Page 1

Volume XXXVIII, Number 4 • March/April, 2017


page 4


page 9

Student Tours

page 24

c on t e n t s

MA ARCH/APRIL L 2017 Volume XXXVIII, Number 4





SST TAFF Editor & Publisher . . . . . . . . . Larry Plachno Business Manager . . . . Nancy Ann Plachno Bookkeeping . . . . . . . . . . . . Dianne Billquist Typesetting/Page Layout . . . . Sherry Mekeel Office Asst.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nicole Fehler Editorial Assistant . . . . . . . . . . . Karla Nagy Bus Tours Magazine 9698 W. Judson Road Polo, Illinois 61064-9015 (815) 946-2341 Fax: (815) 946-2347 Web site: www.b bustoursmagazine.ccom Ad dvvertising

23 Features F eatures 14


ESCAPE TO THE SOUTHEAST Discover the diversity of the Southeast, with its 19th-century charm and 21stcentury achievements, where culture and heritage thrive in tandem. E S C A P E TO T H E C E N T R A L STATES T h e O l d We s t c o m e s a l i v e i n E n i d , Oklahoma, where bus tour passengers can explore the history of the famed Chisholm Trail and even star in their own Western movie.

24 SSpecials pecials 9


Guides G uides 4


R AI L R O A DS These scenic railroads provide bus tours with breathtaking views and historic tales, along with memorable adventures that delve “deep” into our past. GAMING Gaming destinations today offer motorcoach operators an abundance of nongaming activities to satisfy even the most diverse tastes of a busload of passengers.

THEATERS, SHOWS, ENTERTAINMENT Raise the curtain on a bounty of live entertainment options for your bus tour group, from Broadway-quality musicals and dinner theater to spiritual drama in an outdoor setting.

STUDENT TOURS Students learn best when they are engaged and having fun. Check out these student tour destinations that provide plenty of hands-on activities, cultural opportunities and enriching experiences.

And A nd More More 28





20 TIPS by Dr. Charleen Jaeb



Central/International central@busmag.com – (815) 946-2341 West adv@busmag.com – (815) 946-2341 Midwest midwest@busmag.com – (815) 946-2341 Northeast tourgroups@busmag.com – (815) 946-2341 Southeast southeast@busmag.com – (815) 946-2341

COVER PHOTO The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad operates historic steam-driven locomotives and classic, diesel-powered vintage passenger trains departing out of Elkins and Durbin, West Virginia. The railroad offers options of climate-controlled and open cars, a variety of scenic routes, special events and dinner trains, along with custom itineraries for bus tour groups. DURBIN & GREENBRIER.

B US T OURS M AGAZINE (ISSN 0199-6096) is published six times annually by National Bus Trader, Inc., 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illinois 61064. Subscriptions, $15 (in US funds) annualllly, Canadian & International $20 (in US funds). Printed in U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at Polo, Illinois 61064 and at additional mailliing offices. POSST TMASTER: Send address changes to BUS TOURS MAGAZINE, 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illllinois 61064. Chaan nge of Address: Please send old mailliing label (or old address and computer number) as well as new address. Ad dvverrttising: Display advertisiin ng rates sent on request. Adverrttising deadlliine is the last day of the second month preceding publication. Founded in 1979, BUS TOURS MAGAZINE is the oldest independent magazine in the bus and group tour market. Circulation includes bus and group tour planners in the United States and Canada regardless of affiliation or whether commercial, private or corporate or group leader. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced eit her in whole or in part without the written consent of the publisher. The name BUS TOURS MAGAZINE and the logo iin ncorporatiin ng the passengers, bus and destinations are trade marks of National Bus Trader, Inc.

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 3


ailroads were vital in the shaping of


Tour groups will experience the golden

o n l y a s f a r a s H o c k e s s i n , D e l aw a r e . T h e

America. They transported the peo-

age of railroading, as they chug across spec-

shortened line was revived in the 1960s as a

ple who helped to settle remote

tacular bridges, clickety-clack through lush

scenic tourist train.

areas; carried important goods and materials

t a l l f o r e s t s , w i n d t h r o u g h n a r r o w r o ck c u t s

Added to the National Register of Historic

that helped to build cities; brought even more

and whistle past historic homes in the beau-

Places in 1980, and honored by the Delaware

people that helped to grow those cities.

tiful valley of Red Clay Creek.

State L Le egislature as “Delaware’s Operating Rail-

Today, scenic railroads give bus tour passen-

Much of the line’s 10-mile route follows

road Museum” in 2007, W WW WRR will transport

gers thrilling and memorable experiences,

the path of Red Clay Creek, taking passengers

bus groups back to a time when steam passen-

w h e t h e r r i d i n g t h r o u g h t o w e r i n g t i m b e r,

past such sights as Brandywine Springs Park,

ger trains rolled majestically through the land

passing over a decades-old bridge or climb-

originally a popular resort that brought many

and steam whistles echoed off the hills.

ing a mountain peak.

tourists to the area by rail; historic mills; scenic farms; and even a covered bridge.

Wilmington & Western Railroad

Tour operators can choose between two ride options: a 1.5-hour round trip departing

T h e W i l m i n g t o n & We s t e r n R a i l r o a d

at 12:30 p.m., or a 2.5-hour round trip departing

(W WW WRR) began operations in 1872, extending

at 2:30 p.m., each with a 30-minute stop. All

All aboard Delaware’s time machine, the

20 miles to Landenberg, Pennsylvania and

seating is coach, on typical train seats, with

Wilmington & Western Railroad, the state’s

moving goods between the mills along the

snacks and soft drinks available for sale, and

oldest steam tourist railroad. Bus tour groups

Red Clay Creek and the Port of Wilmington.

passengers may bring their own food. The train

Wilmington, Delaware

will be treated to one of the most historic and

The Great Depression and the advancement

is accessible to guests in wheelchairs via a lift,

scenic train trips in the eastern United States,

of autos and trucks caused such a decrease

provided the passengers can then navigate a

riding on restored vintage passenger cars

in passenger and freight service that by the

few steps to a regular train seat. Restroom facil-

behind historic steam or diesel locomotives.

1950s, the route had been cut in half, going

ities are available aboard the train.

4 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Guide: Guide: R Railroads ailroads Georgetown Loop Railroad

The railroad operates on a set schedule most weekends and holidays, rain or shine, March through December (Sundays only dur-

driver and escort. Groups can also charter a train for a special event; ask for details.

is located on Route 41, 6 miles northwest of Wilmington and 40 miles south of Philadel-

Buses drop off and pick up passengers at

phia. For more information, visit online at

ing May and June), with special events, hol-

the depot entrance and park for free in the

w wwrr.com wrr.com, phone (302) 998-1930 or email

iday trains and dinner trains slated through-

adjacent lot. Before or after their ride, tour


out the year. “Tour groups are partial to our

p a s s e n g e r s c a n v i s i t t h e r a i l r o a d ’s s m a l l

longer ride, especially during October and

museum, featuring artifacts relating to the

Georgetown Loop Railroad

November, when the fall foliage is spectac-

history of Red Clay Creek Valley, and browse

Georgetown, Colorado

ular,” says Carole Wells, spokesperson for

the items in its gift shop.


Bus tour passengers will take a trip back

Tour groups can combine their train ride

to the Colorado Silver Boom aboard the his-

with other fascinating stops in nearby Wilm-

toric Georgetown Lo oop Railroad. This three-

Robbery Train, Holiday Light Express, Santa

ington, within a few miles of WWRR, includ-

foot narrow gauge railroad, completed in

Claus Express and Easter Bunny Express.

ing: the Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of

1884, connects Georgetown, situated in the

Dinner trains include onboard dining or fun-

Fame, just 13 minutes away via DE-141 South

narrow and rugged Clear Creek Canyon at the

filled trips to an adjacent restaurant.

and Interstate 95 North; Delaware Art

base of the Rocky Mountains, with the town

Fares range from $10 to $22 per person,

Museum, 15 minutes away via DE-141 N; and

o f S i l v e r P l u m e a b ov e . I t i s o n l y t w o m i l e s

with special events, dinners and charters

the Rockwood Park & Museum, 17 minutes

away, but the train travels more than twice

costing slightly more. Bus groups of 25 or

away via I-95 North.

that distance, following a 4.5-mile route that

Other themed trains include the Wild West

more receive $1 off the ticketed price for

Wi l m i n g t o n & We s t e r n R a i l r o a d , 2 2 0 1

ascends 640 feet through the rough terrain of

scheduled trains, with comps for the bus

Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware,

Leavenworth Mountain, with grades of up to four percent, while navigating corkscrew turns and traversing four elevated bridges. Georgetown was settled as a mining town, and railroads were vital in helping prospectors to move their ore from the mines and transport it east. Even though the Union Pacific wanted to run a line from Leadville, Colorado to Georgetown in 1877, the canyon width was too narrow and the grade too steep for standard trains, which ran on rails over four feet wide. When the Georgetown Loop Railroad was completed in 1884, it was Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 5

Guide: G uide: R Railroads ailroads considered an engineering marvel of its time,

floor and a section of the Hise ore vein that

able only with a train ride). Two levels of fares

but it was too late for the race to Leadville,

extends all the way from Georgetown’s Silver

are offered: Coach ticket holders ride in open

and it was never completed.

Queen Mine to the Silver Plume Mine.

In addition to historic train rides, George-

cars on benches, while first-class ticket hold-

Enhanced tours of Georgetown’s Everett

ers ride in enclosed parlor cars seated at

town Loop Railroad & Mining Tours brings

Mine include exhibits on the use of drilling

tables. First class includes a soft drink and

the adventure of the 19th-century silver

and explosives for exposing the silver, meth-

snacks, with beer and wine available for sale.

boom up-close and personal for bus groups,

ods for extracting it, mine construction and

Group discounts are offered, and for an extra

with foot tours of two of Georgetown’s mines.

more. “Bus passengers can even experience

charge per ticket, special evening train rides

“It’s an amazing experience, beginning at the

what it was like to work in the mine,” says Hill.

can be arranged, with themes like wine tast-

entrance,” says Tom Hill, marketing manager.

“They begin as muckers [those who filled min-

ings or microbrews and brats, leaving at 6

“The mine was shut down in 1893, and as

ing cars with broken rock] for $3 a day and

p.m. and returning at 7:45 p.m.

the miners exited for the last time, they left

can move up to drillers and other positions.”

Mine tours can be combined with train

their footprints in the mud. Over the years,

Visitors to the Everett Mine even pan for

rides, for an extra fee. Those taking a mine

those footprints became fossilized, and they

gold, and they keep whatever they find. The

tour should wear closed-toe shoes and cloth-

can clearly be seen at the mine’s entrance.”

facility gave away $49,000 in gold in 2016. “We

ing appropriate for a constant temperature of

Walking tours of Lebanon Silver Mine take

ensure that each bag of sand contains gold,

40 degrees while in the mine. Passengers who

visitors 500 feet into a tunnel drilled in 1870,

and we show people how to do it,” Hill explains.

tour the mines can expect about three-quar-

where guides point out silver veins and

“Bus groups will really get a feel for what it was

ters of a mile of slightly strenuous walking

explain early mining operations; a second

like to be a prospector or miner.” This tour also

over a dirt path, gravel and boardwalks.

tour of the Lebanon extension tunnel heads

includes a hot dog, chips and lemonade.

The train has no bathroom facilities and is

900 feet into Leavenworth Mountain, with

Georgetown Loop Railroad & Mining

wheelchair accessible, although the number

views of 100-year-old calcified miners’ boot

Tours welcomes bus groups for train rides

of wheelchairs per trip may be limited due to

prints, natural silver “pearls” on the tunnel

and mine experiences (mine tours are avail-

space restrictions. Wheelchairs cannot go into

6 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Guide: Guide: R Railroads ailroads the mines. The train ride lasts about 75 min-

downhill, and drivers walk back to the depot.

u t e s , a n d w i t h a m i n e t o u r, t o u r p l a n n e r s

Discounted rates are available for groups of

should allot about three hours for the stop.

20 or more. Drivers and escorts ride for free.

Depending on the time of year, bus groups

Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains,

can take part in special events at Georgetown

Georgetown, Colorado was settled by gold

Loop Railroad, such as Railroad Days (held

prospectors in 1859, at the height of the

the first two weekends in June), Buffalo Bill

California Gold Rush, but it was the area’s

D a y s , F a l l C o l o r s , H a u n t e d F o r e s t Tr a i n ,

rich veins of silver, discovered in 1864, that

Santa’s North Pole Adventure and Santa’s

really put it on the map – and on the rails.

Lighted Forest. “Our Santa trains are very pop-

Until then, the railroads stretching increas-

ular,” Hill says. “We had 45,000 riders this year.

ingly westward had been bypassing moun-

It’s just a great, old-fashioned Christmas, with

tainous Colorado in favor of lower eleva-

carolers on board and lights in the forest. Our

tions to the north in Wyoming, but the silver

Presidential Car for this event includes hot

boom changed all of that. The Denver

chocolate and snacks, along with beer and

P a c i fi c R a i l r o a d c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e

wine sales and visits from Santa. We want to

Tr a n s c o n t i n e n t a l R a i l r o a d i n C h e y e n n e,

make every experience memorable.”

Wyoming in 1870, completed with the dri-

During the regular season, trains depart

ving of a ceremonial silver spike from

from Devil’s Gate Depot, 646 Loop Drive in

Georgetown’s Lebanon Silver Mine. Within

Georgetown, or from Silver Plume Depot,

five years, Colorado’s population had dou-

825 Railroad Avenue, Silver Plume. Buses

bled – with most arriving by train.

drop off passengers at the front of the depot

Today, Georgetown retains its Victorian

and park just 150 feet away; during the busy

charm, with many historical buildings and

season, buses must park about 300 yards

structures and quaint shops, restaurants and

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 7

Guide: G uide: R Railroads ailroads boutiques. After riding the rails, bus tour passengers can shop, visit attractions that include the Hotel de Paris Museum and the Georgetown Energy Museum, enjoy a meal or snack in a wide variety of diners, bars, restaurants, bakeries, ice cream shops and other eateries, or just take in the stunning scenery from one of the many benches scattered around town. It is located one hour west of Denver, just 40 miles from Breckenridge and about an hour from Vail. Georgetown Loop Railroad & Mining Tours operates daily from late April through October (opening day for 2017 is April 29), along with scheduled special events and holiday trains throughout the year. To learn more about





New Hope Valley Railway


g georgetownlooprr.com eorgetownlooprr.com m. Reservations can be made online or by

Works in 1927. It also boasts a Model Garden

dress for the weather. No on-site dining is

phoning (888) 456-6777 and are highly rec-

Railroad, the G-scale, where miniature trains

available, but box lunches or catered meals

o m m e n d e d , a s t r a i n s o f t e n s e l l o u t d a i l y,

run on more than 1,000 feet of track, com-

can be arranged, along with ice cream treats.

especially on weekends. Trains depart on a

plete with tunnels, bridges, plants, trees,

Several seating areas include picnic benches

set schedule from one of the two depots, and

houses, churches and even its own engine

with umbrellas or a canopy, and a tent can

reservations are made for specific departure

house. NHVR also has a gift shop, Casey

be raised in case of inclement weather. For

times and locations, which are posted online.

Jones’ Attic, inside a refurbished railcar, and

weekend ride days and special events, food

a docent is available at no charge.

will be prepared on site in a pop-up restau-

For more information on scheduling your bus group, contact Susan Edge, group man-

NHVR welcomes bus tour groups of all

rant under a heated/cooled tent.

ager, at (303) 569-0133 or susan.edge@his-

ages and interests. Drivers and escorts

NHVR begins a new season on Sunday,


receive comp tickets, although no group rates

April 9, 2017, and concludes with Santa train

are offered. Buses drop off and pick up

rides the first two weekends in December.

New Hope Valley Railway

passengers next to the ticket office, with a

During operating months, weekend ride days

Bonsal, North Carolina

short paved walk to board the train. Buses

at the railroad are typically the second Sun-

Bus tour passengers can take a step back

park for free at the west end of the parking

day and last Saturday of each month. New

in time for an historic railroad experience in a

lot. Individual cars can be reserved for large

events for last season continue in 2017, with

covered, open-air passenger car, pulled by a

groups, and it is recommended that they

the Strawberry Festival on April 29 and the

real locomotive through the scenic woods of

arrive at least 30 minutes early.

Brew ‘n’ Choo on September 24. Other spe-

North Carolina. New Hope Valley Railway

The NHVR was built in the early 1900s as

cial events include additional Brew ‘n’ Choo

(NHVR), also known as the Triangle’s Train,

the Durham & South Carolina Railroad, and

beer and wine nights, themed ride days and

located just 30 minutes south of Raleigh off U.S

its short tracks were used to carry timber and

military appreciation. Weekday ride days for

Highway 1, Exit 89, offers exciting train excur-

other supplies like cotton, corn, beans and

tour groups and others are held the second

sions from April through November each year.

tobacco, along with some passenger cars, to

Wednesday and fourth Friday of each month,

It also has themed rides, special events and

longer connecting rail lines. In 1983, a six-

April through September.

popular annual Halloween and Santa trains.

mile section was sold to the East Carolina

NHVR, 3900 Bonsal Road, New Hill, North

Chapter of the National Railway Historic Soci-

C a r o l i n a , i s a n a l l - v o l u n t e e r, e d u c a t i o n a l

Railway Museum, with a collection of antique

ety, which in 2008 was renamed the North

nonprofit entity, and 100 percent of ticket

train cars, artifacts and historic train mem-

Carolina Railway Museum.

fares goes directly into the museum. For more

The site is also home to the North Carolina

orabilia that include the Cliffside 110, a 2-6-

The one-hour scenic rides take place in

2 tender steam engine built by Vulcan Iron

covered open cars, so tour passengers should

8 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

information or to purchase tickets, visit online at ttriangletrain.com riangletrain.com.

Theaters, Shows, Entertainment Photo courtesy of Paramount Theatre


bove everything, bus tour pas-

transfo rmed the musical theater entertain-

within 20 miles of State and Madison streets

sengers are looking for an incred-

ment scene in Chicago in just six short years.

in Chicago.

i b l e e x p e r i e n c e, w h e t h e r i t i s

Its four-show Broadway series, launched in

In addition to its popular Broadway series,

c o m f o r t i n g l y f a m i l i a r o r t o t a l l y n e w. T h e

2010, has grown from 550 subscribers in that

Paramount’s seasonal line-up is made up of

beauty of live entertainment is that it can

first year to upwards of 30,000 for the upcom-

nationally known musical and comedic tour-

be both at once.

ing season.

ing performers, international acts, regional

A live production of a beloved Broadway

Attracting high-caliber, talented artists,

performers and local theatrical troupes.

musical is always fresh and exciting, espe-

from first-rate Equity actors and directors to

Upcoming shows include Ricky Lee Jones,

c i a l l y i f i t t a k e s p l a c e i n a n a m a z i n g m ov i e

creative designers and technicians, Para-

R i v e r d a n c e, P i a n o M e n a n d T h e G o l d e n

palace venue. Nothing can replace the thrill

mount’s shows are staged with elaborate

Dragon Acrobats.

of being entertained by something entirely

sets, gorgeous costumes and a 20-piece pro-

Located at 23 E. Galena Boulevard,

unique, such as dancing horses or an open-

fessional orchestra. The high quality and pro-

along the Fox River in the heart of down-

air staging of Biblical proportions.

fessionalism of the productions have cap-

t o w n Au r o r a , t h e P a r a m o u n t i s w i t h i n

Paramount nt Theatre Aurora, Illinois

tured the attention of the influential Chicago

walking distance of a wide selection of

theatrical community.

restaurants, offering up everything from

In 2016, Paramount dominated the Jeff

pizza and pub fare to ethnic cuisine and

Just 40 miles from downtown Chicago in

awards – Chicago’s equivalent of the Tonys

fine dining options. Tour groups can also

Aurora, Illinois, the Paramount Theatre is the

– with 14 nominations, beating out both the

indulge in a bit of gaming at Aurora’s Hol-

perfect place for bus tour groups to enjoy top-

Goodman and Steppenwolf, and literally

l y w o o d C a s i n o , o r e n j o y aw a r d - w i n n i n g

n o t c h , q u a l i t y B r o a d w a y m u s i c a l t h e a t e r,

redefining the award committee’s eligibility

craft beers, house roasted coffee and ele-

away from the congestion and hassles of the

requirements of Equity theaters being located





Tw o


big city. This 1,888-seat art deco venue has Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 9

Special: S pecial: Theaters, Theaters, Shows, Shows, Entertainment Enter tainment Roundhouse, which in 2017 will unveil Two Brothers Artisan Spirits, a distillery at the location.

The Dancing Horses Theatre

Originally tagged as the Venetian, the 86-year-old Paramount was designed as a movie palace with a Venice theme by Chicago theater architects Rapp & Rapp. Purchased by Paramount Studios and renamed prior to its 1931 opening, the lavish venue also hosted vaudeville acts and circus performances. After falling into disrepair, the historic building was rescued in the 1970s and restored to its initial glory, replete with eight silk hand-painted murals, fluted columns, gilt relief and hand-painted ceilings, along with many other elegant, carefully reproduced or restored appointments. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. With advance notice, bus groups can arrange for tours of the historic theater for an extra fee. The Aurora area is home to a large number of other historic sites and structures that are on the National Reg-

The Dancing Horses Theatre

ister and available for tours, like Mies van der Rohe’s minimalist

Delavan, Wisconsin

masterpiece, the Farnsworth House. Group discounts for Paramount’s

Set amid a beautiful 40-acre horse farm is a dinner theatre expe-

Broadway series and non-Broadway shows are offered, and a variety

rience beyond compare, where tour passengers are treated to a spec-

of bus parking options for the theater are available; ask for details

tacle of the exquisite coordination and showmanship of talented

when reserving tickets.

equestrians and the stunning animals they ride. Located at the Illi-

For more information, visit online at ttourinaurora.com ourinaurora.com; for planning

nois/Wisconsin border in Delavan, Wisconsin, The Dancing Horses

assistance, phone Pete Garlock, director of sales, at (630) 256-3194

Theatre is a “must-see” for any bus tour group looking for a unique

or e-mail pete@enjoyaurora.com.


10 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Special: Special: Theaters, Theaters, Shows, Shows, Entertainment Enter tainment The newly updated, 300-seat, state-of-

Two comp tickets are provided with every 25

A Dancing Horses Theatre performance

the-art heated indoor arena offers a 90-

purchased. An Exotic Bird Show is included.

lasts 90 minutes. For bus passengers to fully

minute, Vegas-style show in an intimate set-

Although The Dancing Horses Theatre

experience The Dancing Horses Theatre and

ting. The Dancing Horses Theatre is all about

is open year-round, summer is its peak sea-

Animal Gardens, tour planners should allow 3.5 to 4 hours.

magic and dreams, an entertaining, fast-

son, because it affords the opportunity to

paced and exciting show of Arabians,

add Animal Gardens to your visit. Animal

Located about two hours northwest of

Andalusians, Lippazans, National Show

Gardens is a land of enchantment, where

Chicago and less than an hour southeast of

Horses and talented trainers/performers,

tour passengers have the opportunity to

Milwaukee, The Dancing Horses Theatre is

elaborately staged with costumes, music and

conne ct with animals in a variety of hands-

a c o nv e n i e n t s t o p f o r b u s t o u r s h e a d i n g


on formats. It has a walking trail and a rid-

t h r o u g h t h e M i d w e s t . I t c a n p r ov i d e a f e w

The performance includes a three-course

ing train, and wildlife refuge area where

hours of entertainment or a full day of activ-

hot meal or light box lunch. The hot meal

guests can feed animals, hold a chick or

ities. For more information, visit online at

includes a double entrée: chicken, and ribs

baby lamb and get up close to a camel,

thedancinghorses.com thedancinghorses.com or phone Joyce at

or turkey or pork, all served with salad, roll,

donkey or zebra.

(262) 728-8200.

butter, stuffing or potato, veggie, dessert, and

The Dancing Horses Theatre, 5065 High-

lemonade, coffee or iced tea. All dine on the

w a y 5 0 , D e l a v a n , Wi s c o n s i n , i s h a n d i c a p

The Living Word Outdoor Drama

same entrée.

accessible with two wheelchairs available

Cambridge, Ohio

Special backstage tours, available at a dis-

for use. Step-on guides explain all the

The Living Word Outdoor Drama, pre-

counted group rate, allow tour passengers

amenities of the park and what tour pas-

sented in a beautiful southeastern Ohio

to experience the techniques used to train

sengers will see on their visit. Buses drop

amphitheatre, is preparing for its 43rd sea-

Dancing Horses equines and learn more

off and pick up passengers 20 feet from the

son, which runs Friday and Saturday

about the history of the performing horses.

theater, with free parking behind the theater

evenings from June 16 through September

for easy access.

30, 2017 (no performances June 30-July 1).

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 11

Special: S pecial: Theaters, Theaters, Shows, Shows, Entertainment Enter tainment T h e L i v i n g Wo r d O u t d o o r D r a m a i s located at 6010 College Hill Road, Cambridge,

grounds, shop or sit in comfort as they await the performance.

Ohio. Buses will be greeted at The Welcome

Bus drop-off is conveniently located

Center and visitors may be dropped off at the

steps from the theater entrance, where vis-

front entrance. Parking is free and buses may

i t o r s a r e g r e e t e d b y a v o l u n t e e r, w h o w i l l

park anywhere in the expansive lot. The Liv-

also direct the driver to the nearby free

ing Word offers a group rate of $15 for 20 or

parking area and provide a pickup time and

more visitors. The driver and escort will be

location. If you wish, Stratford staff can

admitted free.

a l s o p r ov i d e y o u w i t h a s t e p - o n g u i d e t o

The concession stand opens at 6:30 p.m.

enhance your visit.

Wally’s pizza, chicken sandwiches, ham-

The feature musical attraction of the

burgers, bratwurst, hot dogs, meatball

2017 season is Guys and Dolls – hailed by

s a n d w i c h e s , S l o p p y J o e s , n a c h o s , r o ot b e e r

critics as the world’s most perfect musical.

and orange floats, ice cream, sodas, water,

Featuring top talent and a full 19-piece

tea, lemonade and more are sold during

orchestra, Guys and Dolls will blow your

show nights. The gift shop, which features

bus group away.

t - s h i r t s , h o o d e d s w e a t s h i r t s a n d m o r e, opens at 6:30 p.m.

A second spectacular musical, Gilbert and Sullivan’s uproarious comedy HMS Pinafore,

T h e L i v i n g Wo r d O u t d o o r D r a m a w a s

The Living Word Outdoor Drama encour-

i s b e i n g p r e s e n t e d a t t h e Av o n T h e a t r e .

founded in 1974 by Biblical Dramatist

ages bus tour groups to come and be a part

Located in the heart of downtown Stratford

F r a n k R o u g h t o n H a r v e y. T h i s n a t i o n a l l y

of its mission this summer. For more infor-

and surrounded by one-of-a-kind boutiques,

recognized drama brin gs to life the passion

mation, phone (740) 439-2761 or visit

coffee shops and restaurants, the Avon The-

of Jesus Christ. The 450-foot panoramic set

L LivingWordDrama.org ivingWordDrama.org.

a t r e o f f e r s c o nv e n i e n t b u s d r o p - o f f b e s i d e

was researched and designed by the

Stratford Festival

founder – making it an authentic representation of Old Jerusalem.

Stratford, Ontario, Canada

T h e L i v i n g Wo r d O u t d o o r D r a m a i s

Americans will want to make a point of

approximately 2.5 hours long, with a 15-

visiting Canada in 2017, as the country cel-

minute intermission. A Behind The Scenes

ebrates its 150th anniversary. What better

Tour (by donation) is available at 6:30 p.m.

way to share in the celebration than with

The Front Set Tour begins at 7 p.m. and is

a trip to Canada’s most famous and enter-

included with admission. Showtime is 7:30

taining cultural destination – the Stratford

p . m . Ti c k e t s a r e $ 1 8 f o r a d u l t s , $ 1 6 f o r


seniors or AAA members and $6 for chil-

The Stratford Festival is “a treasure in

d r e n ( a g e s 4 - 1 2 ) . T h e L i v i n g Wo r d d o e s

the country’s history,” says renowned actor

have theme nights every night of the sea-

C h r i s t o p h e r P l u m m e r, a r e g u l a r o n t h e

son and special discounts are available

Stratford stage. His friend and fellow Strat-

t h r o u g h o u t t h e s u m m e r. A l l m a j o r c r e d i t

f o r d a c t o r Wi l l i a m S h a t n e r e c h o e s h i s

cards are accepted, as are checks from tour

thought, urging everyone to “Make the pil-

bus operators or churches. Reservations

grimage to Stratford!”

for large groups should be made in

Beloved for its world-class theater – with

a d v a n c e, b u t t i c k e t s c a n b e p u r c h a s e d o n

at least 12 spectacular new productions each

the day of the drama once the box office

year – the Stratford Festival is located in pic-

opens at 6 p.m. All seats are general admis-

turesque Stratford, Ontario. The Festival The-

sion, but there are 228 permanent stadium-

atre, which seats 1,800 people, sits on the

style seats. The amphitheatre is handicap

banks of the Avon River. Its lush gardens,


spacious lobby and on-site gift shop provide lots of opportunity for tourists to wander the

12 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Special: Special: Theaters, Theaters, Shows, Shows, Entertainment Enter tainment the theatre entrance. A greeter will direct your driver to nearby free parking, and will provide details for pickup time and locations.

The Stratford Festival offers everything a bus group could want in a tour destination: convenient, one-stop shopping, incredible theater,

Stratford’s culinary team is available to design a menu to suit

fascinating tours, on-site group dining, and unique experiences

the tastes of your passengers and the style and mood of your group,

designed just for your passengers. Plus, all prices are in Canadian

and Stratford has unique and exclusive on-site spaces in which to

dollars, so depending on the exchange rate, Americans can save as

host your group before or after the show. If you prefer, Stratford

much as 30 percent on top of group discounts.

offers a multitude of off-site dining experiences, several with preset group menus. The Stratford Festival can be enjoyed in a day trip, featuring a

What are you waiting for? “Stratford itself is the type of walkable wholesome town Rodgers and Hammerstein might write a musical about,” says Amy Alipio in National Geographic. “It’s like nirvana

matinee performance. Or you can be inspired by The New York Times

for theater fans.” Phone Heather Martin at (800) 567-1600 to book

travel writer Steven McElroy, who says: “Stratford is the type of town

your tour.

that makes you want to stay longer.” Festival staff can help you to plan a fabulous multi-day trip, including several shows along with tours of the theater ’s backstage, costume warehouse, archives or

Stratford Festival’s Guys and Dolls

gardens. The Festival can also design unique experiences for your group such as guest speakers or Q&A sessions with actors or other theater personalities. Group incentives include: a free ticket for every 20 purchased; coupons for use in the gift shop; a discount of up to 25 percent for groups of 10 or more; free bus parking; and flexible payment terms. Groups require a deposit of $137 upon booking; a 30-percent down payment is due 30 days after booking, and the final balance is due 45 days prior to show date.

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 13

Escape Escape cap tto oT Th he So outheastt

Native to the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean, Aldabras are the second-largest tortoises in the world and can live more than 150 years. Feldspar, who lives at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, weighs more than 500 pounds and is 85 years old.

Audubon Nature Ins stitute New Orleans, Lo ouisiana

Riverfront Park, offering panoramic views

k e e t s p r ov e t h e a d a g e “ B i r d s o f a f e a t h e r

of the mighty Mississippi River. Your tour

ffllock together.”

Everything is a little spicier in New

passengers’ adventure starts with a walk

Tour passengers can also see penguins,

Orleans, and that includes the must-see

through a 30-foot tunnel, surrounded by

j e l l y fi s h , s e a o t t e r s a n d o t h e r m a r i n e

f a c i l i t i e s o f t h e Au d u b o n N a t u r e I n s t i t u t e :

water, coral and colorful fish, into the Great

favorites; walk through the Mississippi River

Au d u b o n A q u a r i u m o f t h e A m e r i c a s ,

Maya Reef. This 4,200-square-foot exhibit

gallery; visit exotic frogs and other amphib-

Audubon Butterfflly Garden and Insectarium

f e a t u r e s a s u n k e n M a y a n c i t y, d a z z l i n g

ians amid beautiful orchids and exotic

a n d Au d u b o n Z o o . W h i l e n o t y o u r t y p i c a l

coral, ruins and artifacts teeming with

plants; or feel a stingray in the touch pool.

Big Easy party animals, these Crescent City

a m a z i n g a q u a t i c l i f e . F r o m h e r e, t o u r p a s -

Down on the first floor, the Gulf of Mexico

critters are sure to give your bus tour

s e n g e r s h e a d u p t o t h e s e c o n d ffll o o r a n d

gallery features sharks, stingrays, sea turtles

passengers a delightful and unexpected

emerge in the Amazon Rainforest, with

and other creatures found right off


piranha, pacus and stingrays in a waterfall

Louisiana’s coast. Tour passengers can also

B e g i n a t Au d u b o n A q u a r i u m o f t h e

pool, free-flying birds and more. Among

grab a bite at the Aqua Grill, Papa John’s or

Americas, located at the end of Canal

other second-floor exhibits is Parakeet

Haagen Dazs, or pick up a souvenir at one

S t r e e t o n t h e n o r t h e d g e o f Wo l d e n b e r g

Pointe, where hundreds of colorful para-

o f t h e a q u a r i u m ’s t w o g i f t s s h o p s . T h e n ,

14 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Esca ap pe to T Th he South heast take your group next door to the Entergy

cultures across the globe incorporate insects

l e m u r s a n d s p i d e r m o n k e y s i n t h e Wo r l d

Giant Screen Theater for a movie (for a

into their diets, and even offer samples of

of Primates; and many other exhibits fea-

modest fee), where they can indulge in

their creations. The chocolate “chirp” cookies

turing pelicans, flamingos, whooping

larger-than-life adventures via the world’s

(with crickets) are especially tasty. For some-

cranes, sea lions and more. The zoo has

most advanced motion-picture technology.

t h i n g m o r e c o nv e n t i o n a l , b u s p a s s e n g e r s

three cafés, a variety of concession stands and three gift shops.

Just three minutes down Canal Street is

can stop for a beverage and snack at Tiny

t h e h i s t o r i c U. S . C u s t o m H o u s e, h o m e t o

Termite Café, where the tables also serve as

A l l Au d u b o n f a c i l i t i e s o p e n a t 1 0 a . m . ,

t h e Au d u b o n B u t t e r f l y G a r d e n a n d I n s e c -

sealed viewable habitats for a variety of

Tuesday through Sunday in fall and winter,

tarium. At this highly interactive museum,

insects. A gift shop called The Flea Market is

a n d d a i l y i n s p r i n g a n d s u m m e r. A v i s i t t o

to ur pas sen gers c an sta nd amo ng bea utiful

packed with exclusive bug- and butterfly-

any will add energy and wonder to your bus

fluttering butterflies and watch them light

themed items and souvenirs unavailable any-

tour stop in New Orleans. Group reservations

on plants and flowers and, perhaps, the

where else.

are required. For tour and travel rates, please

o c c a s i o n a l s h o u l d e r. I n t h e R i c h a r d C .

About seven miles west is the 58-acre

Colton Jr. Underground Gallery, surrounded

Au d u b o n Z o o , s e t i n b e a u t i f u l Au d u b o n

by gigantic animatronic bugs and oversized

Park, just minutes from Tulane University.

email air@auduboninstitute.org or phone (504) 581-4629 or (800) 774-7394.

exhibits, they will feel what it is like to be

H e r e, t o u r p a s s e n g e r s c a n o b s e r v e a n

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

the size of an ant. They can experience a

exotic mix of creatures from around the

Theodore, Alabama

day in the Louisiana Swamp, a recreated

globe, set in their natural habitats: Komodo

wetlands with special lighting and sound

dragons, chameleons and snakes at the

Bellingrath Gardens and Home enjoy the

e f f e c t s , a l i f e - s i z e d c y p r e s s t r e e, a q u a t i c

Reptile Encounter; elephants, orangutans

blooms of more than 250,000 vibrant aza-

insects, alligators and other swamp

and a rare white tiger in the Asia exhibit;

leas, in an explosion of color throughout


giraffes, zebras and white rhinos in the

the 65-acre estate. This annual Azalea

A culinary adventure awaits tour groups

African Savanna; more than 30 species of

Bloom Out dates back to Bellingrath’s ear-

at Bug Appétit, as chefs demonstrate how

beautiful birds at Audubon Aviary; gorillas,

l i e s t b e g i n n i n g s i n 1 9 1 8 , w h e n Wa l t e r

Every spring, bus tour groups that visit

Bellingrath, a Coca-Cola bottler, purchased a r u s t i c f i s h i n g c a m p o n F o w l R i v e r. H i s wife, Bessie, who loved to garden, wanted to beautify the property and relied on oldgrowth azaleas as a starting point. Ever s i n c e, B e l l i n g r a t h G a r d e n s h a s b e e n s y n o n y m o u s w i t h t h e G u l f C o a s t ’s b e a u t i f u l azalea season. Bessie’s gardening skills also provided the spark that led to the creation of Mobile’s famous Azalea Trail 88 years ago. The Bellingraths purchased a home on South Ann Street in Mobile in 1911, and

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 15

Esca ap pe to T Th he South heast Bessie filled the grounds with azaleas and camellias. By 1922, she

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

h a d r u n o u t o f r o o m f o r h e r f l o w e r s , s o Wa l t e r p u r c h a s e d t h e t w o vacant lots behind the property and extended the driveway, and his wife soon filled that extra space with flowers as well. Sam Lackland, a Mobile businessman who lived across the street, often observed numerous visitors driving through the property to admire the spring blooms. During a trip to Charleston one spring, Lackland was told that the hotels there were all booked because of tourists coming to see the azaleas. When he returned to Mobile, Lackland enlisted the help of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and Mobile’s first Azalea Trail was presented in the spring of 1929. In 1938, about 25,000 people in more than 5,000 cars viewed Mobile’s 17 miles of blooming azaleas. Today, tourists may enjoy the newly reestablished 37-mile-long Azalea Trail in Mobile and the Azalea Bloom Out at Bellingrath in Theodore, just a 30-minute drive southwest, where it all began. Beginning March 1,

passengers are dropped off and picked up. Parking is to right side of

the Azalea Watch page will be updated daily at bellingrath.org bellingrath.org, to

the Entrance Building.

help bus tour operators to plan a visit.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home, 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road,

Although the azaleas bloom in the spring, Bellingrath’s expansive

Theodore, Alabama, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9

grounds offer year-round beauty for bus tour passengers to enjoy:

p.m. during Magic Christmas in Lights (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas

a circular rose garden, a conservatory with tropical plants, spec-

and New Year’s Day). Visit bellingrath.org bellingrath.org to learn more about the

tacular fountains, a grotto, water features, views of the Fowl River,

estate. For group rates and information, contact Shanna Bennett,

an Asian-American garden and more. Seasonal sights include the

group tour coordinator, at (800) 247-8420 ext. 163.

nation’s largest outdoor display of cascading chrysanthemums each

Hun ntsville, Alabama

fall, and Magic Christmas in Lights each December, featuring more than three million lights, set out in multiple scenes throughout the 65-acre estate.

T h e h i g h - t e c h c i t y o f H u n t s v i l l e, A l a b a m a i s e q u a l l y a t h o m e in the 19th or 21st century. Huntsville’s tourist attractions reflect

Groups may also tour the Bellingraths’ former home, a 10,000-

the heritage of Alabama’s first English-speaking city, the struggles

square-foot English Renaissance mansion, with 15 rooms lavishly

o f i t s p i o n e e r s a n d t h e a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s o f A m e r i c a ’s r o c k e t

appointed with antique furniture, fine artworks and other rich décor.


Among other features of the estate open for tour are a chapel, a river-

The city is nicknamed “The Rocket City” for its close history

front pavilion, terraces and a boardwalk. An extensive collection of

with U.S. space missions. Huntsville has been important in devel-

porcelain figurines by artist Edward Boehm fills the Delchamps Gallery,

oping space technology since the 1950s. Huntsville’s U.S. Space

originally designed as a six-car garage.

& Rocket Center (USSRC) is Alabama’s No. 1 tourism attraction,

Tour passengers may dine on site at the 1,200-square-foot Mag-

hosting more than 650,000 visitors in 2015. Located just off Inter-

nolia Café, serving soups, sandwiches and salads daily from 11 a.m.

state 565, it is a Smithsonian affiliate, the Official Visitor Center

to 2 p.m., along with afternoon refreshments and snacks. They may

for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and has one of the largest

also browse the Bellingrath Gift Shop, offering a variety of gifts and

collections of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the

souvenirs ranging from seasonal plants and gardening accessories

world. Among its displays: the original Mercury and Gemini capsule

to homemade treats, porcelain treasures and one-of-a-kind arts and

trainers; the Apollo 16 capsule “Casper”; a Skylab solar array; and


many hands-on interactive exhibits and space travel simulators.

Group discounts and agency rates are offered for groups of 20 or

I t f e a t u r e s i t s o w n p e r m a n e n t e x h i b i t s a n d r eg u l a r l y h o s t s t r a v e l i n g

more. Tour packages, available during regular hours, can include the

exhibits from around the world. Bus tour passengers may also

gardens and home with lunch, gardens and lunch or gardens only.

enjoy daily screenings of films in the full-dome IMAX Theater or

Other special packages are offered during specific events. Reservations

on the 52-foot high-definition screen in the National Geographic

must be made eight days in advance, with a 48-hour cancellation

T h e a t e r.

policy. A one-time, lump-sum payment is required, payable by cash,

Group rates and programs are available, and tour passengers may

organizational check or credit card. Motorcoaches enter on Bellingrath

dine on site at the Mars Grill. For more information, visit online at

Road and follow the Bus/RV signs to the Entrance Building, where

rocketcenter.com rocketcenter.com.

16 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Esca ap pe to T Th he South heast Following your group’s high-tech tour,

lunches to enjoy in the garden. To schedule

take tour passengers through eight Fed-

bring them back to nature with a stop at

a g r o u p t o u r p h o n e ( 2 5 6 ) 8 3 0 - 4 4 4 7 e xt . 2 2 3

eral-style buildings, describe life in

the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Located



Alabama in 1819 and perform tasks from

just five minutes from the Rocket Center

mgilstrap@hsvbg.org. Another great motorcoach stop is the

takes passengers back to the “rockets” of

on Bob Wallace Avenue, its 112 acres offer




that era. The Huntsville Depot & Museum

a blend of wildlife, foliage and florals year-

EarlyWorks Family of Museums, consisting

the rails, with a four-bay roundhouse and

round. The facility includes a large butterfly

of three museums located in the heart of

turntable, early engines and train cars and

h o u s e, e d u c a t i o n a l c e n t e r a n d g i f t s h o p .

downtown Huntsville. Alabama Constitu-

historic displays. The EarlyWorks Children’s

To u r s a l o n g p a v e d t r a i l s i n c l u d e s p e -

t i o n Vi l l a g e i s a n o p e n - a i r h i s t o r i c a l

Museum is a hands-on, interactive spot

cialty gardens, water features, a G-scale

museum, where guides in period clothing

with a talking tree, oversized instruments,

g a r d e n r a i l w a y, a r b o r s , picnic areas and more. Group tours, led by friendly

U.S. Space & Rocket Center Courtesy of Huntsville/Madison County CVB

costumes and more. Groups can choose among tickets for one, two or all three

and experienced docents,

museums; discounted rates

are available with advance

are available, and reservations

notice and can be cus-

are required. For information

tomized. The garden is

about group tours of the Ear-

handicap-accessible and

lyWorks Family of Museums,

shuttle service can be pro-

earlyworks.com arlyworks.com. visit online at e

vided with two weeks’

To l e a r n m o r e a b o u t m o t o r -

notice. No on-site dining is

coach tour opportunities in

available, but with several

Alabama, including itineraries,

picnic areas, tour passen-


gers may bring their own

ttourism.alabama.gov ourism.alabama.gov.


at ❑

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 17


us tour groups visiting casinos today

Tropicana in Atlantic City

will discover destinations that reflect a marriage of gaming, retail, dining

and entertainment options, all varied enough

to suit any tastes. The gaming industry has changed drastically over the past 20 years, as gambling meccas like L La as Vegas, Atlantic City and Reno have expanded their amenities in order to attract a variety of tourists, including non-gamblers and families. Several factors have contributed to this shift, not the least of which is increased competition for gambling dollars. The U.S. now has upwards of 1,600 casinos, more than any other countrry y in the world; casinos or gaming

Photo courtesy of Meet in AC

facilities are now present in all U.S. states

G Gaming aming Sites Sites G Got ot More More TThan han G Game ame

e x c e p t Ve r m o n t a n d U t a h . Wi t h s o m a n y gambling opportunities close to home – not to mention online gaming and video gaming machines in places like restaurants, bars and truck stops – many gaming facilities have

b by yK Karla arla Nagy Nagy

remade themselves into tourist destinations with more diverse offerings.

The gaming industry has responded to

casinos have installed water parks. The Trop-

Another reason for the shift is the chang-

meet these challenges. At the Tropicana in

icana offers Escape AC, an interactive chal-

ing demographic, as millennials come of age.

Atlantic City, The Quarter is a brightly colored,

lenge where teams of up to 10 solve puzzles

This generation spends only a third of what

three-story Havana streetscape with chic

and meet challenges in order to escape from

other generations spend on gambling,

retail boutiques, world-class dining and a

a locked room within an hour.

according to the Millennial Entertainment Pref-

vibrant nightlife. In fact, the Tropicana offers

All of this means that tour planners and

e r e n c e s S t u d y , c o n d u c t e d a t N e w J e r s e y ’s

1 9 e a t e r i e s , r a n g i n g f r o m fi n e d i n i n g a n d

operators have many more options for things

Stockton University and released in July 2016.

casual to quick bites, along with several

to do when bringing motorcoach tours to

In fact, when the study asked millennial

nightclubs. In 2016, six of its venues were

gaming destinations. Regional and Native

respondents to rank 28 activities they might

voted as having the Best Dining & Nightlife

American gaming facilities are adapting to

pursue as part of a gaming experience, gam-

by Casino Player magazine readers. The Play-

fit the shifting paradigm, also. In addition to

bling came in at 21, while drinking, food and

ground at Caesars in Atlantic City is a luxury

12 dining options and three live entertain-

nightclubs were at the top. Even if this group

shopping, dining and entertainment space

m e n t v e n u e s , C h o c t aw C a s i n o R e s o r t i n

engages less in gambling, the study also

built on a 900-foot pier that extends out over

Durant, Oklahoma, boasts The District, fea-

revealed that it tends to spend more on

the ocean, with exclusive retailers like

turing a 3,600-square-foot arcade, 20-lane

hotels, nightclubs and transportation and

Burberry and Gucci, upscale restaurants like

bowling alley, four-screen cinema, two-story

the Continental and five music pubs. Live

laser tag arena, sports bar and food court.

book longer stays than non-millennials. The preference for more diverse attrac-

music and entertainment at gaming sites

Sky Ute Casino Resort, in Ignacio, Col-

tions and activities at gambling destinations

r a n k h i g h a m o n g v i s i t o r s . T h e Tr o p i c a n a

orado, has a 45,000-square-foot gaming

is not limited to one generation, however.

boasts an IMAX movie theater and a Broad-

floor, four restaurants, a spa, gift shop, fitness

While Las Vegas attracted a record number

way-style theater with 2,000 seats, and pre-

center, pool, 24-lane bowling alley and an

of visitors in 2015 – a 2.5 percent increase

sents a free multimedia light and sound show

arcade. Located just 25 minutes from

over 2014 – its gambling revenue for that year


Durango and two hours from the Four Cor-

increased only .07 percent. In fact, in a recent

Active pursuits are also big draws. Some

ners Monument, Sky Ute markets its 140-

surrv vey of reasons to visit L La as Vegas, gambling

L a s Ve g a s f a c i l i t i e s n o w o f f e r z i p l i n e s

r o om lu x ur y h o te l a n d o t h er no n - g a mb l i ng

comes in at around No. 7, while spas, shop-

between hotels, bungee jumping, a roller

amenities specifically to bus tour groups. In

ping and dining are near the top.

coaster and other thrill rides, and several U.S.

addition to a welcome package that includes

18 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017





OVER $90 MILLION IN RENOVATIONS Tropicana featuring $90 million in renovations including renovated casino The all-new Tropicana and hotel rooms, the all-new AtlantiCare LifeCenter Fitness, new retail shops in Quarter and the spectacular free Multimedia Light and Sound Show on the boardwalk daily. daily. The Quarter Plus, the possibilities are endless with 24 restaurants, 25 shops,18 bars, IMAX Theatre plus bluemercury bluemercur y makeup, skincare & spa all under one roof. overnight For immediate assistance and to book your day or over night trip, Department call our TTour o ou Depar our tment at 1-888-275-1212. Call now to customize packages for your groups.


11-800-THE -800-THE TTROP ROP | TTROPICANA.NET ROPIC ANA.NE T ATL ANTIC CITY, CIT Y, NJ NJ 08401 08401 BBRIGHTON RIGHTON AND AND BBOARDWALK, OARDWALK, ATLANTIC Must Must be be 21. 21. GGambling ambling PProblem? roblem? CCall all 11-800-GAMBLER. -800-GA MBLER.

Guide: G uide: G Gaming aming “Sky Ute Loot” casino cash, a welcome gift

Photo courtesy of Choctaw Casino Resort

and group food discounts, Sky Ute offers motorcoach groups a dedicated group coordinator and a tour of the adjacent Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum. If requested, your bus group will be greeted by Casino Native American Heritage Dancers in full Native American regalia and accompanied by a drum group.

Choctaw Laser Tag

The growth of many regional gaming

live and simulcast racing. In 2009, it was

Dubuque Convention & Visitors Bureau will

sites mirrors the evolution of nationally

renamed Mystique, and a $10 million ren-

assist tour planners in arranging visits to both

k n o w n g a m i n g d e s t i n a t i o n s . I n D u b u q u e,

ov a t i o n g a v e i t a F r e n c h t h e m e a n d a d d e d

the Mystique and Diamond Jo, as well as cre-

Iowa, Diamond Jo Casino began in 1994 as

a new steakhouse, buffet and entertainment

ate custom itineraries, help with lodging and

a non-cruising dockside riverboat casino

area. In March 2016, the casino opened a

p r ov i d e i n f o r m a t i o n o n o t h e r a t t r a c t i o n s ,

on the Mississippi River, and was replaced

gift shop, featuring Mystique gear and

such as the Smithsonian-affiliated Mississippi

about a year and a half later with a larger

locally produced Verena Street coffees and

River Museum, visible from Diamond Jo

boat that could hold 1,500 passengers. It

Betty Jane Milk Chocolate Gremlins.

Casino. Colorado’s Sky Ute Casino Resort

became a land-based casino at the Port of

A March 2016 article in Biz Times reported

plugs local attractions on its Web site that

D u b u q u e – a r e i nv e n t e d f o r m e r r i v e r s i d e

that even though revenue overall at the Mys-

include the scenic Durango & Silverton Nar-

industrial area – in 2008, with a 30-lane

tique was down by more than 4 percent com-

row Gauge Railroad, Mesa Verde National

b o w l i n g a l l e y, t w o b a r s , f o u r r e s t a u r a n t s

pared to the previous year, hotel occupancy

Park and Chimney Rock National Monument.

and an entertainment venue featuring top

had increased by 2.4 percent, food and bev-

T h e Tr o p i c a n a a c t u a l l y i n c l u d e s A t l a n t i c

acts, in addition to more than 975 slots,

erage sales by 1.8 percent, and the category

City’s boardwalk and beaches on its list of

b l a c k j a c k , c r a p s , P a i g o w p o k e r, r o u l e t t e

“other revenue” by a whopping 35 percent,


and Mississippi stud.

due to increased gift shop and entertainment

D u b u q u e ’s M y s t i q u e C a s i n o & R e s o r t

ticket sales. It is clear that casinos recognize

originally opened as Dubuque Greyhound

the im portance of garnering non-gambling

Park in 1985, and became Dubuque Grey-


hound Park & Casino in 1995, when new

On-site amenities unrelated to gaming

s t a t e l aw s a l l o w e d f o r t h e a d d i t i o n o f s l o t

are not the only draws; gambling destinations

machines. In 2005, the 116-room Hilton

now also need to consider nearby attractions

Garden Inn was constructed on adjacent

in their marketing efforts. In Erie, Pennsyl-

property, and a $33 million dollar expansion

vania, Presque Isle Downs & Casino partners

tripled the size of the gaming floor and con-

with local businesses such as Visit Erie, Lake

verted the space into a full-service casino,

Erie Speedway and Erie Zoo, as well as water

offering nearly 1,000 slot machines and 23

parks, hotels, dinner theaters and shopping

gaming tables, along with live poker and

malls, in order to cross-promote. The

Mystique Entertainment

Photo courtesy of Mystique Casino 20 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Guide: G uide: G Gaming aming O b v i o u s l y, t o d a y ’s g a m i n g d e s t i n a t i o n s h a v e g a m b l i n g – i t i s inherent in their names. However, they also offer tour planners a host of opportunities to provide their passengers with first-rate dining, entertainment, sightseeing and activities that extend far beyond gaming. In return, motorcoach operators bring busloads of passengers eager to experience everything these diverse gambling destinations have to offer.

Photo courtesy of Meet in AC

22 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Esscape scape cap to to T Th he Cen Cen ntrra ntra al Stat Stat ates tes e Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversarry y Enid, Oklahoma Enid, Oklahoma is a modern-day city that honors its deep historical roots. Bus tour passengers can engage in a vibrant cultural arts scene, enjoy top-notch live entertainment, visit unique attractions, take part in original events and explore its boomtown history. History comes alive in Enid, which began as an important watering stop along the famed Chisholm Trail, running from Fort Worth, Texas, through Oklahoma to the rail yards in Abilene, Kansas. This storied cattle route is part of the lore of the Old West, and 2017 marks its 150th anniversary. In Enid, that milestone will be celebrated with events throughout the year, beginning in April at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. It is named for the Cherokee Strip Land Run, which established Enid as a city on September 16, 1893. “Basically, the population went from zero to 10,000 in one day,” says Rob Houston, communications coordinator for Visit Enid. During land runs, the government opened previously restricted land to all

Enid Welcome Center

Photo courtesy of Visit Enid

adult U.S. citizens (even women), who could stake a claim for up to 160 acres; if they lived on and improved the land for five years, they

studio run by Rick and Larry Simpson, two brothers who have made

received the property title.

several western films there. “Visit Enid has partnered with the studio

To kick off the Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversarry y, on April 1, the center

to allow tour groups to star in their own western movie,” Houston

will host a re-enactor portraying Joseph McCoy, the Illinois businessman

says. “The tour operator receives the script ahead of time, so that pas-

who in 1867 built the stockyards at the railhead in Abilene. He encour-

sengers can choose roles, rehearse and be ready when the motorcoach

aged Texas cattlemen to bring their herds there via the Chisholm Trail,

arrives in Enid. There are only about seven speaking parts, but every-

to be sold and shipped east – and they did. Between 1867 and 1872,

one in the group is in the cast. A minimum of 35 participants is rec-

more than three million head of cattle were driven from Texas to Abilene


– nearly 800 miles – along the Chisholm Trail. From May 1 to September 16, the center will feature an exhibit about the Chisholm Trail.

The story is set in Enid just after its founding in 1893 and follows a comical plot typical of old-fashioned westerns. A gang of outlaws

June 13-17 brings Enid’s Summer Chautauqua to the Heritage Cen-

is coming, and the town is in a panic. “Pompous Mayor Whistleblower

ter, an annual event now in its 23rd year; the 2017 theme is “The Great

is trying to calm the residents during a town hall meeting, when the

West: Cowboys & Cattle Trails.” Over the five days, five historical

inept Marshal Leadbottom walks in,” Houston explains. “I think you

scholars will portray important figures in Enid’s past, beginning with

can see that groups will have a lot of fun making this movie.”

Jesse Chisholm, for whom the Chisholm Trail was named. He first

Studio sets include a jail, hotel lobby, bank, saloon, Main Street,

marked the route in 1864, which ran from the confluence of the Little

mercantile and church/town hall. Costumes are limited, so tour pas-

and Big Arkansas rivers, northwest of present-day Wichita, Kansas,

sengers should dress as cowboys and cowgirls. The cost of $30 per

to his trading post in what is now western Oklahoma City.

person includes a catered lunch, served in the studio’s saloon. Allot

“It’s especially unique, in that audience members can ask the re-

three hours for the shoot. Once the film is edited – including credits

enactor questions as Jesse Chisholm, and then, he’ll remove his hat or

with every tour passenger’s name – the final version on a DVD will

put down a prop, and answer questions as himself, the scholar,” says

b e s e n t t o t h e t o u r o p e r a t o r, w h o c a n s h a r e i t w i t h t h e g r o u p a t a

Houston. “The historian will be able to offer insights and facts that the

screening party and make copies to distribute.

character may not want to reveal. It’s really fascinating to get the two

In addition to arranging for tour passengers to star in their own

points of view.” The 45-minute presentations, which are free, are held

westerns, the professional staff at Visit Enid is eager to assist tour

each day of Summer Chautauqua at 6:30 p.m., and various workshops

planners in discovering all that Enid has to offer bus groups. Services

are held each day at 10:30 a.m. and noon.

include FAM tours, brochures and maps, custom itineraries, lodging

A rare, one-of-a-kind and truly memorable experience awaits bus tour groups at Skeleton Creek Productions in Enid, an actual movie

assistance, step-on guides, coupons and more. Contact Marcy Jarrett, director of Visit Enid, at (580) 616-7368 or Marcy@VisitEnid.org.

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 23


ravel itself is educational and

enlightening, and student tours offer

endless opportunities to encourage

learning. One of the great things about these tours is the array of destinations that may be included on an itinerary. Stops can range from historic sites and museums to attract i o n s t h a t i nv o l v e h a n d s - o n a c t i v i t i e s a n d even different modes of travel, each offering a unique and memorable adventure.

Mount Washington Cog Railway Bretton Woods, New Hampshire A trip aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world’s first mountain-climbing cog (rack-and-pinion) railway – and its sec-

Mount Washington Cog Railway

ond-steepest – offers student tour groups an unforgettable educational and adventurefilled experience. The three-hour round trip represents an opportunity to engage a broad range of ages and experience, from elemen-

Student Stude nt Tours Tou urs

tary and high school students to college-level passengers.

Earth’s weather and climates. Groups can

Memorial Day through October. It is located

Student tour groups can explore the tech-

also tour for free the historic Tip Top House,

in the White Mountains of New Hampshire,

nology of the railroad, from its original coal-

the 1853 hostelry built when hiking was the

j u s t t h r e e h o u r s n o r t h o f B o s t o n . Vi s i t

and-steam boilers to its most current

only means of reaching the windswept

thecog.com thecog.com or phone (603) 278-5404 for

biodiesel engines and solar panels. Climbing

mountain peak.

more information.

6,228 feet up Mount Washington, the highest

The Cog Railway has competitive student

peak in the Northeast, tour passengers pass

and group rates and educational add-ons.

Adsmore Mus seum

through several different climate zones on

Tickets for the three-hour round trip include

Princeton, Kentucky

t h e i r w a y t o t h e s u m m i t . D u r i n g t h e r i d e,

free admission to the Cog Museum, the

As the only living history home museum

knowledgeable brakemen provide an edu-

Observatory Museum and Tip Top House.

i n t h e s t a t e, t h i s e l e g a n t m a n s i o n , b u i l t i n

cational guided tour, offering meteorological

O n - s i t e d i n i n g i s a v a i l a b l e, w i t h c h o i c e o f

1857, immerses visitors in the wealth and

facts and pointing out geological formations,

cafeteria, buffet or box lunch, and shop and

grace of the bygone Victorian era in Ken-

the mountains of the Presidential Range and

museum tours are available upon request.

tucky. Through tours of the gardens, buildings

alpine plants unique to Mount Washington.

T h e b u i l d i n g i s h a n d i c a p a c c e s s i b l e, a n d

and special yearly exhibits, student tour

Passengers also get the opportunity to move

buses drop off and pick up passengers near

groups get a rare and authentic glimpse into

about the train and take pictures along the

t h e e n t r a n c e, a t a w a l k w a y l e a d i n g t o t h e

the lives of the John Parker Smith family, with


Marshfield Base Station. Motorcoach parking

costumed guides to lead the way.

The Cog Museum at the Marshfield Base

is available in the adjacent lot.

The home was purchased by Smith in

Station provides a variety of visual, auditory

Group reservations must be made a min-

1900, and four generations of his family

and video displays that trace the railway’s

imum of 30 days prior to your excursion date.

members resided there through the mid

progression from the 19th to the 21st centurry y,

A deposit is required to secure a reservation.

1980s. It was added to the National Register

along with a 10-minute media presentation.

Contact the group sales department at (603)

of Historic Places in 1973. Upon her death in

Also at the base is a trout feeding pond,

278-2256 or groupsales@thecog.com for

1984, Katherine Garrett, Smith’s granddaugh-

plenty of space for indoor and outdoor dining

detailed group pricing and assistance in

ter, bequeathed the property and all of its fur-

and a gift shop. The Observatory Museum at

booking your group tour.

nishings to the George Coon Public Library,

the summit of Mount Washington explains

The Cog Railway’s season runs late April

the environmental systems that create the

through November, and it is open daily from

24 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

w i t h t h e p r ov i s i o n t h a t i t b e r e s t o r e d a n d maintained as a living museum.

Special: S pecial: Student Student Tours Tours Garrett further stipulated that nothing in the home be removed or added to; thus, all of the museum’s contents – clothing, furniture, household goods – came from 18 trunks packed with family possessions and stored in the mansion’s attic. These included family photos and documents, multiple sets of china, letters and postcards, clothing and more. The museum’s staff utilizes it all to tell the family’s stories

Adsmore Museum

– S m i t h , h i s w i f e, N a n c y B o n d Ke v i l Smith, and their five c h i l d r e n , M a y m e, K a t e, S h e l l , J a m e s Urey and Selina – through


yearly exhibits that highlight special events and annual celebrations. S e t o n f o u r b e a u t i f u l a c r e s , A d s m o r e M u s e u m t o u r s c ov e r t h e h o m e, t h e s u r r o u n d i n g g a r d e n s a n d t h e g i f t s h o p , l o c a t e d i n t h e estate’s former carriage house. Depending on the time of year, students touring Adsmore will witness Kate’s sixth birthday and a Victorian Easter celebration; Selina’s engagement and wedding to Gov. John Osborne; the visit of Aunt Kate, young Kate’s namesake; the Black Patch Tobacco War; Halloween; and Christmas. The décor and furnishings change to reflect the seasons and the celebrations.

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 25

Special: S pecial: Student Student Tours Tours Princeton is home to other historic sites and viewing opportunities, including New-

home of the National Football Le eague’s (NFL) legendary Denver Broncos.

som’s Old Mill Store (home of the nationally

The CSHoF includes a permanent

renowned Col. Newsom’s Aged Kentucky

museum, the Sports Legends Mall and

Country Ham); Civil War traces; the Cherokee

Legacy Pillars, which honor each Hall of

Trail of Tears; and a downtown commercial

Fame induction class. Motorcoach buses may

district listed on the National Register of His-

drop off passengers at Gate 1, at the entrance

toric Places. For more information on these

to the museum. Handicap access is at the

and other attractions, visit p princetonkyrincetonky-

adjacent Gate 10, where passengers must

ttourism.org ourism.org.

Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

Courtesy of Jon W. Denker

walk up a few stairs and along a sidewalk to

Adsmore Museum, 304 N. Jefferson Street,

the museum entrance. Groups exit on the

students can imagine themselves as great

is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.

southeast side of the lot near the team store.

sports legends or rising stars, as they dress

to 4 p.m. Groups of 12 or more receive a dis-

Buses park in Lot C, away from the entrance

up in jerseys and equipment from various

counted rate, and reservations are required.

a n d t r a f fi c , o r a n y a v a i l a b l e o n - s i t e l o t .

teams and sports.

For more information, visit online at

Admission to the museum is free, but group

Tours go out in groups of 20-25, staggered

a adsmore.org/tour-information dsmore.org/tour-information or phone

tours are offered for $10 per person. Bus dri-

at 5-10 minute intervals. Tour planners may

(270) 365-3114.

vers and escorts take the tour for free.

want to allot up to two hours for the visit, so

Specialized tours are offered for grades

Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

K-5 and grades 6-12. Age-appropriate

Denver, Colorado

activities, with teacher lesson plans and

students have time to shop in the team store. Stops along the tour include: • Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

Student bus tour groups that visit the Col-

handouts, include traits of a role model,

orado Sports Hall of Fame (CSHoF) are taken

keys to success, the evolution of different

• Executive Suites

on a decades-long journey through Colorado

sports, scavenger hunts and more. The

• United Club Level

s p o r t s h i s t o r y, w i t h i n t h e c o n fi n e s o f t h e

Kids’ Zone is an interactive exhibit where

• NFL Visiting Team Locker Room


Facilities • Keg Room • Thunder’s Stall • Team Field Entrance Tunnel • Field Level from the End Zone Area • Network Television Production Compound • TV and Radio Broadcast Facilities and Writing Press Center Due to stadium events, all areas may not be available at all times. Each tour takes 7590 minutes and is approximately one-half mile in length. The entire tour route is fully ADA-accessible. Created in 1964, the CSHoF inducted its first group in 1965, but it did not exist as a physical entity until 2001, when the Denver Broncos moved into their new stadium, S p o r t s Au t h o r i t y F i e l d a t M i l e H i g h . W h a t more fitting place for its location? The original Mile High Stadium was built in 1948 for the Denver Bears, a minor league baseball team; seating capacity was doubled 26 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

Special: S pecial: Student Student Tours Tours in 1960, for the Broncos’ first season as a

Field, just seven minutes away, home field

charter member of the newly formed Amer-

o f M L B ’s C o l o r a d o R o c k i e s . A l s o l o c a t e d

ican Football League (AFL). In 1967, with the

just minutes from Mile High are the Denver

merger of the AFL-NFL, loyal Broncos fans

Aquarium, the Children’s Museum of Den-

raised the funds needed to purchase Bears

ver and the Museum of Contemporary Art

stadium and presented the deed to the city,

D e n v e r.

ensuring that the team remain in Denver and

For more information about bringing your

setting the scene for a legacy of professional

student group to the CSHoF, visit online at

sports in Colorado.

c coloradosports.org/index.php/education oloradosports.org/index.php/education,

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with tours leaving on the half-hour until 2

phone (720) 258-3888 or email kate@coloradosports.org.

p.m., Thursday through Saturday from September through May, and Monday through Saturday from June through August. Group reservations for tours should be made two to three weeks in advance. S p o r t Au t h o r i t y F i e l d a t M i l e H i g h i s located at 1701 Bryant St., Denver. To continue their exploration of Colorado sports, student tour groups may want to schedule a s t o p a t t h e a d j a c e n t P e p s i C e n t e r, h o m e to both the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, or visit Coors

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 27

The The A Age ge o of fT Tra rav vel el An examination of travel trends by age group by Karla Nagy


good deal of research over the past

multigenerational trips. Exodus Travels mar-

multigenerational trips and shorter, more fre-

few years has attempted to chron-

kets a diverse collection of culinary destina-

quent getaways. They, too, cite relaxation and

icle the travel goals of just about

tions and family-friendly itineraries that

family time as the main impetuses for travel,

specifically target these trends.

and often choose a resort or beach destination.

every age group, from baby boomers and Gen-Xers to millenials and student travelers.

AA R P re se a rc h a bo ut tr av el tr en ds in di -

A b e n c h m a r k s t u d y, b e g u n i n 2 0 0 2 b y

This highlight of results will most certainly

cates that baby boomers (Americans born

WYSE Travel Confederation, shows that the

assist tour planners and operators in devising

from 1946-1964) planned four or five trips in

number of travelers aged 23-30 has

itineraries that will satisfy any demographic,

2016. Of the 95 percent who planned domes-

decreas ed by nearly 1 0 percent s ince 20 07,

as well as allow CVBs, DMOs and TPAs to pin-

tic travel, the main reasons cited were relax-

but the number of travelers over age 30 has

point the kinds of activities and attractions that

ation and family time, so trips fall into the

increased by almost the same amount. The

w i l l a p p e a l s p e c i fi c a l l y t o t h e v a r i o u s a g e

categories of summer vacation, multigener-

study also shows that, after price, the second


a t i o n a l t r i p s a n d w e e k e n d g e t aw a y s . T h e

most important consideration for younger

A n i n d e p e n d e n t 2 0 1 6 s t u d y, c o m m i s -

most popular destinations cited were specific

travelers is the ability to book using mobile

sioned by adventure tour operator Exodus

cities and beaches, with Florida, New York,

devices; in addition, the Internet is this

Travels and conducted by market researcher

California, Las Vegas and Hawaii mentioned

group’s main source of information about

OnePoll, surveyed 2,000 Americans aged 50

most often. While baby boomers are less

their destinations. That being said, the study

and above. More than 80 percent of respon-

likely to utilize mobile devices to plan trips

also shows that person-to-person contact is preferred for travel-related questions.

dents indicated that travel was becoming an

or post to social media while traveling, stay-

increasingly important goal, and that a

ing connected is still a priority: Two “must-

The State of Student Travel, a report by Skift

majority found themselves becoming more

haves” for lodging include free WiFi and com-

+ StudentUniverse, notes that student travel

active and seeking more adventurous outings

plimentary breakfasts.

represents 20 percent of all global travel in the

since turrn ning 50. Culinary-based travel is also

Gen Xers spend the most while traveling,

2000s. Once identified as a post-high school

increasing among this age group, as are

according to a Virtuoso study, and they favor

and undergraduate college group (18-24), this

28 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

The T he Age Age of of Travel Travel paradigm no longer applies. While language

of what he or she wants from the experience.

visits to cultural/historical sites; exploring the

and cultural immersion are the main goals, the

In-destination activities, according to the Skift

local cuisine; making friends and socializing;

student traveler has clearly defined expectations

report, must include (in order of importance):

and language/learning. Another paradigm shift within this demographic is the idea of the “backpack-andparty” crowd. According to the Skift report, when student travelers were asked if they would still travel if parties/nightlife were limited or absent, more than 58 percent of males and more than 62 percent of females said they would. The report also shows that student travelers’ spending in-destination is on the rise, and they are more likely to return to a destination, making this demographic a viable marketing target for tour planners. The main indication of these studies is that Americans like to travel, and they have specific ideas about the kinds of experiences they look for when planning a trip. Careful examination of these travelers’ motivations will help bus tour planners and operators to develop itineraries that will satisfy the wanderlust of any age group.

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 29

Soc Social cia ia ial a Marketing Mar Mark rk ke k etiing To our rism m for Tourism Nine Secrets to Spice Up Your Social Posts

Ah, the power of storytelling. “Frankly my dear,” who made beautiful dresses from the drapes? “Phone home,” said the star while pointing a gnarly finger. “I’ll have what she’s having,” said the woman at the next table over in a New York diner. Memorable moments of storytelling. Your fans would love to hear your unique story, get a glimpse behind the scenes and get to know you and your company better. Solid storytelling and strategy ensure your social success. Let us look at strategy first. • Leverage your existing presence to gain s o m e g r o u n d b y d r aw i n g f a n s f r o m y o u r t o p social platform to your other social sites. For e x a m p l e, i f y o u h a v e a s o l i d f a n b a s e o n Facebook and are starting to gain some ground on Instagram, create a Facebook p o s t i n g i nv i t i n g p e o p l e t o c h e c k o u t y o u r n e w I n s t a g r a m f e e d . Te l l i n g y o u r s t o r y o n multiple platforms helps you reach new fans where they hang out socially. • Storytelling can take the fo rm of video, photos and blogging. • Consider switching up your post styles to include your own video, live streaming video, photos, quotes, link posts and text-based posts. Breakthrough post styles that beg to be shared will catapult your social presence. Consider these tactics: Facebook Fun 1. Check out the posting options on Facebook. a. You can now create a Carousel post or ad with up to five photos and a link. (http://bit.ly/29p5KAb) b. Elevate your still photos to the next level by using the Facebook “Create a Slideshow” option. Showcase three to seven photos and Facebook creates a video for you (http://bit.ly/1rI3R6P ). You can even add music and transitions. c. Canvas is an immersive post option where you can combine still images and video into a multi-media post. d. Do you have an upcoming consumer night, group tour, product intro? Create an event on Facebook and stand out in your fans’ timeline. It is as easy as uploading a photo and adding a link to your Web site so that people can learn more and register. e. Select the “Get People to Learn More” button when creating a new post. Here is how it looks. Remember, you can edit the text next to the “Learn More” button. Video is Vital 2. I n c l u d e v i d e o i n a s m a n y p l a t f o r m s a s a v a i l a b l e . D i d y o u know that short video can be added to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+? 30 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

3 . Go live. Channel your best actor/actress inside you and amp up your star quality. Live-streaming video is gaining ground with your clients. Now you can go live on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Make the most of your live stream with these tips: http://bit.ly/2gQ08iG Google+ is Great 4. M a x i m i z e t h e p o w e r o f G o o g l e + a s a n S E O t o o l . S o m e t i m e s marketers forget about adding their own blog posts and Web site content as a post on Google+. Research shows that when a Web site link is posted to Google+ (http://bit.ly/2kpSwGy), it ranks more highly in an organic search. Go Long 5. Create long pins on Pinterest to capture more attention. Pins that are taller than 1,000 pixels receive more re-pins. You can easily don your artist cap and get creative using tools like Canva and PicMonkey to design long pins as well as graphics with text. Stories that Sell 6. Snapchat and Instagram Stories are a creative way to prolong the life of your content to 24 hours. GIFs for Travel pros 7. GIFs are animated, looping graphic images. In addition to this list, I have also created short video GIFs using MovieMaker. Gif Maker: http://gifmaker.me/ Make a Gif: http://makeagif.com/ Picasion: http://picasion.com/ Spark by Adobe: https://spark.adobe.com/ Ripl: http://ripl.com/insider/ Meme’s 8. These snappy, sassy images with text add some humor to your posts. You will find some examples here. http://bit.ly/2jGCScJ And – Advertising 9. Telling your story to the right audience and at the right time is essential to your success. Social ads can be targeted to reach people based on their interests, demographics, zip codes, and even the types of food they like. Imagine the potential for marketing a special interest tour. It is a noisy, chaotic world out there – socially. Wouldn’t you love a way to cut through the clutter and stand out with your social posts? With this visual, bird’s-eye view of your marketing tactics, along with the tools to capture visual impact, you will transform your storytelling and your brand.

H Heeg eeg

Seventy-three percent of content creators plan to prioritize creating more engaging content in the future. Source: http://bit.ly/2l4eaA7 Are you a part of that majority?


Catherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at cmsspeaking.com and socially.

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 31

20 Tips T For r Bus Tour Planners Pla la l an by: b y: D Dr. r. C Charleen harleen JJaeb aeb 20 Tips for Canadian Trips Did you know Canada is one of the most requested escorted tour destinations in United

To See in USA and Canada Before You Die by

Planet Canada presents samples of excursions

travel writer Patricia Schultz.

as do many international travel operators.

Many family-owned bus companies such

One day trips for duty-free shopping, casinos,

States? Canada was named the top travel des-

as Anderson Coach and Travel in Pennsylva-

athletic and cultural events are frequently

tination in the world for 2017 by Lonely Planet

nia who had success with their trip to Canada

taken from states close to the border.

and the New York Times put Canada on top of

in 2016 have put together a longer one in 2017.

3. Learn the basic facts about Canada.

its 52 places to go in 2017. I visited Canada

Anderson went from a 10-day trip to Canada’s

It is big. Canada is the world’s second-largest

more than 50 times, with my parents, hus-

Maritime Provinces in 2016 to a 19-day trip to

country by total area, second only to Russia.

band, children, grandchildren, friends and bus

the Northwest and Canadian Rockies in

Canada’s land border with the United States is

groups. Love it! Happy to see Canada has got-

August 2017.

the world’s longest land border. It has more lakes

ten the recognition it deserves.

In the following 20 tips, you will discover

than the rest of the world combined. The majority

My original topic of this article was titled

basic facts and history about Canada and its

of its land is dominated by forest, tundra and the

“ 2 0 Ti p s f o r N o r t h o f t h e B o r d e r Tr i p s . ” I t s

people, where and when to go, what to see,

Rocky Mountains. About 80 percent of its pop-

major purpose was to persuade bus tour plan-

what to do before, after and on the trip, who

ulation is urbanized and lives near the southern

ners and individuals to plan trips to Canada

you will meet and why Canada was chosen the

border. Its capital is Ottawa and the largest city

and Alaska, our friendly neighbors to the

Best Travel Destination in 2017 by Lonely Planet.

is Toronto. French and English are its official lan-

north. There are so many similarities between

1. Consider seasons and weather con-

guages and it is one of the world’s most ethni-

the two – weather, size, vast wilderness, spec-

ditions when planning trips to Canada.

cally diverse and multicultural nations. A fifth of

t a c u l a r s c e n e r y, g l a c i e r s , n a t i o n a l p a r k s ,

The high season is June through August offer-

its population is immig rants. It has the tenth

mountains, wildlife, plus spots above the Arc-

ing warmer weather when school is out, flow-

highest per capita income globally.

tic Circle. I thought since I have visited both,

ers are blooming, amusement parks are open,

4. Discover why Canada was chosen

it would make sense to combine them.

and chances to visit more locations and par-

top travel destination for 2017. Every elec-

Wrong! After beginning this column, I realized

ticipate in water sports. From December

tion season, American interest in Canada

there are enough differences between the two

through March, ski resorts are equally busy.

spikes. It can offer more than just political

that readers would appreciate them being sep-

Temperatures are a bit cooler in September

refuge. If you are looking for a new place to

arated into two articles. The article in the May

a n d O c t o b e r ; h o w e v e r, t r i p s d u r i n g t h e s e

live or visit, large safe cosmopolitan cities,

issue will focus on Alaska.

m o n t h s a r e l e s s e x p e n s i v e a n d p r ov i d e a

vast untamed wilderness, excellent cuisine,

Info rmation about C anada mostly comes

chance to see beautiful fall scenery and the

top performing arts, seeing spectacular moun-

f r o m m y e x p e r i e n c e s t h e r e, b u s a n d t r a v e l

Northern Lights. Much of Canada is covered

tains, glaciers and polar bears up close via

company personnel and catalogs, travel mag-

by snow for half the year.

multiple forms of transportation, our northern

azines, Google searches, interviews with

2. Consider the length of time to spend

neighbor beckons. In 2017, Canada is cele-

friends who live there or visit there. My favorite

on the trip. Bus trips to Canada can run one

brating its sesquicentennial with parties, fes-

tour books are the travel guides Fodor’s

day, several days, one to two weeks, or up to

tivals and free admission to all its national

Canada, Lonely Planet Ca Canada and 1,000 Places

four weeks depending on their purpose. Lonely

parks and historical sites. International

32 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

20 Tips travelers and U.S. citizens can expect their

escort. Stop every two to three hours for

buildings of Vieux-Montreal will give you a

money to go further, due to the weak Cana-

snacks, retail therapy and to view sights or

taste of its European flavor. The Notre-Dame

dian dollar. Canada caters to kids better than

take part in activities unique to Canada.

Basilica with its sparkling collection of

nearly any other country in the world.

Some favorite Canadian snack foods are pou-

stained glass, and the Mount Royal district,

5. Publicize your trips before you go.

tine (French fries slathered in gravy and

with its quaint boutiques and cafes, will

Bus companies and travel agencies can put

cheese curds), ketchup chips, Nanaimo bars,

refresh you.

them in their catalogs, send e-mail to their

pastry from BeaverTails and coffee and

group leaders and past travelers, advertise

donuts from Tim Hortons.

14. Quebec City, capital city of Quebec, is more than 400 years old and is about 2.5

and publicize them in the media and hold

10. Compare Canada’s top places to

hours from Montreal on the banks of the St.

free informational seminars for the public.

visit. There are too many to list here. Its 10

Lawrence River. The ramparts of Quebec City

Group leaders could notify their frequent trav-

provinces are Alberta, British Columbia, Man-

are the only remaining fortified city walls in

elers and group members similarly and on

itoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, New-

North America north of Mexico. Great ways

posters where appropriate. Using easy-to-

foundland and Labrador, Quebec, Nova Sco-

to soak up the atmosphere is walking the

access Web sites with trip videos and social

tia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. The

streets of Old Towne, with its jazz-filled cor-

media work well too.

territories are Northwest Territories, Nunavut

ner cafés and street performers, and dining

6. Make sure you comply with border

and Yukon. I have never visited the Regina

on flaky pastry and poutine.

crossing laws. Your travel professional pro-

Powwow in Saskatchewan, seen the Aurora

15. Toronto is the most multicultural

vides this information. It differs with age, how

Borealis in the Northwest Territories or the

diverse city on the planet; its residents speak

long you stay and what you can bring back.

Calgary Stampede Rodeo in Alberta. How-

more than 148 languages. They get along with

You may not need a passport when entering

ever, the following are seven of my favorite

each other, and visitors are welcome in their

Canada, but you will need it to return to United

places we visited.

neighborhoods. It is famous for its skyscraper

States. There are some conditions, such as a

11. Maritime Provinces of Nova Sco-

CN Tower, topped with a fantastic view and a

felony record (DUI), that may hinder entrance

tia and Prince Edward Island, featuring

revolving restaurant, and the new Ripley’s

into Canada. Inform your passengers to tell

the Cabot Trail, Bay of Fundy with its high

Aquarium beside it. The stately Casa Loma,

the truth to border guards who enter the bus

tides, two ferry crossings, the lighthouse at

Hockey Hall of Fame and Ed Mirvish Theatre

and not to supply more information than asked

Peggy’s Cove and Halifax. I liked Prince

(formerly Pantages) for live musicals were

for, ask questions or make jokes. Visit

Edward Island best of all because of the Anne

stops during most of my Canadian trips. Today,

travel.state.gov for more passport information.

of Green Gables house and the musical show

PATH, the world’s largest underground shop-

7. When touring Canada, enlist the

in Charlottetown. It draws families to its

ping mall, flourishes beneath Toronto’s streets.

aid of individuals and companies familiar

many amazing water and amusement parks.

16. Canadian Rockies, Banff National

with Canada. Many of the better stops are

12. Niagara Falls, Ontario. Just as

Park, Lake Louise. In Banff National Park,

not in big cities or well-known. In some cases

Canada is the country I have visited more

you can take glacier ice walks, cross-country

knowledge of French is necessary. Most suc-

than any other, Niagara Falls is place I have

ski, go mountain biking, rock climbing, take

cessful multi-day Canadian bus tours are

visited most in Canada. Highlights for all ages

horse-drawn sleigh rides and helicopter tours

escorted by professional trained escorts.

include magnificent falls, the ride on Maid of

of the Canadian Rockies from Banff. The view

When group leaders escort trips, native step-

the Mist to the foot of the cascading falls,

from serenely turquoise Lake Louise, sur-

on guides should be provided in cities and at

Museum of Daredevils who went over the

rounded by mountains that hoist Victoria

historical stops.

falls in a barrel, Fallsview Casino, jet boat

Glacier up for all to see, is awe-inspiring. You

8. Consider using other forms of

ride, Skylon Tower with revolving restaurant

can take dogsled rides, horseback rides and ride the Sightseeing Gondola there, too.

transportation in Canada besides just

on top, and Clifton Hill with its shops and kid-

the bus. They include trains, planes, horse

friendly wax museum and Ripley’s Believe

17. Vancouver: This bustling west coast

and carriage, trolleys, ferries, cruise ships,

or Not Museum. You can add a short visit to

seaport in British Columbia is among

fishing boats, kayaks, rafts and tubes, plus

Niagara-on-the-Lake – very British, with its

Canada’s densest, most culturally diverse

unique forms of travel mentioned throughout

wineries and Shaw Festival Theatre.

cities. A popular filming location, it is sur-

13. Montreal, Quebec. This French-

rounded by mountains, and also has art, the-

9. Provide entertainment on the bus.

speaking city is considered the cultural cap-

ater, music galore and the Vancouver Art

It could include DVDs, music (look for pop-

ital of Canada. A horse-drawn carriage ride

Gallery, known for its regional art. You can

ular Canadian hits), games and skills of the

around the cobblestone streets and grand

ride the Hell’s Gate Airtram, experiencing the

the article.

Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017 • 33

2 20 0T Tips ips awe-inspiring views above the Fraser River.

Canada. Buy travel insurance. Before flying

Request their address, phone number and e-

Vancouver is where many tours of Canada

to Canada, you may need to apply for an elec-

mail address so that you can send them the

begin, and the port where cruises to Alaska

tronic Travel Authorization (eTA) costing $7.

r e s u l t s o f t h e fi n d i n g s a n d a c o p y o f y o u r

through the inside passage sail from.

Canada has its own currency. Some Cana-

upcoming trips. Follow up with a thank-you

18. One-Day Trips to and in Canada.

dian businesses take American currency as

letter with a group picture enclosed. Make a

Buses travel to see Canada’s sports teams play

a c o u r t e s y, b u t i t i s n o t s o m e t h i n g t o b e

photo collage of the trip for your bus or travel

American sports teams and vice-versa, such

e x p e c t e d . Ve n d i n g m a c h i n e s a n d p u b l i c

company. Write up an article for your local

as the Toronto Blue Jays vs. the Cleveland Indi-

transportation accept only Canadian coins.

newspaper and newsletter for your group. Fur-

ans. If you lived near the Canadian border and

ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are

nish a poster of photos to be displayed at the

your state did not allow casinos (prior to 1988,

accepted in most hotels and restaurants.

bus company office or your office.

most casinos in the U.S. were in Las Vegas or

20. What to do when the trip ends. Sur-

Thank you for your comments on this col-

Atlantic City,) U.S. bus companies started fre-

vey your passengers. Keep it simple. One page

umn and suggestions for my next one, which

quent, inexpensive trips across the border to

is sufficient. Some bus companies require them.

will extol the virtues of tripping to Alaska. In

Canada to visit theirs. Duty-free shops at the

You could ask passengers to rate stops, attrac-

response to your requests, the July column

border and lower age limits for gambling in

tions, activities, lodging, food, drivers and

will be botanical trips. My e-mail address is

C a n a d a k e e p t h e m p o p u l a r. C a n a d i a n b u s

guides, with space allowed for comments.


companies run one-day trips in their cities and to neighbors; e.g., Chariots of Fire in Toronto

With degrees from four universities, Dr. Charleen Jaeb was a business professor at Cuyahoga

runs day trips to Niagara Falls, with a ride on

Community College. After her retirement in 2000, she became a trip planner for the CCC

the Maid of the Mist boat and free time in Nia-

retirees and Middleburg Heights Women’s Club, fi fillling as many as 15 buses each year. Jaeb


and her husband escorted trips for Lakefront Lines in Cleveland, Ohio. She says, “It was won-

1 9 . A n swe r s t o c o m m o n q u e s t i o n s a s ke d b y U. S . c i t i z e n s i n C a n a d a .

derful and somewhat unbelievable in retirement to be able to do what you love to do and get paid for doing it.”

M e d i c a r e d o e s n o t c o v e r U. S . c i t i z e n s i n

Advertiser’s Index Adsmore House & Gardens . . . . . . . .25

Miromar Outlets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Anderson/Madison County VB . . . . . .12

Mohegan Sun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

Aurora CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Morse Farm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

City of Fort Madison . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

Mt. Washington Cog Railway . . . . . . .25

Coal Country Tours LLC C . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

New Hope Valley Railroad Museum . . .7

Colorado Sports Hall

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino . . . . . . . .35

of Fame Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

Prairie Band Casino & Resort . . . . . . .21

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center . .31

Presque Isle Downs & Casino . . . . . . . .2

Country Music Hall of Fame

River Lady . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

& Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home . . . . .31

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad . . . .7

Starved Rock Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

Dancing Horses Theatre . . . . . . . . . . .11

Tropicana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

East Troy Railroad Museum . . . . . . . .34

U.S. Army Band . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

Galesburg CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

Visit Clarksville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Georgetown Loop Railroad . . . . . . . . . .6

Wilmington & Western Railroad . . . . . .5

Inn of the Mountain Gods . . . . . . . . . .22

Wings Over the Rockies . . . . . . . . . . .27

Jacksonville Area CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

Wolf Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

Living Word Outdoor Inc., The . . . . . .13 34 • Bus Tours Magazine / March, 2017

It’s ALL IN Here! GATHER YOUR GROUP AND PLAN A TRIP TO THE MIDWEST’S #1 ENTERTAINMENT DESTINATION. Over 2,500 Slot Machines 1,440-Seat Bingo Hall 100 Table Games 20-Table Poker Room Off-Track Betting Room 500-Seat Theater 7 Signature Restaurants Over 60,000 Square Feet of Banquet Space 19-Story Luxury Hotel For day trips, contact Lisa Pederson at 414-847-7982 or LPEDERSON@PAYSBIG.COM. For overnight stays, contact Sales & Catering at 414-847-8600 or SALES@PAYSBIG.COM.



Sign up your group for a bus charter today

BONUS $30 CASINO INCENTIVE PACKAGE* Monday – Friday Package consists of: One $15 Meal/Retail Credit and One $15 Free Bet Coupon Meal/Retail credit can be used in any restaurant, a full buffet or shop at Mohegan Sun.

BONUS $25 CASINO INCENTIVE PACKAGE* Saturday – Sunday Package consists of: One $15 Meal/Retail Credit and One $10 Free Bet Coupon Meal/Retail credit can be used in any restaurant, a full buffet or shop at Mohegan Sun.

Group Leaders receive an additional $30 PACKAGE Contact Stephen Olender at 860.862.8988 or solender@mohegansun.com or visit mohegansun.com/charter to get your next outing on the road today. *In order to receive package, bus group must stay for a minimum of 5 hours. Packages and offer subject to change without notice. mohegansun.com

Profile for Bus Tours Magazine

Bus Tours Magazine March/April 2017  

Bus Tours Magazine March/April 2017