The sky’s the limit: Islands of Adventure at Universal
exciting, unique experiences is the business of theme
parks, which have the resources and creativity to help
corporate clients customize events or meetings, whether the group
comprises 20 people or thousands.
With increasing emphasis placed on the branding of meetings and
events, theme parks have become more attractive destinations
because of their built-in assets and their ability to work with
groups to produce large-scale happenings, says Beth Robertson, vice
president of communications for the Alexandria, Va.-based
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Moreover, several park directors say the fact that attendees are
encouraged to bring their partners or kids along for the trip helps
“At theme parks, events are designed for the entire family --
not necessarily the same activities at the same time, but in one
facility everyone has something to do,” Robertson says.
The following are examples of how far some theme parks will go
to satisfy corporate clients.
Busch Gardens & Adventure
Tampa Bay, Fla.
(888) 800-5447, option 3
An African landscape it is not, but
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, with more than 2,000 live animals of 320
different species, typically acts as a proxy for the continent.
“A lot of time people ask us to do an event with an African
theme,” says Brenda Waldron, national convention sales manager for
Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, Tampa Bay.
Groups can set up in the Crown Colony House, which accommodates
up to 300 people and overlooks the park’s Serengeti Plain; in the
Desert Grill, a Moroccan restaurant for up to 750 people; or in the
Moroccan Palace, a performance venue suitable for breakfast or
lunch receptions. The park can provide entertainment -- bands or
other live performances -- with African themes.
Additionally, the park customizes “safaris” for groups, during
which participants can feed giraffes alongside the park’s
For mealtime events, the park can cook up anything from
hamburgers and hot dogs to a black-tie dinner.
Groups can buy out the park in part or whole for exclusive use
a half hour after doors close to the public. And while the park
doesn’t have overnight accommodations, transportation from downtown
hotels or beachfront properties can be worked into the