Peabody Hotel Ducks

Groups exploring the birthplace of the blues won’t want to miss a fabulous and FUN Memphis area tradition – which started at the Peabody Hotel back in 1933 when Frank Schutt, general manager of the hotel, returned from a weekend hunting trip in Arkansas. A group of his best hunting buddies, likely having enjoyed a bit too much Jack Daniels, thought depositing a trio of their live decoys – three small English ducks – (later replaced with five Mallards) in the hotel’s luxurious Italian fountain would be an appropriate homecoming welcome; the public’s reaction was nothing short of enthusiastic. Eventually the ducks would fall under the tutelage of a former circus animal trainer and a routine was perfected, with the current “duck team” residing in “The Duck Palace” on the hotel roof – living the “Life of Riley,” duck-style. Daily, at 11 am, the Peabody Duck March commences, and the ducks are led by the Duckmaster into the elevator and down a red carpet to the beautiful travertine marble fountain in the lobby to the tune of John Philip Sousa’s King Cotton March; the crowds of guests and admiring spectators go wild! The beloved show is reversed, nightly, at five pm, when the mallards return from a hard day of play in the fountain to their Palace atop the hotel. A freshly trained team of five is brought in every three months, with the previous group retired and returned to the farm they hatched on to live out their days. The Peabody Ducks have become quite the sensation and regularly enjoy the escort of honorary celebrity Duckmasters including Patrick Swayze, Larry King, Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse and Kevin Bacon.

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