Who says the Annual Conference and Exhibition has to be all work and no play? It should be fun before and it should be fun after. One thing is for sure, it will be fun during! That’s because we at IAITAM aim to educate as well as entertain! (Don’t miss the kick-off party!) We have listed several options to explore if you have the time and opportunity to travel around San Diego before or after the ACE. Every site is either within walking distance from the Marriott Marquis or no farther than a 10-mile drive away.

  1. The Marriott Marquis hotel is waterfront, so take a stroll down to the MARINA. If you want, you can even rent a boat and explore the San Diego Bay.
  2. Hang out with the giant pandas at the 100-acre SAN DIEGO ZOO. It has the largest population of this beautiful animal in North America, so this is a unique opportunity! The zoo has a guided bus tour, or you can ride the “Skyfari,” which is the aerial train. Whether from above or below, whether on your feet or sitting, you’ll see elephants, monkeys, tigers, apes, and polar bears among over 4000 other animals. Trip planning websites recommend that you visit the Giant Panda Research Station right away in the morning when the bears are most active.
  3. Get alternate views of the area from the OLD POINT LOMA LIGHTHOUSE and the CABRILLO LIGHTHOUSE. Onlookers often see seals, sea lions, birds, and even whales! Check out the historical museums, and then hike among the wildflowers on the 1.6-mile seaside Bayside Trail.
  4. If you’re into Victorian history and architecture, dancing, and exquisite food, just travel half a mile from the hotel to the entertainment district known as the GASLAMP QUARTER. Described as an “urban playground,” this “historic heart of San Diego” is ideal for anyone who likes comedy shows, music, pool lounges, shopping, nightclubs, and musicals.
  5. San Diego is often called “Navy Town.” Historians might enjoy this exhibit: the USS MIDWAY MUSEUM. Explore the longest-serving aircraft carrier of 20th century America. Walk the flight deck of the ship to see the 29 restored aircraft, and experience a flight simulator. Also, go below and tour the engine room, the galley, and more. Follow an audio tour at your own pace.
  6. If you just want to relax in the sun and sand, go to CORONADO BEACH. What makes this clean, beautiful beach special isn’t just the swimming, skim boarding, sunbathing, and surfing, but the mica in the sand that gives it a lustrous look. Take a walk. Take a swim. Enjoy nature.
  7. There are 17 museums at BALBOA PARK. Get the Explorer Pass for access to all 17! Visit the Centro Cultural de la Raza to learn about Chicano, Mexican, Indigenous, and Latino art and culture. Walk among the cherry blossom trees in the Japanese Friendship Garden. Check out all 9,000 images at the Museum of Photographic Arts. Find the real Apollo 9 Command Module at the Air & Space Museum and fossils at the Natural History Museum.

All of us at IAITAM are looking forward to the Annual Conference and Exhibition! See you in San Diego, CA May 22-24, 2019.