Alabama U.S. Space & Rocket Center Museum Beginning in the spring of 2000, you can hold a private function in a $22 million, 42-story launch tower building that contains exhibits about America's quest to reach the moon, as well as nearly 10,000 square feet of meeting space. Attendees can look across a 300-foot-high catwalk to see the actual Saturn V rocket that launched astronauts to the moon.
Capacity: 1,400 square feet of meeting space on each of the six floors and a boardroom on the ground level; a fine dining restaurant on floors 40 and 41 for group functions.
* 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35807; Phone: (256) 837-3400; Fax: (256) 837-6137; www.ussrc.org
Colorado Ocean Journey Seventy million years ago, Colorado was covered by a vast inland sea. Now, the ocean has returned in the form of the $93 million Ocean Journey, the only world-class aquarium in the Rocky Mountain Region. There are more than 15,000 fish, mammals, and plants.
Capacity: 600 for a reception or 300 for a sit-down dinner
* U.S. West Park, 700 Water St., Denver, CO 80211; Phone: (303) 561-4450; Fax: (303) 561-4465; www.oceanjourney.org
Florida Fantasy of Flight A 1916 Avro, Japanese Zero, Spitfire, MiG-15, and Corsair are just a few of the aircraft on display in the world's largest private collection of vintage aircraft, located about an hour from Tampa and 45 minutes from Orlando.
Capacity: 5,000 in indoor facilities and outdoor grounds, including a South Pacific-style Officers Club and two hangars that display vintage aircraft
* 1400 Broadway Blvd. SE, Polk City, FL 33868-1200; Phone: (941) 984-3500; Fax: (941) 984-9506; www.fantasyofflight.com
International Swimming Hall of Fame The world-class museum and sports library honors the greatest aquatic stars of our time with displays of medals, swimsuits, diving boards, and other memorabilia. The facility also contains two Olympic-sized pools and bleachers for 1,800.
Capacity: 170 for indoor banquets, 225 for outdoor banquets, and 1,000 for a reception in the pool area
* 501 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316; Phone: (954) 462-6536; Fax: (954) 522-4521; www.ishof.org
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant Looking to find the road less traveled at Walt Disney World? One place to try is this zany theater/restaurant in Disney-MGM Studios, where visitors sit in re-created 1950s convertibles as they watch vintage film clips on an enormous drive-in movie screen. As they relax and dine, they view scenes from some of the corniest science-fiction movies ever made.
* Walt Disney World Resort Sales, P.O. Box 10,000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000; Phone: (407) 828-3074; Fax: (407) 934-6692
Titanic Ship of Dreams The world's first permanent Titanic attraction, this unique interactive museum features full-scale replicas, including the world-famous Grand Staircase--as well as authentic artifacts and all kinds of movie memorabilia.
* 8445 International Dr., Suite 202, Orlando, FL 32819; Phone: (407) 248-1166; Fax: (407) 248-1925; www.titanicshipofdreams.com
Maryland Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum On February 6, 1895, George Herman "Babe" Ruth was born at 216 Emory Street in a Baltimore row house that today, along with three adjoining row homes, features artifacts from his life and exhibits on the Baltimore Orioles and the history of baseball. The museum is just a fly ball away from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and during baseball season the museum offers interesting pre-game party packages that include up to 50 tickets to the game.
Capacity: 125 for a reception or buffet and 50 for a seated dinner with tables set up in several areas of the museum; courtyard tables can accommodate an additional 24 people. For affairs of up to 200 people, the street in front of the museum can be closed and tented.
Availability: Daily after 4 p.m. from November through March and after 5 p.m. from April through October
* 216 Emory St., Baltimore, MD 21230; Phone: (410) 727-1539 Fax: (410)727-1652; www.BabeRuthMuseum.com
Oriole Park at Camden Yards Oriole Park at Camden Yards is Baltimore's old-fashioned, natural grass ballpark equipped with modern amenities.
Capacity: 2,500 in areas that include the ball field, the Camden Club, Bambino's Pub, Homeplate Office, and private skyboxes
* 555 Russell St., Suite B, Baltimore, MD 21230; Phone: (410) 332-4633; Fax: (410) 332-4655
Massachusetts Boston Tea Party Ship Museum History comes alive aboard a replica of the famous British brig. An adjacent museum has an audiovisual presentation describing the events leading up to that historic night in 1773 when 90,000 pounds of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor to protest the tea tax and British import restrictions.
Capacity: From 150 to 175 for a reception and 100 for a banquet
Availability: Year-round after business hours
* Museum Wharf, Congress Street Bridge, Boston, MA 02210; Phone: (617) 338-1773; Fax: (617) 338-1974; www.historictours.com
Mississippi Duff Green Mansion Slave laborers built this three-story home in 1856 on the site of the second-largest (and best-preserved) Civil War battlefield. It served as a hospital for Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War.
Capacity: 120 theater-style or 80 for a banquet
* 1114 First East St., Vicksburg, MS 39180; Phone: (800) 992-0037 or (601) 636-6968; Fax: (601) 661-0079; www.vicksburgcvb.org
New Jersey Ocean Life Center Opened in May on a scenic waterfront parcel at the north end of town, Ocean Life Center celebrates Atlantic City's maritime heritage. There are tanks with more than 100 varieties of fish and marine creatures, a 750-gallon "touch tank," and indoor and outdoor observation decks.
Capacity: 100 classroom-style
Availability: Year-round. The entire center is available after hours for parties.
* New Hampshire Avenue and the Bay, Atlantic City, NJ 08401; Phone: (609) 348-2880; Fax: (609) 345-4002
North Carolina The Burwell School The only remaining early 19th-century school in historic Hillsborough, the former school for young ladies includes a two-story frame house, a music building, a brick "necessary" house, and formal gardens.
Capacity: 75 for receptions and 45 for sit-down dinners; 150 outside on the grounds.
* 319 N. Churton St., Hillsborough, NC 27278; Phone: (919) 732-7741; Fax: (919) 732-6322
Pennsylvania College of Physicians of Philadelphia The Mutter Museum (built circa 1787) has hundreds of anatomical and pathological specimens on display, including the death cast of Siamese twins Chang and Eng; a tumor removed from President Cleveland's jaw; a 1949 Emerson iron lung; and obsolete medical instruments.
Capacity: 150 for a reception in a foyer outside the museum and 125 in a medicinal plant garden at the college
* 19 S. 22nd St., Philadelphia. PA 19103; Phone: (215) 563-3737, ext. 283; Fax: (215) 561-6477; www.collphyphil.org
Hershey's Chocolate World Visitors follow the Hershey Bar from cocoa bean to foil wrapper in a tour ride, video display, and simulation of the manufacturing process. Visits by the Hershey Product characters can also be arranged. Hershey's Chocolate Town Cafe is a full-service restaurant that is available for private parties.
Capacity: 275 people at Hershey's Chocolate Town Cafe
* P.O. Box 800, Park Blvd., Hershey, PA 17033; Phone: (717) 533-2917; Fax: (717) 534-1428; www.hersheyschocolateworld.com
Rhode Island International Tennis Hall of Fame Americantennis began here in 1881, when the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships were played on the grounds, and tennis is still played here today. On display are the costumes and equipment from the early days of the game, as well as other tennis artifacts.
Capacity: 300 for receptions in various locations that include the Horseshoe Piazza, indoor USTA Wing banquet hall, museum galleries, and any of the building's outdoor porches. There are also 13 grass courts.
Availability: Year-round in indoor facilities and seasonal in outdoor locations
* 194 Bellevue Ave., Newport, RI 02840-3586; Phone: (401) 849-3990; Fax: (401) 849-8780; www.tennisfame.org
South Carolina House of Blues This House of Blues serves authentic Mississippi Delta-style cuisine and is furnished with gas lanterns, a tin roof, wooden floors, hand-painted mural walls, and original folk art. There is live entertainment by such celebrities as Buddy Guy, Bruce Hornsby, and Van Halen. (Other House of Blues are located in Cambridge, Mass., New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Orlando.)
Capacity: 2,500 for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or cocktail reception
* 4640 Highway 17 South, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582; Phone: (843) 272-3000; Fax: (843) 272-0032; www.hob.com
Ripley's Aquarium Ripley's Aquarium is a state-of-the-art, multisensory entertainment facility of more than 86,000 square feet that shows visitors aquatic environments.
* 1110 Celebrity Cir., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; Phone: (843) 916-0888; Fax: (843) 916-0752
Texas Southfork Ranch The filming location for the long-running "Dallas" series on television, the famed Ewing mansion as well as the ranch grounds can be used for meetings and special events.
Capacity: 10,000 in 63,000 square feet of indoor space
* P.O. Box 516009, Dallas, TX 75251; Phone: (972) 442-7800; Fax: (972) 442-5259; www.southforkranch.com
INTERNATIONAL VENUES Australia Kangaroo Point Cliffs Attendees can step aboard charter boats or a Brisbane ferry for the short river ride from their hotel to the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, a spectacular setting for outdoor events. Brisbane enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year.
Brisbane Tourism, Louise Sturgess, Brisbane City Hall, King George Square, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Australia; Phone: 011 61 7 3221 8411; Fax: 011 61 7 3229 5126; E-mail: email@example.com
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park Five theaters, a museum, an art gallery, and a traditional Aboriginal camp give visitors a taste of the rich and ancient Aboriginal culture. There are four different dining venues: the Magic Space, with museum-quality artifacts and specially commissioned artworks; the Tjapukai Dance Theatre, an outdoor covered amphitheater; the Boomerang Restaurant, overlooking the twin Caravonica Lakes; and Tjapukai's specially created Rainforest Marquee.
Capacity: 350 in the Magic Space; 100 in the Tjapukai Dance Theatre; 350 in the Boomerang; and 800 in the Rainforest Marquee
* Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Kamerunga Road, Caravonica Lakes, Smithfield QLD 4878, Australia; Phone: 011 61 7 4042 9900; Fax: 61 7 4042 9990; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada Roundhouse Lodge This new alpine restaurant on Whistler Mountain is said to be the largest mountain-top restaurant and conference facility in North America. It is linked directly with the Whistler Village Gondola, and the ride to the top of the mountain in itself is memorable.
* Whistler/Blackcomb Sales, 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, British Columbia V0N 1B4, Canada; Phone: (888) 932-3400, ext. 203; Fax: (604) 932-1844; www.whistler-blackcomb.com
La Biosphere An "ecowatch" center containing information about the St. Lawrence-Great Lake Seaway, La Biosphere is built within the geodesic dome designed by R. Buckminster Fuller.
Capacity: 330 (250 for a seated dinner) in a windowed tent on the outdoor platform and 275 inside
Availability: Year-round inside; from May to October outdoors
* 60 Chemin Tour de l'Isle, Ile Sainte-Helene, Montreal, Quebec; H3C 4G8, Canada; Phone: (514) 283-5000; Fax: (514) 283-5021; http://biosphere.ec.gc.ca
The Bata Shoe Museum More than 4,500 shoes on display, including ancient Egyptian sandals, Elton John's platforms, and boots belonging to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice. Yes, the collection includes a few pairs of Imelda Marcos' pumps.
Capacity: 250 for a cocktail reception and 110 for a sit-down dinner
* 327 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1W7, Canada; Phone: (416) 979-7799; Fax: (416) 979-0078
England Tower Bridge Among the areas available for group functions at are the glass walkways, 140 feet above the Thames and overlooking the Tower of London, and the engine rooms that house the original Victorian steam engines used to lift the bridge.
Capacity: 150 in the glass walkways; 150 (75 for sit-down meals) in the engine rooms; and 12 in the Bridge Master's dining room
Availability: Year-round. Except for the Bridge Master's dining room, Tower Bridge is available for morning and evening functions only.
* Tower Bridge, London SE1 2UP, England; Phone: 011 44 171 357 6718; Fax: 011 44 171 403 4477; www.towerbridge.org.uk
Scotland Royal Yacht Britannia The royal yacht Britannia was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Until recently the sleek, luxurious, and well-maintained vessel played host to many important site visits and affairs of state. Now that it is decommissioned and berthed in Edinburgh's historic Port of Leith, Britannia is illuminated, with flags at full mast, and available for private evening events.
Capacity: 250 for receptions and 92 for banquets
* Ocean Dr., Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6JJ Scotland; Phone: 44 131 555 8600;Fax: 44 131 553 4447