Wish You Were Here
Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

FORT WORTH, TX

"As the 9th-safest city in the nation, Fort Worth is a very appealing vacation destination for families," says David DuBois, CMP, CAE, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Attractions such as the Stockyards National Historic District, Sundance Square, the Cultural District, the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, the Fort Worth Zoo, and Texas Motor Speedway provide a variety of activities for all members of the family. In addition, new and renovated hotel offerings and restaurants continue to enhance the city's reputation as one of the premier leisure travel destinations in the nation."

Another family favorite, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, will open its new facility in 2009. At the National Cowboys of Color Museum, exhibits highlighting the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and Buffalo Soldiers share space with other displays showcasing the contributions of African-Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, as well as European Americans, to the settlement of the Western American frontier.

You can download travel coupons from the FWCVB Web site for admission to the many of the city's top attractions.

Accommodations are provided by 11,000 guestrooms citywide, including more than 2,000 rooms in the downtown area. The new 614-room Omni Fort Worth Hotel opens in January 2009 next to the Fort Worth Convention Center, which contains 253,226 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 41 meeting rooms. Convention bureau services include four hours of complimentary registration assistance for every 100 peak night rooms and central housing services for groups using three or more hotels with a minimum of 1,000 rooms on peak night.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport offers non-stop service to more than 170 cities worldwide and an average of 2,000 flights daily. Fort Worth is the hub of the south central corridor on Amtrak's daily Texas Eagle route.

HOUSTON, TX

"Houston has always been an affordable city, particularly when compared to other cities of the same size," says Lindsey Brown, director of marketing for the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. For example, according to Brown, the average meal in Houston costs $5 less than the national average. "This is particularly significant because we're also recognized as one of the top food cities in the country by Forbes Traveler."

"Houston has always been an affordable city, particularly when compared to other cities of the same size," says Lindsey Brown, director of marketing for the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. For example, according to Brown, the average meal in Houston costs $5 less than the national average. "This is particularly significant because we're also recognized as one of the top food cities in the country by Forbes Traveler."

You can take the family to explore the area's Black heritage at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum - the world's largest repository of African-American military history - and Project Row Houses, an art and community center housed in 22 renovated shotgun-style dwellings.

More than 60,000 area hotel rooms include 5,000 rooms located within a mile of the George R. Brown Convention Center. The convention center's 1.8 million gross sq. ft. of space features 862,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and nearly 185,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

CVB services include a restaurants and attractions booth at all citywide conventions and help with designing e-newsletters to boost attendance.

Houston is home to the nation's fourth largest airport system, consisting of Bush Intercontinental Airport, 20 miles from downtown, and William P. Hobby Airport, 11 miles from downtown. Between them they serve 118 U.S. and 76 international destinations. The METRO public transportation system includes an airport shuttle to downtown Houston and the METRORail servicing the area between downtown and Reliant Park, including the Museum District.

MIAMI, FL

The exciting nightlife, arts and cultural scene, the pastel architectural jewels of South Beach's Art Deco District, and the shopping and dining in downtown Miami's Bayside Marketplace are just some of the things the adults are likely to remember about a family trip to the Greater Miami area. A visit to the Miami Seaquarium on Key Biscayne, an airboat tour of the Everglades and a hands-on tour of an alligator farm are bound to leave an impression on the kids.

The younger set will especially enjoy the nature, animals and interactive exhibits at the Miami Children's Museum, the Miami Science Museum, the Miami Dade Metrozoo, Jungle Island, Monkey Jungle and Everglades Alligator Farm. The grownups can ooh and ah over the Viscaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove and the D.A. Dorsey House, the home of Miami's first Black millionaire.

The Dorsey house is located in Overtown, one of Miami's oldest African-American neighborhoods. Along with the Lyric Theater and the Greater Bethel AME Church, the historic home is undergoing renovation as part of a neighborhood revitalization effort.

The largest area meeting venue is the Miami Beach Convention Center, which has more than 500,000 gross sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, 70 column-free meeting rooms and a full-service business center. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitor Bureau offers a free centralized housing reservation system for groups using a minimum of 500 rooms in two or more hotels, along with help in planning tours and spouse programs and other services. The area has more than 42,000 guestrooms, and several beachfront resort properties offer special programs and perks for the kids.

Air travelers will appreciate the convenient location of the Miami International Airport just seven miles from downtown. Getting around is facilitated by the Metrorail elevated rail system that serves downtown Miami, the Metromover's individual motorized cars and the Metrobus.

ORLANDO, FL

"Orlando is the ultimate family destination, not only because of the attractions (you'll find more than 100 in Orlando), but also for the range of accommodations, cultural activities, outdoor recreation, dining experiences and value," says Susan Lomax Greer, associate vice president of publicity for the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. "Families can easily tailor a vacation to suit their personal preferences and budget."

Of course, the area's grand theme parks are the first to come to mind when you think of family-friendly activities in Orlando. Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort are just the beginning. Other options include Busch Gardens Africa, SeaWorld Orlando and Gatorland. How about taking the kids to play at the LEGO Imagination Center, explore the Orlando Science Center or watch the manatees at Blue Spring State Park?

A visit to Eatonville might make an interesting day trip. The nation's oldest Black municipality, this town is home to the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, named for the Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist who once lived there.


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