Florida Guide > Other Activities
The Peabody Ducks
The Peabody Ducks are a must-see attraction, and they are amongst the most famous celebrities in the area. There is no entrance ticket required, no waiting in long queues (although it could be busy) and no white-knuckle experience attached to seeing them, but they are certainly crowd-pullers and crowd pleasers and it is an attraction that is suitable whatever your age.
The ducks are at the Peabody Hotel on International Drive and their appearance in all the Peabody hotels began as a bit of a joke.
In the 1930s Frank Schutt, the general manager of the Peabody hotel in Memphis, and his good friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip and, as they sat drinking Tennessee whisky, they thought it would be an amusing prank to put some of their live duck decoys in the beautiful marble Peabody fountain. They used three small English Call ducks and the reaction amongst guests and staff was so enthusiastic that a Peabody tradition was born. Of course the original ducks are long since gone, but for over 70 years now, the marble fountain in the hotel lobby has had ducks in it. There are five ducks in the fountain now and they are ‘on parade’ until they are fully grown, when they are retired from duty and returned to the wild, and a new set pf ducks is used.
The duck ‘performances’ in the hotel’s atrium lobby begin at 11 am promptly, when the ducks (four hens and one drake) arrive via a special elevator from their Royal Duck Palace penthouse. Accompanied by their Duck Master, who is splendidly dressed in a crimson and gold braided jacket, they take up their positions on the red carpet and begin their march to the sound of Souza’s King Cotton March. The march (or waddle) takes them through the hotels marble hall until they reach the orchid crowned fountain, where they climb red-carpeted steps and splash into the water. They stay there until 5pm, basking in the attention of the visitors, when the whole process is reversed and they go back to their penthouse to rest until the next day’s performance.
You can just go into the hotel to watch the ‘show’ but if you arrive a bit early you can have a coffee and a comfortable seat, or why not go for afternoon tea, which finishes at 4.30, but will give you a perfect vantage point from which to watch the procession.
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Page added on: 16 February 2006
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