Welcome to the meeting and event planning guide to Pensacola – written with meeting planners in mind. From its miles of sparkling white beaches to its energetic downtown district, Pensacola is a fantastic business and leisure destination that is known for its warmth, genuine hospitality, thriving culture and rich history. A variety of Pensacola event venues offer space both indoors and outdoors, as well as accessibility, green activities and sites, and an award-winning convention and visitors bureau, make it one of Florida's most-celebrated meeting destinations.
Pensacola is easily reached via the Pensacola International Airport, located just a short drive from downtown and Pensacola Beach. The airport serves nearly 4,000 passengers and 82 arrivals and departures each day, offering in-terminal retail and dining options, as well as rentable meeting space. Once in Pensacola, attendees can rent a car or hop aboard a trolley that can be reserved for groups.
The Pensacola Civic Center in downtown Pensacola is just minutes from Pensacola Beach. The center features 20,000 square feet of exhibition space for up to 10,000 people; meeting spaces include 12 versatile rooms ranging from 975 to 3,198 square feet, as well as four pre-function areas and a sprawling 20,000-square-foot arena. Meeting amenities include an on-site meeting services department, full-service on- and off-site catering and convenient parking. What's more, the Pensacola Civic Center is located adjacent to the Pensacola Crowne Plaza Grand Hotel, which features 210 guest rooms and 10 suites, as well as a 500-person Grand Ballroom, located within the renovated historical 1912 railroad passenger depot.
Pensacola's rich history and thriving arts culture are woven into many of its unique venues, such as the beautiful Saenger Theatre located on Palafox Place. The Spanish Baroque/Rococo-style theater, which first opened in 1925, recently underwent a $15-million renovation to make it a cutting-edge location for music, dance, comedy and drama productions, as well as for hosting private events in its large second floor ballroom. Serving as a bridge to the visual arts in the Pensacola region, the Pensacola Museum of Art is home to an impressive collection of 20th- and 21st-century art, with an emphasis on modern and contemporary pieces. The museum offers private group tours and plenty of gallery space for private events.
Groups now have access to the new Vince J. Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park and the 5,000-seat Blue Wahoos Stadium, both of which opened in summer 2012. Community Maritime Park is expected to be an exciting multi-use development on the downtown Pensacola waterfront and home to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos a Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
Pensacola's rich naval aviation culture is represented in its National Naval Aviation Museum, which so happens to be the third largest museum of its kind in the world. The National Naval Aviation Museum features more than 150 restored aircraft, hands-on exhibits, flight simulators and thousands of naval aviation artifacts. If a group has a military affiliation, the museum also features a number of spaces for private events and rentals, including the 10,000-square-foot Blue Angel Atrium, USS Cabot Flightdeck, Cubi Bar Cafe and IMAX theater, among other spaces.
Also having debuted in early 2012 is the National Flight Academy, adjacent to the National Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola Naval Air Station. The $45-million, 102,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility, which has been designed to resemble an aircraft carrier named “Ambition,” caters primarily to school groups from 7th graders to high school seniors, but also offers programs for corporate groups. Its amenities include 30 flight simulators, a 168-person galley (designed to look like the eating facilities on a carrier) and even sleeping facilities. All of the spaces were designed to provide a fully immersive learning and team-building experience.
For a truly adventurous group activity or meeting, head to nearby Adventures Unlimited, a 100-acre, year-round outdoor recreation center perfect for team and group activities. At Adventures Unlimited, visitors can canoe, kayak, tube and camp along Coldwater Creek through the Blackwater River State Forest, as well as take a canopy zipline tour, hike nature trails or take part in challenging rope courses and scavenger hunts. Adventures Unlimited also features overnight accommodations, including 21 cabins, the four-room Schoolhouse Inn and campgrounds. Adventures Unlimited specializes in team activities and corporate games, as well as features three meeting rooms accommodating 20, 50 and 80 people.