Peabody Hotel Ducks
Student groups traveling to the birthplace of the blues will definitely enjoy partaking of this whimsical and entertaining Memphis area tradition – which started at the Peabody Hotel back in 1933 when Frank Schutt, general manager of the hotel, returned from a hunting trip in Arkansas. A group of his buddies, likely having enjoyed a bit too much Tennessee Sippin’ Whiskey, thought depositing a trio of their live decoys 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 number five and 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. Every day at precisely 11 am, the Duck March commences, and the stars 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 spectators go wild! The delightful show is reversed 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 performers retired and returned to the farm they hatched on to live out their days as free agents.
The Peabody Ducks have become quite the sensation, and regularly enjoy the escort of honorary celebrity Duckmasters including Oprah, Patrick Swayze, Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse, and Kevin Bacon.