The Memphis Peabody Duckmaster experience

Larry King’s done it. Emeril Lagasse’s done it. Even Oprah’s done it.  Now it was my son’s turn.  The elevator doors open, and a parade of ducks march out. My five year old walks the red carpet behind them. His chest is puffed; his stride is confident. Being an Honorary Duckmaster for the famous Peabody Ducks is a distinction that even a kindergartner can comprehend.

Our family arrived to “The South’s Grand Hotel” the day prior.  We spent the evening feasting on Memphis barbeque and lounging in the Grecian-style indoor heated swimming pool. Shortly after we arrived back to our suite we heard a light knock on the door.  The boys were delighted to see a tray of large chocolate chip cookies and a silver bucket filled with mini carafes of ice-cold milk.  It was a perfect bedtime snack.

The next morning we made our way to the lobby to meet Duckmaster Anthony Petrina, only the fifth Duckmaster to lead this hotel’s iconic tradition. Duckmaster Anthony introduced my son to the Honorary Duckmaster process. We gazed up from the discussion to see a gathering had ensued.  The over-sized lobby, often called “Memphis’s living room” had transformed into a sea of visitors.  The Peabody itself is one of the city’s main attractions. This holiday weekend proved that point, with standing-room only crowds and children lining the red carpet from the elevator to the fountain.  I’ll admit, my stomach was a knot; I hoped my shy-guy would hold up.

Lobby at The Peabody Memphis

At precisely 11 am, Duckmaster Anthony addressed the crowd, sharing the tradition of the Peabody Ducks.  He introduced my son to the audience, and presented him with an Honorary Duckmaster’s cane – a necessary piece of equipment for such a distinguished role.  Together Anthony and my son (with Dad) rode the elevator to the roof to retrieve the ducks, traveled with the ducks back to the lobby, and ushered them across the carpet and into the fountain where they would remain until another Honorary Duckmaster would help Anthony shepherd them to bed.

Duckmasters

The Duckmaster experience is one my family will cherish. What a privilege to participate in such a fun and marked tradition.  My son continues to talk about it, even months later.   The Peabody Memphis is a Preferred Family Hotel, with several family-friendly offerings; the Ducky Day Family Package was our experience.  Prices start at $340 for accommodations and the Honorary Duckmaster adventure, as well as a few additional perks.  You can follow the Peabody Ducks and learn more about their history on the website.

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