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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

A sneak peek at SMM Conference location: Jacksonville

Jacksonville Skyline with St. Johns River
Courtesy Jacksonville CVB

With its riverwalk, theater and zoo, Jacksonville, Fla., will have plenty to entertain attendees at the 2012 Small Market Meetings Conference. The Oct 28-30 conference will bring together meeting planners and meeting suppliers for networking, educational seminars and tours of the city.

Attendees will stay at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, which sits along the banks of the St. John’s River, Florida’s longest river. From there, it is a few steps to a three-mile riverwalk through downtown.

Across the street from the hotel, Jacksonville Landing is an entertainment complex past the Main Street Bridge. It offers shopping and nine restaurants with a variety of cuisine, including sushi, steak, seafood and Italian and Irish fare.

Also in downtown, the 265,000-square-foot Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center is the only Southern railroad station to be transformed into a convention center. Opened in 1986, the center has two exhibit halls, several ballrooms and meeting rooms.

The Mediterranean Revival-style of the Florida Theatre was in vogue during the booming 1920s. Architects designed the auditorium to emulate an evening in a Moorish courtyard with sparkling stars, fountains and an ornate proscenium arch that reaches nearly six stories. Elvis Presley performed at the theater in 1956 during one of his first headline indoor concerts.

Attendees also will learn about the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts and its three performance halls: the 1,800-seat Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall, the 600-seat C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry Theater and the 3,000-seat Jim and Jan Moran Theater.

Jaguars slink through recreated rainforests at the Jacksonville Zoo. Its jaguars, howler monkeys and giant anteaters make the Range of the Jaguar one of the zoo’s main attractions. More than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 varieties of plants make this zoo a walking safari.

Qualified meeting planners who attend the Jacksonville conference will receive two nights’ lodging at the Hyatt, complimentary meals, tours and reimbursement of up to $400 for travel. For more information or to register, visit