Memphis Zoo

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By: Mlb Destinations 2020

Memphis Zoo Entrance May 2020

I visited the Memphis Zoo during my trip to Memphis in May of 2020. During our trip, we were faced with the Covid-19 pandemic so some things were not available at the zoo. While visiting Memphis, our main focus was Graceland. We had stayed at the Guest House at Graceland and visited the mansion along with the Entertainment complex. What a bucket list, memorable trip it was! While visiting Memphis we had a whole day to waste and thought that a trip to the zoo would be nice. We were glad that we did. It was not very far from Graceland, about a 20 minute drive if I remember right. We stopped at a little restaurant called Brother Juniper’s in downtown Memphis before going to the zoo. The food was really good, service was good and the price wasn’t bad! They give you a lot of food so be hungry! They also have a little gift shop that sells some of the products to bring home like coffee mugs, jellies etc.

The zoo was a great time! My favorite moment was the China exhibit, the panda bear was so adorable eating his breakfast of bamboo! I could have sat for hours watching him! There were a lot of great animals to see! If you are in the Memphis area, check out the zoo! There is a park with picnic tables to eat lunch or a snack at and great play grounds for the kids to play on. They had a few gift shops and places to eat and get snacks! I have attached my Youtube video of my trip to the zoo! Be sure to subscribe to my channel if you like my content! You can also hit the notification bell so you will be notified when I upload new travel material.

Web address to the Zoo for more information and ticket prices!

Brother Juniper’s Restaurant

Thank you for allowing me to share my travel memories with you and your family! I hope that it helps you in making your own reservations for your future travel! Do not forget to watch my entire playlist on the trip I took to Memphis that included the Elvis Presley Mansion and the entertainment complex and planes. FOLLOW ME ON YOUTUBE!!

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Elvis Presley Memphis Entertainment Complex

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By: Mlb Destinations

Some of the Outside of the Complex
Elvis Radio on Sirius xm is in the Complex

May 2020 myself and my family went on a short vacation to Memphis, TN to visit Graceland. It was certainly a bucket list for myself since I am a huge Elvis Presley fan! It is so funny to me to think that I was not even born in the prime time of Elvis Presley’s career and I was only 6 years old when he died, however his music and his movies I hold dear to my heart. I find him so mesmerizing and the amount of success he had through his short life just is so unbelievable!

While visiting Memphis, we stayed at the Guest House at Graceland, took the VIP tour of the Mansion which included our visit to the Elvis Presley Memphis Entertainment Complex. The Complex is over 200,000 square feet. While visiting the Complex We were also able to take a self guided tour of his Lisa Marie and Jet star planes. The Lisa Marie, a Convair 880 jet was actually an aircraft own by Delta prior to Elvis’s 1975 purchase of the plane. Elvis gutted and renovated the jet to his liking. He also purchased a Lockheed Jet Star named Hound Dog II to use while Lisa Marie was being renovated. Both Aircraft may be toured on site at Graceland’s Complex.

The Entertainment Complex provides Elvis’s fan’s with Exhibits of his entire life including his career, automobiles, army, cycles, stage wear and so much more. You will also find gift shops and restaurants which includes Vernon’s Smoke House, Minnie Mae’s Sweets, Gladys Diner, and Rock n Go! We used our meal voucher that came with our VIP tour at Vernon’s Smokehouse. The food was delicious and we got a large variety of food. The money we spent on this experience was well worth it to us! We had a great time!

Menu at Vernon’s Smokehouse
My lunch was BBQ Brisket and pulled pork, Fried Catfish, mac n cheese, sweet potatoes, coleslaw and Corn Bread with Banana Pudding for dessert~!! All of this for my meal voucher! I couldn’t eat it all but I tried everything and the food was delicious!
Prices are subject to Change

Please visit my Youtube Channel to watch my pictorial of my visit to the Complex. You may also check out my Graceland Playlist for my Mansion and visit to the Guest House at Graceland. The direct link to my Youtube Channel is:

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My Youtube Pictorial!

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Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion Tour

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By: Michelle @mlbdestinations

Elvis Presley Graceland Mansion in Memphis, TN
Myself, My sister in law Jenn, my brother Jerry and my sister Kelli (in back)

I visited the Elvis Presley Graceland Mansion in May of 2020 along with my family. We had a lovely time at the mansion. We had a VIP Tour which included our guided tour with our lovely tour guide, visit to the mansion, lunch at Vernon’s smokehouse which is located at the E. P. Memphis Entertainment complex across the street, our entrance into the Complex for the day, a professional photograph, a visit to the Archives building which is located at the mansion property and a visit to the airplanes exhibit. In my Youtube video provided below you can view my pictorial visit to the mansion. Please subscribe to my Youtube channel if you have not already and leave me a comment if you have visited Graceland before! For more information on tickets to see Graceland or information to stay at the Guesthouse at Graceland please visit the website!

My narrated picture video of the Mansion Tour

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My visit to Elvis Presley’s Guest House at Graceland

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All photo’s and script: MLB Destinations

Elvis Presley’s Guest House at Graceland AAA 4 star Hotel

As a child, I always was fascinated by my mother’s Elvis Presley albums in our large 70’s stereo furniture console! I can remember her getting on to me as I would put on the record to listen. She certainly did not want her albums getting scratched by her determined 7 year old. Those were the days for sure! Those same albums, including those scratched now sit in the vinyl box of my middle daughter who loves to keep her grandma’s vintage records! Now days, I can leisurely enjoy Elvis on my SiriusXM in my car by listening to Elvis radio stationed at the Entertainment Complex right in Memphis! If my mom could only be here now she would be amazed!

Visiting Graceland was always something that came to my mind as I got older, in fact, my mother and I always pondered on the fact we should go at some point. Time seems to get in the way and the years suddenly pass, she was sick most time and those visions had faded at some point, although every now and then it would come to mind and we would talk about going but never did. You always think to yourself, ok, maybe next year and so on. I can say that to visit Graceland was certainly on my bucket list. I wanted to go and experience it for sure before my life is over. My mother passed away a few years ago so unfortunately our trip to Graceland together never happened. When she died, my idea to go to Graceland opened again as I searched to hear those tunes that I so remembered us listening to as a child. I searched to hear Elvis sing ” How great thou art”, one of my favorite gospel tunes by him. Listening to it made me feel close to my mother again, it helped heal a void that will perhaps be with me all my life, but somehow it made me feel more at peace with her passing. I suddenly found the urge again that I wanted to visit Graceland, now was the time! I learned after my mother passed away suddenly that life is so very short and while we are here on this earth we need to enjoy it and see what is out there while we can! Now, because later may never come!

I got into the planning mode and shared with my brother and sister my wanting to go. I was not sure if they would be interested in going since I wasn’t sure if they liked Elvis at all. I am 7 years senior to my brother and 6 to my sister. It was a good thing I did not purchase those tickets just yet because to my surprise on my birthday in May, my brother and sister in law surprised me with airline tickets and a reservation to stay at the Guest House at Graceland! We were packing to leave in 2 weeks! It was now a reality! I was so excited! Covid-19 had closed up America for some time, our trip to Graceland was during the first week they had opened back up for tourists. I was not really sure what to expect and it was a little concerning to me that it was so soon after everything just opened, but we went with a strong mind of how we were going to stay safe and went off anyway! I am so glad we did! By far, this, for me, was the most memorable trip I had ever done in my life, I felt my mother’s spirit as I boarded the planes to get to Memphis. I knew she was with me!

Our flight was on board American Airlines out of Melbourne, FL. This was my first flight on American and all went very well! Masks were mandatory on board the flight at all times unless you were eating or drinking. We were in first class service but since Covid they did not provide a meal service, just offered drinks which was fine with us since our flight was short. I noticed that we were not the only ones with our wipes and sanitizer. I seen people had there wipes out, using them on the seats and trays, people were friendly and courteous unlike what I thought would be especially since being inside your house for months could make anyone a little cranky! The flights went well and soon we got to Memphis to enjoy this wonderful 3 night adventure! It was so exciting to be able to share this adventure with my siblings!

Guest House at Graceland

The Guest House at Graceland was very easy to get to from the airport. It is located just a few miles. The drive was very easy! We decided to rent a car while visiting, however, if you want they have a shuttle that is complimentary that will get you from the airport and return you to the airport. The shuttle also runs to the mansion and the entertainment complex. It is complimentary!

The property had wonderful security. The guard gate would check your ID when you first arrived then there after they would check to see your key card. You then had to enter and exit by using your key card. Reminded me a lot of Walt Disney World. Driving up the property, it was an addition of the mansion’s grand entrance and had beautiful lux greenery landscaping. When you walk up to the hotel, it feels like home, it’s elegance draws you in, it’s so inviting and smells wonderful when you walk in the front lobby. The decorated lobby of this AAA 4 star hotel is full of elegance and grace, just like Elvis would have liked. The first thing that stuck out to me was the chairs in shape of Elvis’s capes. The high back furniture, the feel of 70’s decor, the colors of whites and golds mixed with darker color furniture. The ceiling in the center is grand with its sparkling glass crafted to resemble Elvis’s capes. It has soft Elvis music in the back ground that is heard throughout the property. In a weird way, yes it is crazy to say, but you feel as though you are visiting Elvis, like he is there! It has a very peaceful vibe, one I can’t describe. It just has a certain touch about it! The hotel has area for meetings and large gatherings, along with restaurant’s “Delta’s Kitchen” which is named after Elvis’s Aunt Delta, EP’s Bar and Grill, Shake Rattle and Roll which is a coffee shop and there was a lobby bar that offered drinks and light snacks. During our stay due to just returning from Covid shut down, none of those were open except for Shake Rattle and Roll. The hotel also offers a full viewing theater that has a schedule of Elvis films and concerts. There was a gift shop that was opened that had a lot of great Elvis souvenirs or if you would like they had some great Elvis artwork that could be purchased to take home. The outdoor pool was very nice and inviting with modern pool side chairs and sofa’s for your leisure. There was plenty of areas of seating that offered up some cozy fire’s for your enjoyment. The property is absolutely beautiful. They have a Chapel in the Woods that we did not get to see, but I know they have the ability to schedule wedding’s in the Chapel. The hotel offers up many different accommodations with free shuttle to the mansion and Entertainment complex. The guest rooms are very large, clean and inviting! I will link my Youtube video below if you are interested in seeing the property and the rooms! Below I am posting photos I took of the property!

Lobby ceiling
Shake Rattle & Go offers Starbucks coffee and food items!

Our room was a very spacious room, very clean and crisp. I loved the soft color tones with the pops of Hot pink! The room had 2 queen beds, very large spacious bathroom with plentiful towel linens folded below the sink for easy access. A blow dryer, shampoo and other toiletries were available. The room also had desk with chair, end table with lamp that was in between the two beds, 2 sitting chairs and a small table that sat in front of a large window that viewed the courtyard and pool. It had a spacious closet (bright pink inside) that had hangers, a clothes iron and safe. There was a large tv on the console that held storage drawers for clothing or other items. Elvis music played on the tv as we walked in. The artwork on the walls added a touch of Elvis. In the room we had the famous 50’s gold suit and in the bathroom was a photo of one of Elvis’s many cars. We really enjoyed this room! Below are some photo’s I took!

This is the TV in the room which different Elvis Era’s to listen to

The pictures below are the back of the Guest House property where you will find the recreation areas and outdoor seating. It has a very peaceful, southern, elegant charm to it.

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During our stay in Memphis we went to a special BBQ restaurant down the street that was recommended by the gal at the front desk. I forgot to also mention how friendly the staff was at the Guest House! The hospitality was so very nice! We went to a BBQ restaurant called Marlowe’s in Memphis. The restaurant opened in 1974, wow I was 3 years old! It has so much Elvis memorabilia to look at. The owner is a lovely older gentlemen who was more then happy to tell us some great Elvis stories of the past and we really enjoyed our chit chat with him! To our surprise we were seated in the very same booth that Elvis used to dine in while visiting the restaurant, it gave him a great view of the windows so he could see who was coming in and out of the restaurant. The booth sits in the back corner in the bar area of the building. Our waitress shared that information with us when we were seated then it was confirmed again when we were talking with the owner about Elvis and his times he would come in to dine.

We really enjoyed our dining here that we visited the restaurant twice. To be honest, trust me when I say, the BBQ is oh my goodness, really, really GOOD! If you would like they will pick you up in a pink limo to take you to the restaurant and then return you to your hotel. We opted to just drive ourselves since it was a very short drive. There is also a gift shop located in the store that has all kinds of Elvis goodies! If you are in the Memphis area, I highly suggest you take a peek at this fabulous, family owned restaurant! Your taste buds will thank you!

We had an amazing time staying at The Guest House and suggest that if you are planning a trip to Graceland, you must stay at the Guest House! It is really a nice hotel! I can almost feel how proud Elvis would be at what has become of Graceland today!

For your Graceland vacation getaway please visit the website to learn more about what Graceland has to offer.

For more information on Memphis International airport please visit the website:

For more information on booking your next flight on board American Airlines please visit the website:

“Don’t let time make you doubt what God told you would happen”…unknown author

Collard Greens

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By: Michelle Bechtold

  • 1-2 bags of precut Collard Greens washed OR you may use fresh batch that are cleaned and ready
  • Ham Steak, Smoked Pork Neck Bones or any other kind of meat you would like for seasoning
  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 3 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3-4 Hot Peppers with a little added juice
  • Sat and Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Water to cover
  • Large Pot

In a large Pot add greens, chopped Ham Steak or other meat, add all other ingredients to pot. Cover with Fresh water. Bring to boil on high heat, cover and reduce to simmer. Simmer at least 6 hrs or to your liking. Serve by itself or as a side dish. Delicious over rice! Add some favorite pepper sauce on top (optional)! Enjoy!

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Video on Youtube!

Throw Together Smoked Chicken Salad

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By: Mlb Destinations

Smoked Chicken Salad
  • Whole small smoked chicken, fridge over night and then debone next morning ( You may use any kind of chicken you want seasoned the way you like)
  • 1/2 md red onion, Chopped
  • 3 small hearts of celery stalks, Chopped
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
  • 2 pinches of sea salt ( 1tsp)
  • 2 pinches of black ground pepper (1tsp)
  • Dried of fresh parsley chopped, enough for inside salad and then some for garnish
  • Pinch of garlic powder (1/2 tsp to 1 tsp depending on how much you like)
  • 1 tsp-2 tsp of olive oil
  • 5 TBSP (more or less to your liking) of your choice mayonnaise

In a large bowl, place deboned chicken and throw together all ingredients in bowl, mix well, garnish with parsley, salt and pepper and place in fridge to get cold. If you need more moisture when you serve it, add either a little more olive oil or you can add a little more mayonnaise.

I have added my Youtube video of my making this salad. I did not have dried cranberries when I made the salad but it is certainly something that I add! It is delicious in this chicken salad. I serve this chicken salad either with fresh bread as a sandwich or just with your choice of cracker. You may also enjoy it just by itself with some carrot sticks or celery sticks! ~Michelle

Banana Bread

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Banana Bread

By: Michelle Bechtold

  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 4 RIPE Banana’s
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Butter (1Stick) SOFT
  • 1/2 cup of Pecans (optional)
  • butter or cooking spray for greasing pan

In a large Bowl cream your sugar and Butter. Then add Eggs, beat gently. Add Banana’s and mix well. Then add salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Add Flour, mix well. Fold in Pecan’s if you are using them. Super easy guys!

Add mixture to a well greased tube or bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until lightly brown and it does not jiggle. That’s it. Slice and add butter on top while hot! Super good!

I have included my Youtube video of this recipe! Be sure to subscribe! Thanks so much!

Potato Salad

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By: Michelle Bechtold

  • 7-8 Medium Potatoes, washed, peeled, diced, cooked and cooled
  • 5 Hard Boiled Eggs peeled and chopped
  • Yellow Mustard to your liking
  • 2 tsp. dill relish plus juice
  • 1/2 small red onion chopped
  • 2 small hearts of celery stalks chopped
  • 4-5 heaping tbsp of Mayo
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Garnish with Paprika, Parsley and dried Chives

This recipe I basically throw together and add to taste. You may omit what you do not like or leave a comment below to what other ingredients you would add. I am always up to trying new things! Refrigerate until use. If your salad is dry when you serve it just add more mayo!

I have linked my Youtube video for you to watch if you wish. Please remember to subscribe to my Youtube Channel for more of my content! If you hit the notification bell you will be notified of my uploads! Thanks again!

Carnival Elation Cruise

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By: Mlb Destinations

Carnival Elation Stats:

  • Maiden Voyage April 1, 1998 refurbished in Oct 2018
  • Tonage: 70,367
  • Length: 855 ft
  • Capacity: 2,130 including crew
  • 13 passenger used decks
Carnival Elation docked in Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

I sailed the Carnival Elation ship on October 5, 2019 out of Port Canaveral located in the sunny state of Florida! I love Port Canaveral cruise port! Our sailing was a 5 night Caribbean sailing that went to the ports of Amber Cove in The Dominican Republic and Grand Turk in the Caicos Islands. We had a junior suite stateroom which entitled us to priority boarding and tendering along with luxury linens and amenities. Boarding was painless at Port Canaveral Cruise Port.

Once on board, the usual crowded hallways and elevators was present. Boarding day always has the hustle and bustle of people coming and going, crowding on the elevators etc. No matter what ship you sail, boarding day is busy! We noticed the two sets of elevators with another set across that just went up to Deck 10. The double elevators only had one working so the line was really long and being that our stateroom was on Deck 14 we could not take the other elevator since it only went to Deck 10. We ended up walking up the stairs 10 flights with our luggage! What a workout that was! Once we arrived to our stateroom we were pleasantly surprised by how cozy it was! After boarding day the elevators were very easy to get on and off and we had a very relaxing cruise!

Our Stateroom G29

We had a Junior Suite Balcony on board the Carnival Elation Ship. Our stateroom number was G29. This stateroom was conveniently close to the elevator yet snugged in a corner. You could also get to the outside deck easily from this stateroom with just a short walk. Once outside on the deck you would run into the Miniature Golf and excellent photo opportunity with the beautiful high view we had. It made for an excellent sunrise and sunset view! We absolutely loved it! The newly refurbished stateroom was very spacious and offered a pretty good sized bathroom with all the amenities we needed. The two twin beds could provide a King is you preferred, the sofa bed was a nice sitting area during the day and could be turned into a sleeper at night. A large flat screen tv sits on the wall to save space. A refrigerator, large closets, a desk with stool and plenty of shelves and storage drawers. The balcony was a very good size with 2 chairs and a small table. I want to add that this stateroom also had 6 USB ports, American outlets and a European outlet. We really enjoyed this stateroom.

Check out my Youtube video below the photos to see a video of this stateroom tour!

Dining on Board the Carnival Elation

The Carnival Elation had a lot of options when it came to eating. Tiffany’s Lido Buffet offers a variety of options to choose from. It is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. You can also find Carnival Deli to serve up panini’s, wraps, grilled sandwiches and deli sandwiches, french fries and cookies. Guys Burgers has hot fresh hamburgers with french fries along with a topping bar with hot and cold toppings. Condiments are also on the bar. Pizza Pirate offers up 24 hr Pizza. Take advantage of the pizza delivery anywhere on the ship for $5.00. The BlueIguana Cantina offered up some great burrito’s and tacos for breakfast and lunch. There is a toppings bar included too. The Carnival Elation only offers The Chef’s Table for specialty dining and has an up charge. The Main dining rooms are the Imagination Restaurant and Inspiration Restaurant. The Imagination Restaurant offers Your Time dining from 5:45-9:30 pm. Your time dining is an option to dine when you want. For traditional dining time of early and late dining, that will be offered in the Inspiration Dining Room. The Main Dining room will have morning breakfast times and Sea Day brunch! Room Service is available 24 hrs a day. Sushi at Sea is available with a limited menu for take out sushi. There is an up charge for sushi. Below I have posted a Youtube vlog that shows our lunch at the Lido Buffet on boarding day!

Entertainment Bars and Fitness

On board you will also find a variety of Bars and lounges. The Atrium Bar is a winner when it comes to grabbing a drink and listening to some live music! There is Duke’s Piano Bar with a New York City inspired look and feel. The late night live interactive entertainment is a nightly favorite. Cole Porter Club is a lounge area that has adult entertainment such as the Punch liner Comedy and movies, adult game shows and karaoke when no comedy is being done. Jekyll and Hyde Nightclub is a way to dance your night away with a cocktail. It has a late night opening. Romeo and Juliet Lounge is hosts band and karaoke. Gatsby’s Great Bar is a nice place to enjoy a pre dinner cocktail with it’s short distance top to the Inspiration Main Dining Room. Blue Iguana Tequila Bar is located on the lido area of the ship and offers up your best Mexican inspired drinks. RedFrog Rum Bar is located on the lido area also on the opposite side of the Blue Iguana. It has a nice island feel and offers up some great rum inspired drinks. Do you like people watching? Well head to the and grab a seat and a drink! Tiffany’s Lido Bar is in the aft of the lido restaurant. Grab a drink and head outside to have a seat while viewing the great wake views!!

The ship has Bocce ball, Miniature golf, Shuffleboard, Ping Pong, Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs, Children’s water areas, slides. Camp Carnival has activities planned always for different age children. The Serenity area for adults is also available in the back of the ship. This area is 18 years old and older. You will find hot tubs and plenty of loungers for relaxation while watching the wake. Towels are available in this area that are to be returned here when finished. Bar service is available if you want a drink!

The Casablanca Casino was one of our favorite spots! There are a variety of slots and tables, scratch off tickets and tournaments are also offered!

The ship does not have a Basketball Court. The Ship offers Spa Carnival which offers a variety of relaxation services to meet your needs. Massage, facials, nails pedicures, teeth whitening , hair services are just some of the options you can find. Be sure to book your services ahead of time of your online reservations area to be sure of availability and to receive some money savings. The Fitness Center has a variety of free weights and machines along with cardio machines, classes and .

We had a great time on board the Carnival Elation! The ship is a small ship but she had just enough on board to allow our time to pass by. The ship offered us relaxation areas that gave us great views! We had an amazing time on our ports we visited. I will have a section available for these two ports as soon as I get them available. I invite you to visit my Youtube channel to see all of my travel video’s. Please consider subscribing to the channel and hitting the notification bell so you do not miss any of my uploads~!! Below is a link to my channel! I appreciate your support!

I hope that you and your family enjoy cruising as much as I do! I hope that my experiences that I share with you help you and yours! Happy Cruising!! ~Michelle

Towel Animal made by a Stateroom Host