2020 Convention – Trips

Gesneriad Treasures in the Sunshine State
June 30 to July 4, 2020

Some changes have been made on this year’s convention program, and they include some new types of flexible trips for attendees to select from as well as opening up more free time later in the week to better enjoy the flower show and sale, relax, and socialize.
On Monday morning, June 29, we will board an air-conditioned bus for a half-day tour of the St. Petersburg city area. We will see the bayfront with its many parks, yacht basins, and the newly completed recreation pier on Tampa Bay, travel downtown past museums, restaurants, and on to the Historic Old Northeast neighborhood. In the midst of a bustling city, we will visit Sunken Gardens, one of the oldest roadside tourist attractions in the United States. We will stroll through this century-old botanical paradise, home to some of the oldest tropical plants in the region. The garden features more than 50,000 tropical plants, flowers, and trees, but also is home to a flock of flamingos and other tropical birds.
After the garden visit we will continue our bus tour down Central Avenue to view urban art – some of the over 100 street art murals dotted throughout St. Petersburg’s Central Arts District and points west. Our bus will then stop at several locations around the area (Arts District, the Bayfront/Pier area, or the Dalí Museum) to drop off those who would like to visit specific downtown areas, have lunch on their own, then return to the hotel either walking or on the free downtown Looper-Trolley. Maps and detailed information will be provided for all who sign up for this trip. If you choose not to make any stops downtown, the bus will return you to the hotel around 12:45 pm for whatever afternoon activity you would like to do on your own, or simply enjoy some rest and relaxation.
Monday evening, June 29, we have planned a tour of the greater St. Petersburg area, heading across Pinellas County west to the beach areas past the historically grand Don CeSar resort (known as the pink palace), viewing the award-winning sandy white shores of St. Pete Beach on the balmy waters of the Gulf of Mexico. At Pass-A-Grille Beach, we have a reserved seating area on the second floor of the Hurricane Restaurant where you can have drinks/appetizers/dinner on your own, relax and enjoy what should be a typical beautiful sunset over the gulf. We will then return to our hotel past the many waterways reflecting the night lights of the area.
Wednesday morning, July 1, there will be a morning trip offered to Sunken Gardens and the bayfront area for those not arriving in time for Monday’s trip (and not attending the Board of Directors meeting). The bus will return to our hotel in time for the Wednesday luncheon honoring chapters and other convention activities that afternoon and evening.
Saturday, July 4, we have planned informal activities for our wind-down convention event with no bus trip. Instead, a dining area has been reserved at the casual Hangar Restaurant located only two short blocks from our hotel. You can join other conventioneers for a casual gathering for drinks/dinner (on your own) anytime between 6 and 9 pm after which you may walk (or trolley) to nearby parks or the pier to enjoy the spectacular fireworks that St. Pete is famous for … or you may return to the hotel and enjoy some final time spent with friends at the Tampa Bay Chapter Social in a suite on an upper floor of the hotel with views of the nearby fireworks.

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