by Janet Dickelman
What a great way to begin the new year with the tentative tour schedule for the 2018 American Council of the Blind conference and convention! Convention dates are June 29th through July 6th. St. Louis, Mo. and the Union Station Hotel are the place to be for all the affiliate and committee programming, our informative and inspiring general sessions, lots of social activities, and the chance to mingle with friends old and new!
Please keep in mind that tour schedules are subject to change. Below is our preliminary schedule; complete tour descriptions will be provided closer to the convention.
Friday, June 29th
1. St. Louis Arch: You’ll take a tram to the top of the arch and spend time in the newly renovated arch museum. The tour also includes a narrated cruise down the Mississippi River while enjoying lunch. This tour is not wheelchair or walker accessible. There are 80 steps (some up, some down) to access the arch.
2. St. Louis Cardinals game: What could be better than a night game in historic Busch Stadium! The 11-time World Series champions will take on the Atlanta Braves.
Saturday, June 30th
1. Tour of Busch Stadium and the Cardinals Museum. Learn the rich history of the team, including the press box and the luxury clubs. At the museum, try your hand at being an announcer and try on a World Series ring! Lots of opportunities for souvenir shopping.
2. City tours with a twist: Instead of a bus, you’ll travel by trolley as your guide describes the city of St. Louis. What a great way to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the city. The trolley seats are wooden, and you will feel some bumps as you ride along; however, it is well worth it!
Sunday, July 1st
1. City tour (see Saturday’s description)
2. The Blues Museum: This is a must for anyone who enjoys music or history. The Blues Museum has music and memorabilia from the 1920s to the present, and docents who love to talk about all the museum has to offer. After touring the museum, enjoy a St. Louis style barbecue meal while attending a blues concert.
Monday, July 2nd
1. St. Louis Botanical Gardens: Enjoy the statuary and all the scents this glorious garden has to offer. You’ll visit the Middle Eastern garden, the Japanese garden, and so much more. Touch and smell the flowers!
2. Missouri School for the Blind
3. The Muny: enjoy an audio-described performance of “Singin’ in the Rain” at this outdoor amphitheater celebrating its 100th birthday! Enjoy a hands-on backstage tour followed by dinner prior to the play.
4. Join RSVA for an evening of fun at a local casino.
Tuesday, July 3rd
1. Busch Gardens tour: Learn about the production and history of Busch beer, including several tasting opportunities. Also, we’ll spend an hour with the majestic Clydesdale horses; yes, you can pet them and take pictures.
2. Sweet tooth tour: We are currently working to provide a candy tour. Unfortunately, our first choice was not available, so we are pursuing other options.
3. Historic courthouse and mock trial: Built in 1849, this courthouse still has the original judge’s bench and tables for the plaintiff and defendant. Walk the hallowed halls of this historic building and participate in a mock trial.
Wednesday, July 4th
1. City tour (see Saturday’s description)
2. Union Station history tour: Our hotel was the former Union Station, and is full of rich history and railroad memorabilia. Walk through the hotel as a historian describes this unique venue. It is a train lover’s paradise!
Friday, July 6th
1. Hannibal, Mo.: Visit Mark Twain’s birthplace, including the Mark Twain Museum, and enjoy a luncheon riverboat cruise. You will also take a one-hour walk through the labyrinth cave featured in many of Twain’s books.
2. Dinner and haunted history tour: End your week with a great meal at Morgan’s Pub; our guide Dave will regale us with anecdotes about haunted locations in St. Louis.
Please note that temperatures in St. Louis in July can be in the 90s and humid. Be prepared for the heat; if you have difficulty being outside in the heat, some of these tours might not be for you. Also, the Botanical Gardens, Busch Gardens and Busch Stadium involve a lot of walking.
Tour volunteers are not wheelchair pushers or personal assistants. If you need someone to push your wheelchair or for one-on-one assistance, please plan to have a friend or family member register to attend the tour with you.
All tour sites feature gift shops.
Staying in Touch
The convention announce list will be filled with information! To subscribe to the list, send a blank email to [email protected]. If you received updates for the 2017 convention, you need not subscribe again.
Room rates at Union Station are $89 per night, plus tax; this rate applies for up to 2 people in a king room and up to 4 guests in a room with two queen beds. Room tax is currently 18.435%. Make reservations by calling (314) 231-1234, and be sure to mention you are with the American Council of the Blind to obtain the convention room rate. To make reservations online, visit www.acb.org and follow the 2018 convention link.
2018 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740, [email protected]
2018 advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625, [email protected]
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059, or via email, [email protected].