the scale Mud Island while on Mud Island!
Pointing to Mud Island
 And the the details of the cities and bridges made it fun to check out the places we were familiar with.  We recognized the I-40 and I-55 crossings we’d used the last few days while in the Memphis area.  And further down river we came across Baton Rouge and the I-10 crossing we had traversed 4 months ago.  Wow, that’s hard to believe…4 months we’ve been east of the Mississippi!
Our first Miss. crossingIt was super hot but relief could be found in the shade of the numerous trees along the way and by dipping and splashing in the water.  The kids went as far as sitting and laying in the water creating sort of human dams….dam Wachs.  They also had fun floating their flip flops down the river:  USS Flip, USS Flop, SV Left and SV Right.  Dacen made sure his footwear sailed the entire length of the river.

Eventually the river dumps into the Gulf of Mexico which is an acre sized wading pool with fountain.  Once there we nabbed a table and had some lunch.  To cool down we went into the almost deserted snack bar and asked the lady at the counter if we could just soak up some of the AC.  “Of course, y’all come right on in and stay as long as you like.”  This woman was super sweet and came out and chatted with us.  Before we left she asked if we wanted to fill our water bottles with ice which we gratefully accepted.

Mud Island gets high marks from the Wachs.  It is fun, educational, impressive and free (other than parking).  The only thing that would make it better is if we had toured the entire length of the real Mississippi along the Great River Road so that we had more familiarity and connection with the river.  Our friends at Ditching Suburbia explored the Great River Road awhile back and it looked like a lot of fun.  If you have the time I recommend reading about their adventures here.

We were all pretty beat so we headed for home after a quick drive by of Sun Studios and Graceland.  We all showered up and spent the rest of the day playing (kids) and working (adults).  Another day in a long list of fun and memorable experiences shared as a family.

Going to Tennessee

Mud Island

Lake Itasca

USS Flip and USS Flop

Cooling off

Headwaters of the Arkansas

Dam Wachs

Amazing details

Pointing to Mud Island

Dam Wachs again

In the "Mississippi"

Our first Miss. crossing

In the Gulf of Mexico

Sun Studios

Return to Arkansas


2 thoughts on “Mud Island

  • June 25, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    This was closed when we went through- bummer since we were driving the entire length of the Mississippi!

    • June 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      As soon as I saw it I thought of you guys. Its a bummer you didn’t get to see it. Perhaps someday you guys can go back and visit Mud Island and perhaps someday we can travel the Great River Road!


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