Small Market Meetings

JUL 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Q u a d C i t y B o t a n i c a l C e n t e r R o c k I s l a n d P a c k a r d P l a z a P e o r i a Illinois Meeting Guide 40 ZZZYLVLWHQJKDPLOFRP people. But after the museum closes for the evening, groups of up to 100 can sit down to a meal in the atrium and lobby area, or wander through galleries and mingle among exhibits during receptions. Capacity for the entire building is about 480. On the first floor, visitors can explore the "Changes" exhibit, which covers 500 million years of environmental and landscape changes in Illinois, Everingham said. Second-floor exhibits mostly feature art and change every several months, she said. Groups can also arrange for after-hours guided tours or presentations from a curator. Quad City Botanical Center Rock Island The Quad City Botanical Center in downtown Rock Island sits just off the banks of the Mississippi River. The center opened in 1998 with a 6,400-square-foot, glass-walled tropical Sun Garden atrium, topped with a 70-foot skylight, as its crown jewel. Inside the conservatory, visitors will find a 14-foot-high waterfall and a stream along with hundreds of plants. The building also houses the center's event space: a 3,080-square-foot banquet hall that can seat up to 250 people for meals or be split into three smaller rooms. "The gardens are beautiful, and even through the winter months, we have the tropical sun garden," said event planning and banquet manager Kari Campbell. "I just think it gives people a chance to get out of the office and into a very serene and calming space." The center's other event venue is an outdoor, three-season canopy. A climate-controlled tent with walls sits over a concrete pavilion and can hold up to 250 for dinners. From the plaza, guests can enjoy views of the Children's Garden or look out over the west garden and lawn. After hours, the entire center and its gardens, including the wild- flower prairie garden, rare conifer collection and perennial garden, can be reserved for private events. The center is also a full-service facility with a catering company, and groups can arrange for guided tours or themed programs, such as "Botanical Bliss" and "Plants of the Bible." Packard Plaza Peoria In downtown Peoria, Illinois, just a couple blocks from where the Illinois River meets Peoria Lake, Packard Plaza will mark its 90th anni- versary this year. Giant two-story arched windows define the facade of the brick building, which was designed by architect Frederic Klein. It was originally called the National Building when it opened in 1927; later, when a Packard automobile dealership moved into the basement and first floor, it became known as the Packard building. The Chandler Hotel Group, which is based in Arizona, bought the plaza and the adjacent 111-room Mark Twain Hotel in 2015. After pausing events at the Packard last summer for several months when the leased operator and catering company backed out, Chandler is once again booking events in the building, which the company is also refreshing. The Packard has 7,000 square feet for receptions, banquets, presen- tations and other meetings. Inside, a wraparound mezzanine level overlooks the main event space, which has parquet wood floors and a coffered wood ceiling.

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