Some sights just scream “Amurrr-ica!” like jorts and sleeveless tees, motorized scooters in a Walmart or a grown man prying a Tickle Me Elmo from a crying child’s arms on Black Friday. But if you want to see American consumerism at its peak finest, pay a visit to 1 Bass Pro Drive, Memphis, TN. There you will find the sixth largest pyramid in the world.
And yes, it’s a Bass Pro Shops.
Known as the Great American Pyramid, this feat of modern engineering was built in 1991 as a 20,142 seat arena, situated along the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis. At 32 stories tall, it is 130 feet shorter than the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Naturally, against the backdrop of the birthplace of rock and roll, the Pyramid stands out.
Unfortunately, the city’s music reputation wasn’t enough to lure in eager concertgoers, At first, the structure was home to basketball games, events like a 25th anniversary commemoration for the Elvis Presley’s death and WWE tournaments. But by 2005, Memphis needed a permanent tenant before the Pyramid slipped into obscurity.
Bass Pro Shops heeded that call.
When you enter the Pyramid, you walk into a 535,000 Bass Pro Shops megastore chock full of any and all of the outdoor gear you’d ever need. One of the most striking features is a massive “lake”—over 600,000 gallons of water used to recreate a natural setting. While shopping, customers can stop by the shooting or archery ranges, or if you need something more kid-friendly, there’s a space for laser tag and alligator feedings. Beneath the store, there is a 100-room hotel, the Big Cypress Lodge, while at the Pyramid’s apex there is an observation deck, restaurant, bar and aquarium.
And while the Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the top bucket list destinations in the world, only 150 people are allowed to visit the ancient wonder each day. In Memphis, 1 million people visit Bass Pro Shop’s Pyramid each year.