Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2014

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B M & T ••• September/October 2014 ••• 19 MICHIGAN The largest museum of its kind, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit houses more than 30,000 artifacts and archival materials. Taking center stage among the displays is the 22,000-sq. ft. multi-level exhibit called "And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture." A family reunion itinerary for Grand Rapids might include a trip to the John Ball Zoo, where more than 1,000 animals, an aquarium, zip line tour and ropes course count among the things to see and do. A leisurely tour for meeting delegates or spouses might take in the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park or the Grand Rapids Art Museum. A reunion or incentive trip to Mackinac Island will take travelers back in time to a Victorian village. Carriage tours are a popular way to explore the historic downtown – no motorized transportation is allowed on the island. Top area attractions include the Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, Fort Mackinac and the famed Grand Hotel. DETROIT An array of new infrastructure development signals a growing demand for Detroit as a serious contender for your meetings and leisure travel clients. Downtown Detroit's Cobo Convention Center is in the final stages of its $279 million expansion and renovation. Last summer the 371-room Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront hotel opened directly across from Cobo Center. Later this year Detroit will be home to Michigan's first ALOFT hotel, which will be located in the David Whitney building in Grand Circus Park. The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is in the midst of a $30 million renovation proj- "American Gothic" painter Grant Wood, who lived and worked there from 1924 to 1934. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, houses "American Gothic," as part of the world's largest collection of works by Wood. In Des Moines, the capital and largest city, a must-see attraction is the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education, memorial to African- American soldiers of World War I and female soldiers of World War II. The Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater – named for the African- American opera singer) – holds a summer concert series called "Nitefall on the River." Other points of interest include Blank Park Zoo, the Des Moines Art Center and Hoyt Sherman Place, a performing arts center. Wright Museum of African American History ect transforming 1,329 guest rooms and meeting space. Construction is expected to start by the end of this year on the 1929 former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters, located across the street from Cobo Center, to be transformed into a 100-room upscale independent hotel. The Foundation hotel, which will also feature a restaurant and retail, is sched- uled to open in late 2015. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Plans were recently announced for a sweeping transformation of dozens of underutilized blocks between downtown and midtown Detroit into a world-class Sports and Entertainment District. The proj- ect will connect existing and new development efforts in downtown and midtown Detroit. Groundbreaking is slated for fall of 2014. The new $450 million, world-class arena built concurrently with the District will be a model of innovation for such a facility in a downtown setting. MINNESOTA Bloomington might be the ideal destination for a family reunion — or perhaps an incentive trip for a shopping enthusiast. The city is best known for the 4.2 million-sq. ft. Mall of America, which boasts more than 500 stores, 50 restaurants and a host of family attractions under its roof. Elsewhere in the city, you can enjoy these attractions at no charge: the Bloomington Art Center, the Bloomington H istorical Museum, the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and the Normandale Japanese Gardens. The capital city of St. Paul also offers a number of free tourist sites, including the State Capitol, the Governor's Residence, the Schubert Club Museum of Musical Instruments, St. Paul Cathedral and the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Each May, St. Paul's Festival of Nations showcases the cultures of 90 ethnic groups, while the Rondo Days celebration in July is a tribute t o the local African-American neighborhood that was divided when an Interstate highway was built in the 1960s. MINNEAPOLIS Whether you are planning a board meeting for 30, a shareholder meeting for 2,500 or a party for 10,000, the Minneapolis Convention Center is equipped with the amenities and services to ensure your event is successful. Between the 475,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and the 87 meeting rooms, you'll find the Center's award-winning Kelber Catering service and technical capabilities are second-to-none. The largest con- vention center in the Upper Midwest, the faci lity has achieved Level Minneapolis Convention Center

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