The Bass Pro Pyramid

(Image credit: Trevorbirchett)

I lived near Memphis, Tennessee, when The Pyramid was built on the banks of the Mississippi  in 1991. It was supposed to be a shining symbol of the city, defining its skyline and drawing people to the downtown river area. I saw Van Halen perform there. But that was a long time ago. The Memphis Grizzlies signed a contract that gave them control over the use of the Pyramid, and then found the construction to be so shoddy that they had their own arena built elsewhere and moved out in 2004. The Pyramid sat unused for over ten years. Until last Wednesday.

The 32-story, 535,000-square foot building is now a Bass Pro Shop. Really. In fact, it’s an entire theme park for outdoorsmen, with its own swamp, hotel, bowling alley, archery range, shooting range, laser arcade, restaurants, and more.

(Image credit: Trevorbirchett)

The result of the makeover is impressive. The cypress swamp covers most of the ground floor. Moss dangles from fake trees, and the watery bog is dotted with stuffed wild pigs and other animals.

Surrounding the swamp are various retail sections with hand-painted wall murals of idyllic outdoor scenes. The fishing section contains about 30,000 items. A general store will sell homemade fudge. The 13-lane bowling alley has a water motif with fish dangling from the ceiling and ball returns shaped like alligator mouths. There's also an interactive duck hunting game.

An elevator takes visitors up to The Lookout at the Pyramid, a restaurant and bar with an observation deck providing panoramic views of the river and city.

Rooms at the Big Cypress Lodge were inspired by hunting camps. They have a rustic feel, with dark wood trim and private porches with rocking chairs.

So beware, if you ask Dad where he’s like to go for vacation this year, he may suggest Memphis, and now you know why. -via BroBible

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Weird to see something so local to me on here. I just went to check it out last night! I didn't pay the $10 to go up the elevator, but it is quite impressive in there considering it's basically just a ginormous store. They have live fish and ducks in the "swamp" and alligators in one part. It's drawing huge crowds this weekend (especially matching up with the music fest) but I hope it can keep attracting enough people after the novelty wears off...
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