Welcome to the beautiful Port City of Mobile, which has spent the last 300 years becoming a premier destination for visitors of all ages, cultures and backgrounds! The city, which will celebrate its 300th birthday in 2002, is famous for its abundant culture, rich history and sumptuous cuisine. The Port City has become a tourist and convention favorite in the past years due to the construction of a waterfront convention center, new attractions and significant growth of its downtown retail industry and midtown residential areas. Mobile is home to many attractions, museums, and other venues for visitors to enjoy. The Gulf Coast Exploreum Museum of Science and IMAX Theater offers three venues of fun for all ages. Just across the street, the Cotton Blossom Sternwheeler can take eager passengers on an excursion up the Mobile River. Visitors can also explore Mobile’s fascinating past with a visit to the Museum of Mobile. The museum is located in a historic building that was once an open-air market and city hall. Over 100,000 artifacts allow visitors to see and learn about the city’s fascinating past and remarkable development into a commercial and maritime center. The museum also houses the royal robes of Mardi Gras Queens dating back to 1928. Boating on a much larger scale is only minutes away at one of Mobile’s anchor attractions; the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is your onramp to adventure. Visitors can climb aboard the Battleship that won nine World War II Battle Stars, delve into the depths in the Submarine U.S.S. Drum and fly with 21 combat planes in the aircraft pavilion. Mobile’s other anchor attraction, Bellingrath Gardens & Home, is about 20 minutes southwest of the city. It encompasses 65 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens around the historic home of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath. The Gardens are in “bright bloom» during the holiday season when Magic Christmas in Lights illuminates the grounds with millions of lights. The neon lights of Dauphin Street, within walking distance of downtown hotels, mark the “Little Bourbon Street» of Mobile with restaurants and nightclubs offering something for everyone. The rest of downtown Mobile is a maze of interesting shops and palate-pleasing restaurants, with most storefronts restored to illustrate the city’s historic architecture. Mobile’s role in the history can still be seen during a visit to Fort Morgan at Gulf Shores and Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island. The 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay was a turning point in the Civil War when Union troops attacked both forts to take control of the last active Confederate Port on the Gulf of Mexico. Determined to take the Port of Mobile, after losing the ironclad Tecumseh to torpedoes Confederate defenders had planted, Admiral David Farragut cried, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!» and overtook the Port for the Union. Five historic house museums take you back to days gone by and oak-lined streets wrapped in Spanish moss guide you through a renovated downtown. During December, the historic homes offer candlelight tours and “open houses» that invite visitors to enjoy the holiday decor while sipping on Christmas punch and listening to a holiday ensemble. Even Old Saint Nick usually slides down the chimney of each home sometime during the holidays. Even though Mobile is filled with historical attractions, there’s no shortage of modern-day activities to entertain visitors. Sports enthusiasts will find fun BayBears AA Baseball, the GMAC Bowl and the annual Senior Bowl presented by Food World. And with golf, our signature sport- Mobile is home to Magnolia Grove, one of the eleven Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail golf courses. Mobile’s waters are a boating or fishing sportsman’s dream. While the historic aspects, sports, and other activities are welcoming, Mobile is also poised and ready to launch into short-term convention business at a high rate of speed. The MCVC has implemented a “Meeting Express Department» with the expressed purpose of developing and implementing short-term convention business. “The department will work swiftly and aggressively to identify and solicit meetings and leads under 250 room nights and within the next twelve months,» said Brenda J. Scott, CEO/ President Mobile Convention & Visitors Corporation. “With the addition of this department the MCVC Convention Sales Department will be able to concentrate on meetings and conferences eighteen months out, allowing us to fully maximize the use of existing, knowledgeable staff,» added Scott. The spirit of progression toward a bright future is what won Mobile the title “ALL AMERICA CITY.» ?? And with the Tricentennial Celebration of 2002, Mobile is definitely gearing up to welcome the world with true Southern hospitality.