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One the Road: Everything’s Bigger (and Better) in Texas




By Selena Fragassi

 

Dallas has great food, great weather, and especially great meeting and event venues. From a champion ballpark to a wild funhouse and photo studio turned event venue, here are some of the best options to consider this summer and fall.

Globe Life Park (Arlington, TX)

Fans of the Texas Rangers can feel like a part of the team with meetings and events held at the official ballpark, Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. “We have a little more than 4 million square feet of meeting space, including the field and parking lots,” says Genifer Oliver, director of sales, special events, and catering. Some of the distinct on-site venues include the Hall of Fame, Jack Daniels Club, Hyundai Club, and Captain Morgan’s Club, as well as three boardrooms, all of which are equipped with A/V and with access to an in-house catering team. “We can also do plated events for up to 4,000 on the field and we utilize both dugouts for dinners and receptions, happy hours, and cocktail parties,” says Oliver. She also discusses an audience of 10,000 that attended a recent tradeshow in the concourse.



Though the amount of space is impressive, Oliver points out that small functions are welcome, too. “If someone wants to hold a meeting for five, or even if one person wants to rent a boardroom, we can do that,” she says. Because baseball has a very set schedule, events have to be held in the off-weeks, but Oliver says that allows for a lot of last-minute booking. Multi-day functions are also available with Oliver and her team working closely with the Arlington CVB and area hotels to offer exclusive room blocks and rates.

In addition to spaces, meetings at Globe Life Park can also take advantage of some special opportunities, including arranging a game of softball for attendees on the field. Or, setting up pitching and hitting clinics. “This allows people to feel revamped and reenergized rather than sitting in stuffy boardroom all day,” Oliver says. Personalized jerseys and engraved baseball bats have also been coordinated for planners that want to give guests something special to take home.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium (Grand Prairie, TX)

There aren’t too many places like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium in the Dallas area—or the world. “We have really kitschy oddities and strange things like two-headed animals and other freak show stuff that’s always really fun, informative, and interactive,” says Chelsea Hatchett, director of group sales and marketing.



The venue in Grand Prairie offers five main attractions under one roof including the Odditorium with a range of artifacts; Louis Tussaud’s Palace of Wax with hundreds of figures of celebrities and historical icons that guests can pose with; an Enchanted Mirror Maze that tricks the brain with lights, music, and reflective surfaces; an Impossible Laser Race that dares participants to beat the clock by getting through an obstacle course of lasers without tripping any of them; and the newest feature, a 7D theatre with interactive games combining lasers, vibrating chairs, and air guns.

Ripley’s also just opened a renovated private room for groups that want to hold on-site business meetings and then have a day of fun. “We talk to groups personally to see what they require, and then do our best to make it all happen,” says Hatchett who works with her team to acquire A/V services and catering options beyond the standard concessions. They can also arrange after-hours functions in many cases.

Royal Lane Studios (Irving, TX)

Mel Davis has been working as a wedding photographer and videographer in the Dallas area for a number of years, so when he had the idea to establish his own studio, he figured it made sense to add in an event venue as well. “I have a really large space that works well as a hybrid,” he says of Royal Lane Studios that opened earlier this year in nearby Irving, Texas after an extensive build-out.



The venue is 5,000 square feet, with nearly half of the area dedicated to open floor space for a variety of events, including weddings, cocktail receptions, holiday parties, and other unique occasions for 120 seated or 250 standing. Royal Lane Studios also includes a lounge/bar area, large dressing rooms with hair and makeup stations, and lobby area separated from the main room by an impressive in-wall fish tank. Davis and his staff can also coordinate draping and furniture in-house and have a recommended list of caterers, though planners have the option to bring in their own food as well. And of course, Davis is available for photography and videography services (and also has the option for a photo booth rental), producing images that look just as stunning as the space itself.

University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX)

This sprawling campus located in the nearby suburb of Richardson has been consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review for some of the best values and best residential buildings, both of which benefit conference groups that visit over the summer. “Our oldest facility opened in 2009 and looks like it was built yesterday,” says Pam McElrath, associate director of residential camps & conference services. “All of our buildings are really well-maintained and clean, and look like new.”



McElrath’s department is a certified one-stop shop that can help with all aspects of a meeting or event. That includes reserving overnight accommodations (a collection of 2,500 beds are all in suite-style settings and equipped with Wi-Fi and microfridges), as well as on-site dining, parking, and available meeting and event spaces. The University of Texas at Dallas offers a number of equipped classrooms, a 500-person theatre, athletic fields, gyms, outdoor spaces, and a new alumni center that will be open in the summer of 2018.

One of the great benefits of the campus, says McElrath is that “we’re located in a very suburban area with close access to all of the amenities that city has to offer.” A Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) train stop is conveniently located on-site, providing access to all attractions in the metro area as well as the airport.

Get Connected

Globe Life Park in Arlington
Arlington, TX
UniqueVenues.com/GlobeLifePark
(817) 436.5944

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium
Grand Prairie, TX
UniqueVenues.com/RipleysGrandPrairie
(972) 263.2391

Royal Lane Studios
Irving, TX
UniqueVenues.com/RoyalLaneStudios
(469) 324.9647

University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, TX
UniqueVenues.com/univtexasdallas
(972) 883.7419 
Talk to a Venue Specialist: 1-877-244-6110