Courtesy Cedar Point
Published April 01, 2017
When hunting for meeting venues, amusement parks may not be the first thought that comes to mind.
But many amusement parks provide quality meeting space and services to accommodate the needs of every group. The rides serve as a colorful backdrop, and attendees can bypass the crowds and take advantage of private access to attractions and entertainment after hours.
If you want to shake things up at your next meeting, consider taking your group to one of these electrifying locations.
Known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point is the second-oldest amusement park in the United States, thrilling millions of visitors each year with 364 acres of renowned rides and attractions.
“There are so many things to do at Cedar Point,” said Lynn Webb, director of sales at the park. “If you’re not a coaster or a rider, we have world-class entertainment, plenty of food venues and boating at the marina. There’s something for everyone.”
With the park’s location on the shores of Lake Erie, meeting attendees can enjoy incredible views from all the event facilities, including two covered picnic pavilions as well as a 250-capacity conference center for more formal gatherings. Planners can also take advantage of the meeting space at Cedar Point’s historic Hotel Breakers, which was refurbished from top to bottom in 2015.
Many groups plan their after-hours events around festivities like Brew and BBQ, Cedar Point Nights and HalloWeekends, hosting a bonfire beach party or a cocktail hour with themed decor. It is possible to reserve exclusive ride time before or after public hours so attendees can have fun at the attractions without the headache of long lines.
For catered events, guests can choose from a customizable menu with anything from charbroiled top sirloin to pasta primavera with roasted vegetables and BLT salad.
“People often don’t think of formal dining when it comes to theme parks, but our chef does a great job,” said Webb.
To provide special group experiences, Cedar Point partners with a professional team-building company called Teambonders. Participants are divided into teams and given tablet computers to use for scoring, GPS tracking and alerts. In the Cedar Point Appmazing Hunt and other games, groups use the tablets to compete in a scavenger hunt throughout the park.
Silver Dollar City
Based in America’s heartland, Silver Dollar City offers a wealth of entertainment for meeting attendees, from its 1800s-themed amusement park to a dinner cruise and white-water rafting.
“We have numerous meeting facilities that people typically aren’t aware of,” said Joey Thorsen of the park sales department, “from Broadway-style theaters to the Showboat, which is a floating venue right on Table Rock Lake.”
Planners can use one of the dozen restaurants or four theaters to host their events, but Showboat Branson Belle is, arguably, the most popular venue; it features a three-course meal and a live performance aboard an 1890-style paddle wheeler.
“The sky’s the limit on the Showboat,” said Thorsen. “We can turn the top deck into a dance floor with a live band or schedule a private fireworks show over the water.”
Many groups enjoy behind-the-scenes tours of roller coasters and other attractions, as well as live demonstrations of local crafts like cooking, glassblowing and woodcarving. After hours, planners can reserve sections of the park for exclusive access to rides, dancing or dining.
Thorsen described how one group enjoyed a breakfast buffet at the park before opening hours and then took advantage of the empty rides and attractions.
“People love to hear us say, ‘When the park closes, it’s yours,’” he said.
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