Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for March, 2020

Heartland Travel Showcase Promotes Tour Group Travel

Heartland Bus (2)

Area travel attractions and tour groups enjoyed a peaceful ride to Heartland Travel Showcase.

    Every February, tour group leaders and attractions from the eastern United States meet at Heartland Travel Showcase to share ideas in various locations of the eastern United States. They have recently been in Pigeon Forge, Detroit, and Chicago with plans to have their showcase in Cleveland for 2021.

Radisson Hotel Home

Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol was our home for a few days.

     This gypsy has been fortunate to be able to attend the Showcase for several years as the tour group coordinator for Dickens Victorian Village.  We were fortunate to have a great bus driver for our trip to Lansing. When we arrived, we unloaded our suitcases at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing, which was just across the river from the Lansing Center where the Showcase was to take place.

     Heartland Travel Showcase is produced by the Ohio Travel Association in various cities in the eastern part of the United States. Travel is an important industry accounting for nearly $44 billion dollars a year in the state of Ohio. These shows are an important place to make connections and let others know about your particular event.

Lansing River Walk

An enclosed pedway led us from the hotel over this Grand River to the Lansing Center where the Showcase was held.

     This weekend event sets up booths early Friday morning, followed by what is called a Four Minute Meet. Here the tour groups are set up in a large conference room in alphabetical order and attractions have four minutes to tell them about why they might like to arrange a tour to their particular area and attraction.

Heartland Set up

Tour attractions just finished setting up their booths in preparation for the next two days of appointments with tour operators.

     The evening always has entertainment and a delicious buffet of foods provided by the city hosting the event. In Pigeon Forge, we visited The Island at Pigeon Forge as well as the Titanic Museum and a buffet at a country/dinner theater. Detroit treated us to a historic museum while Chicago opened the doors to their Impression 5 Science Center.

Lite Brite at Science Museum

Freedom to play with a giant Lite-Brite screen has Heartland visitors at the science center designing the mega-screen with a huge heart.

Heartland Slime

Several enjoyed the challenge of making their personal bag of “slime” for the kid in them.

     These places not only show other groups the highlights of their area but gives a chance to become familiar with other attractions and tour groups on a more personal level.

2020 Heartland (2)

Dixie Lacy from the Visitors and Convention Bureau and Beverly Kerr, group tour director for Dickens Victorian Village met with many potential visitors.

     Saturday and Sunday are spent at appointments that are scheduled with various attractions. This gives tour operators a chance to learn more about the attractions and see if they would like to schedule a visit.

    All events throughout the weekend are spent in networking with other tour groups and tour operators. There were also seminars on ways to learn about trends in the travel industry and how we might use them in our event.

Heartland Muskingum

On one side were friends from Muskingum County. Brenton Baker from the nearly opened  Dresden & Co. shared the booth with Kelly Ashby, Zanesville’s Chamber Vice President.

     We were pleased to be surrounded by other area attractions making it easy to discuss combined tours for a possible several day tour. These connections are an important part of the travel industry so we have friends who can help answer questions.

Heartland Marietta

Across the aisle, another special friend,  Deana Clark from the nearby Marietta/Washington County CVB  provides possibilities of many interesting tours.

Great Ohio Lodges - Salt Fork

On the other side representing Great Ohio Lodges were Joan Arrowsmith and Kathlene Williams. Our local Salt Fork Lodge is part of that group and the perfect place for lodging.

     By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, ideas are flowing in everyone’s minds about tourism in 2021-22. It’s been a great place to build relationships and plan tours.

Heartland Capitol Building Lansing

Our last evening there, we took a walk to a nearby restaurant and had this view of the Lansing Capitol right down the street.

The bus ride home has everyone talking about possibilities for the future.

If anyone is interested in a tour to Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio during November and December each year, please contact me at DickensGroupTours@gmail.com and we’ll design a plan for your specific group.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center – The Ultimate Indoor Playground

LEGO tub of bricks

Use your imagination with a tub filled with LEGO bricks.

Kids love LEGO bricks! There’s no doubt about it. They enjoy the creativity involved in designing their own building, vehicle, or person by using their imagination. Not only does it grab the interest of youngsters, but many dads and moms had their own collection of LEGO years ago.

LEGOLAND front

LEGOLAND Discovery Center can be found at Easton in Columbus.

     Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton in Columbus for a unique indoor attraction based on the LEGO bricks. Since it was specifically built for children ages 3-10, all adults must be accompanied by children. You’ll want to plan your visit so you have two to three hours at LEGOLAND, which was opened in September 2018.

LEGO leaders

Their leadership team includes Benjy Johnson – Guest Experience Manager, Maxx Davidson – Master Builder, and Chris Shoemaker – General Manager

     With the assistance of a great guide, Benjy, my tour of the facility covered every aspect from building blocks to rides and movies. LEGOLAND is highly interactive in numerous areas.

Lego Interactive

The Friends section holds a special interest to girls and moms.

     LEGO began back in 1932 when a toymaker in Denmark began making wooden toys and blocks and called them “leg godt,” meaning “play well.” It wasn’t until 1958 that LEGO bricks were made out of plastic with their interlocking design so all would fit together easily.

LEGO building

How tall can you build your tower before it falls at Earthquake Shake?

     It would take forty billion LEGO bricks end to end to reach the moon. The company makes forty-seven billion bricks each year. A special addition in 1978 was the popular minifigure. Since that time there have been enough minifigures made to wrap around the earth eighteen times.

LEGO OSU

Miniland has an interactive section of the OSU Stadium built of LEGO bricks.

     An interactive Miniland attracts adults as well as children. In Columbus, you will see parts of the city built with LEGO bricks. They also have highlights of Cleveland and Cincinnati. There are over a million and a half LEGO bricks in Miniland. Little details will have you exploring the sites carefully.

LEGO Build and Test 2

Families have fun building vehicles and racing them at Build and Test.

     Several play areas give youngsters a chance to build their own LEGO creations. LEGO Build and Test entices families to build their own vehicles so they can race them on extreme ramps and see how fast they can go. Earthquake Tables are the perfect place to erect buildings and see how they withstand an earthquake.

     With all the children handling bricks, special attention is paid to cleaning and sterilizing the bricks on a daily basis. Anytime a brick is dropped on the floor, it is swept up and taken to the room for cleaning. At the end of the day, all the bricks that children play with are taken to the washroom where they are washed and sterilized.

LEGO movies

Everyone will enjoy a LEGO 4D Cinema adventure.

     Want to take a break from building? Sit back and watch a fantastic LEGO 4D Cinema. Here you will experience rain, snow, wind, and bubbles while you watch the LEGO excitement. There are four different movies for your enjoyment. The 4D glasses are also disinfected after each use.

LEGO ticket booth

Even the ticket booth to the movies looks like a LEGO brick.

     You won’t want to miss two rides that take you on LEGO adventures. Kingdom Quest takes you on a laser journey to free the captured princess. Hop aboard a chariot and use blasters to zap beastly trolls and sneaky skeletons along the way. Rescue the princess!

merlins-apprentice-1

Fly to new heights as Merlin’s Apprentice.

     Merlin’s Apprentice Ride takes place in Merlin’s magical chamber. Here you pedal the enchanted cart as fast as you can to soar to new heights of up to 12′. Only the most powerful charms will reach the sky.

LEGO clock

The dragon emerges every fifteen minutes from the LEGO clock to Rock Around the Clock.

     Many special events are held throughout the year so check out their website at www.columbus.legolanddiscoverycenter.com to find all the activities. They even have special Adult Only Nights for grown-ups who always enjoyed LEGO bricks and would like a chance to be a kid again.

     Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton in Columbus to experience building and creating with LEGO bricks. There’s free parking close by in the West Garage.

LEGO birthday

LEGOLAND is the perfect place for a birthday party.

     This is a great place for a birthday party or a school field trip and it’s open every day of the year – all 366 days this year! The children will certainly remember this unique indoor adventure.

     Go inside and play!

LEGOLAND is located inside Easton Center just off I-270 at Exit 33. Their address is 157 Easton Town Center with free parking close by in West Garage. Put the address in your GPS and go play!

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