ConventionSouth

NOV 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 46 A L A B A M A The Zone-North and The Zone-South, located in Bryant Denny Stadium, include cli- mate-controlled lounge areas, outdoor stadium seats, meeting facilities and dining with various seating options. Also on campus, Smith Hall has meeting and event space for groups of up to 250, the UA Music and Speech Auditorium can seat up to 368, and the Rowand-Johnson Hall has a theater with tiered seating for up to 250. The Nelson B. Jones Riverbend Lodge at UA's Moundville Archaeological Park can accommodate up to 100 guests for a banquet or up to 150 for a reception, according to TTS. Huntsville Huntsville offers planners unique meeting op- portunities not found in many cities of any size: an opportunity to meet underneath an authentic Saturn V rocket. "There are a variety of unique settings like that at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and we've got spaces that work for a wide scope of needs, for groups of from 50 to 500 people," said Kristen Pepper, marketing manager for the Huntsville/Madison County CVB. "Planners might enjoy being surrounded by nature at the Huntsville Botanical Garden or at a location overlooking the city from Baron Bluff at Burritt on the Mountain, as well as many other great spots." In early 2017, the new Grand Hall opened at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, offering a reception spot overlooking the lake for up to 350 guests. Other facilities at the gardens can host between 80 and 160 guests. A major expansion at Huntsville's Von Braun Center has been approved and will add 113,000 square feet to the 483,000-square-foot property, according to the CVB. The two- phase project is expected to be complete by May 2019. Along with renovations of existing space, the expansion will add additional ball- rooms and meeting rooms, and a music hall that will seat up to 1,200 people. Construction is also underway in downtown Huntsville for a new mixed-use development to feature two hotels, including a 150-room AC Hotel by Marriott, plus residential units and a artisanal food hall. The addition of the two ho- tels "brings the city closer to its goal of attain- ing 1,000 rooms in downtown," Shane Davis, director of urban development for the City of Huntsville, noted. Also just announced is the expected open- A diverse and cosmopolitan Southern city, Birmingham offers an enticing variety of entertainment, cuisine, arts, nightlife and the great outdoors, in addition to 17,000 area hotel rooms and the state's largest convention facility, the 350,000-square-foot Birming- ham/Jefferson Convention Complex. From group events to free-time fun, meeting participants have numerous options. Animal lovers will enjoy Behind the Scenes Experiences offered at the Birmingham Zoo and the 67-acre Birmingham Botanical Gar- dens is a great place for small receptions. History buffs will want to head up Red Mountain to Vulcan Park and Museum to see the world's largest cast iron statue, a nod to Birmingham's early beginnings in the iron and steel industry. The Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark not only offers a deep look into the iron and steel industry that was responsible for the birth of Birmingham; it's also home to the annual Sloss Music & Arts Festival (Sloss Fest), which premiered in July 2015 and attracts more than 25,000 music fans each year. In 2016, the Birmingham Civil Rights Dis- trict was designated a national monument by President Barack Obama. "Birmingham was Ground Zero for the civil rights campaign in 1963, an era marked by attacks and jail cells on one side and non-violence and the resolute certainty of a better tomorrow on the other," John Oros, Jr., president and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau said. "The national monument des- ignation is a tribute to the struggles and sac- rifices that made Birmingham matter in the course of American history." The downtown district encompasses the 16th Street Baptist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, the Birmingham Civil Rights Insti- tute, the Colored Masonic Temple, St. Paul Lutheran Church, portions of the 4th Avenue Business District and the A.G. Gaston Motel. Those looking for excitement and ad- venture should try a flight over the treetops on the Red Ore Zip Tour at Red Mountain Park. Barber Vintage Motorsports offers fast driving adventures as well as a collection of vintage cars and motorcycles. Birmingham is big on culture and is home to the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Alabama Ballet and the Birmingham Muse- um of Art. Other key attractions include the McWane Science Center, Aldridge Gardens, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Mercedes-Benz US International Visitors Center. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Birmingham Contact: inbirmingham.com Railroad Park, a 19-acre green space in downtown Birmingham, celebrates the city's industrial and artistic heritage. Hailed as "Birmingham's Living Room," the venue is used for recreation, concerts, and cultural events. Birmingham CVB

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