Small Market Meetings

JAN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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January 2017 21 Photos courtesy Emerald Coast CVB "The lifestyle here revolves around the water," said Morgenthien. People participate in any activity that puts them in or near it. But visitors also like to play golf at the nine golf courses. There are outlet malls and shopping centers. With so much military history to absorb, some enjoy local museums. Gulfarium is a marine adventure park across from the convention center. There are animal encounters, dolphin and sea lion shows, and cool exhibits. Amusement USA - Harbor Walk Village in Destin has bungee trampolines and aqua spheres to amuse adults and kids, and many other family-oriented activities. Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park has 40 water attractions, three mini-golf courses and go-kart tracks. The area has another 40 facilities where meetings can be held. One of the newest is The Henderson, a luxury beach hotel with 170 rooms and 10,000 square feet of meeting space. It has spectacular views of the famous white beach, the ocean, a maritime preserve and its own impressive pool complex. Other popular properties for meetings are the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, with 335 rooms and 14,000 square feet of meeting space, and the Palms of Destin, with 416 room and 6,500 square feet in which to meet. The Emerald Grand on Destin Harbor overlooks the harbor, the ocean, the bridge and the entertainment district; it has 280 rooms and 3,100 square feet of flexible meeting space. Off-Site Venues More Meeting Sites This corner of the Florida Panhandle may be an ocean retreat for tourists, but it's also busy enough to support its own large meeting facility. The Emerald Coast Convention Center boasts 65,000 square feet of space: 35,000 square feet of that space is indoors, and since the weather is always pleasant, another 30,000 square feet is outdoors. "That area works great for outdoor events like RV shows and boat shows," said Morgenthien. The 14-year-old center, located on Okaloosa Island, fea- tures 12 distinct meeting rooms, ranging from an intimate 450 square feet to one that can be sized to 10,800 square feet. The Emerald Grand Ballroom is popular. "It's all very flexible," said Morgenthien. For meeting attendees who visit the area, the best way to "get this party started" is to head to any of the fun nightspots on the Emerald Coast for food, drinks, dancing, live music and laughs. The harbor and beachfront have a variety of bars, restaurants, comedy clubs, theaters and cultural events that keep things lively. One hot spot the CVB likes to promote is AJ's Club Bimini, which has been regularly ranked on Nightclub and Bars' "Top 100" list. Many of the clubs and bars have outdoor decks and dance floors and live music of all varieties. Convention Center Nightlife

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