Tours and Transit in Minneapolis

by Janet Dickelman

As I write this, the ACB board and members of the convention committee are getting ready to visit Minneapolis.  The local host committee is in place and has provided a list of potential tour venues, and is working on compiling a list of potential speakers to assist affiliates and committees with their programming.
Minneapolis will be the place to be beginning Friday, July 1st, and running through Saturday, July 9th. We hope you will plan to join us at the Hyatt Regency hotel. For those of you who are always anxious to find out about tours, here is what we have planned thus far!

Fun for Theater Lovers

If you enjoy audio-described theater, the beautiful Guthrie Theater will hold an audio-described performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” an enchanting and sweeping musical romance set in an island paradise during World War II, on Saturday, July 2nd.  It features such memorable songs as “Bali Hai,” “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame,” and “Some Enchanted Evening.”  Prior to the matinee performance, enjoy a sensory tour, which will allow you to explore some of the props, costumes and set pieces used in “South Pacific.” This tour will include lunch.

Thrill Seekers Soaring High!

Join ACB for an adventure of a lifetime, a sunrise hot air balloon ride where you will float along at treetop level in the Saint Croix River Valley. The cost for this unique experience will be approximately $200, a greatly reduced price thanks to Stillwater Balloon. This will be a weekday sunrise adventure well worth the cost and the 4:30 a.m. departure time!

Take Me out to the Ball Game!

Major league baseball fans will love attending a Twins game at beautiful outdoor Target Field in Minneapolis!

Blind Services Tour

We are working out the details for a visit to the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind and the Minnesota library, both located in Faribault, on Thursday, July 7th. We are hoping to visit Canterbury Downs for horse racing, take a dinner cruise on a riverboat and attend an Indian powwow. In addition, the Twin Cities offer many wonderful museums and other attractions for our tour coordinator Rhonda Trott to consider. There will be much, much more to come regarding tours in future Forum articles.


Minnesota has a unique option as part of its paratransit system. To be certified for paratransit, referred to as Metro Mobility, call customer service at (612) 602-1111. I was told by customer service you can call immediately or up to a week prior to your arrival in Minnesota to set up your visitor certification. Not certified for paratransit? No problem! As long as you are blind or visually impaired, you can be certified for Metro Mobility. You will be issued a temporary Metro Mobility card that you can use with your state ID. Rides on Metro Mobility can be reserved up to four days prior to the day of travel and are $3 or $4, depending on time of day. You can also ride city buses and light rail for 75 cents.
Now for the unique option! Metro Mobility offers a service called premium same-day taxi. To book this service, you would call Metro Mobility and be given a booking ID, which you would then use to call the taxi company. Your fare for premium same-day is $5; the next $15 is covered by Metro Mobility, then users are responsible for anything over $20. Although you have to provide Metro Mobility with a departure time, when you call the taxi company to activate the ride you can put the ride on “will call” and then just call back and request your taxi when you are ready to go. The phone number to set up rides with Metro Mobility is (612) 602-1100.

Stay Connected

Once again this year, the convention announce list will be filled with information about the convention. Subscribe to the list today by sending a blank e-mail to If you’ve been on the list in the past, you need not subscribe again. Don’t have e-mail? No problem! Convention updates will also be featured on ACB Radio and by telephone through Audio Now at (605) 475-8130.

Hotel Details

Room rates at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis are $89 single or double; there is an additional $10 per night charge per person for up to four people in a room. Applicable state and local taxes are currently 13.4%.  For reservations by telephone, call Central Reservations at 1-888-421-1442, and be sure to mention you are attending the ACB convention in order to obtain our room rate. To make reservations online, visit and follow the 2016 convention link.

Convention Contacts

2016 exhibit information:
Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,
2016 advertising and sponsorships:
Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625,
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059, or via e-mail,