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Offbeat Sites for Off-Sites

Make your next off-site meeting a staff treat.

It’s strange, we know, but traveling on business often means going to a new place to interact with many of the same old people. We’re talking about that much-dreaded company ritual, the corporate off-site: the planning session, the annual sales meeting — you get the (bleak) picture. Here’s a collection of offbeat sites in major cities that might change the mood at your next off-site.

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Site Description Facilities Power Point
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center,
Austin Texas
www.wildflower.org
Enjoy the splendor of nature in the heart of one of America’s most digital cities. Founded in 1982, this nonprofit organization is home to more than 400 plant species, all of which are native to central Texas. The Wildflower Center has five meeting areas, including its cushy research library. And forget about dull coffee breaks. Instead, wander through the center’s gardens and examine its rainwater-collection system. Need a breather from strategy sessions? The Wildflower Center features trails that let you explore the beauty of central Texas. And its environmentally friendly buildings are made from recycled materials.
New England Aquarium,
Boston, Massachusetts
www.neaq.org
Situated on Boston Harbor, this aquarium houses sea lions, sea otters, penguins, and many other creatures. The structure’s design gives you the illusion of being underwater. Want to ensure that your people won’t jump ship? Try holding your meeting aboard the Discovery, an aquarium vessel that never leaves dockside. The aquarium will even throw in a sea-lion presentation. Harbor Terrace, a tented outdoor facility, is available to visitors between May and September. Here, you can savor an authentic New England-style clambake.
The Field Museum,
Chicago Illinois
www.fieldmuseum.org
One of the world’s foremost natural-science museums, this Windy City institution houses biological and anthropological collections from the World’s Colombian Exposition of 1893. Choose from among the Field Museum’s six diverse locations, ranging from the 2,000-person-capacity Stanley Field Hall to more intimate meeting rooms. Want a personal tour of the museum? No problem. You and the staff can plan your own “Treasure Trek” — a scavenger hunt that guides your party through some of the Field’s most precious holdings.
Chelsea Piers,
New York, NY
www.chelseapiers.com
Looking to add an air of frivolity to your meeting? Try Chelsea Piers, a huge sports-and-entertainment complex on the Hudson River. End your day with dinner at Pier Sixty, a restaurant underneath the sports center. Chelsea Piers houses five sports-themed facilities: a roller rink, an ice rink, a golf club, a sports center, and a field house. It also offers three meeting rooms and access to an enormous outdoor terrace. The Chelsea Piers staff will provide you with a daily itinerary that lists organized activities including sand volleyball, rock climbing, and soccer.
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