Page 1

APRIL 2009

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Vol.19, No. 2

April 2009

Contents

COVER STORY

northeast: best of broadway by randy mink . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Producers value group business because pre-sells fill theater seats during tough economic times.

FEATURES

northeast: on our radar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 midwest: dinner theaters cater to groups by john kloster . . . . . . . .30 on our radar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 south: travel south spotlight by randy mink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 west: family reunions target national parks by elana andersen . . .60 on our radar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63

COLUMNS

on my mind by jeff gayduk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 on tour by marty de souto, ctc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 on technology by john kamm, ctp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 on theater by rob franklin fox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 on reunions by edith wagner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

DEPARTMENTS

on the record . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

ON THE COVER: Sierra Boggess as Ariel in THE LITTLE MERMAID presented by Disney Theatrical Productions at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver. ŠDisney, 2007. Photo by Joan Marcus.

38 REGISTER TO WIN a $500 shopping spree

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Vol.19, No. 2 April 2009 Editorial & Advertising Office 621 Plainfield Road, Suite 406 Willowbrook, IL 60527 P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 info@ptmgroups.com

Publisher – Jeffrey Gayduk jeff@ptmgroups.com

NEWS AS IT HAPPENS • PERSPECTIVE • TOOLS

Breaking News

LGT Online Exclusives It probably won’t happen, but what if the luggage of a group member gets lost on its way to the cruise ship? Leisure Group Travel cruise columnist Cindy Bertram

There’s always something happening on LeisureGroupTravel.com, and that starts with our Breaking News section. Relevant information is posted frequently on the following topics:

relates her recent lostluggage experience and tells

• Attractions • Destinations • Cruises • Tours & Packages • Associations • Niche Travel • Hotels & Resorts • Transportation When something breaks in the industry, you can count on LeisureGroupTravel.com to be there!

how the airlines and cruise lines handled the situation. She describes the policies and procedures of the major cruise lines, discusses travel insurance and gives valuable packing tips.

Have you Experienced Plan It? Complete tools for research and booking your next group trip

We’ve made online research and booking a snap, with the creation of Plan It! Scroll down the left side of LeisureGroupTravel.com and uncover hot links to

@ Search our database of travel articles for fresh ideas and inspiration @ Web tools for currency conversion, direction and guidance

@ Product and brochure request from group-friendly suppliers @ Online group hotel booking engine

@ Access to over 150 sample tour itineraries

Managing Editor – Randy Mink randy@ptmgroups.com Senior Editor – John Kloster john@ptmgroups.com

Senior Editor – Elana Andersen elana@ptmgroups.com

Director, Design & Production – Kerry Loudon kerry@ptmgroups.com

Regional Sales Managers International – Richard Haymaker P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 richard@ptmgroups.com

Western Midwest/Online Sales – Theresa O’Rourke P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 theresa@ptmgroups.com

Eastern Midwest/Canada – Amy Janssens P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 amy@ptmgroups.com Illinois – Jim McCurdy

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 jim@ptmgroups.com

Northeast – Ellen Klesta

P 630.794.0696 • F 630.794.0652 ellen@ptmgroups.com

Southeast – Hutson Lambert

P 228.452.9683 • F 228.452.6370 hutson@ptmgroups.com

Southern – Dolores Ridout P/F 281.762.9546 dolores@ptmgroups.com

Florida & Caribbean – Prof Inc.

P 813.286.8299, proftampa@aol.com

West – Dick Faust

P 310.373.9604 • F 310.373.8760 dick@ptmgroups.com The publisher accepts unsolicited editorial matter, as well as advertising, but assumes no responsibility for statements made by advertisers or contributors. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information published, but the publisher makes no warranty that listings are free of error. The publisher is not responsible for the return of unsolicited photos, slides or manuscripts.

Leisure Group Travel (ISSN-1531-1406) is published bi-monthly by Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc. 621 Plainfield Road, Suite 406, Willowbrook, IL 60527. The magazine is distributed free of charge to qualified tour operators, travel agents, group leaders, bank travel clubs and other travel organizations. Other travel-related suppliers may subscribe at the reduced rate of $12.00 per year. The regular subscription price for all others is $18.00 per year. Single copies are $4.95 each.

Send Address Change to:

Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc. P.O. Box 609, Palos Heights, IL 60463

A

publication

All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher.


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on my mind O

jeff gayduk

Still Standing “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.” No

est as a travel group. Our agenda here

ries, expert advice from insiders in the

truer words were ever spoken for any-

has been to provide the knowledge base

field and special promotions to help

one involved in the travel industry as we

to help you take that leap, with dedi-

spur your niche market business. We

grapple with the negative effects of this

cated columns and special interest sto-

will be announcing details of each e-

nation’s worst recession in decades.

ries in Leisure Group Travel and

magazine through InSite on Leisure

How’s our industry faring? We asked

LeisureGroupTravel.com. But as these

Group Travel, so if you’re not a sub-

that question of Leisure Group Travel

segments take on an increased impor-

scriber and want to learn more, visit

readers this past February, with some

tance in everyone’s business model, our

LeisureGroupTravel.com and sign up

surprising results.

need for more dedicated coverage of

directly from the home page.

What we found was that nearly 70% of readers anticipate planning an equal

niche and affinity group travel has led us in a new business direction.

or higher number of group trips this year as ’08, although nearly the same percentage anticipates load factors will be diminished. Motorcoach trips hold the most promise this year, with three out of four readers expecting to book as many or more coach trips this year as

I’ve heard a few off-the-cuff remarks about people “refusing to participate in this recession.” If your business is un-

Niche and affinity markets signal the wave of the future in group travel.

last. International travel is taking the brunt of the downturn; nearly two-

INTRODUCING INSITE ON…

fazed by the current economic events,

thirds of planners anticipate their inter-

NICHE MARKET E-MAGAZINES

more power to you! For the rest of us,

national group trips to be down this

About half of our readers currently sub-

this is the optimal time to regroup,

year due to more travelers staying closer

scribe to InSite on Leisure Group Travel,

focus on our core business while look-

to home and spending less on travel and

our bi-weekly e-newsletter for the group

ing for pockets of opportunity to ex-

fewer nights on the road. Full results of

travel community. We were the first

pand once a level of normalcy returns.

this survey are found in this month’s On

company to publish an e-newsletter in

That refocusing starts now, and we’re

The Record column, starting on page 8.

this market, and while others have fol-

here to help you do that.

We continue to be impressed with the

lowed, InSite still leads by a large mar-

number of Leisure Group Travel readers

gin in both circulation and quality

who have expanded their traditional

editorial. We are creating a series of e-

business to reach niche and affinity

magazines (e-newsletters on steroids) for

groups, and this year’s survey indicates

the sports, student, religious and re-

Jeff Gayduk, Publisher

that more readers are exploring nature

unions marketplaces.

jeff@ptmgroups.com

& eco-tourism, reunions and family

The first of these e-magazines, InSite

trips, religious, student & youth travel

on Sports Events, will

and girlfriend getaways & buddy trips.

debut this spring, fol-

The future growth in the group travel

lowed closely by InSite

business is in the development of niche

on Student Travel. The

and affinity markets where packs of

aim of each monthly e-

like-minded people who share a com-

magazine is to deliver

mon bond gather to explore their inter-

timely destination sto-

6 April 2009

Happy Traveling,

Despite macro-economic figures that indicate otherwise, Jeff is approaching 2009 with great optimism. Anytime he sees a glass that’s half empty, he swallows the contents, then refills it.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


on the record O

Group Travel Survey

Shows Resilient Market ON FEBRUARY 20, 2009,

tions sent to Leisure

Leisure Group Travel Magazine con-

Group Travel’s InSite

ducted a survey of group travel buyers

e-newsletter sub-

regarding their groups’ travel inten-

scribers. 207 partici-

tions for the calendar year. This period

pants took part in the

was chosen as a strategic mid-point in

survey.

the 2009 travel season, a time when

While the results

group planners have a strong indica-

of the survey are

tion of advance customer deposits on

weighed down by the

large-ticket trips they launched for sale

overall sluggish eco-

last summer/ fall and a firm handle on

nomic environment

customer intentions for all trips sched-

that is gripping the

uled through the first half of the year.

United States, the leisure group travel

Based on responses from Leisure

The survey was compiled by the

industry, compared to other market

Group Travel readers, here is what’s

magazine’s editorial team with invita-

sectors, is proving very resilient. Do-

happening in the marketplace:

mestic and cruise travel indicators for

faith-based incoming agency

First

in

Germany

2009 are holding steady, a bright spot

• Seven in 10 leisure groups will plan

for any domestic destination or cruise

an equal or higher number of trips in

line looking to salvage an otherwise

2009 than in 2008, with 55% planning

bleak 2009. While the overseas out-

about the same number and 14% plan-

bound market is showing cracks, there

ning more. Load factors, however, will

is business on the books.

be lower, according to 69% of respon-

How are leisure groups bucking the

dents.

trend? In an “open response” format,

© Oberammergau

readers indicated techniques they are

• Three-quarters of group travel buy-

employing to better market their busi-

ers expect to book as many or more

ness. Marketing & advertising was

domestic motorcoach trips in 2009.

mentioned more as the key ingredient

Are you looking for a reliable partner for your trip to Germany and Europe?

in keeping their name out front than

• Nearly 6 in 10 said they predict

any other response. Groups are em-

steady or increased bookings for do-

We are specialised in: I Martin Luther and Reformation I Passion Play Oberammergau I Art & Literary study tours I Choir & Music tours

ploying conventional and web-based

mestic air trips.

We are related to the Catholic and Protestant Church. Biblical Tours Stuttgart – Germany Fon 0049 711/61925-27 · Fax -827 E-Mail: incoming@biblische-reisen.de www.biblical-tours.com

tactics is new, they support the thesis

8 April 2009

strategies to stay fresh in prospective customers’ minds, with an increased

use of promotional discounts to lure

about the same as in 2008, according

travelers. Face-to-face presentations

to 53% of respondents, while 29%

and a reshuffling of tour products have

predict fewer cruise bookings and 18%

also been effective. While none of these

anticipate more cruise bookings.

Cruise bookings in 2009 will be

that in a recession you can’t run away

• Nearly two-thirds of group travel

and hide if you want to thrive – a busi-

buyers say overseas group travel will

ness needs to be visible and pro-active.

be down this year, with 30% expecting LeisureGroupTravel.com


Question 1: Compared with 2008, how will 2009 stack up in terms of number of group trips planned?             

Question 3: Do you expect to re-

negotiate rates and terms (deposits, final payments) with vendors? , !         +     

   

     

    

     

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All contents Š2009, Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc. No portion of the information may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission from Premier Tourism Marketing, Inc.

Question 2: Compared with 2008, how do your load factors on booked trips look in 2009? "#   $           

Question 4: In terms of Regional

Motorcoach Group Trips, this year you will book:? # +                  

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steady bookings.

• When asked if they expect to rene-

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nights away from home, while 73% re-

Leisure Group Travel is a national, bi-

port that customers are booking closer

monthly magazine that targets tour op-

to departure date.

erators, travel agents, church groups,

gotiate rates and terms (deposits, final

bank travel clubs and other group

payments) with suppliers, three-quar-

• When asked about growth in niche

travel planners among its 20,000 quali-

ters said they already have or intend to

segments of their client base, a quarter

fied circulation base. Respondents to

do so.

mentioned an uptick in the religious

the survey came from seven market

market, while 22% checked off na-

categories, representing the growing di-

• Regarding overall trends, half of re-

ture/eco-tourism and 20% see an in-

verse nature of the leisure group travel

spondents said their travelers are stay-

crease in girlfriend getaways/buddy

industry.

ing closer to home and spending fewer

trips.

LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2009 9


on the record O

Question 5: In terms of Domestic Air

Question 7: In terms of Cruises, this

Trips, this year will you book:

year will you book:

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Question 6: In terms of International

(overseas) Trips, this year will you book:



Question 8: Have you witnessed any

of the following trends prevalent in today’s environment?  +      7 +   

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IN THE JUNE ISSUE of Leisure

location. Also for publication, send a

Group Travel, our On the Record column

high-resolution photo of yourself.

will explore group itinerary planning.

A selection of responses will be printed in

Please send us your response to

the June 2009 issue.

this question: Thanks in advance for your What is your No. 1 way of

valuable opinions.

spicing up an itinerary?

Send to: Randy Mink, Managing Editor,

Along with your comments, please

randy@ptmgroups.com

include your name, company name and 10 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


Question 9: Have you personally seen growth in your client base from any of the following niche segments? 8  0 +             +     +    1

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Question 10: Type of Company/

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on the side

M

Many respondents in the 2009 Group Travel Trends Survey conducted by Leisure Group Travel Magazine volunteered comments to this question:

What marketing strategies have you put in place to motivate groups to travel this year? Among their answers: Discounts for cash payments, early booking discounts, more flyers and mailings, more advertising, travel incentive gifts, closer-to-home trips, shorter trips, more value trips. Here is a sampling of comments:

I â&#x20AC;&#x153;More individual flyers for day trips and passing them out on all day trips to make sure the information stays fresh and in front of them, rather than relying on the quarterly newsletter.â&#x20AC;? I â&#x20AC;&#x153;Postcard mailings re specific tours to pax who have shown interest in a certain mode of travel.â&#x20AC;? I â&#x20AC;&#x153;Going after niche groups rather than a broad shotgun approach.â&#x20AC;? I â&#x20AC;&#x153;Increased e-mail blitz promotions. Introduced a new ad on a local Internet home page to reach larger market.â&#x20AC;? I â&#x20AC;&#x153;More themed & mystery tours, and believe it or not they are selling!â&#x20AC;? I â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have used Craigâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s List to help sell remaining seats.â&#x20AC;? I â&#x20AC;&#x153;Increased emphasis on use of online marketing options. Change in annual brochure format to provide info closer to departure date of tour.â&#x20AC;? LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2009 11


on tour O

marty de souto, ctc

Say “Si Si” To Mexico IN THE LAST ISSUE we discussed the

years ago was one to the states of

importance of planning trips closer to

Jalisco and Michoacan, on which we

In these villages we had opportunities

home in these times when our travelers

flew into Guadalajara and stayed for

to walk cobblestone streets and sit in the

are facing economic belt-tightening, fear

five nights in the nearby suburban arti-

plaza to hear the local band play. We

of the future and an unwillingness to ap-

san town of Tlaquepáque (pronounced

could poke our nose into lovely homes

pear to be Big Spenders. Both our neigh-

“tla-kuh-pahk-eh”) rather than in

with their hidden inner patios with tiled

bors – Canada and Mexico – are good

downtown Guadalajara. Our home

fountains and bougainvillea in bright or-

value, close to home and appealing. In

was a small bed-and-breakfast-style

anges, pinks and purples. We shopped

this issue, let’s take a look at Mexico.

posada rather than a big-city high-rise.

for pottery, glassware, embroidered

Many North Americans head south

From there we were able to visit the

streets and connecting tunnels.

linens, copperware and straw goods. In

of the border for a warm weather break-

sights of Guadalajara (the Orozco mu-

one town the visitors bureau set up a

away from blustery northern U.S. climes

rals, Cathedral, plazas and Libertad

day-long tour to artists’ studios.

in winter, looking for beaches, beauty

Discover the “real” Mexico in colonial towns far from the beach resorts.

and booze. And, bless their hearts, if this is all they want out of a vacation, so be it. But Mexico is so much more: historic Mexico, cultural Mexico and a Mexico of rich traditions not to be found in her superficial beach resorts, but rather in the interior of the country. Tours of her

Market) and attend the University’s Bal-

Another approach would be to fly

Spanish Colonial cities or perhaps of

let Folklórico. But many of us preferred

into Cancún or Mérida and enjoy visits

areas such as the Yucatán Peninsula

spending time in Tlaquepáque to browse

to Mayan archaeological sites such as

with its pre-Spanish cultures can be an

the artisan shops and lunch at El Patio

Chichen Itzá or Uxmal. There are colo-

eye-opener to our travelers.

Restaurant with its all-woman mariachi

nial-style inns nearby. At these sites your

band to serenade you over a mid-day

group can see the ball courts (where it’s

margarita.

said the captain of the losing team not

Best of all, Mexico is currently one of the “best buys” with the dollar now buying more than 14 pesos compared to

From Guadalajara, we then spent the

only lost the game, but lost his head as

a mere 10 a short time ago. The country

next five days staying in smaller colonial

well). They can also see the well where

and its people are accustomed to North

towns like San Miguel de Allende, so

the guides will tell you they threw the

American tourists and eager to have us.

popular with American residents and

beautiful virgins to appease the gods.

And, while emphasis still seems to be on

noted for its fine Art Institute. We vis-

the beach resorts like Cancún, Aca-

ited Dolores Hidalgo, birthplace of the

prove a satisfying and unforgettable

pulco, Puerto Vallarta and others, there

War of Independence from Spain, and

travel experience.

are operators who are once again offer-

lunched in Morelia, an

ing colonial cities routes or Indian cul-

aristocratic and elegant

tural experiences. Some operators will

university city. Another

custom-design group itineraries to show

interesting stop was

your travelers the best of these areas.

Pátzcuaro, and finally Guanajuato, a former

SMALL-TOWN BASE

mining town built in a

An itinerary that worked for me several

system of crazy zigzag

12 April 2009

All in all, the “real” Mexico can

Marty is founder and chair of the travel industry training program at Berkeley City College in Berkeley, California, where she teaches all aspects of group travel. You can reach her by e-mail at josemarty@yahoo.com. For information on her latest book, How To Plan, Operate and Lead Successful Group Trips, click on Premier Tourism Marketing’s educational web site, groupuniversity.com. LeisureGroupTravel.com


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on technology O

john kamm, ctp

Phone Services Go High-Tech NO ONE WOULD DENY that our op-

business phone numbers and will re-

tions for communicating with clients

ceive the calls and route them to the

and vendors have increased, but our

appropriate employee.

phone is still the go-to gadget for get-

for all you XXX-8687s out there. You will probably want to buy new VoIP devices (phones) to take full advantage of the hosted PBX services.

ting the deal done. Many businesses are

OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

There is a device standard known as

still using technology not far removed

Plans vary by vendor, but services you

SIP, Session Initiation Protocol, which

from the device that Alex Bell used to

should look for include: voicemail with

will enable you to use your new phones

reach out to Tom Watson, and hey, it

the ability to forward the voicemail as

on a number of vendor networks. SIP

works. Bell’s wax cylinder gramophone

an audio file to your email address. Call

VoIP phones vary in price, features and

worked, too, but we’ve moved on.

waiting, caller ID, caller ID masking,

complexity, and they are available from

There are sound reasons to move ahead

music on hold, 411 (directory assis-

a number of sources.

with newer phone technologies.

tance) and 911 are all pretty standard.

Meet VoIP, the abbreviation for “voice over Internet protocol,” which translates into big savings for your business phone services. The calls come and go on your Internet connection, which means you don’t need dedicated

More info? Google “hosted PBX”

You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to profit from the new phone technologies.

phone lines (or their monthly bill) nor do you pay the phone company for

“Follow me” lets you program a se-

or check out http://www.voip-

long distance charges. Check out

quence of numbers so that if you are not

news.com/. As you explore your op-

www.voipreview.org or Google “voip

at your desk, the system will try other

tions, do take time to speak with reps

plans.”

extensions or your cell phone before

from the hosted PBX services. you will

Unless the device sitting on your

going to voicemail. Staff members who

find them very helpful. While these

desk has a little wheel that you spin

work outside the office or are traveling

services have many features in com-

around in a circle as you dial, you prob-

can be included in the company’s net-

mon, there are differences and the reps

ably aren’t thinking, “I need to get a

work so callers can be seamlessly con-

can help craft a package of services that

new phone.” More likely, when you

nected to them no matter where they

fits your business needs best.

can’t get a line out or miss messages as

are. Call routing rules can be changed

you travel you are thinking in terms of

quickly and easily as the need arises.

a new phone system.

Most hosted PBX plans charge by

So, next time you call me, am I at my desk, am I in line at the airport or am I in that charming cafe in Mar-

You don’t need to be a Fortune 500

the extension; monthly fees vary de-

seilles? Only my hosted PBX call log

company to profit from the new phone

pending on features selected and the

knows for sure.

technologies. Known as “hosted PBXs,”

amount of calling time

these services link your VoIP devices

included. Toll-free num-

(phone extensions) through a central

bers are available, and

computerized service. The extensions

you can have most exist-

can be located anywhere. The only re-

ing numbers “ported”

quirement is a robust Internet connec-

over (transferred from

tion; a dial-up modem won’t cut it. The

your land line to the

hosted PBX is programmed with your

new service), good news

14 April 2009

John Kamm is a former tour operator and CEO of TourTech Systems, Inc., developers of TourTools®, the most popular tour reservations solution in North America. Visit www.tourtools.com for more information.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


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on theater O

rob franklin fox

Theater Under the Stars OUTDOOR HISTORICAL DRAMAS

Canyon, Tex. The story highlights the

of Pound Gap provides the perfect

deliver artistic entertainment and pro-

early struggles between cowboys and

backdrop for the bittersweet story of a

vide cultural tourists a unique opportu-

ranchers in the Texas panhandle.

country divided.

nity to experience local heritage.

Green’s Trumpet In The Land in New

Through music, dance, costumes, folk-

Philadelphia, Ohio, dramatizes the

formed all over the country: Honey In

lore and more, the live performances

conflicts that erupted on the Ohio

The Rock and Hatfields and McCoys

offer vacationers a taste of regional fla-

frontier during the Revolutionary War.

in Beckley, W.V.; Laura’s Memories in

vor. With such great group discounts

Outdoor historical dramas are per-

Mansfield, Mo; The Miracle Worker in

being offered this summer, these desti-

WORLD PREMIERE

Tuscumbia, Ala; The Old Homestead

nation theaters are looking especially

The driving force in the creation of

in Swanzey, N.H.; Tecumseh! in Chilli-

attractive to the group travel planner.

these historical presentations is a com-

cothe, Ohio, and Viva El Paso! in El

munity’s overwhelming desire to tell its

Paso, Tex.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green is credited with fathering America’s outdoor drama movement. Green’s The Lost Colony, the story of the first English settlement in America, opened in Manteo, N.C., in the summer of 1937. Originally conceived to

Outdoor historical dramas reflect a community’s desire to tell its story.

be a one-year celebration of the birth of Virginia Dare, the first English child

story. That is certainly the case for this

in the New World, the play proved so

summer’s most anticipated new out-

olina have to best opportunity to take

popular that it has been running ever

door drama. The world premiere of

in an outdoor drama. Besides The Lost

since.

Lincoln by Ken Jones is being pro-

Colony, theater goers can enjoy From

duced at Lincoln State Park in South-

This Day Forward in Valdese, Horn In

is that they are site-specific. Most are

ern Indiana on the very grounds where

The West in Boone, Miracle on the

performed on or near the actual site of

Abraham Lincoln grew up. Performed

Mountain in Crossnore, Tom Dooley:

the events portrayed in the play. For

in the park’s 1,500-seat, roofed am-

A Wilkes County Legend and Moon-

example, The Lost Colony’s Waterside

phitheater, Jones’s script promises to

shine and Thunder: The Junior John-

Theatre is on the grounds of the Na-

leave audiences with a deep under-

son Story in North Wilkesboro,

tional Park Service’s Fort Raleigh Na-

standing of the role Indiana played in

Pathway To Freedom and The Sword

tional Historic Site, the very place of

forging the character of America’s 16th

Of Peace in Snow Camp, and Unto

that first British colony.

president.

These Hills in Cherokee.

What makes these dramas so special

Three more of Green’s symphonic

This summer also brings the long-

dramas are performed annually in such

awaited revival of The

site-specific amphitheaters. In My Old

Little Shepherd of King-

Kentucky Home State Park in Bard-

dom Come, based on

stown, Ky., Stephen Foster: The Musi-

the Civil War novel by

cal brings alive the music of America’s

John Fox, Jr., in Letcher

first great composer. TEXAS! Musical

County, Kentucky. A

Drama is staged in the breathtaking

new amphitheater built

Palo Duro Canyon State Park near

at the site of the Battle

16 April 2009

However, travelers to North Car-

Outdoor dramas also serve as a Rob Franklin Fox is the director of the Institute of Outdoor Drama (IOD), a public service agency at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The IOD serves as a national clearinghouse for over 100 outdoor dramas nationwide. Contact: 919-962-1328, unc.edu/depts/outdoor. LeisureGroupTravel.com


training ground for up-and-coming

professionals from all over the Eastern

young actors, providing an opportunity

United States travel to Chapel Hill,

about outdoor drama and access the on-

to learn and hone their craft in a profes-

N.C., to take part in the National Out-

line Directory of Outdoor Drama by

sional environment. Each spring, hope-

door Drama Auditions on the campus of

visiting the website of the Institute of

ful college students and young theater

the University of North Carolina.

Outdoor Drama, unc.edu/depts/outdoor.

Group travel planners can learn more

Pennsylvania Arizona

Arizona Broadway Theatre Peoria 623-776-8400 azbroadwaytheatre.com Broadway Palm West Dinner Theatre Mesa 480-325-6700 broadwaypalmwest.com

Arkansas

Murry’s Dinner Playhouse Little Rock 501-562-3131 murrysdinnerplayhouse.com

California

Ben Bollinger’s Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre Claremont 909-626-3296 candlelightpavilion.com Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre Rancho Cordova 916-985-6361 garbeaus.com

Welk Resort Theatre Escondido 888-802-7469 WelkTheatreSanDiego.com

Florida

Alhambra Dinner Theatre Jacksonville 904-641-1212 alhambradinnertheatre.com

Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre Goodfield 309-965-2545 barn2.com

Tommy Gun’s Garage Chicago 312-225-0273 tommygunsgarage.com

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre Indiana Derby Dinner Playhouse Fort Myers Clarksville 239-278-4422 812-288-8281 broadwaypalm.com derbydinner.com Sleuths Mystery New Jersey Dinner Theatre Hunterdon Hills Playhouse Orlando Hampton 407-363-1985 908-730-8007 www.sleuths.com hhplayhouse.com

Illinois

Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse Rock Island 309-786-7733 circa21.com

North Carolina

Barn Dinner Theatre Greensboro 336-292-2211 barndinner.com

Allenberry Playhouse Boiling Springs (717) 258-3211

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre Lancaster 717-898-1900 DutchApple.com

Tennessee

Chaffin’s Barn Nashville 615-646-9977 dinnertheatre.com

Gaslight Dinner Theatre Dickson 888-700-2300 rcenter.org

Freedom Chapel Virginia Dinner Theatre Mystery Dinner Playhouse Christiana Richmond 610-593-7013 freedomchapeldinnertheatre.com 888-471-4802 mysterydinner.com The Pines Dinner Theatre Wisconsin Slatington The Armory 610-894-9630 Janesville pinesdinnertheatre.com 608-449-4278 janesvillearmory.com Rainbow Dinner Theatre Lancaster The Fireside Theatre 800-292-4301 Fort Atkinson rainbowdinnertheatre.com 800-477-9505 firesidetheatre.com The Riverside Inn Dinner Theatre Wyoming Cambridge Springs Jackson Hole Playhouse 800-964-5173 Jackson theriversideinn.com 307-733-6994 jhplayhouse.com

P E N N S Y LVA N I A

P E N N S Y LVA N I A


A R K A N S A S

F L O R I D A

I L L I N O I S

I N D I A N A

P E N N S Y LVA N I A

• Superb Dining • Professional Broadway Shows • Award-Winning Hospitality • Beautiful Gift Shoppes

W I S C O N S I N

More than you’d ever expect.

Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 • 800-477-9505 • www.firesidetheatre.com

ndta.com

THEATERS ARE LISTED ALPHABETICALLY BY STATE


on reunions O

edith wagner

Reunion Groups Endure the Economy WHO DOESN’T HAVE A STORY

sidering. Reunions, according to a recent

modations to banquets and catering, en-

about the economy? How it’s affecting

survey of Reunions magazine readers,

tertainment and souvenirs. Many re-

them, their families, friends and neigh-

are essential and important. Reunions

unions are returning to potluck meals,

bors. Yet through it all there are bright

are rarely considered discretionary ex-

but that’s an opportunity to show off

lights, and reunions are one of those.

penditures. Instead, they are seen as an

culinary expertise and resurrect family

The main purpose of all reunions is

important tradition that must be main-

favorites and often forgotten ethnic

to stay connected. It’s an obvious basis

tained regardless of what is going on in

recipes. Whereas everyone, including lo-

for class and military reunions, but in

the world. That was true following

cals, used to stay in hotels, now more

survey after survey done by Reunions

9/11, when a survey had reunion organ-

will be staying in homes.

magazine, it is the No. 1 reason given

izers defiantly proclaiming “no terrorist

for family reunions as well. Reunions

is going to stop our reunion.” In fact,

tion and visitors bureaus for expert ad-

are an opportunity for the youngest

many studies show that families draw

vice, local discounts and giveaways for

generations to be exposed to that

To save on costs, more reunions will rely on potluck meals and cut back on hotel nights.

plethora of relatives they rarely see because of time, distance or whatever reasons families don’t convene as often as they once did. The down economy struck just as

Reunion organizers look to conven-

more and more reunions had grown to be three-day events. That expansion

closer in tough times and a reunion is

goodie bags. They look to their own

from Sunday picnics was because many

the way that assures that many members

members to step up and provide every-

people travel to get there and want to

will make the effort to come together.

thing from donations to expertise. Not

make the trip worthwhile. The time and

that these things were not always there,

effort it takes to travel to the re-

COST-CUTTING MEASURES

but the economy but the economy has forced everyone to be far more creative.

union―and the investment in other

That is not to say that there has been no

needs and luxuries to make it a memo-

belt tightening. It is those recently typi-

rable event―are what may be taking the

cal three-day reunions that are the first

back entertainment may be the econ-

hits now.

thing examined as reunions look for

omy’s immediate effect on reunions. But

ways to save but still meet. One day cut

fewer reunions probably will not be the

means three fewer meals and a hotel

case. In fact, more families are organiz-

night, but the reunion goes on. After all,

ing several smaller reunions closer to

when will grandparents see grandchil-

concentrations of members so, in sheer

dren or cousins see cousins once they get

numbers, there may be more reunions.

But canceling or postponing reunions is a compromise most are not even con-

Reunions magazine provides information, ideas and inspiration using the experience of reunion organizers to demonstrate the how-tos and what-to-dos. Reunionsmag.com includes a forum for questions and discussions and podcasts that concentrate on planning details. A monthly e-blast highlights planning tips and drives readers to more information on the website. A Facebook fan page provides an easy alert system to stay in touch with readers. The magazine also offers a workbook that provides an extensive outline for reunion planning. LeisureGroupTravel.com

on with their ever busier lives? Reunion planners are looking for ways to save

Fewer days, fewer people and scaled

Edith Wagner is founder and editor of Reunions magazine, www.reunionsmag.com.

while encouraging members to attend. They’re looking for bargains for everything from accomApril 2009 19


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Leipzig: Church of St. Nicholas LeisureGroupTravel.com


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on location: northeast O

randy mink

Best of Broadway Producers value group business

because pre-sells fill theater seats during tough economic times

Sierra Boggess as Ariel in THE LITTLE MERMAID presented by Disney Theatrical Productions. ANTICIPATING THEIR TRIP to New

the reported closings were scheduled to

tragedy, appears on street pole banners

York City, many visitors have only one

be limited runs, she emphasized, and the

and bus stop shelters throughout the

thing in mind—Times Square and the

18 closings have been replaced by 23

city, while a video spot can be viewed in

lights of Broadway. Nothing compares

openings.

taxicabs. Tourists make up about 65

to the jostling crowds, the theater mar-

In terms of “the number of show

quees, the sheer electricity. Come show-

openings, the quality of the shows and

“Group pre-sells is a critical compo-

time, the magic of watching the house

the number of big-name stars” appear-

nent of the overall economics of Broad-

lights dim and seeing the curtain rise is

ing on Broadway, the 2008-2009 season

way,” St. Martin said. “Many of the

indescribable. Live theater beats a movie

has been a good one, St. Martin said,

shows are able to continue running dur-

anytime and adds razzle-dazzle to any

though it won’t be a record breaker.

ing tough times because groups put

group itinerary.

(The 39 Broadway theaters in 2007-

enough people in the theaters…All the

2008 sold 12.27 million tickets, grossing

producers cherish the group business.”

Despite a slumping economy and some negative publicity about recent show closings, ticket sales are up “sub-

$937.5 million) With Broadway theater a foundation

percent of Broadway audiences.

Carl Prince, vice president of ticket broker Theatre Direct International, re-

stantially” over last year and the current

of the city’s visitor industry, NYC &

ports that Broadway business is slower

season has seen the most openings (43)

Co., in cooperation with the Broadway

this year than last. “And everything

in the past decade, said Charlotte St.

League, launched a new promotional ef-

seems to be last-minute. We’ve been sit-

Martin, executive director of the Broad-

fort to encourage visitors and residents

ting on pins and needles more than in

way League, the national trade associa-

to support Broadway productions. Art-

the past.”

tion for the Broadway industry. Many of

work, depicting both comedy and

20 April 2009

Theatre Direct works actively with LeisureGroupTravel.com


groups to find the right show in the right price range. Whether it’s a senior or student group, the overwhelming preference is for musicals, Prince said. Seniors mostly want a “safe musical with lots of dancing, music and set changes” and “they rarely do plays,” said Prince, adding that content has to be considered for “certain words and situations.” Student tastes are more likely to cover a broader range of content, Prince said, and young groups will consider plays as well as musicals. According to a demographics study by the Broadway League, those under 18 years old accounted for a record 12.4 percent of the

JERSEY BOYS, Matt Bogart (Nick Massi), Jarrod Spector (Frankie Valli), Andrew Rannells (Bob Gaudio) and Dominic Nolfi (Tommy DeVito).

total Broadway audience in 2007-2008. The Phantom of the Opera, now in

with several important events. Mary

while the boys all around him are more

its 21st year, is the longest-running show

Poppins chalks up its 1,000th Broad-

interested in boxing. It has garnered

in Broadway history. Chicago: The Mu-

way performance on April 9 at the New

great reviews and enjoys high atten-

sical, a Broadway staple since 1996,

Amsterdam Theatre. The musical about

dance.

captivates audiences with show-stopping

the flying nanny, featuring songs like “A

tunes, dazzling dancing and all that jazz.

Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifrag-

are Wicked, Jersey Boys and the revival

Also packing the playhouses are Best

ilisticexpialidocious,” proved to be the

of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical

Musical Tony Award winners In the

most popular show that opened during

South Pacific, Prince said. He also sees

Heights (2008), Jersey Boys (2006),

the 2006-2007 season.

great things for 9 to 5: The Musical,

Avenue Q (2004) and The Lion King

The Little Mermaid, the No. 1-selling

Other bestsellers for Theatre Direct

which opens April 30 at the Marquis

(1998). Besides The Lion King, other

new musical of 2008, on April 7 wel-

Theatre, with previews beginning April

current Disney on Broadway block-

comes Broadway veteran and 1992

7. Based on the 1980 screwball comedy

busters are Mary Poppins and The Little

Tony Award winner Faith Prince as Ur-

starring Dolly Parton, the musical fea-

Mermaid.

sula, the evil sea witch. The Lion King,

tures a brand new score by Parton, in-

still going strong on Broadway, opens

cluding the blockbuster title song.

DISNEY MAGIC

May 15 at the Mandalay Casino & Re-

Emmy winner and Tony nominee Alli-

Disney has certainly puts its magical

sort as the first Disney sit-down produc-

son Janney (of TV’s The West Wing)

stamp on the Great White Way since

tion in Las Vegas.

stars as Violet, the super-efficient office

1994 and on April 18 marks 15 years

When asked about the hottest new

manager who joins her co-workers—

since Beauty and the Beast opened at

shows on Broadway, Billy Elliot: The

frazzled divorcee Judy and sexy secre-

the Palace Theatre. Disney’s musicals

Musical was first off the lips of both St.

tary Doralee—to turn the tables on their

have been seen by over 21 million peo-

Martin and Prince. Based on the 2000

“sexist egotistical, lying, hypocritical,

ple on Broadway and reach an annual

film, the family-friendly story is “knock-

bigot” of a boss. Also going back several

global audience of more than 10 million

ing it out of the ballpark” and “has lots

decades, Rock of Ages, a musical featur-

people in more than 40 countries

of different appeals,” St. Martin said.

ing the greatest hits of the 1980s, just

through licensed versions of its shows.

Featuring music by Elton John, the story

started previews and opens April 7.

Disney Theatrical Productions celebrates its 15th anniversary this spring LeisureGroupTravel.com

is about a poor, working-class boy who discovers his special talent for dancing

Groups that book a preview performance will see the show during its April 2009 21


northeast O randy mink

testing period, a time when kinks are

Sondheim masterwork, Spanish lines and

wife; Angela Lansbury plays the eccentric

worked out. After opening night, the

lyrics are woven into Jerome Robbins’

medium.

show is “frozen,” meaning union stipula-

1957 musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s

tions dictate that no more changes are al-

tragedy Romeo and Juliet, set on the tur-

star power to Broadway, but the tickets

lowed.

bulent streets of 1950s New York.

sell out fast and engagements are limited.

Slated for 2010 is a musical version of

The Age of Aquarius has dawned for

Big-name actors like Lansbury bring

Other celebrities on Broadway this spring

Spider-Man, to be directed by Julie Tay-

the first time in more than 30 years in a

include Academy Award winners Susan

mor (The Lion King), with music by

new production of Hair, a musical depict-

Sarandon and Geoffrey Rush in the tragi-

Bono and The Edge (including two U2

ing the world-changing cultural move-

comedy Exit the King and David Hyde

members). Also in development are musi-

ment of the Vietnam era through the eyes

Pierce in Accent on Youth. Jane Fonda, in

cal adaptations of the films Sleepless in

of free spirits searching for love, peace

her first Broadway stint in 45 years, stars

Seattle and Catch Me If You Can.

and meaning. The romantic musical

as a Beethoven-obsessed musicologist in

South Pacific, winner of seven 2008 Tony

the Moises Kaufman drama 33 Varia-

BLASTS FROM THE PAST

Awards, has been playing Lincoln Cen-

tions (through May 24 at the Eugene

Revivals of classic shows can be big

ter’s Vivian Beaumont Theater for a year.

O’Neill Theatre). Will Ferrell earlier this

draws. West Side Story, for example, just

Other current revivals are Guys and

year portrayed the 43rd president in

returned to Broadway after 28 years and

Dolls and Noel Coward’s 1941 Blithe

You’re Welcome America: A Final Night

has been a hot ticket. In this bilingual

Spirit, which features a novelist who un-

with George W. Bush, a regular sellout.

take on the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen

wittingly invokes the ghost of his first

Groups looking for something other than a musical also should consider August: Osage County. The drama about a dysfunctional American family in crisis won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 2008 Tony Award for Best Play. OFF-BROADWAY OPTIONS Off-Broadway theaters provide another option for groups in the Big Apple. The term “Off-Broadway” isn’t based on location but refers to smaller productions

© BMP / PHOTO BY JAMES PORTO

WONDERS OF THE WORLD EIGHT, NINE AND TEN Whether your group is craving comedy, music, or a stunning theatrical experience, Blue Man Group offers something for everyone. This unique theatrical experience is a form of entertainment like nothing else, guaranteed to be an outing that your group will never forget. Call us to learn more. Group & FIT Priority Ticketing NEW YORK

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in smaller theaters, with tickets less expensive than those big shows within steps of Times Square. Off-Broadway houses, though, can be right around the corner from Broadway; many are in downtown Manhattan. Off-Broadway shows tend to offer edgy, less mainstream fare. But some Broadway hits over the years have gotten their start at Off-Broadway houses like the East Village’s New York Theater Workshop, where Rent and Urinetown originated. Then there’s Off-Off-Broadway, the really experimental stuff performed at blackbox theaters scattered around the city.

22 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


northeast O randy mink

The Off-Broadway sensation Blue

dancing to a four-piece band as part of

tickets to Wicked is not required. Disney

Man Group has been filling the Astor

the package. A â&#x20AC;&#x153;Senior Social Hourâ&#x20AC;? fol-

offers groups behind-the-scenes tours of

Place Theatre in the East Village since

lows each performance of Flamingo

The Lion King and Mary Poppins.

1991. In a wild party atmosphere, three

Court, a comedy set in a South Florida

enigmatic bald and blue characters take

retirement complex; it returns April 18-

adult groups a number of workshops

the audience through a multi-sensory ex-

Sept. 6 to midtownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New World Stages

held in Broadway rehearsal studios.

perience that combines comedy, percus-

following last summerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s run starring

Choices include â&#x20AC;&#x153;Broadway 101,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cos-

sive music, art, science and vaudeville.

Jamie Farr and Anita Gillette.

tume Designâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Broadway Close-

Also in the East Village, Stomp has been

Theatre Direct offers student and

Up,â&#x20AC;? a question-and-answer session with

mesmerizing Orpheum Theatre guests

BEHIND THE SCENES

two Broadway pros. Other programs

since 1994 with percussive rhythms cre-

For an inside peek at how Broadway

focus on music and choreography, stage

ated by dancers using brooms, sticks,

works, groups can take â&#x20AC;&#x153;Behind the

make-up and the business of Broadway.

buckets, garbage cans and their bodies.

Emerald Curtain,â&#x20AC;? a tour guided by cast

Off-Broadway covers everything from

Many of us, though we wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t admit

members of Wicked at the Gershwin

it, have dreamed of singing and dancing

Shakespeare to Tony nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Tinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wedding,

Theatre. Tour members watch a back-

on stage, exhilarated by thunderous ap-

an interactive comedy at midtownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hotel

stage video from front-row seats and in

plause and the strains of music wafting

Edison. Audience members at the wed-

the â&#x20AC;&#x153;museumâ&#x20AC;? see an elaborate Wicked

from the orchestra pit. The next best

ding reception mingle with an exuberant

set model, costumes, wigs and props. The

thing is to snare a seat for a smash hit

Italian family, enjoying an Italian buffet,

public tour is at 10 a.m. Saturdays, but

musical. Come on along and listen to the

champagne toast, wedding cake and

groups can arrange other times. Buying

lullaby of Broadway!

LGT

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24 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


on our radar: northeast O

Plan Your Group Trip to

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Coinciding with the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, Ford’s Theatre just reopened for tours and performances after an 18-month renovation. Tours include a 45-minute presentation by a National Park Service ranger or a one-act play. The plays are One Des-

Ford’s Theatre sparkles anew.

tiny, which tells the Lincoln assassination events of April 14, 1865, through the eyes of the men who were

madametussaudsdc.com] The Smithsonian's National Museum

there, and The Road to Appomattox,

of American History, closed for more than

which takes a look at Generals Robert E.

two years for an $85-million facelift, re-

Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. After, visitors

cently reopened. Its centerpiece is the 200-

proceed across the street to the Petersen

year-old Star-Spangled Banner—the flag

House, where Lincoln died the next

that inspired the national anthem. The

morning.

new Star-Spangled Banner Gallery is the

The theater’s revamped museum opens

focal point of the dramatic five-story

this spring with historical artifacts and

skylit atrium. The first stanza of the na-

21st century technology. [202-638-2367,

tional anthem is projected prominently on

fords.org]

the wall above the Star-Spangled Banner.

Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C.

A tactile image of the banner and an inter-

has created a free “Educational Curricu-

active projection of the flag allow visitors

lum Guide” designed in accordance with

to investigate key details about the flag, its

the U.S. Department of National Social

history and how it was made.

Studies Standards and National Council

Other new museum features include a

TobysDinnerTheatre.com

FEATURING: Broadway Musicals Live Orchestra 7 Main Entrée Buffet 2 Salad Bars Vegetarian Friendly

for the Social Civil Rights Movement

grand staircase connecting the first and

Studies Standards. Also available are edu-

second floors, 10-foot-high artifact walls

cational seminars in which Madame Tus-

on both the first and second floor, and a

sauds studio artists give groups an

new gallery for the museum’s Lemelson

interactive presentation on what it takes

Center for the Study of Invention and In-

to create and maintain one of the life-like

novation. [202-633-1000, http://american-

wax figures from the worlds of politics,

history.si.edu]

Escort and Driver

MARYLAND

RESERVE SEATS TODAY!

history, sports and movies. Scavenger hunts serve as a teaching resource as students search for answers

Visiting the historic sites that depict the

about each figure’s contribution to history

slavery struggle has been made easier with

and test their knowledge on touch-screen

a new edition of the Underground Rail-

quizzes stationed throughout the attrac-

road: Maryland’s Network to Freedom

tion. Sleepovers are available and might

map and guide. This detailed guide high-

include a scavenger hunt, pajama fashion

lights all 41 sites, programs and facilities

show or karaoke. [202-942-7300,

in Maryland that tell the history of the

LeisureGroupTravel.com

Make-Your-Own Sundae Bar Free Motorcoach Parking Complimentary Tickets for

THEATRE OF COLUMBIA: 410-730-8311 or 1-800-88TOBYS THEATRE OF BALTIMORE: 410-649-1660 or 1-866-99TOBYS April 2009 25


on our radar: northeast O

Underground Railroad. At each location, visitors will learn about personal stories from the slaves who fought to gain freedom as well as those who helped them along the way. Programs range from the Frederick Douglass Driving Tour of Talbot County to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. [800-719-5900, visitmaryland.org] MASSACHUSETTS Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is adding “Twilight Tours” (April

Philadelphia’s Lights of Liberty Show

through September) to its schedule of year-round tours during the day. The oldest stadium in Major League Base-

uled to begin this spring and be com-

moonlight trips through history on

ball, best known for the 37-foot-tall left

pleted by the end of the year. Sixteen

April 17. On the evening journey

field fence known as the Green Monster,

major cruise lines are calling at Cruise-

through Independence National Histori-

dates from 1912 and underwent renova-

port Boston in 2009. [massport.com]

cal Park, tour members walk in his-

tions this winter. Available on game days

tory’s footsteps, experiencing the

are post-game field tours and batting

NEW YORK

American Revolution as it happened,

practice tours. The “Meals on the Mon-

The New York Film Academy and On

where it happened with 3-D surround

ster” package on non-game days in-

Location Tours offer students an experi-

sound and a lightweight wireless head-

cludes lunch, souvenir dirt and a

ence in the world of film. Students on

set. The show’s soundtrack includes an

40-minute tour. [617-226-6666,

the three-hour “New York TV and

original musical score played by

redsox.com]

Movie Sites” guided bus tours will visit

Philadelphia Orchestra musicians and

Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon

numerous locations that have been used

celebrity narration by Walter Cronkite,

Cruise Terminal will undergo a $3-mil-

in over 60 movies and TV shows shot in

Ossie Davis, Charlton Heston, Whoopi

lion upgrade to its passenger facilities.

New York such as The Cosby Show and

Goldberg, Frank Langella and others.

The project will brighten up the termi-

Spider-Man. After the tour, students par-

nal’s appearance and enhance the cruise

ticipate in a four-hour filmmaking

pendence Hall, audience members are

passenger experience. Enhancements

workshop at the academy. Students

moved as the Declaration of Independ-

will include painting the interior and ex-

learn every aspect of the filmmaking

ence scrolls up the iconic building and

terior with a white on gray palette, vi-

process, including writing, directing,

“God Bless America” plays. [215- 629-

brant accents, new ceilings, flooring and

shooting and editing. They work in

5801, ext. 209, historicphiladelphia.org]

carpeting, and colorful graphics that

groups to make a short film and then

showcase Boston as a destination. Addi-

screen it with the staff and fellow stu-

Visitor Center, the largest elk watching

tional improvements include expansion

dents. [212-683-2027, screentours.com]

and conservation education center in

of the mezzanine floor area for passen-

During the stirring finale at Inde-

The Pennsylvania Wilds Elk Country

the Eastern United States, is slated for

ger check-in, new light fixtures, way

PENNSYLVANIA

completion in fall 2009. Located in

finding signage, and the possible con-

The Lights of Liberty Show, Philadel-

North Central Pennsylvania, the 245-

struction of additional public restrooms

phia’s nighttime sound-and-light spec-

acre site is on Winslow Hill in Benezette

and a passenger elevator at the east end

tacular and the only show of its kind in

Township. Features include windows al-

of the terminal. Construction is sched-

America, begins another season of

lowing panoramic viewing of the largest

26 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


elk herd in the Northeast. A Story The-

maintaining and nurturing the historical

VERMONT

atre, interpretive and interactive ex-

42-acre Victorian garden at the

Vermont Tourism Network’s 2009 Ver-

hibits, and display space for local

Philadelphia Zoo; and brightening up a

mont Packaged Tour Manual is an 82-

artisans are also planned. The new facil-

neighborhood by helping paint a mural.

page reference for tour planners crafting

ity is a joint project of the Common-

“Where You’re at Liberty to Honor

itineraries in the Green Mountain State.

wealth of Pennsylvania and Rocky

Diversity” features Philadelphia’s

The manual contains more than 150

Mountain Elk Foundation.

African-American sights, attractions,

tour components, from festivals, farm

[pennsylvaniarmef.org]

tours, dining and entertainment venues,

tours and shopping villages to spas,

The Philadelphia Convention & Vis-

plus annual ethnic events. “Where

restaurants and lodging properties. Lake

itors Bureau (PCVB) recently updated

You’re at Liberty to Stretch Your Imagi-

Champlain cruises, Ben & Jerry’s ice

its group tour profile sheets with a new

nation” is geared toward the student

cream factory tour, Cold Hollow Cider

look and feel. The four-color, two-sided,

and youth group market. “Where

Mill and Vermont Teddy Bear Company

easy-to-read format provides informa-

You’re at Liberty to Take Center Stage”

are just a few of the attractions listed.

tion about a variety of activities for

lists descriptions and contact informa-

Organizers can plan their Vermont tours

groups. “Where You’re at Liberty to

tion for a variety of parades in which

online, creating one- to four-day tours

Volunteer” highlights 16 volunteer op-

groups can participate, plus perform-

or selecting from pre-packaged, ready-

portunities available to groups, such as

ance venues. [215-636-3312;

to-buy itineraries. Sample day tours are

helping Philabundance Food Bank

philadelphiausa.travel]

available as well. [802-863-1122,

package meals for local food pantries;

vermonttourismnetwork.travel]

scenic

perfect

historic

With 2,400 square miles of mountains,

authentic

it’s easy to find an affordable experience for everyone in your group.

it’s time for the pocono mountains.

SM

Q

Culinary Experiences

Q

Historic Towns & Museums

Q

Antiquing & Shopping Tours

Q

Gaming

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Theater Performances

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Soft Outdoor Adventure

Contact us today for information on our unique day and overnight packages.

800POCONOS.COM

LeisureGroupTravel.com

Q

800-722-9199

April 2009 27


on location: midwest O

john kloster

Midwest Dinner Theaters Cater to Groups Musicals are part of the fare at Derby Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville, Indiana. A GOOD PLAY IS A sure hit on al-

MINNESOTA

Gateway Arch. King Henry VIII and his

most any group itinerary. If the show

Chanhassen Dinner Theatre is a 90,000-

bevy of wenches have been at this for

starts at 7:30, you really want to get

square-foot entertainment complex that

four decades now, making it the longest-

tour members to the theater by 7:00,

was built over 40 years ago on a corn-

running medieval show in the country.

so you need to find a restaurant for

field outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

[314-621-5800, royaldumpe.com]

dinner not too far away. And you need

Not only was the location a risk, but so

to find one that’s open before 6:00,

was the decision to add a restaurant in

MICHIGAN

which not all are. Once you’ve been

combination with the theater. Today

Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA is located in

able to figure all that out, you wind up

Chanhassen is the nation’s largest pro-

the countryside just outside of Marshall,

spending the entire dinner time check-

fessional dinner theater as well as the

which is near Battle Creek. In its 20th

ing your watch. It’s great when you

largest privately owned restaurant in

year, Cornwell’s offers a year-round

lean back and the curtain rises, but by

Minnesota. [800-362-3515,

schedule of entertaining Broadway hits

that time you’ve already spent at least

chanhassentheatres.com]

and eight or nine lunch or dinner per-

a few frazzled hours. At a dinner theater, you don’t have to

formances weekly in an intimate setting. MISSOURI

The menus are designed to complement

worry about your meal reservation, you

Royal Dumpe Dinner Theatre promises

the show’s theme. Needless to say, visi-

know you won’t be late for the play, and

an evening of medieval madness in its

tors to Turkeyville don’t need to ask

both the food and the performances are

show of bawdy comedy and music. Lo-

what the entrée is going to be! [800-

generally very good. Here’s a sampling

cated in historic Laclede’s Landing along

228-4315, turkeyville.com]

of Midwest dinner theaters popular with

St. Louis’ Mississippi River waterfront,

group travelers:

it is the No. 1 attraction north of the

28 April 2009

Genitti’s Hole-in-the-Wall began in 1971 as a family-owned grocery store, LeisureGroupTravel.com


which expanded into a restaurant, bar

on the side

serves a seven-course, family-style dinner

Columbus Engages Travelers

with soup, pasta, antipasto, sausage,

Tour groups that want more than

Dublin, Ohio, immerse visitors in Irish

steak, chicken and cannoli. The show

sightseeing will find what they are

culture. On “Fiddlin' Fun,” guests lis-

after dinner changes every four months,

looking for in Columbus, Ohio. Expe-

ten to an Irish fiddler and play a few

but is always an interactive comedy.

rience Columbus’ Experiential Tours

notes themselves at Brazenhead, an au-

[248-349-0522, genittis.com]

have different themes and allow visi-

thentic Irish pub. The “Irish Dance

tors to customize their trip and focus

101” tour gives visitors a chance to

and gift shop and ultimately a Little Theater in 1992. Located in Northville, near

T

Detroit and Ann Arbor, the restaurant

on aspects of greater Columbus that in-

learn traditional dance steps at

Thunder Valley Inn in Wisconsin Dells is

terest them. The themed categories of-

Richens-Timm Dance Academy.

a 130-year-old farmstead that has been

fered are Arts & Culture, Culinary,

converted to an inn and restaurant. Visi-

Gardens, Great Neighborhoods, His-

Kitchen” at Woodhaven Farm in John-

tors travel back in time to the days of

tory, Play Here and Sports.

stown lets tour members pick fresh

WISCONSIN

Culinary – “Mix it Up in the

farm threshing and house parties. Anita

herbs in the organic garden and pre-

Nelson and her two daughters bring the

pare meals with Tami J. Cecil, a Culi-

old farm days alive with their threshing

nary Institute of America-trained chef.

dinner and show. Shows are also avail-

Play Here – “Untamed Morning

able seasonally at breakfast and lunch.

with the Animals” at the Columbus

Another option for groups is to visit the

Zoo and Aquarium lets guests eat

Nelsons’ working dairy farm. [877-254-

breakfast and interact with the ani-

4145, thundervalleyinn.com]

mals. A walking tour offers behind-the-

The Janesville Armory dates to 1930 and served as an Army training facility during World War II. The renovated

Express your inner artist at Archiver’s, a store at Easton Town Center.

scenes glimpses before gates open to the public. Sports – At Huntington Park, the country’s newest Triple-A stadium and

building’s Drill Hall Theater combines “Our Experiential Tourism Initia-

home to the Columbus Clippers, visi-

Theater is offered Friday through Sun-

tive has been so well received that we

tors experience life as a minor league

day, while Thursday evenings are dedi-

have expanded it to include a host of

baseball player. They play on the field,

cated to comedy. [866-995-7400,

new and unforgettable experiences,”

explore the players’ clubhouse, live

janesvillearmory.com]

said Experience Columbus tourism

through a press conference and are in-

dining with professional productions.

sales manager Brian Cheek. “Experi-

troduced to the “media” as a new

and -operated Fireside Theatre, which

ence Columbus is reaching out to mo-

player. Guests receive a personalized

began in 1964 as a small restaurant, has

torcoach groups as well as

jersey or bat at the end of the tour.

grown into a 1,000-seat restaurant and

conventions, groups of friends, church

700-seat theater-in-the-round with state-

groups, Red Hat organizations, and

chance to take backstage theater tours,

of-the-art sound and lighting systems for

other clubs and associations, inviting

see trainers and jockeys in action at

Broadway-style productions. The theater

them to take advantage of these one-

Beulah Park racetrack in Grove City,

offers 9-10 performances weekly, includ-

of-a-kind tours.”

and mix, bottle and cork their own

In Fort Atkinson, the family-owned

ing lunch matinees Wednesday through

More than 20 Experiential Tours

Other options offer visitors the

wine at Camelot Cellars. For more in-

Saturday, Thursday through Saturday

provide special access and learn-by-

formation on Experiential Tours in

evening dinner theater, Sunday morning

doing activities. The following is just a

Columbus, call 800-354-2657 or visit

brunch buffet and Sunday afternoon

taste of what’s available:

experiencecolumbus.com.

dinner theater. There are five gift shops, LeisureGroupTravel.com

Arts & Culture - Two tours in

— Roseanne Segovia April 2009 29


midwest O

some seasonal, with over 50,000 differ-

forms around and with the audience,

Broadway musicals, plus four children’s

ent items. The Fireside also produces

with audience members chosen to play

productions and seven concerts annually.

Christian concerts. [800-477-9505,

minor characters in the show. The actors

The theater’s vocal ensemble performs

firesidetheatre.com]

answer questions about the plot to help

during the buffet meal. [812-288-8281,

provide clues. The shows change every

derbydinner.com]

OHIO

two months. They are staged in restau-

La Comedia Dinner Theatre in Spring-

rants, appearing each Tuesday in Colum-

ater in its Round Barn. This 1911 facility,

boro, outside of Dayton, features six

bus, each Monday and some Fridays in

dismantled by Amish carpenters and re-

Broadway-style shows a year, plus con-

Dayton, and monthly in Lima and Mid-

assembled on a steel supporting structure,

certs. Each show is cast from auditions in

dletown. [937-287-5453,

holds 375 guests. A nine-month season of

New York as well as locally. The buffet

mayhemmystery.com]

Broadway musicals plays in repertory

features their own papaya chutney salad

Amish Acres in Nappanee offers the-

with Plain and Fancy, a 1950s Broadway

dressing, chef-carved meats, dishes

INDIANA

production about the Amish near Lan-

evoked by the production and the famous

Derby Dinner Playhouse is in Clarksville,

caster, Pa. (now in its 19th year at Amish

sweet potato soufflé. [800-677-9505, la-

which is directly across the river from

Acres). Dining is a Threshers Dinner at

comedia.com]

Louisville, Ky. One of the oldest and

the Restaurant Barn. This is the kind of

largest continuously-operating dinner

family-style meal that was served to the

involves dinner followed by an interactive

theaters in the country, it opened in 1974

men who spent long summer days thresh-

evening of detective work as the audience

and serves over 200,000 guests yearly.

ing in the fields. Fried chicken, mashed

tries to solve the mystery. The cast per-

There are eight weekly performances of

potatoes, biscuits, relishes and pies are

Mayhem and Mystery Dinner Theatre

typical fare. The meal has been repeatedly selected as Indiana’s best meal by food writers. [800-800-4942, amishacres.com] ILLINOIS Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse in downtown Rock Island is housed in the historic Fort Armstrong Theatre. Opened in 1921, the theater originally was a popular vaudeville and silent movie house. When founder Dennis Hitchcock bought the historic building in 1976, he saved it from demolition. Now the building has been refurbished to look as it did when it opened in 1921, complete with a replica of the original marquee. This professional dinner theater is one of only two left in the country with performing wait staff. Shows are Wednesday afternoon and evening, Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday at 4 p.m. [309-786-7733, circa21.com] Tommy Gun’s Garage bills itself as “Chicago’s only original Speakeasy Dinner Theater.” Located on the city’s Near 30 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


on our radar: midwest O South Side, it recreates the Prohibition era of the 1920s, when the ban on liquor gave rise to illegal taverns. The performance is interactive, with the audience participating in the singing and dancing and, of course, when the joint gets raided by the cops. The musical comedy revue features selections from composers of the era. [312-225-0273, tommygunsgarage.com] Medieval Times Dinner and Show in northwest suburban Schaumburg is one of nine castle-like locations of this chain The Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing

in North America. Guests enjoy a fourcourse feast, seated in sections that surround a central arena. Six knights in authentic costumes represent each of these regions. After dinner the knights

ILLINOIS

The Modern Wing, the largest addition

on horseback compete in a recreated

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium on May 22

in the history of the Art Institute of

medieval jousting tournament. [866-

will open its renovated Oceanarium and

Chicago, opens May 16. Designed by

543-9637, medievaltimes.com/

welcome home marine animals that

Renzo Piano, the wing will be con-

findcastles/schaumburg/]

have been “on vacation” since last Sep-

nected to Millennium Park by a pedes-

tember. Guests will get reacquainted

trian bridge designed by the

cility, seating nearly 1,000 guests. Lo-

with the Oceanarium's beluga whales,

world-famous architect. On the first

cated 20 miles west of downtown

Pacific white-sided dolphins, Alaskan

floor will the Ryan Education Center,

Chicago, it presents a series of musicals

sea otters, sea lions and penguins. They

with classroom and studio space for

with matinee and evening performances

will experience the new Polar Play Zone

school children and families, and a ded-

Wednesdays through Sundays. Drury

for children and Grainger Beluga En-

icated entrance for school groups.

Lane is somewhat unique among dinner

counter Habitat.

Drury Lane Oak Brook is a large fa-

theaters in that groups have the option

Shedd’s new marine mammal show

The Modern Wing will house the Art Institute’s permanent collections of

of either purchasing the package with

debuts in late summer. The marine

modern European art, including works

the meal or without. [630-570-7272,

mammal amphitheater has been up-

by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Piet

drurylaneoakbrook.com]

dated with the latest visual and acoustic

Mondrian and Salvador Dali, and con-

technology. Extra seating has been

temporary art by such masters as Jack-

located in a 70-year-old barn on an

added and sightlines have been im-

son Pollock, Willem de Kooning and

1850s farm outside of Bloomington/

proved. In the Beluga Encounter Habi-

Andy Warhol. Galleries also will show-

Normal. Audience seating is on the

tat, guests don wader boots and see

case collections in photography, archi-

main floor in what was the cattle show

firsthand the care Shedd gives its beluga

tecture and design. Inaugurating the

ring and in the hayloft. Performances

whales. In this premium encounter ex-

special exhibitions galleries (through

are offered year-round Thursday

perience, they will see a whale up close,

Sept. 13) will be Cy Twombly: The Nat-

through Saturday with a Sunday

feel its skin and use training techniques

ural World, Selected Works 2001-2007,

brunch. This year’s plays are all come-

learned from professional animal train-

with works by the artist never seen in a

dies. The theater is named after

ers. In addition, Shedd is upgrading and

U.S. museum. [312-857-7104,

Chaunce Conklin, who brought the first

expanding food service areas. Also new

artic.edu]

professional, resident theater company

are lockers, restrooms and elevators.

to central Illinois in 1975 with his pur-

[312-692-3333, sheddaquarium.org]

Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre is

chase of the farm. [309-965-2545, 32 April 2009

Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry on Oct. 9 opens YOU! The Experience, a permanent exhibit celeLeisureGroupTravel.com


brating the mind, body and spirit. Guests can test their physical capabilities through interactive features like boxing with a virtual coach and Mind Ball, a game in which players win by controlling their brainwaves. The Human Patient Simulator, a computer model-driven, full-sized mannequin that simulates real-life medical scenarios, will allow guests to diagnose and treat medical conditions. [800-4686674, msichicago.org]

Funerary Mask of Psusennes I INDIANA The exhibition Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs opens June 27 at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Through September, it will present more than 130 treasures from the tomb of the celebrated pharaoh King Tut and other ancient sites. On display will be Tutankhamun’s golden sandals, jewelry, furniture, weaponry and statuary, including the largest image of King Tut ever found – a 10-foot statue that originally may have stood at Tutankhamun’s mortuary temple and retains much of its original paint. One of the four gold and precious-stone-inlaid canopic coffinettes that contained LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2009 33


on our radar: midwest O

his mummified internal organs also will

the city skyline. With a facade of glass

years ago. The final descent will include

be exhibited.

and Minnesota limestone, Target Field

a trip down a zipline measuring over

In conjunction with the exhibit, the

will feature one of the closest seating

2,500 feet long. Tour guides will share

museum in June will unveil its perma-

bowls to the playing field in Major

information with riders about South-

nent $8-million Global Perspectives ex-

League Baseball and approximate the

west Ohio history, ecology of the re-

hibit, which will focus on one culture

size of PNC Park in Pittsburgh and San

gion, basic physics of “zipping” and the

every few years—the first being mod-

Francisco’s AT&T Park. A 360-degree

state park. [800-433-1072,

ern-day Egypt. [317-334-3322,

open main concourse, twice as wide as

ohioslargestplayground.com/zipline]

childrensmuseum.org]

the current Metrodome, will provide uninterrupted views of the playing field.

WISCONSIN

The Lincoln Amphitheatre at Lincoln

Artwork will celebrate the heritage of

The Great Circus Parade is back in Mil-

State Park will celebrate the bicenten-

baseball and the Twins.

waukee for the first time since 2003.

nial of our 16th president’s birth with a

[minnesota.twins.mlb.com]

The July 12 parade will feature more

new play entitled Lincoln. The play premiering June 12 will illustrate Abraham Lincoln’s life, from his boyhood when he lived in what is now known as Lincoln City, Ind., to the legacy he created as president. A play ticket includes a meal, viewing the Lincoln archives, scenic walking tours where Lincoln himself once walked as a boy, and free popcorn and soft drinks during the 15-minute intermission. Artisans will demonstrate pioneer tasks such as weaving and spinning as well as play period music. The covered amphitheater seats 1,500 and is located in woods inside the Southern

A new zipline attraction awaits adventuresome travelers in Warren County, Ohio.

Indiana state park, near Lincoln City. The play will run until Aug. 15 and is

OHIO

than 100 units, including 52 historic cir-

open six days a week, Tuesday through

Ozone Zipline Adventures, the largest

cus wagons from Circus World in Bara-

Sunday. [800-264-4223,

zipline attraction in the Midwest, will

boo. There will be 300 horses pulling

lincolnamphitheatre.com]

open on May 23 at YMCA Camp Kern

colorful wagons and carriages, plus 14

in Oregonia, Warren County. It will in-

bandwagon bands and 10 marching

MINNESOTA

clude some of the longest single zipline

bands. The two-hour parade begins at

Target Field, the Minnesota Twins’ new

runs in the U.S. The canopy (tree-top)

1:30 p.m. at the lakefront and continues

40,000-seat ballpark, is set to open in

tour will feature nine ziplines totaling

through the downtown area. Wagons

2010, marking the team’s 50th season

over 10,000 feet in length and reach

will be on display June 28-July 5 during

of playing baseball in the Upper Mid-

heights of 170 feet. Riders will zip

Circus Parade Roll Out Days, followed

west. Located adjacent to the Target

through the Little Miami River Valley

by the July 8-11 Great Circus Parade

Center in Minneapolis’ North Loop

and connect to Fort Ancient State Park,

Festival, which has circus performances,

neighborhood and historic warehouse

home of North America’s largest prehis-

animal rides and parade practice runs.

district, the open-air, natural-grass park

toric Native American hilltop enclosure

[866-693-1500,

is expected to offer spectacular views of

and earthen walls built more than 2,000

circusworldmuseum.com]

34 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


on location: travel south O

randy mink

Travel South

Spotlight

The renovated Louisville Slugger Museum in downtown Louisville sports a new look inside.

IF YOU HAVEN’T NOTICED LATELY, DOZENS OF DEVELOPMENTS ARE

IN LOUISVILLE, THE enhanced Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory has racheted up its visitor appeal, and a new Abraham Lincoln statue will be unveiled

TRANSFORMING THE TOURISM SCENE

June 4 on the Ohio riverfront. Thomas Jefferson’s

IN THE 12 MEMBER STATES OF TRAVEL

visitor center. Consider the Viking Cooking School

Monticello in Charlottesville boasts a sparkling new opening this summer in Ridgeland, Miss., or the new

SOUTH USA. DOWNTOWNS ARE BEING REVITALIZED. NEW ATTRACTIONS ARE POPPING UP, AND OLD FAVORITES ARE

culinary tour in Clarksville, Tenn. Get ready for the inaugural Christmas celebration at Busch Gardens Williamsburg or the Ferris wheel at Kings Dominion near Richmond. If your group is into ghosts, check out the Paraplex complex in New Orleans.

TAKING ON A NEW LOOK. Tour planners are freshening up their 2009 itineraries with these crowd-pleasers and have an eye on what’s looming on the horizon. State tourism offices, destination marketing organizations, tour operators and indi38 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


vidual attractions will be spotlighting the latest developments at the 2009 Travel South Showcase, set for April 4-8 at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Fla. [travelsouthusa.org] The following state-by-state reports provide just a sampling of the many new things to see and do in the South.

Visitors to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile can perform virtual cardiac surgery and hold a beating holographic heart in their hands in the new permanent exhibit My BodyWorks. The gallery fills the museum’s first floor with nearly 50 hands-on

Mobile’s Gulf Coast Exploreum offers a new take on health.

health exhibits, plus a health and biology laboratory that features dynamic demonstrations and changing programs.

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[251-208-6873, exploreum.com] Also in Mobile, the Hank Aaron Museum and Learning Center opens in April at Hank Aaron Stadium at GasLight Park, home of the minor league Mobile Bay Bears, an AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The baseball great’s boyhood home has been moved from the Toulminville area and is being restored to its 1942 appearance.

The Hilarious Celebration of Women and The Change®

[mobilebaybears.com] The Alleyway project, an entertainment district at least five years in the making, aims to be the dining, nightlife and corporate hub of downtown Montgomery when it officially opens in 2010. Dreamland BBQ and SaZa’s Pizza and Italian plan to open this spring. Conversion of the alley will include specialty boutiques and possibly a rooftop bar for spectators LeisureGroupTravel.com

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April 2009 39


travel south O

watching the minor league Biscuits play baseball. Also being planned is a Hank Williams “saloon-type” bar to complement the Hank Williams Musuem next door to The Alley, and the Alabama Children’s Museum under construction plans to open in December 2010. Another addition to downtown’s revitalization was the recent return of the Harriott II Riverboat, which underwent renovation in Savannah, Ga. [800-2409452, visitingmontgomery.com] Ground has been broken on Country Crossings, a multi-million-dollar country music destination resort near

Drop by the Fort Chaffee Barbershop Museum to see where Elvis Presley got his first Army haircut.

Dothan, the “Peanut Capital of the World.” Partners in the 10-venue project include a Nashville record producer and numerous country music stars. Celebrity restaurants will include George Jones’ Possum Holler Dinner Theater & Restaurant, Tracy Lawrence’s BBQ,

Crystal Bridges Museum of American

Center. The Fort Chaffee Barbershop

John Anderson’s Seminole Wind Buffet,

Art opens in 2011 in Bentonville. Lo-

Museum is the site where Pvt. Elvis

Darryl Worley’s Worley Bird Cafe and

cated in a forested valley with gar-

Presley got his first military haircut

Lorrie Morgan’s Diner. The 15,000-seat

dens and trails, the museum will

when he was inducted into the Army

Mandolin Grove Amphitheater will be

showcase art from the Colonial pe-

in March, 1958. The Enchanted Doll

open year-round for concerts and

riod to the 20th century, including

Museum showcases more than 5,000

events. Also included will be a bowling

Native American art. Founded by

antique dolls. Vietnam Veterans

center, themed resort hotels, shops, a

Alice Walton, an heiress of Ben-

Museum contains Vietnam War mem-

water park and RV park. Plans call for

tonville-based Wal-Mart, the striking

orabilia. The nature center overlooks

Phase 1 to open later this year. [coun-

glass-and-wood museum, within

Wells Lake. [800-637-1477,

trycrossingalabama.com]

walking distance of downtown, will

fortsmith.org]

exhibit such masterworks as George Alabama Adventure in Bessemer will

Washington portraits by Charles Will-

The exhibition World of the

soon unveil UpSurge, a $1-million addi-

son Peale and Gilbert Stuart, the

Pharaohs: Treasures of Egypt Re-

tion to Splash Beach water park. Ex-

Hudson River School Kindred Spirits

vealed runs from Sept. 25, 2009, to

pected to open in mid-April, the new

by Asher B. Durand and Spring by

July 5, 2010, at the Arkansas Arts

attraction will feature a 47-foot tower

Winslow Homer. [479-418-5703,

Center in Little Rock. The first exhi-

that riders will plummet down in single

crystalbridgesartmuseum.org]

bition of Egyptian art to come to

or double inner tubes through 216 feet

Arkansas (from the Museum of Fine

of dark bends, twists and turns before

Fort Smith’s new Chaffee Crossing

Arts in Boston) features more than

going back up a vertical half-pipe and

Museum District, located on the for-

200 objects, including a majestic

ending in a 25,000-gallon splash pool.

mer Fort Chaffee Army base, includes

colossus of Ramesses II, jewelry,

[205-481-4750,

three museums and the Janet Huck-

stone vessels, statues and funerary ar-

alabamaadventure.com].

abee Arkansas River Valley Nature

tifacts. [501-372-4000; arkarts.com]

40 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


6 W D\ D W ' H * U D\

ARKANSASâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ISLAND RESORT LODGE

Book your next tour at Arkansasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resort state park in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Here on scenic DeGray Lake, resort amenities combine with outdoor adventure including sunset lake cruises, swimming, hiking, golf, tennis and nature programs. Your group will love this resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s island lodge and its sweeping views.

2QH RI  $UNDQVDV 6WDWH 3DUNV  Â&#x2021; 'H*UD\FRP

Something for everyone Every member of your Â&#x2030;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2014;Â&#x2019; Â&#x2039;Â&#x2022; Â&#x2020;Â&#x2039;ĆĄÂ&#x2021;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2013;Ǥ Â&#x201D;Â&#x2018;Â? Â&#x2022;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2022; Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2014;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2022; Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018; Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2022;ÇĄ Â&#x2019;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2030;Â&#x2020;Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2018;ĆĄÂ&#x2021;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2022; Â&#x2022;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2021;Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2030; Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D; Â&#x2021;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;Â&#x201D;Â&#x203A;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2021;Ǥ Â&#x2018;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2013; Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2122;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013; Â&#x201D;Â?Â&#x192;Â?Â&#x2022;Â&#x192;Â&#x2022; Â&#x192;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2014;Â&#x201D;Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2022; Â&#x192;Â&#x2013; Â&#x201D;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013; Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2019;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â?Ǥ Â&#x2039;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2021; Â&#x192; Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2020; Â&#x201D;Â&#x192;Â&#x2039;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2026;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2014;Â&#x2030;Â&#x160; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2022;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2039;Â&#x2026; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018;Â? Â&#x2018;Â&#x2014;Â?Â&#x2013;Â&#x192;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2022;Ǥ Â&#x2013;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2019; Â&#x201E;Â&#x192;Â&#x2026;Â? Â&#x2039;Â? Â&#x2013;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2021; Â&#x192;Â&#x2013; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x160;Â&#x2039;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x160; Â&#x2014;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2014;Â? Â&#x2018;Â&#x2C6; Â&#x153;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â? Â&#x2039;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x203A;Ǥ Â&#x2018;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2039;Â? Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x160;Â&#x2039;Â&#x2030;Â&#x160;ÇŚÂ&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2021;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2030;Â&#x203A; Â&#x201D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2018; Â&#x192;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2039;Â&#x2018;Â? Â&#x192;Â&#x2013; Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2022; Â&#x2013;Â&#x192;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2039;Â&#x2014;Â?ÇĄ Â&#x160;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2021; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2C6; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2018; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2C6; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x153;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â?Â&#x2022;Ǥ Â&#x2039;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;ÇŚÂ&#x2026;Â&#x17D;Â&#x192;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2022; Â&#x160;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2021;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2022;ÇĄ Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;Â&#x192;Â&#x2014;Â&#x201D;Â&#x192;Â?Â&#x2013;Â&#x2022; Â&#x192;Â?Â&#x2020; Â&#x2022;Â&#x160;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2022; Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2026;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2039;Â&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2013;Â&#x17D;Â&#x203A; Â&#x17D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2026;Â&#x192;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2020; Â?Â&#x2021;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D; Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D; Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â&#x192; Â&#x192;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2013;Â&#x201D;Â&#x192;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2039;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2022;Ǥ

Â&#x2022;Â&#x2019;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2030;Â&#x2020;Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2021;ǤÂ&#x2026;Â&#x2018;Â? Č&#x2C6; Í&#x2022;ÇŚÍ&#x153;Í&#x201D;Í&#x201D;ÇŚÍ?Í&#x203A;Í&#x2013;ÇŚÍ&#x203A;Í&#x2013;Í&#x161;Í&#x2022;

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6 W D\ D W ' H * U D\

ARKANSASâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ISLAND RESORT LODGE

Book your next tour at Arkansasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resort state park in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Here on scenic DeGray Lake, resort amenities combine with outdoor adventure including sunset lake cruises, swimming, hiking, golf, tennis and nature programs. Your group will love this resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s island lodge and its sweeping views.

2QH RI  $UNDQVDV 6WDWH 3DUNV  Â&#x2021; 'H*UD\FRP

Something for everyone Every member of your Â&#x2030;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2014;Â&#x2019; Â&#x2039;Â&#x2022; Â&#x2020;Â&#x2039;ĆĄÂ&#x2021;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2013;Ǥ Â&#x201D;Â&#x2018;Â? Â&#x2022;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2022; Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2014;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2022; Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018; Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2022;ÇĄ Â&#x2019;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2030;Â&#x2020;Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2018;ĆĄÂ&#x2021;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2022; Â&#x2022;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2021;Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2030; Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D; Â&#x2021;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;Â&#x201D;Â&#x203A;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2021;Ǥ Â&#x2018;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2013; Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2122;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013; Â&#x201D;Â?Â&#x192;Â?Â&#x2022;Â&#x192;Â&#x2022; Â&#x192;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2014;Â&#x201D;Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2022; Â&#x192;Â&#x2013; Â&#x201D;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013; Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2019;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â?Ǥ Â&#x2039;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2021; Â&#x192; Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2020; Â&#x201D;Â&#x192;Â&#x2039;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2026;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2014;Â&#x2030;Â&#x160; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2022;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2039;Â&#x2026; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018;Â? Â&#x2018;Â&#x2014;Â?Â&#x2013;Â&#x192;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2022;Ǥ Â&#x2013;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2019; Â&#x201E;Â&#x192;Â&#x2026;Â? Â&#x2039;Â? Â&#x2013;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2021; Â&#x192;Â&#x2013; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x160;Â&#x2039;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x160; Â&#x2014;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2014;Â? Â&#x2018;Â&#x2C6; Â&#x153;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â? Â&#x2039;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2018;Â&#x201D;Â&#x203A;Ǥ Â&#x2018;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2039;Â? Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x160;Â&#x2039;Â&#x2030;Â&#x160;ÇŚÂ&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2021;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2030;Â&#x203A; Â&#x201D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2018; Â&#x192;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2039;Â&#x2018;Â? Â&#x192;Â&#x2013; Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2022; Â&#x2013;Â&#x192;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2039;Â&#x2014;Â?ÇĄ Â&#x160;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2021; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2C6; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2020;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2018; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2C6; Â&#x2013;Â&#x160;Â&#x2021; Â&#x153;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â?Â&#x2022;Ǥ Â&#x2039;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;ÇŚÂ&#x2026;Â&#x17D;Â&#x192;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2022; Â&#x160;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2021;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2022;ÇĄ Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2013;Â&#x192;Â&#x2014;Â&#x201D;Â&#x192;Â?Â&#x2013;Â&#x2022; Â&#x192;Â?Â&#x2020; Â&#x2022;Â&#x160;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2022; Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021; Â&#x2026;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2039;Â&#x2021;Â?Â&#x2013;Â&#x17D;Â&#x203A; Â&#x17D;Â&#x2018;Â&#x2026;Â&#x192;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2020; Â?Â&#x2021;Â&#x192;Â&#x201D; Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D; Â&#x192;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2021;Â&#x192; Â&#x192;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2013;Â&#x201D;Â&#x192;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2013;Â&#x2039;Â&#x2018;Â?Â&#x2022;Ǥ

Â&#x2022;Â&#x2019;Â&#x201D;Â&#x2039;Â?Â&#x2030;Â&#x2020;Â&#x192;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2021;ǤÂ&#x2026;Â&#x2018;Â? Č&#x2C6; Í&#x2022;ÇŚÍ&#x153;Í&#x201D;Í&#x201D;ÇŚÍ?Í&#x203A;Í&#x2013;ÇŚÍ&#x203A;Í&#x2013;Í&#x161;Í&#x2022;

GcXe Xe <oZ`k`e^# Le`hl\ Xe[ 8]]fi[XYc\ ^\kXnXp `e 8IB8EJ8J N\cZfd\ kf 8ibXejXj# fe\ f] k_\ dfjk X]]fi[XYc\ ^iflg kiXm\c [\jk`eXk`fej `e k_\ Jflk_% ?`b\ kf jZ\e`Z m`jkXj `e k_\ FqXib DflekX`ej# Ă&#x2022;fXk k_\ lejgf`c\[ nXk\ij fe k_\ 9l]]Xcf EXk`feXc I`m\i fi `e[lc^\ `e jflc ]ff[ Xe[ Ycl\j dlj`Z `e k_\ 8ibXejXj ;\ckX% J_fg ]fi Xik Xe[ le`hl\ ^`]kj `e <li\bX Jgi`e^j% ;`jZfm\i ]XjZ`eXk`e^ dlj\ldj ]fi Xcc X^\j Xe[ `ek\i\jkj# `eZcl[`e^ C`kkc\ IfZbĂ&#x2039;j :c`ekfe Gi\j`[\ek`Xc :\ek\i Xe[ GXib% <ogcfi\ 9cXeZ_Xi[ Jgi`e^j :Xm\iej fi YXk_\ `e k_\ eXkliXc k_\idXc nXk\ij f] ?fk Jgi`e^j% 8ibXejXjĂ&#x2039;j d`c[ ]fli$j\Xjfe Zc`dXk\ dXb\j ]fi gc\XjXek kiXm\c p\Xi$ifle[% =fi dfi\ `e]fidXk`fe fe ^iflg kiXm\c `[\Xj fi kf m`\n jXdgc\ `k`e\iXi`\j# m`j`k 8ibXejXj>iflgKiXm\c%Zfd%


travel south O

Orlando’s Universal Studios this spring will open a new roller coaster, Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit. The high-tech, multi-sensory experience will include audio and special effects with onboard and offboard LED-screen videos for riders to create a unique experience by choosing which song they will hear while on the roller coaster and compil-

An underwater experience enhances SeaWorld Orlando’s new Manta coaster.

ing it into a take-home music video when the ride is over. The ride reaches

tion that transitions riders from air to

which provides floor-to-ceiling window

speeds up to 65 m.p.h. and stands 17

sea. Guests will experience underwater

views of more than 300 rays, including

stories tall. [407-363-8000,

animal habitats, soar face-down in a

shark rays, spotted eagle rays and leop-

universalorlando.com]

horizontal position at nearly 60 m.p.h.,

ard rays. [407-351-3600, seaworld.com]

and come within inches of the ocean. SeaWorld Orlando is nearly finished

Visitors who choose not to ride can in-

Saenger Theatre in Pensacola, Fla., fresh

with Manta, a new roller coaster attrac-

stead experience the attraction itself,

from a multi-million-dollar renovation,

Only Hot Springs gives you luxury and excitement like this – from sunup to well after the sun goes down. Bring your group to the South’s famous Spa City, home of historic Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park. Play the ponies at Oaklawn Racing and Gaming, one of America’s oldest racetracks, now with an all-new gaming center. Shop for art and charming gifts in one-of-a-kind boutiques. Explore all the glories of nature at Garvan Woodland Gardens. Enjoy all of this and a whole lot more in America’s First Resort. For a free Group Tour Planner, call 1-800-922-6478 or visit www.hotsprings.org.

44 April 2009

LGT/09

LeisureGroupTravel.com


travel south O

Florida, cont. just opened with the production of Jesus

50 tons of ice. Every six months, ICE-

alligators and other animals. There are

Christ Superstar. Upgrades to the theater

BAR Orlando’s interior is transformed

also two sky-bridges that pass over a

include additional restrooms, installa-

into a new theme. Admission is $30 and

forested wetland. [866-854-3837,

tion of larger seating and improved

includes a premium vodka beverage in a

floridaecosafaris.com]

acoustics. Built in 1925, the Spanish

glass made of ice for guests 21 and older

Baroque theater is one of only four

and a non-alcoholic beverage for

Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte

Saenger theaters still operating in the

younger guests. [407-426-7555,

has completed renovations just in time

South and is listed on the National Reg-

icebarorlando.com]

for the upcoming baseball season. The

ister of Historic Places. [850-595-3880, pensacolasaenger.com]

Southwest Florida baseball facility, Zipline Safari is the newest attraction by

which is the new spring training home

Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida, a

of the American League Champion

ICEBAR Orlando, the first and largest

wildlife conservation area in St. Cloud.

Tampa Bay Rays, includes six major

permanent bar made of ice in the United

The two- and-a-half-hour experience be-

league-caliber baseball fields and has

States, has opened on International

gins with a short hike along a section of

added more seating, concessions, rest-

Drive. The ICEBAR experience takes

the Florida Trail, one of only eight Na-

rooms and a 360-degree concourse.

guests through the Chill Lounge, a bar

tional Scenic Trails in the United States.

When the facility is not being used by

featuring live entertainment, caviar

Upon arrival at the launching point on

the Rays during spring training, the fields are available for tournaments, concerts and other performances. In addition, the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center recently opened in downtown Punta Gorda. Aside from hosting performances and concerts, the event center holds sporting events such as the AAU State Gymnastics Championship, which took place in December. [800-652-6090, charlotteharbortravel.com.] Shell Factory & Nature Park in North Fort Myers, Fla., recently debuted three new attractions: The Money Museum,

In a unique environment created by more than 50 tons of ice, ICEBAR Orlando offers a chilling experience in sunny Central Florida.

McShell Company Mining Rig and Lorikeet Aviary. The museum displays coins and notes from around the world, back to the Roman Empire. Visitors can

flights and premium beverage service in

the zipline course, an expert guide will

pan for gemstones or fossils in the min-

an upscale Nordic setting. This lounge is

lead guests as they fly above the wilder-

ing rig’s sluice or feed nectar to the col-

open to the public free of charge. Before

ness, reaching heights of 55 feet and

orful lorikeet birds. The 18-acre

entering the air-locked ICEBAR, guests

speeds up to 20 m.p.h. The Zipline Sa-

attraction offers shopping, animal dis-

are provided with a cape and gloves to

fari, which is the first and only zipline

plays, miniature golf, rides, arcade

stay warm during their 45-minute expe-

adventure in Florida, allows visitors to

games, a botanical garden and South-

rience. The exhibit is kept at 27 degrees

get near the animal interactions area,

west Florida’s largest seafood restau-

Fahrenheit, and the walls, tables, seat-

where they will see a puma (a close rela-

rant, Capt’n Fishbones. [239-995-2141,

ing, sculptures and bar are made from

tive of the endangered Florida panther),

shellfactory.com]

46 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


Atlanta Botanical Garden will open a new LEED-certified visitor center and Georgia’s Antebellum Trail is celebrating

visitors will see exactly what it takes to

parking facility this summer. In 2010,

its 25th anniversary in 2009 with the

produce the show. The tour ends inside

the current parking lot will be replaced

first annual Georgia’s Antebellum Trail

the Morning Express with Robin Meade

with a new Edible Garden and outdoor

Pilgrimage, a series of three April week-

studio, where visitors can watch a por-

cooking demonstration kitchen. The

ends featuring tours of stately historic

tion of a live broadcast. [404-827-2300,

garden will also feature Canopy Walk,

homes, some of them private and not

cnn.com/tour]

a 600-foot-long, 45-foot-high “sky-

generally open to the public. The spring

walk” though the treetops of Storza

event, to be repeated in 2010, spotlights

Georgia Aquarium in downtown At-

Woods. [404-876-5859,

museums, homes, battle sites and vari-

lanta is adding a $110-million dolphin

atlantabotanicalgarden.org]

ous activities in seven communities from

exhibit that will open by the end of

Macon to Athens. Included are Old

2010. The additional 84,000 square feet

Wild Adventures theme park in Valdosta

Clinton, Watkinsville, Eatonton, Madi-

of space and 1.3-million-gallon exhibit

has remodeled its Splash Island water-

son and Milledgeville. [800-709-7406,

will include dolphin encounters, viewing

park and unveiled Wahee Cyclone, a

antebellumtrail.org]

windows and dolphin shows. [404-581-

giant funnel ride. Four riders in a clover-

4000, georgiaaquarium.org]

leaf-like raft plummet through an en-

The Kangaroo Conservation Center (KCC) in Dawsonville, Ga., is offering a new tour called “Aussie Outing,” which allows visitors to explore the “Georgia Outback” and view kangaroos while riding the “KangaRanger” as well as a variety of animal shows and exhibits. Aside from the tour, the KCC has walking trails that allow visitors to view kangaroo habitats from a different angle and has an Aussie Outpost gift shop with unique gifts and eco-friendly items. Located in Northern Georgia, the KCC has the largest kangaroo collection outside of Australia and is dedicated to the preservation of kangaroo species and other wildlife through captive

Visitors to the Kangaroo Conservation Center get up close and personal.

breeding. Discounts for groups (30 or more) are available. [706-265-6100,

Athens, home to the University of Geor-

closed tube in complete darkness, then

kangaroocenter.com]

gia, a lively music and arts scene, and

free-fall into a huge funnel that rockets

fine examples of Victorian and neoclas-

them up one side and down the other

Inside CNN Morning Express Tour of-

sical architecture, will be celebrating all

until they are deposited through the end

fers Atlanta visitors the opportunity to

year with special events after being

of the funnel. Splash Island offers six

go behind the scenes of the cable chan-

named to the list of 2009 Dozen Distinc-

waterslides, tropical lagoons, a lazy river

nel’s HLN Morning Express with Robin

tive Destinations by the National Trust

and wave pool. Admission to the water-

Meade. On the new tour, which is of-

for Historic Preservation. [800-653-

park is free with general park admission.

fered Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m.,

0603, visitathensga.com]

[229-219-7080, wildadventures.net]

LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2009 47


travel south O

Heart of the Game. [502-588-7228, sluggermuseum.com] The National Corvette Museum in

The newly renovated Louisville Slugger

Mint Julep Tours in Louisville has

Bowling Green will have a fresh new

Museum & Factory in downtown

added a tour that takes visitors to Blue

look when its 47,000-square-foot ex-

Louisville now offers more interactive

Grass Cooperage, where craftsmen cre-

pansion is completed in April. The re-

experiences and a chance to see more

ate barrels used for aging Kentucky

designed Corvette Boulevard and lobby

of its baseball memorabilia collection.

bourbon. The barrel company, which

will be a street scene covered by a bar-

Visitors can have their photos taken

previously had not been open to the

rel-roof archway that leads visitors on a

holding Louisville Slugger bats used by

public, makes whiskey barrels for

journey into the legacy of “America’s

such greats as David Ortiz, Mickey

Woodford Reserve, Canadian Mist,

Sports Car.” The new Corvette Enthusi-

Mantle and Rod Carew or pose with

Early Times, Old Forester and Jack

ast area will offer hands-on interactivity

artifacts (bats, game gear, historic con-

Daniel’s. Mint Julep (formerly City and

with computer trivia and exhibits, and

tracts signed by Major League players)

Ccountryside Tours) also offers “Bour-

the relocated Corvette Hall of Fame will

from Grandpa Bud’s Attic. (Bud is Bud

bon Trail,” “Historic Louisville,”

showcase those who played a significant

Hillerich, the founder of Hillerich &

“Louisville Boutique Shop Hop,”

role in the heritage of Corvette. A new

Bradsby, which manufactures the

“Moonshine & Madness” and “Abra-

conference center will host meetings and

Lousiville Slugger.) Also new are ex-

ham Lincoln Bicentennial.” [866-986-

tour groups. [800-538-3883,

hibits of bats used by Joe DiMaggio

8779, mintjuleptours.com].

corvettemuseum.org]

(during his 56-game consecutive hit

Like your best customers,

 our best events  come back every year.

streak in 1941) and

The Lincoln Memorial at Waterfront

Babe Ruth, who

Park will be dedicated on June 4 in

made a notch for

Louisville as part of the two-year na-

every home run hit

tional celebration of the bicentennial of

with it. There will be

Abraham Lincoln’s birth. It will include

a new factory tour

a larger-than-life statue of Lincoln

video and an updated

seated on a rock and looking out over

version of the mu-

the Ohio River. Four bas-reliefs (stone

seum’s film The

sculpture made by chipping away from

 Leave it to a city as unique as ours to host events as diverse as the

National Quartet Convention, Thunder Over Louisville and Abbey Road on the River. So many original adventures are possible in Louisville. Start planning now with your Group Tour Planners Guide and “Nothing But Original” Itinerary Booklet, packed with ideas and information. Visit us at www.gotolouisville.com or call 800-626-5646 and ask for Group Sales.

48 April 2009

Louisville artist Ed Hamilton is sculpting the city’s new Lincoln statue.

LeisureGroupTravel.com


a flat surface) will tell in four different stages of Lincoln's life and experiences in Kentucky, including how he developed his abhorrence of slavery while

The Mardi Gras Museum

standing on the banks of the Ohio in

of Imperial Calcasieu in

Louisville. Nationally renowned

Lake Charles just finished

Louisville artist Ed Hamilton is sculpt-

a major renovation. Mo-

ing both the Lincoln statue and bas-re-

tion-activated man-

liefs. The site will include an

nequins decked out in

amphitheater with granite seating

glittery costumes add to

carved with famous quotes from Lin-

the already impressive

coln. [louisvillewaterfront.com/

display of Mardi Gras

projects/lincoln/index.html]

costumes, the largest display in the world. [337-

Jim Beam, “the world’s finest bourbon,”

430-0043,

has announced plans for a new tourism

visitlakecharles.org]

center at its Clermont distillery, just south of Louisville. Scheduled to open in

Paraplex is a new para-

April 2011, the multi-million dollar at-

normal complex in New

traction will include displays of newly

Orleans, and the first of

discovered historical documents, photos

its kind in the world. The

and a state-of-the-art welcome center

multi-million-dollar at-

that highlights the heritage of this top-

traction, located in a "haunted" three-

coming Walt Disney Animation Studios

selling spirit. [502-543-9877,

story mansion, features paranormal art

musical The Princess and The Frog,

jimbeam.com]

galleries, hands-on interactive psychic

which is set for release on Christmas.

testing exhibits, a simulated séance

The display will include themed rooms

Construction begins next year on the

room, a Ghost Experience Simulator

showcasing artwork and arranged

Kentucky Agriculture Heritage Center in

and a theater for workshops, documen-

chronologically by year of release.

Harrodsburg, a world-class facility that

taries and feature film screenings. Using

Alongside the artwork will be film clips

will offer interactive exhibits with live

its hi-tech observatory and recording

to show visitors how sketches and

animals, a model farm, a walking tour

lab, Paraplex will monitor all paranor-

paintings become the finished product.

of the year 1775 through the present,

mal activity that takes place in the com-

The exhibition will run until March 14,

and antique and high-tech equipment.

plex. [504-483-2350, paraplex.net]

2010. [504-658-4100, noma.org.]

the Kentucky History Center in Frank-

The New Orleans Museum of Art

Also in New Orleans, Mahalia Jackson

fort. [kyagheritage.org]

(NOMA) will be featuring a new exhi-

Theater of the Performing Arts recently

Museum exhibits in Lake Charles highlight Mardi Gras splendor.

The attraction will be similar in scope to

bition starting Nov. 15 called Dreams

reopened after a $27-million renova-

The newly named National Quilt Mu-

Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy

tion. The theater, which was damaged

seum of the United States, formerly the

Tales from the Walt Disney Studio. It

during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has

Museum of the American Quilter’s Soci-

will have more than 600 original art-

a state-of-the-art sound system, a new

ety, and other venues in Paducah will

works that shaped legendary animated

orchestra shell and enhanced lighting.

showcase more than 500 quilts and wall

features such as Snow White, Sleeping

The calendar includes ballet, orchestra

hangings April 22-25 during the soci-

Beauty, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid

and opera. [504-525-1052,

ety’s 25th annual Quilt Show and Con-

and many others. Dreams Come True

mahaliajacksontheater.com]

test. [270-442-8856, quiltmuseum.org]

will also include artwork from the up-

LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2009 49


travel south O

Jackson’s oldest building, the Old Capi-

for cooking and experience

tol Museum, gleams after a $16-million

the full Viking product line.

restoration that showcases the Greek

The school will offer classes

Revival masterpiece’s soaring interior

taught by expert instructors

spaces, craftsmanship and grand lime-

and local, regional and na-

stone exterior. Exhibits tell the story of

tional guest chefs. With

the building’s history as the seat of Mis-

demonstration-style and

sissippi state government from 1839

hands-on classes, there will

until 1903, explore the region's early

be something for cooks of

days, examine Mississippi’s other capital

all skill levels. Classes at the Viking

the newly renovated Harrah’s Casino

cities before Jackson and teach the im-

Cooking School will range from exotic

(formerly Grand Casino) in Tunica.

portance of historic preservation.

global cuisine to basic cooking skills.

Serving down-home food in an upscale

[601-576-6920, mdah.state.ms.us]

The facilities will be available for rent

atmosphere, the 560-seat restaurant is

for private events. [visitridgeland.com]

modeled after the Food Network star’s

Viking Cooking School in Ridgeland

The country’s only Paula Deen Buffet can be found in Tunica’s Harrah’s Casino.

own home and features recipes from the

opens in July, offering culinary enthusi-

Mississippi-born country music star

“Queen of Southern Cuisine.” The re-

asts the opportunity to fuel their passion

Marty Stuart recently unveiled the first

sort’s $45-million renovation included

marker in Merid-

all new rooms (1,350), a new casino

ian’s Walk of Fame,

floor (the largest between Las Vegas and

a project honoring

Atlantic City), a new bar called Sphere

Mississippi artists,

and the fine dining restaurant ’37. [har-

performers and

rahstunica.com]

writers. The marker saluting Jimmie

The Corinth Contraband Camp, a

Rodgers, the “Fa-

refuge for freed African-Americans after

ther of Country

President Lincoln issued the Emancipa-

Music,” lies in front

tion Proclamation, will be dedicated in

of the MSU Riley

June. A National Park Service property

Center, the city’s re-

in Corinth, the site began as a tent city

cently renovated

in 1863 and blossomed into a small city

grand opera

at a time when Union troops occupied

house. In the works

Corinth. Visitors to the commemorative

is a funding plan for

park will find a trail with seven life-size

the proposed Missis-

bronze figures that depict the life of the

sippi Hall of Fame

freedmen, who abandoned the site after

Museum. [888-868-

Federal troops left Corinth in January

7720,

1864. The residents of the camp farmed

visitmeridian.com]

400 acres of land and produced both cotton and vegetables that they sold to

50 April 2009

The country’s only

area citizens and soldiers stationed in

Paula Deen Buffet

and around the Corinth area. [Corinth

recently opened at

Area CVB: 800-748-9048, corinth.net] LeisureGroupTravel.com


travel south O

located near Lowe’s Motor Speedway, also features over 400 guest suites, an Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo

outdoor pool area, an upscale spa as

this spring will open the American In-

well as an ice cream-themed kid spa, a

dian Town and Cultural Education Cen-

technology center for teens, a 100-game

ter, a new historical interpretation

arcade with ticket redemption center

experience at the site of the first English

and a themed 18-hole miniature golf

colony in the New World (1585-1587).

course. [866-925-9653,

It will include a variety of true-to-scale

greatwolf.com/concord]

structures, role-play environments and places to explore, plant, build and play. The park’s centerpiece is the Eliza-

Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, N.C.

beth II, a replica of a 16th century Eng-

Bechtler Museum of Contemporary Art will be one of several attractions in the Wachovia First Street Project in Char-

lish sailing vessel. Costumed historians

lotte. The $18-million, 35,000-square-

at its Settlement Site demonstrate black-

lodge in Concord, offering one of the

foot museum is set to open in early

smithing, woodworking and games.

largest indoor waterparks in America.

2010. Also part of the new development

[252-475-1500, roanokeisland.com]

The four-story, 475,000-square-foot re-

will be the Afro-American Cultural Cen-

sort and conference center will feature

ter and the Mint Museum of Art’s new

Great Wolf Lodge is a brand new $100-

an 80,000-square-foot indoor water-

Center City building. [704-332-2227,

million, 36-acre, northwoods-themed

park, plus an outdoor park. The lodge,

charlottecentercity.org]

North Beach Plantation, a 60-acre

tures local cookbook author Sallie Anne

lifestyle development, just opened in

Robinson. The "Gullah, Gumbo and

North Myrtle Beach, Combining Old

Grits" day tour in Beaufort and St. He-

South charm with modern conveniences,

lena Island showcases Gullah storyteller

the self-contained luxury residential re-

Aunt Pearlie-Sue and a Gullah meal.

sort has 750 oceanfront condominiums,

New multi-day tours revolve around the

townhouses and single-family homes,

lighthouses of South Carolina and Geor-

plus upscale boutique shopping, gour-

gia. [888-842-9217, discover-tours.com]

met dining and the world-class Cinzia

Grand Strand Culinary Tours Huguenots, Revolutionists and Patriots,

Spa and Wellness Center.

Grand Strand Culinary Tours is a new

slaves and plantation owners. [843-293-

[northbeachtowers.com]

company offering a variety of food tours

1501, grandstrandculinarytours.com]

for groups in the Myrtle Beach area, a For groups of 20 and more, Discover

60-mile stretch from Little River down to

South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston’s

Tours of Hilton Head Island offers new

Georgetown. Tours range from a simple

most visited attraction, just opened the

culinary and food heritage tours that

traditional lunch in Myrtle Beach to a

temporary exhibit Penguin Planet. Guests

spotlight the West African-influenced

walking tour of historic downtown Con-

can see the four Magellanic penquins, on

Gullah culture of South Carolina’s coast.

way, 15 miles west of Myrtle Beach.

loan from SeaWorld, through windows

A day tour of Daufuskie Island, accessi-

Guides tell how the region’s culinary her-

that allow for underwater viewing.

ble only by boat from Hilton Head, fea-

itage has been shaped by the Spanish and

[843-720-1990, scaquarium.org]

52 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


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travel south O

and-answer session with the cast and crew of the show. [800-792-4308, Graceland, the 1939 Memphis mansion

at one of Pigeon Forge’s most popular

that Elvis Presley called home, is cele-

shows. Their performance will be put on

brating its 70th anniversary with new

a DVD and made available for purchase

Pigeon Forge’s popular Smith Family

exhibits. Elvis in Hollywood spotlights

at the gift shop. After watching the two-

Theater, which opened in 2004, is

the singer’s movie career with memora-

hour show, students can take a back-

adding a Southern, buffet-style dinner

bilia from his silver-screen successes,

stage tour. Students also get the

and has renamed itself the Smith Family

while Elvis Lives: The King and Pop

opportunity to participate in a question-

Dinner Theater. The Smith Boys—

countrytonitetheater.com]

Culture showcases Elvis in action as he

Charlie, Jim and Charlie Bob—perform

entertains crowds in a video presenta-

in the remodeled 420-seat auditorium

tion. The Elvis Presley Auto Museum in-

where dinner is served. T.G. Sheppard

troduces new additions, including the

does shows on selected dates. [866-

six-door Mercedes Benz limousine fea-

399.8100, smithfamilytheater.com]

tured in the movie Elvis on Tour. [800238-8000, elvis.com]

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council offers a

Country Tonite provides student groups the chance to perform as the opening act

54 April 2009

The cast of Country Tonite

new culinary tour entitled “Biscuits, Bluegrass and Blackhawks.” The three-

LeisureGroupTravel.com


travel south O Tennessee, cont. night group itinerary includes a tour of Fort Campbell military base, home of the 101st Airborne Division’s Screaming Eagles (air assault), and its Don F. Pratt

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in

the-sky pendulum ride that sits up to 40

Memorial Museum, which displays vari-

Richmond will open a new five-level,

riders in a blue 1950s-style El Dorado

ous aircraft. [800-530-2487,

glass-and-limestone wing later this year.

convertible car. The two-minute ride ro-

clarksville.tn.us]

The project will add more than 165,000

tates riders to 85 feet in the air in two

square feet, increasing the museum’s

different directions. Both rides will be

In a major expansion, Casey Jones

gallery space by 50 percent. The expan-

located in the park’s Grove area, adja-

Home & Railroad Museum in Jack-

sion includes a four-acre sculpture gar-

cent to the Rebel Yell and Hurler roller

son is adding a replica 1890s train sta-

den, two new restaurants and group

coasters. [804-876-5000,

tion that will house exhibits, a theater

dining facilities. [804-340-1596,

kingsdominion.com]

and train-themed gift shop. Also ready

vfma.museum]

for this summer will be a Pullman rail-

For the first time in its 34-year history,

car that will be renovated into studios of

Kings Dominion theme park, north of

Busch Gardens theme park will welcome

American Family Radio’s local affiliate

Richmond, is opening its 2009 season

visitors to a holiday celebration, com-

and will be part of the museum tour at

with two new rides. Americana is a

plete with yuletide entertainment, shop-

Casey Jones Village, named for the

giant 110-foot Ferris wheel with 24 six-

ping, a million twinkling lights and

world’s most famous train engineer.

person gondolas. It is the first Ferris

nightly visits from Santa Claus. Christ-

[731-668-1222, caseyjones.com]

wheel at Kings Dominion in the park’s

mas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebra-

35-year history. El Dorado is a high-in-

tion will transform the park into a

56 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


at the new Thomas Jefferson

Education Center, where they have ex-

Visitor Center and Smith Ed-

clusive access to interactive exhibits,

ucation Center, which has

movies and artifacts. Mount Vernon

scheduled its grand opening

continues to offer groups a “Private

for April 15. On that date,

Evening Tour” that includes candlelight

the facility’s major interpre-

touring of the mansion and its rarely

tive features – four innova-

seen third floor. [703-799-6833,

tive exhibitions, a new

mountvernon.org]

introductory film and a Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town

hands-on discovery space –

In observance of Bermuda’s 400th an-

will be unveiled. [434-984-

niversary this year, Jamestown Settle-

9880, monticello.org]

ment presents the exhibition Jamestown and Bermuda: Virginia

winter wonderland from Nov. 27-Dec.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Company Colonies through Oct. 15.

27. Festivities will take place Friday, Sat-

Estate offers a new evening program

The exhibit explores the shared his-

urday and Sunday evenings from 4-9

for student groups. “After Hours: Stu-

tory and links between England’s first

p.m. and each evening Dec. 18-27.

dent Evenings at Mount Vernon” al-

two permanent colonies in the New

[christmastown.com]

lows groups to arrive as early as 3 p.m.

World, featuring objects from the un-

After touring the grounds and mansion,

derwater archaeological site of the

Monticello, the Charlottesville home of

students have time to shop and eat be-

Sea Venture, wrecked in Bermuda en

Thomas Jefferson, has begun operations

fore visiting the Donald W. Reynolds

route to Virginia in 1609, plus other

LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2009 57


travel south O

Virginia, cont. art and artifacts. [888-593-4682, historyisfun.org] Norfolk’s Town Point Park, the back-

by a partnership that includes the

drop for many festivals and events since

Wheeling-Ohio County Convention and

it opened 27 years ago, will unveil a new

Visitors Bureau, City of Wheeling,

look this summer, the result of an $11.5-

Wheeling National Heritage Area Cor-

million renovation. During its grand

poration and Regional Economic Devel-

opening on July 4 weekend, guests will

opment Partnership. [800-828-3097,

be the first to enjoy the park’s new path-

wheelingcvb.com]

way system (offering greater access to Norfolk’s waterfront), new stage loca-

Capitol Music Hall

tions, enhanced lighting, interactive

The new West Virginia State Museum is slated to open this summer on the lower

water fountains and lush landscaping.

Downtown Wheeling’s legendary Capi-

level of the Cultural Center in the State

Festival favorites, including the Virginia

tol Music Hall reopens in September as

Capitol Complex in Charleston. Visitors

Arts Festival (April–May), Town Point

a venue for the Wheeling Symphony,

will follow a path on a chronological

Park Wine Festival (April and October)

Broadway shows, concerts, operas, co-

journey of West Virginia history.

and Harborfest (July). New this year is

medians and other national touring acts.

Themed settings will feature theatrical

the Antique Car and Boat Show in Sep-

The historic theater, dating back more

lighting, surround sound, narration and

tember. [norfolkcvb.com]

than 80 years, was recently purchased

artifacts. [wvculture.org] LGT

58 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


HYATT, Grand Hyatt,® names, designs and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2009 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

A MARVEL OF MODERN DESIGN. AN EQUALLY STUNNING LOCATION. INTRODUCING GRAND HYATT SAN ANTONIO: AN ENTIRELY NEW LEVEL OF SERVICE, CONVENIENCE AND LUXURY. Grand Hyatt San Antonio offers everything you would expect from a four star hotel. And then some. Like 115,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and function space that includes 5,200 sq. ft. of exceptional balcony space. Meeting rooms with natural light. A state-of-the-art business center and our 24-hour Stay Fit gym with a heated outdoor pool. WiFi everywhere. And rooms with flat panel TVs, plus our ultra-comfortable Hyatt Grand Bed ™. It’s everything you would have expec ted. And quite a few things you never knew to expec t. Feel the Hyatt Touch.® For more information, contac t your Hyatt Sales Representative at 210.451.6400 or visit grandhyattsanantonio.com.


on location: west O

elana andersen

Family Reunions Target National Parks Reunions are all about creating occasions for family members to join together and celebrate bonds of lineage.

California’s Yosemite National Park attracts 3.3 million visitors annually.

WHETHER A SMALL GROUP OF

apart, the afternoon picnic at Grandma’s

tions. Amenities include shops, museums,

siblings or a large gathering with multi-

house is no longer practical. Many fami-

visitor centers, and dining and refresh-

ple generations, family members eagerly

lies now plan annual or bi-annual re-

ment outlets. Accommodation options,

mark their calendars and make travel

union events to fit in individual

from campgrounds to full-service hotels,

plans for these special festivities.

members’ vacation plans.

are found both in the parks and nearby.

More than 72 million Americans at-

Location, reasonable travel time and

Wilderness guides, outfitters and opera-

tend family reunions, and more than half

cost, recreation, a relaxed atmosphere,

tors of adventure programs are also

do so every year. Reunions magazine

and group facilities and services are just

available. Many parks offer transporta-

[reunionsmag.com], a leader in tracking

some of the criteria considered when se-

tion shuttle services between lodgings

the growth and trends of various kinds of

lecting a reunion destination. U.S. na-

and key sights.

reunion groups, reports that families are

tional parks have great appeal not only

unique in that the motivation is to create

for ambiance and recreation facilities;

Here is a sampling of parks that are ideal

a meaningful way for relatives to stay in

they also invoke memories of fun family

locations for family reunions:

touch and pass on their heritage to new

gatherings throughout the generations.

generations. Among significant changes that affect

Western wilderness parks preserve

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

thousands of acres of the country’s most

Located in northwest Montana, this 1.4-

family reunions are the advent of a

majestic and pristine landscapes, offering

million-acre park encompasses one of the

longer life span and extended family

groups everything from scenic sights and

most dramatically beautiful mountain re-

units that represent four to five genera-

wildlife viewing to recreation options, in-

gions in the West. Scenic features include

tions. Because relatives often live far

terpretive programs and seasonal celebra-

dense forests and alpine tundra, more

60 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


than 200 lakes, 50 glaciers, hundreds of

explore the canyons, rugged ridges and

a rifle range are also available. [800-293-

waterfalls, 730 miles of trails, and 1,000

backcountry wilderness area. Ranger

5444, zionponderosa.com]

different species of plants and wildlife.

programs include day and evening talks

Recreation choices include boating, bik-

and walks that focus on wildlife, geology,

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK

ing, canoeing, rafting, fishing, hiking,

plants and human history. For youngsters

A visit to this park is often in combina-

swimming and golf. Guided horseback

there are daily Junior Ranger Explorer

tion with a trip to Zion. It is an easy 70-

riding and hikes are popular, as are Red

and Discovery programs. [nps.gov/zion/,

mile drive between the parks. Small by

Bus tours on vintage vehicles with roll-

zion.national-park.com]

national park standards, Bryce is set at

back canvas tops. There are seven his-

Family Adventure: Book an area guest

the eastern edge of Utah’s Paunsaugunt

toric hotels and lodges in the park.

ranch like the 4,000-acre Zion Ponderosa

Plateau. Its most dramatic feature is the

[nps.gov/glac/, glacier.national-park.com]

Ranch, where accommodations include

series of more than a dozen amphithe-

Family Adventure: Charter Red Bus tour-

family lodges (up to 35 guests), two- to

aters with colorful limestone formations

ing coaches or travel in tandem by car

five-bedroom homes, cabins, camp-

called hoodoos. Trails descend from the

along the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun

grounds and an RV park. There is a

plateau rim down into the canyons; at

Road, the park’s most famous route.

restaurant with banquet facilities and

rim level is an 18-mile driving route to

Keep in touch by walkie-talkie (no cell

catering services. Zion Ponderosa Ranch

Rainbow Point featuring 13 “Photo Op”

phone access here) and plan a group pic-

guests also enjoy extensive recreation fa-

viewing stops. Daily ranger-led programs

nic stop at an alpine meadow or lunch at

cilities and guided and unguided adven-

have geology talks and hikes, rim walks

one of the historic hotels.

tures, including horseback riding, jeep

and evening programs at the campground

tours and trail hikes. Swimming, tennis,

amphitheater. There are wrangler-led

ZION NATIONAL PARK

volleyball, a zip line, climbing wall, tram-

horseback and mule rides.

Of all the national parks in Utah, Zion is

poline bungee, horseshoes, basketball and

[bryce.canyon.national-park.com,

perhaps the most striking. Its 229-

nps.gov/brca/]

square-mile expanse is a mosaic of

Family Adventure: The clarity of

earthen hues carved over 200 mil-

Bryce Canyon’s nighttime sky makes

lion years into massive monoliths,

this an ideal location for star gazing.

limestone arches, mesas, buttes,

Two guided programs will entertain

deep slot canyons and towering red

and amaze all family members. The

rock cliffs that rise some 3,000 feet

“Full Moon Hikes” follow trails illu-

above a tree-lined river valley. The

minated by the stars and moon. The

park has a rich cultural history dat-

“Stars in the Park” astronomy pro-

ing back more than 10,000 years.

gram includes a multimedia show

Displays at the Human History

followed by telescope viewing.

Museum show artifacts from the Archaic, Ancestral Puebloan

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

(Anasazi), Southern Paiute and

Yosemite Valley in California, with

Mormon cultures. Other exhibits

its dramatic waterfalls and towering

feature the region’s topography and

sheer Half Dome face overlooking a

natural elements.

lush forested landscape, is one of the

The landscape invites all types

most iconic national park images.

of outdoor adventures, including

All park roads lead to the main val-

photography, wildlife viewing and

ley, a center for many sights, activi-

various sports activities. There are opportunities for cycling, hiking, climbing and horseback riding. Or LeisureGroupTravel.com

ties, accommodations and park

The Human History Museum is a popular services. Throughout the 1,200-squarestop at Utah’s Zion National Park. April 2009 61


west O

mile park are many less traveled, but

services, accommodations and opportu-

equally impressive areas, each with its

nities for visitors to explore its wilder-

own distinctive ambiance, recreation op-

ness on their own or with a guide.

tions and services. At the south entrance

Unique experiences include a llama trek.

are the Mariposa Grove and Giant Se-

Join a history walk that gives insights

quoia (redwood) Forest. Also here are

into Yellowstone and the founding of the

the historic Wawona Hotel and Pioneer

National Park Service; it includes a tour

Yosemite History Center. Tioga Pass at

of century-old Old Faithful Lodge.

the eastern entrance leads to the alpine

[yellowstone.national-park.com,

Tuolumme Meadows, a popular

nps.gov/yell/]

fishing, hiking, birding and picnic area.

Family Adventure: Take the family on a

[nps.gov/yose/,

Yellowstone Old West Dinner Cookout.

yosemite.national-park.com]

Travel by horse-drawn wagons through

Family Adventure: Organize a family

sagebrush flats to a cookout site. Wran-

photo safari. Family groups should grab

glers tell stories about life on the range

trail maps and cameras and head out for

and sing Western ballads while guests

a day of exploration in various areas of

enjoy hearty food.

the park. Replay photo adventures around the evening campfire (a Yosemite

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

tradition) and award prizes to your fam-

Five million visitors annually visit the

ily’s best Ansel Adams shots.

rim of the Grand Canyon to see the aweinspiring, mile-deep, 277-mile-long gorge. The hub of activities and services is found at South Rim Village. Popular activities include scenic bus and air tours, guided walks that focus on geology and cultural history, wilderness horseback rides and the sunset wagon ride. Adventurers hike or ride mules to the canyon floor and overnight at the Phantom Ranch. [nps.gov/grca/, grand.canyon.national-park.com] Family Adventure: Early visitors to the

Roadside parking areas provide panoramic views of the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park.

Grand Canyon arrived by rail, and you can relive the era on the Grand Canyon Railroad’s trip between Williams and South Rim Station. [800-843-8724, thetrain.com]. “Learning and Lodging

62 April 2009

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

Adventure” are two-day outings de-

America’s first national park is in

signed for family groups and operated

Wyoming and bridges into Montana and

by the Grand Canyon Field Institute.

Idaho. It is known for Old Faithful and

The package includes guided hikes and

other geysers and abundant wildlife.

tours, plus hands-on activities, two

Like other parks, Yellowstone offers a

nights’ accommodations and meals.

full menu of natural and cultural history

[866-471 4435,

enrichment programs, extensive visitor

grandcanyon.org/fieldinstitute] LGT LeisureGroupTravel.com


on our radar: west O

ALASKA Bering Straits Native Corporation, in partnership with Kigluaik Adventures, offers intrepid travelers a ski and winter sport experience that will guarantee “top this” bragging rights. Travel from Nome by Snowcat to ski the challenging Kigluaik Mountains while looking west across the Bering Strait to Eastern Eurasia. Expand the adventure with dog mushing, ice fishing, wildlife tundra viewing and other lively adventures. Guided trips are available March through May. Multi-night tundra camp arrangements are also available. [800-478-5079, beringstraits.com/lands/tourism.html; Kigluaik Adventures, 907-632-7197]

Explore the Kigluaik Mountains of Western Alaska ARIZONA Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix is found on the site of a 1,500 year-old Hohokam village. For over 70 years the museum has been entrusted with the study and interpretation of the Hohokam culture. The 102-acre-park grounds feature the ruin of an 800-year-old platform mound used as a ceremonial or governing center, a ball court and reproductions of prehistoric Hohokam homes. Also here are remains of Hohokam irrigation canals. The museum’s exhibition hall displays different aspects of Hohokam culture. Guided tours of the grounds and exhibition areas are offered. Visiting groups are welcome to participate in the year-round educational events that are sponsored by the city’s Public Archaeology Program. [877-706-4408, Guided tours - 602-495-0901, http://phoenix.gov/parks/pueblo.html] CALIFORNIA Lake County has released two new discovery itineraries: “Wine Adventure Route” and “Farm Trails Discovery.” The Farm Trails brochure spotlights the area’s agricultural products. There is also a guide to farmers’ markets and farmstands, plus special events such as the Kelseyville Pear LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2009 63


on our radar: west O

Festival, Sept. 26. The “Wine Adventure” lists area wineries, vineyards, wine bars and tasting rooms. It describes Lake County’s five viticultural areas. Information about these and other agricultural touring options is available from the Lake County Visitor Information Center. [800-525-3743, lakecounty.com] The Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles features the exhibition Sparkle and Twang:

Starting this summer, visitors to Denver can rent bikes for free.

Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey from April 16-Aug. 23. The exhibition tells the story of this coun-

ments and unpublished photographs of

four miles of downtown and will be

try music icon and his personal experi-

such legends as Patsy Cline, Hank

near convenient locations such as light

ences with some of the most famous

Williams, Porter Wagoner, Johnny

rail stations, museums, campuses and

stars of American music. Displayed are

Cash and Bob Dylan. [323-667-2000,

hotels. Metro Denver has 850 miles of

performance costumes, handwritten

autrynationalcenter.org]

off-road, paved bike trails, one of the

lyrics, personal letters, musical instru-

largest bike networks in the nation. Palm Springs Air Museum has added

Denver is also filling the downtown

new planes to its collection. Its two new

area with bike lanes and “shared lane

exhibits, Interactive History Map of the

arrows” to make the city more bike-

Progression of the Allies and Axis Pow-

friendly. [visitdenver.com]

ers in Europe During World War II, are located in the museum’s European

Fine Arts Center Colorado Springs is

Hangar. The C-47 and PBY have been

not just a museum but also a perform-

restored and are available for interior

ing arts center and school for the arts.

tours. Also new are 20-minute helicop-

The museum and its collection were

ter rides for up to four persons. [760-

founded in 1938. Until the recent ex-

778-6262, palmspringsairmuseum.org]

pansion of the gallery space, only a small portion of its highly praised col-

64 April 2009

COLORADO

lection of more than 20,000 objects had

A new citywide bike-sharing program –

been on display. The collection encom-

“Denver B-Cycle” – will put 500 free

passes art and media produced in the

bikes on the streets of Denver by this

Americas and is now shown in nine the-

summer. Visitors and residents will be

matic galleries. There are also two gal-

able to go to one of 30-40 bike stations,

leries for traveling exhibitions. The

swipe a credit card, and ride off on a

upcoming show is The Baroque World

bike to sightsee around the city, attend

of Fernando Botero, May 15-Aug. 15.

meetings or run errands. Bike rentals

Botero is a Colombian painter, sculptor

are free as long as the bike is returned

and draftsman. His works follow

to the same location by 10 a.m. the fol-

themes of baroque expressions, exagger-

lowing business day. All of the bike sta-

ated rounded forms with mocking ob-

tions will be situated within three or

servations depicting the comedy of LeisureGroupTravel.com


human life. This is the first retrospective

plant and herb garden. Cheyenne

tion of the new Oklahoma Cheyenne

exhibition of Botero’s work in the U.S.

artists, such as bead workers, painters,

Heritage Trail. The three-day itinerary

since 1978. [719-634-5581, tours - 716-

basket makers and dancers, demon-

visits the 106-year-old Mohawk Trad-

475-2444, csfineartscenter.org]

strate their art forms and crafts. [580-

ing Post, the first Indian trading post in

323-6224, clintonokla.org]

Oklahoma, and Washita National His-

NEVADA The Palazzo Las Vegas offers visitors a

toric Site. This site interprets the grassy The Cultural Center is the launch loca-

area where the Southern Cheyenne vil-

unique entertainment experience with The Living Garden, which combines the beauty of nature with classical music and graceful choreography. The performance begins at the base of the resort’s dramatic lobby waterfall, where three elegant statues transform into living creatures and find their way to the second-floor Shoppes at The Palazzo. Here they are joined by two living vine characters, and the nine-foot-tall performers proceed to interact with resort guests and pose for photos. This free performance is held daily at noon, 1:30, 3, 4:30 and 6 p.m. [877-883-6423, palazzolasvegas.com] OKLAHOMA Alabaster Caverns State Park in Freedom welcomes visitors to its ¾-mile

A PLACE WHERE GRITTY ROCK AND ROLL SWAGGER MEETS GLITZY URBAN SWANK.

alabaster cavern. Free guided tours are

A PLACE TO FEED YOUR SOUL AND SATISFY YOUR HUNGER FOR THE FINER THINGS.

available daily. This often overlooked

OUR COLORFUL PAST & BRILLIANT FUTURE. OUR DRAMATIC FLAIR & UNPRETENTIOUS AIR.

attraction recently was enhanced with new lighting that makes the pathway clearly visible and illuminates the colorful alabaster hues. Guided group tours need to be reserved two weeks in advance. [580-621-3381, oklahomaparks.com] Cheyenne Cultural Center near Clinton has opened its one-acre complex on the tribe’s ancient red-land fields and the original land allotment of the former Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation. Displays and living history programs in different exhibition areas depict the stories of the Cheyenne people, their art and

V I SI T OKC .C OM

their language. There is a medicinal LeisureGroupTravel.com

April 2009 65


on our radar: west O

The Elizabethan Stage seats 1,200 people at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. lage of Peace Chief Black Kettle was at-

and largest professional non-profit the-

tacked by the U.S. Cavalry in 1868.

aters in the nation. Its season runs

Travel to the Black Kettle Museum and

from February through early Novem-

through Black Kettle National Grass-

ber, with 11 plays in three theaters.

lands to important sites at Antelope Hill,

The programs include a mix of pro-

Camp Supply and Gloss Mountains. The

ductions including Shakespeare, musi-

Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum in

cal comedy, new theater and classics.

Woodward is also featured. [See Group

[Groups – 866-545-6337; box office –

Tour Planner and Sample Itineraries at

800-219-8161, rshakes.org]

travelok.com] TEXAS OREGON

The Fort Worth Stockyards is offering a

Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival,

new way to experience past and present

produced by the Portland Area The-

Western culture with the use of GPS

ater Alliance, is a 10-day, city-wide

Ranger video tours. The patented, hand-

performing arts event held in late Jan-

held device delivers information on the

uary. The program offers a full sched-

24 points of interest throughout the

ule of arts events with the focus on

tour, using GPS (Global Positioning Sys-

sampling the breadth and depth of

tem). The GPS Ranger has 30 different

new theater. Its inaugural 2009 festival

video segments on sites such as the

set the stage for next year’s program

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and White

by introducing 20 world premiere the-

Elephant Saloon. The device allows visi-

ater works. The 2010 program will be

tors to decide which sites they would

announced this fall. [503-241-4902,

like to see and lets them do it at their

fertilegroundpdx.org]

own pace. The GPS Ranger also has interactive trivia, allowing visitors to earn

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in

points by answering questions about

Ashland has been on stage for 74 years

what they have seen. The video tour,

and this year is celebrating its 50th

hosted by rodeo legends Bob Tallman

year of performances at the outdoor

and Pam Minick, is 45 minutes long.

Elizabethan Stage. This Tony Award-

[817-625-9715, stockyardsstation.com].

winning festival is among the oldest 66 April 2009

LeisureGroupTravel.com


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Leisure Group Travel April 2009  

Group Travel Magazine focusing on new destiantions and how-to advice

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