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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J U L Y 2 0 1 5 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 11 Special Feature: Winter Hot Spots San Antonio, Texas In San Antonio, Spanish Colonial missions, including the famous Alamo, offer unique adventures outside the meeting venues. At the Alamo, guided tours and history talks are entertaining and informative. A converted 1922 firehouse offers event space and the only indoor event center within the Alamo walls, which also features adjoining outdoor event space. The city's extraordinary River Walk is lined with all types of restaurants, bars, art galleries and shopping. For a real treat, take a narrated River Walk riverboat tour or arrange a dinner served on a private barge. n Tampa Bay, Florida Besides uncommonly great weather year- round, the Tampa Bay area offers lots of maritime mirth in the wintertime. It's situated on the west coast of Florida near the Gulf of Mexico, with the Hillsborough River running alongside Tampa, the area's major metropolis. This mid-sized city, known as one of the most affordable locales for a business meeting, also boasts Busch Gardens Tampa, The Florida Aquarium and Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, just to name a few popular attractions. One special enterprise, eBoats Tampa, offers guided tours, such as the business-minded Insider's Tour and the picturesque Sunset Cruise, as well as self-driven excursions. The electric boats are very quiet, comfortable, easy to operate and conveniently located at the Tampa Convention Center Docks. Another winter treat is The Gasparilla Pirate Festival, one of the city's great celebrations, which takes place in January. The festival is a colorful event that involves a parade, a street fair and an "invasion" by a fully rigged, amply flagged pirate ship. n Pearland, Texas Located just 10 miles south of downtown Houston, Pearland is the fastest-growing city in the Houston region. It's home to a University of Houston satellite campus, 11 major brand hotels and several small meeting spaces at several event/conference centers. Pearland also offers three golf venues. The little city has more than 175 acres of parks and miles of walking, hiking, jogging and bike trails. Pearland's great winter weather allows it to offer a year- round edible trail with information signage that makes for a pleasant group outing. The fruit trail provides kumquats, persimmons, jujubes, avocados and pomegranates during late fall and early winter. n San Antonio CVB River Walk Baton Rouge, Louisiana Offering wonderful indoor attractions— including two major museums, several intriguing political history s ites and a first-class performing arts venue—Baton Rouge also pulls visitors outside, even in winter, to enjoy its Rural Life Museum and its zoo. Affiliated with Louisiana State University, the Rural Life Museum is a 320-acre outdoor museum where a collection of 32 buildings and thousands of artifacts demonstrate and interpret the 19 th -century culture of Louisiana and the lower Mississippi River Valley. For a little less culture and more pure fun, try BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo, which sits on 147 landscaped acres about 15 minutes north of downtown and is home to more than 1,800 animals. Best of all, the entire zoo can be rented during the evening! n Baton Rouge Zoo Gasparilla Pirate Festival V i s i t B a t o n R o u g e Edible trail Pe a r l a n d CVB Visit Tampa Bay