Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

Posted on May 27, 2015



The 4,500 acres of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy may be under construction this summer, but the planned renovations have done little to hamper the number of family-friendly events at the park scheduled this summer. For the months of May-August, Shelby Farms boasts a number of events to suit a wide range of interests. For dog lovers, the first major event of the summer is the Dog-A-Roo festival on May 9th. The festival runs from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. and will feature an animal talent and costume contest, 4 Legged 4K run, Parade of Rescues, trainer clinics, a food truck rodeo, and a concert. Throughout the summer there will be Tai Chi classes on Wednesdays at 6 P.M., Zumba on Saturdays at 11 A.M., and BMX at 3:30 P.M. Starting in May and running through June, one can also join Equestrian and Nature Camps. On Saturday, June 27th at 1 P.M., the park is holding its Great American Backyard Campout, beginning at 1:00 P.M. On Saturday, July 25th at 10 A.M., Shelby Farms is attempting to break its own world record for longest distance traveled on a slip-n-slide and is in need of volunteers ages 16 and over. Running through August 22nd-23rd and 29th-30th, Mid-South Renaissance Fair will be held at the park. Throughout the summer, visitors can attend Greenline Gardens workshops as well as a number of 5Ks supporting different causes.

In addition to these summer events, Shelby Farms boasts a number of other year-round and seasonal attractions. These attractions include bicycle and boat rentals, disc golf, laser-tag, paint-ball and the park’s famous herd of American buffalo. The newest addition to the park is the Go Ape Treetop Adventure, a three-hour zip line course throughout the forested area of the park.

When visiting Shelby Farms this summer, be aware of construction and detours due to the exciting Heart of the Park enhancement. Anticipated to continue for the next two years, the enhancement is focused around the expansion of Patriot Lake, Shelby Farms’ largest body of water that extends from 55 acres to 72 acres. The renovation promises to create a more ecologically responsible lake and surrounding area by planting thousands of new trees, filtration wetlands, and environmentally friendly buildings and parking areas. With the expansion come plans for a new event pavilion and visitor center, more trails and a restaurant overlooking the lake.

The rich history of Shelby Farms spans more than a century. Privately owned throughout the 19th century, a large portion of the land that now forms the park today was sold to Shelby County in 1928 for use as a penal farm, where inmates performed agricultural labor to feed the Shelby County Corrections Center. In 1964, plans were announced to convert the land for other uses, but there was much disagreement over what those uses should be. Several decades of conflict over the land between public officials and the public led to the organization of the Shelby Farms Park Alliance, which helped to shape the park into its modern-day status as a nonprofit conservancy.

Posted in: News