Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2012

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Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where the notorious KKK bombing took place; Kelly Ingram Park, where a series of sculptures commemorates the civil rights demonstrations held on the grounds; and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Other area landmarks include the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, located inside the historic Carver Theatre for the Performing Arts; the Fourth Avenue Business District; Alabama Penny Savings Bank, the state's first Black-owned bank; and A.G. Gaston Gardens, a former motel and civil rights meeting space. Several of Birmingham's top visitor attractions offer space for meetings and other group events. Unique offsite venues include the Sloth Furnaces National Historic Landmark, which will open its new visitors and education center in late 2012; the Birmingham Museum of Art, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2012, the McWane Science Center; the WorkPlay Theater; and Barber Motorsports Park. Birmingham also offers some notable settings for out- door activity. A new zip line tour at Red Mountain Park is said to be the nation's first such tour offering universal access. At approximately 1,200 aces, the park dwarfs New York City's Central Park by 40 percent. Railroad Park, a 19-acre linear green space in a former downtown waste- land, recently won a national award for being an out- Pick-your-own fruit farms are cropping up all over the ARKANSAS nation, but only in Arkansas can visitors pick their own diamonds — at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro , which also offers picnic areas and hiking trails. Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Regional Park hosts the popular Smoke on theWater barbecue and music festival every September. Pine Bluff's Southeast Arkansas Arts and Science Center is also located in the park. The spas on Bath House Row in Hot Springs National Park and the Magic Springs/Crystal Falls theme and water parks are just a couple of attractions that make Hot Springs an appealing destination for a business incentive trip, vacation or family reunion. Little Rock's most notable Black heritage attraction is the Central High School National Historic Site, where a landmark U.S. school desegregation case began. A con- ference room in the Central High School Visitors Center, located near the school, is available for meeting groups. Visitors to the Sunshine State, which is marking its 500th FLORIDA anniversary in 2012, will find plenty of outstanding historical attractions to explore. The home of the famedAfrican-American educator Mary McCloudBethune is open for tours on the campus ofBethune- CookmanUniversity inDaytonaBeach,where another histor- ical point of interest is the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse. Jacksonville'sOlusteeBattlefieldMonument is at the site of a significant Civil War battle waged by the all-Black Turtle Cove Spa, Hot Springs Massachusetts 54th regiment for theUnion.Other local attrac- tions include the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and the World GolfHall of Fame&Museum. Along with being home to the historically Black Florida A&M University — and its famous marching band — Tallahassee also is the site of the John G. Riley Center & Museum of African American History & Culture and the museum at Union Bank,which houses exhibits from FAMU's BlackArchives. Black Meetings & Tourism May/June 2012: 39 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute standing example of urban beautification. The Five Points South district is a popular hangout for dining and entertainment, while the Alabama Adventure theme park serves up a day of family fun. Birmingham's largest meeting venue, the Jefferson Convention Complex, contains 220,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 60 meeting rooms, and a 10-story Medical Forum. There are about 14,000 area guestrooms.

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