Unconventional Florida Keys Venues Make Meetings Memorable

FLORIDA KEYS – In the Florida Keys, meetings can be hosted at off-beat, unconventional venues: a tucked-away waterfront restaurant with views of a setting sun sinking into the sea, a one-of-a-kind marine attraction or at the home of a renowned literary legend.

Unique and unusual venues can be booked throughout the Keys.

At Bud N' Mary's Fishing Marina, a 10,000-square-foot steel building is positioned on the Atlantic Ocean with about 5,000 square feet available for Islamorada events. It's decorated with funky Keys nautical and sportfishing gear. An onsite kitchen and chef provide dining options. Visit budnmarys.com or call 305-664-2461.

Pierre's Lounge & Restaurant at Morada Bay, a two-story colonial Plantation-style venue in Islamorada, hosts upstairs meetings overlooking Morada Bay's palm-lined beach and the Florida Bay. Upstairs, a 903-square-foot main dining room can be configured in conference-, classroom-, hollow square- or U shape-style. A 525-square-foot VIP Room can be used for breaks and a main meal. French Fusion cuisine can be group-customized. Visit MoradaBay.com or call 305-664-8414.

Robbie's Marina is a popular Islamorada waterfront hub, nestled among coconut trees on Florida Bay with eclectic outdoor vendors. Planners can charter a party boat fishing trip for groups. The onsite, old Keys-style Hungry Tarpon Restaurant cooks up the catch for a fresh fish meal. Participants can even feed resident tarpon. Visit robbies.com or call 305-664-8070.

Theater of the Sea in Islamorada offers dolphin and sea lion shows for up to 200 for private evening events. Customized options include a private tour of marine life exhibits, parrots for photographs or a choreography of dolphin behaviors added to music. Visit theaterofthesea.com or call 305-664-2431.

Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key near Marathon offers group activities based on interests and time available at the non-profit facility that's home to bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. Private tours, research sessions or interactive dolphin experiences and question and answer sessions with an educator can be booked. Planners can buy out the center for private group events for up to 200. A director of guest services helps to plan visits that can include an onsite picnic. Visit dolphins.org or call 305-289-1121, ext. 239.

In Key West, the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, a registered National Historic Landmark, is a Spanish colonial villa where famed author and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote some of his most famous works in the 1930s. The grounds are available for up to 100 guests. Private house tours can be arranged as part of the event. Visit hemingwayhome.com or call 305-294-1136.

The Studios of Key West, housed in a Deco-style former Scottish Rite Masonic Center, offers a 200-seat, 2,175-square-foot professional theater, contemporary art gallery, nine studios and two classrooms. Meeting venues include the theater, classrooms that measure about 600 square feet each, and a 1,500-square-foot gallery for receptions. There's also a rooftop garden for outdoor receptions and sunset viewings. Visit tskw.org or call 305-296-0458.

In Key West, the Harry S. Truman Little White House, Florida's only presidential museum, first served as the winter White House of President Harry S. Truman in 1946 and was a Cold War response site by later presidents. It also was the naval station's command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. The house has also hosted former presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Visit trumanlittlewhitehouse.com or call 305-294-9911.

The Tennessee Williams Theatre, named for playwright Tennessee Williams, is ideal for multi-day conferences or single-day workshops. The facility's main theater seats 481. The cabaret lobby, with about 4,000 square feet, seats 150 with café table configuration or 200 with theater seating. Visit tennesseewilliamstheatre.org or call 305-296-1520.

Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS
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