Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2014

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B M & T ••• September/October 2014 ••• 18 ILLINOIS Millennium Park continues to be one of the Windy City's hottest hangouts, while one of Chicago's most notable Black heritage attractions is the Dusable Museum of African-American History. Lisle, situated 60 miles west of the city in the region known as Chicagoland, offers meeting space for 40 to 50 people at Lisle Station Park. The setting is an 1874 CB&Q Railroad Depot. Moline boasts the "world's most comprehensive agricultural exhibit," in its John Deere Pavilion. For a memorable group outing, consider a Mississippi River cruise aboard the ration Belle. The Peoria Civic Center, containing 110,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, is the largest event venue in Downstate Illinois. Two good leisure time options are the Peoria Glen Oak Zoo and the Peoria Riverfront. At Rockford's marquee attraction, the Burpee Museum of Natural History, the famous T-rex Skeleton Jane has now been joined by Homer, a juvenile Triceratops. The Discovery Center Museum and CoCo Key Water Resort offer more family-friendly diversions. INDIANA The Indiana University Art Museum in Bloomington houses an impressive collection of African masks. Visitors can also appreciate the art of the museum's architectural design by I.M. Pei. Outdoor enthusi- asts can enjoy kayaking and canoeing on Lake Monroe, 10 miles south- east of the city. Evansville's Angel Mound State Historic Site is a living history village depicting the Native American heritage of the area. Two more local attractions are the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden and the Koch Family Children's Museum of Evansville. Fort Wayne also has some notable attractions with kid appeal, includ- ing the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo; Science Central, and hands-on museum; and one of the city's top events, the Johnny Appleseed Festival in September. Massachusetts Avenue is a favorite shopping, dining and entertain- ment hub in Indianapolis. Other places to see include the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis and nearby White River State Park. IOWA In northeast Iowa, a network of sites highlighting the state's agricul- tural heritage has been designated as the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. But there is much more to the Hawkeye State than farming. Cedar Rapids, the state's second largest city, is home to the African American Museum of Iowa. It's also the site of the Home and studio of It's the place where you'll find the nation's largest African-American cultural museum and its oldest Black theater, a land where civil rights history was made and a revolutionary Black music sound was born. It's the home of America's largest shopping mall and the largest musical festival on the planet. The Midwest, sometimes called America's Heartland, is teeming with interesting places to see and fun things to do. Its central location makes it accessible to travelers f rom most points on the U.S. mainland. And with a variety of venues ranging from large state-of-the-art convention centers to casinos and water parks, the region's meeting spaces can accommodate all kinds of groups. Read on for a taste of what this region has in store. B Y B U C K S A M U E L S

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