For the first time at the Salt Lake Comic Con, kids had their own section of the convention. This was not a small corner with a couple of booths and kids games, this was a massive part of the vendor hall with local organizations providing as much fun for the kids as the rest of the con was providing for the adults.
Educational Booths at Fan Xperience
Along with the purely entertainment oriented groups involved in Kid Con were several of the local educational organizations. Including the Hogle Zoo, Clark Planetarium, and the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.
The Hogle Zoo (www.hoglezoo.org) is the major zoo in the Salt Lake City area. Among the many different animal species, the zoo was promoting its Rocky Shores exhibit which opened last year. This exhibit includes otters, polar bears, seals, and sea lions. Coming soon is an African Savanna Exhibit which will include lions, zebra, and ostrich, among other animals.
The Clark Planetarium (www.clarkplanetarium.org) is located in downtown Salt Lake City (just a few blocks from the Salt Palace). They have a lot of free exhibits focusing on several different sciences, not only astronomy. There are also theaters that feature films about astronomy, wild life, and even dragons.
Lastly, the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium (www.thelivingplanet.com) just opened their new facility in Draper. This is the third location I know of for the aquarium, as they have rapidly outgrown their previous locations downtown and in Sandy. The newest facility features a shark tunnel, allowing guests to walk within inches of sharks, turtles, and rays.
Cosplay is always something to look forward to at any sci-fi convention. Some are very casual and others are organized groups that dress up whenever possible. Several of these groups were at Comic Con and many were located in the Kid Con area.
One of our favorites was at Comic Con in September also. The Alpine Garrison of the 501st Legion (http://www.alpinegarrison.com/) are a group representing the Galactic Empire of Star Wars. They really enjoy these conventions and are frequently at fund raisers and other charity events as well. We even stumbled across a few Stormtroopers on our local light rail system. We enjoyed some banter back and forth, talking about how security had really stepped up a notch. Every interaction I have had with this group has been enjoyable and we always love seeing them at events.
Another group from the Star Wars Universe was the Krayt Clan (http://www.mandalorianmercs.com). They are a group of Mandalorians who take the mercenary and bounty hunter roles. They offer, as a fund raising event, the ability to lock up a loved one in a cage for a while, for a fee. This group is also a lot of fun to interact with, and with both Daniel Logan and Jeremy Bulloch attending Comic Con, we had a lot of discussion about the Mandalorian life.
Finally, another group of cosplayers that has been making headlines here in Utah are The VooDoo Pearl Mermaids (https://www.facebook.com/pearlmermaids). This group of ladies has only been operating for a few years, but they have drawn a lot of attention to themselves through their performances and friendly disposition. My daughters are both big fans and enjoyed seeing these lovely ladies at Comic Con.
Comic Con was also witness to a new Guinness World Record for the largest single person constructed balloon sculpture. John Reid of Epic Balloons (https://www.facebook.com/epicballoons) worked on his sculpture of Optimus Prime (affectionately called Poptimus) throughout the weekend and was easily visible by anyone in the Kid Con area. Friday afternoon, the creation was raised to a kneeling position (the full height was taller than the available space would allow).
Congratulations to John and his crew! You guys were awesome.