Welcome to Jurassic Par- I mean, the Dallas Zoo!

As if I couldn’t be more excited for Jurassic World, the Dallas Zoo opened a “Giants of the Jurassic” exhibit that runs currently until September 7.

I got to go and see the dinos in action on the soft opening of the event – and let me tell you, this is so freaking awesome. There are over 20 dinosaurs that are all animatronic – they roar, move, and even spray water! From brachiosaurus to the massive T-Rex, it’s a full throttle dinosaur extravaganza.

My favorite was definitely the dilophosaurus which immediately took me back to Jurassic Park when Dennis Nedry had his encounter! The ones set up at the zoo spray water at you, but I liked to pretend it was poisonous spit.

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I felt just like I was inside of John Hammonds park. When I was there, they were even hosting a puppet show that featured baby dinosaurs that kids were invited to come up and touch. They looked so incredibly lifelike!

One of my favorite features was an area where they set up a dino dig and I could pretend the be a paleontologist. This part is located right next to a mini train that shuttles kids around and lets them be immersed in the dinosaur world.

Because the exhibit lasts all summer, there will be plenty of dinosaur related events happening at the zoo. Everything part of the exhibit is included in the regular zoo admission price – so if you’re a member of the zoo it’s an even bigger perk!

Expect to see me at the zoo a bunch this summer getting my fill of all things dinosaur!

The Dallas Zoo is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm. General admission tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for kids.

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Fan Days 2015 Guide

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If you’ve never been to a convention, or to Dallas Fan Days (previously Sci-Fi Expo) this is your ultimate tool! I’ve taken the most FAQ’s and combined them into one place full of answers and advice. Hope it is helpful!

schedule

The Basics
When:
February 7-8
Saturday Feb 7: 10am-7pm
Sunday Feb 8: 10am-5pm
Where:
Irving Convention Center
500 West Las Colinas Blvd
Irving, TX 75039
Price:
Single Day:
Saturday $39
Sunday $29
Kids $5 with adult ticket
Both days: $59

Parking:
There are 2 garages and lawn parking. The first garage (connected) fills up quickly. The second garage has a shuttle that takes guests to and from the convention center. Lawn parking is available as well (just be mindful of mud mess if it rains!) Expect to pay $5 – $10 for parking daily.

Q.Can I bring food/water bottles to Fan Days?
A. By technical standards I don’t think you are supposed to, but it’s a smart idea to bring a backpack and put a water bottle and small snack inside. If you have special dietary needs it’s definitely okay.

*Fan Days Virgin*
Q. I’ve never been to Fan Days. How can I decide whether I want to go or not?
A. Fan Days is a great first convention. It’s more on the comic book side, but you get a good mix of fandoms. Sci-Fi and Comics are the main fandoms but there’s always a good representation of Anime and other genres! The crowds are not too huge, but large enough so where you will see a lot of people and a lot of costumes! Expect some lines, but not insane (though Saturday will be the most crowded day).

Q. How can I see all the events happening and where they will be?

A. A pamphlet will be provided at check-in that will have a map and schedule of the events. There is also a mobile app you can pull up with up-to-date information regarding cancellations, room changes, and more!  http://dcc.baconsamurai.com/mobile/2015-fan-days (Thanks Devin!)

Q. How can I make sure I have the BEST experience at Fan Days?
A. The best advice I can give to have a great time is to not be too scheduled and to expect the unexpected. Things happen – guest stars get sick, cancel appearances, and timings change unexpectedly. Go in with an open mind, back-up plans if needed, and just enjoy yourself!

Q. How is it compared to other conventions in dallas?
A. This convention right in the middle. It averages around 5,000 attendees, but as the years go by it gets bigger! Previously named Sci-Fi Expo. Be prepared for a lot more vendors, and a wider variety of guests!! On the flip side this is also going to mean more traffic, lines, and crowds than we are used to at smaller conventions.

Q. What does a typical day consist of? What’s a simple play-by-play of the day?
A. A typical day varies from person to person. It depends on what your interests are and why you’re attending the convention. But, here is a very basic run-down of what a very standard day could be!
• 1. Get dressed and ready to go
• 1a. Cosplaying? Make a checklist the day before of everything you are planning on wearing so that you can check it off as you get ready the next morning. Not cosplaying? A checklist is good to have anyway. Camera? Water bottle? Phone? ID/Credit card?
• 2.Get directions and drive to the convention
• 2a. If you are planning to get there when the convention opens, plan on getting there at least an hour in advance for the best parking/spot in line. Especially if you haven’t pre-registered. If you do not care about lines/aren’t in a rush, take it at your own pace.
• 3. Arrive: pay for parking, park in garage/available lots
• 3a. Bring cash for parking ($5-$10)
• 4. Get in line to get your badge
• 4a. Don’t forget your license/emails with receipt barcode of badge purchase
• 5. Enter convention
• 5a. Grab a schedule and establish a good meeting place in case you and your buddies get separated. Go over the schedule and narrow down what you want to do if you haven’t already pre-planned. (Sometimes there are some last-minute schedule changes, too!)
• 6. Plan your attack
• 6a. Grab a map and explore! Before you commit to doing something, it’s always best to get a feel for the convention floor and where everything is. Best bathroom? Panel rooms? Dealer’s room? Food? You never know when you may need to make an emergency run to the artist alley for a last-minute print! This is also a good time to scope out your food options like where the food trucks are parked, what’s available at the con, and what restaurants are nearby for after-con endeavors.
• 7. Wander around
• 7a. Wandering around is some of the most fun. A lot of the day consists of just walking back and forth to the same places. While this may not sound thrilling, just wait. There is always something new to see and always something happening. Cosplay red carpet, celebrities roaming the convention floors, and random acts of awesomeness make each experience unique!
• 8. Attend at least one panel
• 8a. I usually aim to go to one or two panels. More than two sometimes eats up the day too much for me. Between waiting in line for the panel, waiting for it to start, and then getting out, it all ends up being anywhere from a 2-4 hour experience. Worth it for some panels, not so much for others. Especially since the convention hours are relatively short (10-7, 10-5) there may be other things you won’t want to miss out on.
• 9. Talk to artists/dealers and buy something unique
• 9a. Artists work is unique and a lot of times are convention exclusives! I always try to buy at least one piece I really like and go out of my way to meet the artist. This gives you a deeper connection to the piece you get and makes you really treasure it! Although a lot of things you find in the dealer’s room you can find online and at retailers, there are a lot of vintage and rare pieces that you can’t! In addition, some of the dealer’s are some of the coolest people you will ever meet!
• 10. Remember to take pictures (SuperHero Photos booth is usually located on one of the top floors, Joe, the photographer, is great and will make your costume look amazing!)
• 10a. This may sound obvious but I always seem to forget! If you see something cool, take a picture. Chances are you may not see it again!

Pretend schedule:
• 10am: arrive, park, get in line
• 11am: enter building/get badge
• 11:15-12:30: explore dealer’s room, artist alley, convention floor
• 12:30-12:45: Grab food to eat in line
• 12:45: get in line for 2 p.m. panel
• 2:00: enter panel
• 3:00: exit panel
• 3:30: go get autographs
• 5:00: back to dealer’s room
• 6:00: Final walk through

*Kids Zone*
Children’s admission: $5 with adult ticket purchase
Q. Is Fan Days kid friendly?
A. Yes! A lot of conventions go out of their way to make sure that children are welcome. Fan Days is no exception! There is a lot for kids to do, and kids can even walk the cosplay red carpet and get their photo taken!

Q. Do cosplayers take pictures with kids? Is that okay?
A. Absolutely! Ask any cosplayer – posing with kids is usually the best part of a convention! Don’t be afraid to stop someone and ask for a picture, most are more than happy to pose!

Q. There are a lot of people attending, should I be worried about my child getting lost?
A. As in any setting, keep a sharp eye on your kid. There is times that there is inappropriate content at a booth or a cosplayer who may not appreciate their costume being pulled on/touched. Make sure you are respectful. If you have any concerns while at the convention, the volunteers are amazing and happy to help!

*Photos/Autographs*
Q. How does getting a photo with a celebrity work? Do I just walk up with my phone/camera?

A. Very rarely can you take a photograph with a celebrity at their booth for free. At Fan Days most celebrities will have specific “photo opp” times where fans will line up with pre-purchased vouchers to get a photo with their choice of guest. If a celebrity is able to take a photo at their booth they will tell you so.

Q. Can me and my friend/fiancé/partner get a picture together with a celebrity? Does that cost extra?
A. According to Epic Photo Op: The price of a photo is the price per posed picture, not per person. There is a limit of three people in each photo (excluding children 3 years or under, and media guests).

Q. We are scheduling an itinerary but you mentioned waits can get kind ridiculous…what has been your best and worst experience with autographs or photo ops?
A. Best experience is that I am able to just walk up and get the autograph I want with no wait. Worst experience was that I waited a long time to meet an actor, and then he had to leave for the day, so I waited over an hour for nothing. A lot of times a long line can be worth the wait though. For example, I waited about an hour to meet Felicia Day and she was amazing. She even did a shout out video for my professor (and yes, I got an A).
*Panels*

Q. How early do I need to line up for a panel?
A. This really depends on how popular of a panel it will be and the day. Typically in the past at Fan Days the rule of thumb is to line up about an hour before the panel. Sometimes the wait can be shorter, or longer. It depends how popular the panel is. Remember, VIP guests get first entry/dibs on seats.

*Cosplay/Wardrobe*

Q. What should I wear to Fan Days?
A. There’s no right or wrong answer to this one. For guys, typically a nerdy shirt, jeans (or shorts), and sneakers are a classic convention look. Ladies have looks all over the place – I’ve seen anything from casual tee and shorts to full decked out high heels and short skirts. If you’re planning on staying a while I’d just advise you wear something comfortable! Unless it’s for a cosplay, conventions typically aren’t the best place to test out new footwear!

Q. I want to cosplay but don’t know what character to be! What are some popular male/female characters for Fan Days I could be?
Classic comic characters are usually very popular. Harley Quinn, Dr. Who characters, Poison Ivy, Captain America, etc. But don’t be afraid to branch out! Don’t dress as a character you don’t like just because it’s popular.

Q. A weapon goes well with my costume and is a necessary prop. Can I bring it?
A.Metal weapons are not allowed. If you bring a sword it needs to be wooden, plastic, or kept in it’s sheath and closed with zip ties. Toy guns will ned to be capped with an orange tip. There will be a weapons check as you walk in (it is FREE to get your weapon checked) and they will tell if you if your weapon is not allowed or what you can do to make it convention appropriate. Keep in mind tight spaces and children.

Q. Is it required for me to cosplay in order to go to Fan Days?
A. Not at all! Even though cosplay is a big thing right now, typically there are less people dressed up than not!

Q. I’m not planning on cosplaying, but I do want to wear a costume. Is that okay?
A. YES! To many cosplaying means taking the role of the character and not breaking said role. Whether that’s your definition or not – dressing up in a costume and just being your kooky self is 100% awesome!

Q. Is there a cosplay contest?

A. YES. Adults is on Sat. Line up at 4 pm at the cosplay hideout. First 60 in line will be entered. There are different categories for winners! (creative, anime, comics, etc.) Sunday is Kids Cosplay Contest.

Q. I am planning on cosplaying but my materials are heavy/hot. Is there anywhere I can sit down and take a break without being asked for photos?
A. Yes!! There will actually be a Cosplay Hideout lounge located on the map thanks to North Texas Cosplay. Water/Snacks?Place to rest

Q. We are still on the fence for Cosplay. Do you always go in costume?
A. I usually go in costume, but when I don’t I usually sport some sort of nerdy apparel.

Q. What are your personal experiences, both good and bad with going in costume?
A. The fun thing about going is costume is getting to show off your work (if you made it) and getting your picture taken! It’s fun to have some spotlight. Also, you can connect with people who love the same fandom as you, because it’s pretty obvious what you love. The downside is it can be hard to do lots of things because you are being stopped for photos, your costume is restrictive and doesn’t allow you to do other activities. For me, a lot of my costumes don’t have pockets so I try to integrate some sort of carrying device (backpack that fits, utility belt I can put money in etc.)

Q. You might not know since its a new company, but what has been your experiences with other Cons and prop guns?
A. Make sure your prop gun has the orange tip and is plastic. Metal guns and props are prohibited at DCC.
*After the Con*

Q. I see the convention ends at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Is there anything going on after?
A. There will be an official after party Saturday night!

*Hotel*
Q. Do I need to get a hotel room?

A. There is a hotel next to the Irving Convention Center. Information can be found here. Since the convention isn’t located in a hotel, there isn’t really much hotel nightlife (like you would find at A-Kon, Dragoncon, etc.). The nightlife will be at the after party Saturday night.

*Expenses*
Q. How much money should I bring?

A. This really depends on how much you are able to spend and what you are looking at getting. Tickets at the door can be purchased using credit card. Most vendors take card, but it’s usually a lot easier to pay cash and sometimes vendors are willing to cut deals for cash sales. If you are looking to get some high-dollar items, bring enough to support that. If you aren’t looking for anything particular, my go-to amount is $100 in cash for food and misc. spending.

*Dealer’s Room / Artist Alley*
Q. Should I try and bargain in the dealers room?

A. Most vendors are willing to haggle a bit. Just make sure you are courteous and not pushy about it. In my opinion, it’s usually easier to strike a good deal on the last day of the con. Most times big retailers are unable to make further markdowns on their merchandise, but have convention exclusive sales.

Anime North Texas this weekend

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This weekend Anime North Texas will bring panels, celebrity guests, and plenty of opportunities to show your love for all thins anime!

When: Nov. 14-16

Where: Radisson Hotel Fort Worth North – Fossil Creek

How Much: $40 whole weekend, $25 Fri, $30 Sat, $20 Sun

There is so much going on at ANT that appeals to all aspects of the anime fandom community. Panels include Gundam, Attack on Titan, Propmaking Cosplay 101, and a dating game. There will be a dance and a masquerade ball as well.

Additionally, ANT will run a costume contest with awesome prizes including an amazing sewing machine!

So check out all the fun this weekend at one of the last convention of the year, Anime North Texas!

Additional information can be found on ANT’s website and their Facebook page.

Fan Days Guest Updates

This afternoon an announcement was made regarding the cancellation and addition of guests of Fan Days this weekend on the Dallas Comic Con Facebook Page. I will update this up until the event if more announcements are made. If you purchased a photo-op ticket for any of the guests, you have an option to switch photo op guests or to receive a refund after the event. Additionally, if you are upset about the change and no longer wish to go to the convention, I would recommend posting around and seeing who would like to buy your ticket.

* Corey Feldman – NEW! Announcement (Sun Only)
* Caity Lotz – NEW! Announcement (Sat/Sun)
* Harry Shearer – NEW! Announcement (Fri Only)
* Alex Kingston – Postponed (Arrow Shooting)
* Adam West & Burt Ward – Postponed (Batman Blu-Ray Tour)
* James Hong – Postponed

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Fan Days October 17-19

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This weekend is Fan Days, a convention dedicated to all types of nerdy fandom. From sci-fi to animation, there is something for everyone at Fan Days!

 

When: Friday October 17 4pm-8pm

Saturday October 18 10am-7pm

Sunday October 19 10am-5pm

 

Where: Irving Convention Center

Cost: Fri: $25 Sat: $40 Sun: $30 or $60 for all three days (online ticket purchase ends 10/16)

Children 6-12 $10, 5 years and under are FREE

 

Guests attending include Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood, Weasley twins James & Oliver Phelps, and Batman & Robin Adam West and Burt Ward (Postponed).

There will be an artist alley and dealers room. Bringing cash for these is the best option, as typically either booths don’t elijahaccept credit card, or non-reliable wifi connection makes it impossible for credit cards to be accepted. If you do not plan on purchasing anything specific but plan to shop, I always suggest bringing $100 in cash.

There are three parking options typically at the Irving Convention Center. However, construction on the grass area may narrow this down to do (I’m not sure). In the past, there is the connected parking garage to the convention center which fills up very quickly (get there extra early if you plan to park there). Additionally, parking on the grass across from the center is usually available, and there is also a parking garage beyond the grass. Although this is a bit of a walk to the convention center, typically a shuttle service to and from is provided.

Additionally, there will be a Saturday Night Social event after the convention Saturday night from 8pm-1am.  This event will is $30 and tickets are available online or at the door of the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill.

 

Here is the list of events and information from DallasComicCon.com:

ATTRACTIONS

AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS

A perfect opportunity to get that special something signed by your favorite celebrity! Be sure to check out the schedule so you don’t miss out! NOTE: Some guests may charge additional fees for an autograph.

CELEBRITY PHOTO SESSIONS

Don’t miss out on a chance of a lifetime to have your photo taken by a professional photographer with your favorite celebrity! This is the only way to get a beautiful 8×10 glossy photo of you with one of our guests in an intimate setting.

PANELS / Q&As

They say knowledge is power. If you don’t know, all you have to do is ask…and you shall receive! The pros will be here to answer all your questions about the industry and to talk about their latest projects. You never know what they might say!

COSPLAY MASQUERADE

With the ever-increasing talent level of cosplayers at Dallas Comic-Con, we’ve modified our event showcasing our costumed attendees. We’re inviting our cosplayers to have their spotlight moment onstage during the COSPLAY MASQUERADE, hosted by arch nemeses Devin Pike and Ben Ambroso. Sign-ups for the Costume Contest will begin at 4pm on the 3rd Flr, in the Cosplay Hideaway. Judges will be on-hand to preview the costumes up close, and may ask a few questions. The first 72 adult entrants (ages 12 and up) will be admitted into the Contest. Signups will close at 5pm. NO EXCEPTIONS. Click here for more info.

COSPLAY RED CARPET

The Cosplay Red Carpet returns at 3pm on Saturday, Oct. 18. The skill and craftsmanship of dozens of Cosplayers from across North Texas and around the country are on display, in a red carpet format worthy of their time and creativity. All photographers are welcomed to line up for the best shot possible during the managed event. Cosplayers will begin lining up at 2:45 pm on the Ground Floor Concourse, and the Carpet runs until 4pm.

FAN DAYS KIDS COSTUME CONTEST

Kids 11 and under will have their Costume Contest on the Cosplay Red Carpet area on the Ground Floor on Sunday at 3pm, with signups beginning at 2:30pm. Hilary Thomas from the FANGIRLS: DAMES OF THE ROUND TABLE podcast will be the emcee. Prizes will be awarded for the top 3.

DCC COSPLAY HIDEAWAY

Returning due to popular demand, the DCC Cosplay Hideaway provides an area to repair an element of your costume, or simply a place to sit for 15 minutes and recharge your batteries (literately or figuratively). Located on the Third Floor of the Irving Convention Center in Meeting Room 1, the Lounge gives you the space you need. The DCC Cosplayer Hideaway is presented by the North Texas Cosplay group!

DOCTOR WHO PROPS

Whovians rejoice! We are going all out to provide the best WHO Experience at Fan Days this year, so be sure you drop by and get a photo with a real Dalek and amazingly detailed TARDIS.

ARTIST ALLEY

Indie meets pro in this special area where you will find all of your favorite pencillers, inkers and writers. This is a ”must experience area” for anyone interested in meeting the rising stars and the people who work the front lines of the industry! Here you’ll find it all – comics, graphic novels, limited edition prints and best of all, original art and sketches!

SHOPPING MADNESS!

Hundreds of retailers from all over will join us to make your experience an unforgettable one! Specializing in everything comics, anime, gaming, science fiction and/or horror, these retailers have what you need. It is THE area to find just what you’re looking for – whether it’s a comic books from any era, original artwork, graphic novels, memorabilia, DVD’s, videos, games, toys or t-shirts – you will find it all here.

COSTUMES! COSTUMES! COSTUMES!

Fans dressing up in costumes, or cosplay as it is sometimes called, is a BIG part of the weekend. Literally thousands of amazing costumes are available for your viewing pleasure throughout the weekend. Don’t be shy; get your photo taken with all your favorite characters or come dressed up yourself. It’s all good!

EXHIBITOR AREA

Experience the hottest new products and services – before anyone else sees them! Companies from all corners of the industry will be showcasing their upcoming projects and promos in the Exhibitor area and you get to be there for a sneak peek. You’ll also be sure to receive samples, goodies and chances to win prizes through their contest

 

Additional information can be found at www.DallasComicCon.com 

Meet Comic Book Artist George Pérez at Keith’s Comics Sept. 18

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When: Thursday, September 18 line numbers passed out starting at 4 p.m., Pérez signing 6 -8 p.m.

Where:

Keith’s Comics
5400 East Mockingbird Lane #120
Dallas, Texas 75206
Next to Jason’s Deli

Cost:STK649666

$5 Siren’s #1 event pack purchase required

Details:

George Pérez is an immensely talented comic book artist who has worked on titles such as The Avengers, Teen Titans, and most recently a team of heroes he’s created in a new six-issue miniseries George Pérez’s Sirens.

Pérez will be at Keith’s Comics in Dallas for the launch of Sirens. In order to be eligible to get in line to receive autographs from Pérez, you will need to purchase the Sirens #1 launch kit for $5 at the shop (limited to five packs per customer). In addition to signing your Sirens #1, Pérez will also be signing two additional items that you either purchase at Keith’s or that you bring in.

The line to receive autographs will begin at 4 p.m., though you are encouraged to arrive earlier. Though Pérez is scheduled to sign from 6 – 8 p.m. it is unknown what the cut-off time to get in line will be.

Keith’s will also be offering limited variant covers of Sirens #1 for purchase.

Regular release cover. $3.99 (Limit 2)
Sirens #1 1:50 Variant $30.00 (Limit 2)
Sirens #1 1:25 Variant $20.00 (Limit 2)
Sirens #1 1:15 Variant $10.00 (Limit 2)

Pérez Patrón Pack:
2 Keith’s Comics Exclusive Sirens #1 Packs
(one for a friend)
1 each of the 1:50, 1:25, 1:15 Variants
$80.00 (includes priority access)

Bring your camera, photos will be allowed.

Additional information can be found on the official event page.