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This unique bucket list item is something I didn’t even know was a thing until I was there seeing it for myself. The Peabody Hotel is located in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, and is full of historic charm, but what it is probably most famous for are the ducks. The famous Peabody Ducks march down daily from the rooftop to the lobby where they take a swim in the beautiful fountain before returning to the rooftop penthouse that they call home during their 3-month career.
That’s right – they only have to work for 3 months before they get to head back to the farm outside Memphis where they were raised, to enjoy their retirement in the wild. I don’t know about you, but I could certainly go for that deal!
How did the Peabody Duck March begin?
The tradition started back in the 1930s after Peabody’s General Manager and a friend of his went hunting. There may have been some Tennessee Whiskey involved for them to make the decision that started as a joke and ended up the start of something fantastic: they put their live decoy ducks right into the fountain. The guests loved it, so now it is an international must-see tradition enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
When can I see the Peabody Ducks?
Each day at 11:00 and 5:00 the ducks make their way down to the lobby to be greeted by their adoring fans. The red carpet is rolled out, and the ducks exit the elevator, do their little swim in the fountain, and then return to the elevator to be taken back up to their penthouse to rest and relax until their next show.
Who is the Duck Master?
In 1940, Bellman Edward Pembroke offered to help train the ducks and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March. Pembroke was a former circus trainer, and thanks to his help, he became the Duck Master and continued in that role until 1991 when he retired. Now the Duckmaster is Kenan Walker.
The hotel offers a Ducky Day Package to overnight guests of Peabody. If you choose this upgrade, you get to be the Honorary Duckmaster and assist the Duckmaster for one of the Duck Marches.
This unique experience is open to the public, and you do not have to be a hotel guest to see the Duck March. However, you should note that the Duck March is only open to Peabody Hotel guests on Weekends (Friday evening until Sunday morning). It is open to the public from Sunday evening until Friday morning.
The original Peabody Hotel is in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, but you can also stay at the Peabody in Roanoke, Virginia, and yes, you can also experience the twice-daily Duck Marches at that location, too. It’s recommended you get to the lobby of either hotel about 30 minutes before the event to be able to see the ducks well.