While Alabama is a state rich with tradition and history, planners looking for something new or out-of-the-ordinary will be pleased with what they discover. From the coast to the mountains, the Yellowhammer State is alive with group settings
and attractions that break away from the everyday.
Here’s a look at some provocative possibilities for groups bound
Gulf Coast Region
In Mobile, the big buzz is over a singularly spectacular $60 million,
90,000-square-foot riverfront attraction celebrating the maritime
heritage of the Gulf of Mexico.
“It is an amazing venue both for regular tourists and convention
groups,” says Stacy Hamilton, vice president of marketing and communications for Visit Mobile, referring to the brand-new GulfQuest
venue. The new lure shows off 90 interactive exhibits, uniquely displayed in a life-size replica of a container ship, and offers substantial
discounts for group visits.
Perhaps most impressive to planners is the array of possible
spaces for group functions. Options range from the Shelby Room,
with sweeping views and reception capacity for 280, to a full venue
buyout for a grand affair hosting up to 2,500 guests.
And in the scenic Gulf Shores/Orange Beach region, Ally Mills
Dorrough, the public relations coordinator with Gulf Shores & Or-
ange Beach Tourism, highly recommends some memorable outdoor
experiences to shake things up for meeting groups.
How many attendees have gotten to take over an island for a day
of water sports? Sail Wild Hearts offers a 53-foot catamaran that offers this and other activities, including sunset cruises, from its dock
across from the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach.
River Heritage Region
In the Auburn-Opelika area, CVB Vice President Robyn Bridges
says her bureau often promotes some cool collegiate venues to
groups seeking something different and memorable.
For smaller groups, Bridges touts Auburn University’s Lettermen
Lounge at Jordan-Hare Stadium, home to
Auburn football. The snazzy setting can host
about 100 attendees and is an ideal option for
a group seeking a reception space that won’t
break the bank; events here should be booked
directly through the Auburn-Opelika CVB.
For planners hosting a larger function,
Bridges points toward Auburn Arena, home
to the university’s basketball and gymnastics
squads—plus 12,000 square feet of banquet
and function space. Event options include the
The “Heart of Dixie” beats with new and unusual lures
BY ZACHARY CHOUTEAU
A DIFFERENT TAKE
Wild Hearts catamaran,