I first heard of the Peabody Ducks about 25 years ago when I visited Memphis on business. Unfortunately my schedule did not permit a visit to the Peabody Hotel to see the famous Duck Walk, which has been a Memphis attraction for more than 75 years.
Twice a day, at 11 AM and 5 PM, the lobby becomes crowded with guests waiting to see the ducks. Promptly on schedule, the uniformed Duckmaster brings the 5 ducks from their $100,000 penthouse down to the lobby in the hotel’s glass elevator. The ducks then march to a Sousa tune along the carpeted walkway and up the steps to the large marble fountain in the center of the lobby where they immediately plunge in for a swim.
The ducks are mallards, one drake (male) and four hens. Every three months the ducks are replaced by a new set and the older ones are returned to the Memphis farm where they were raised.
The ducks are never named (since the original 3), and duck is never on the menu in the hotel’s French restaurant.
In 1986 a Peabody Hotel opened in Orlando, Florida, where the Duck March tradition continues.