I picked my kids up early from school to head to RCCC but we didn’t actually get in the door until about 3 pm. We decided to head straight for the kids zone as that seemed like a great place to take a moment and figure out the layout and to make a plan. The kid zone is pretty great. The activities range in age, to an obstacle training course for younger kids to a spot set up for kids to play video games. On Friday you could stop and pose with Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, or later there two Minions that kids (and adults) seemed pretty excited to meet. There is a balloon table set up where Super Twisted Balloons makes in credible balloon Groots and has gigant, intricate balloon displays (I didn’t check on the cost for a balloons but one should bring some cash). There is a spot to pose with giant Minecraft figures, a spot with a little archery zone, a face painting zone that we took complete advantage of for one of kids (bring money to tip) and a stage area where performances and games are scheduled throughout the days.
When we showed up just as a puppet demonstration from Tears of Joy Theater was taking place. We sat down and watched as one after one, beautiful puppets were taken out of boxes and we learned about their history and were shown how it worked. After the demonstration they puppets were laid out on the stage for kids to come up and touch, try to manipulate them and just get to live that desire to touch and play with the puppets seen on stage. I was excited to see some puppets from Stella Luna and hear they that they will be performing Stella Luna in Libraries around Portland this year, I always really loved that book. The puppets are also extremely cute.
After the puppets, my son Heywood got his face painted which made him extremely happy. He would tense his face everytime the artitst started to apply the paint, which was pretty hilarious. He was so excited to get a skull painted over his head. Our next stop was to head over to a panel room to be part of a Mighty Marvel Trivia Challenge, which my oldest son was extremely excited to be part of. We were grouped with some other participants, everyone in excellent cosplay, and our team name was The Scarlet Spider. It was really fun, it took a couple of rounds for my son to remember not to yell out the answer, especially not with commentary, such as “come on, that’s so obvious, its ….” He eventually leveled out his whisper and continued to strongly assert his opinions about all things Marvel. Heywood was pretty great at picking out the villains but Alvah took credit for that pretty quickly too. Overall we had a lot of fun and our teammates seemed to genuinely enjoy be paired up with a couple of factually specific kids.
My suggestions if you are heading to RCCC today or tomorrow:
- Bring snacks and water bottles: The concessions are pricey and that’s probably not where you’re going to get the most for your money. That said, there are concessions that sell icees and snacks so know that you can get that if you want it.
- When overwhelmed, retreat to a place you feel comfortable in: There is no shame in retreating in these situations. We took to the halls at times and found a wall to sit against and eat some snacks. We also retreating to the kids zone, but I will warn that this is not a quiet area. If you want quiet, i’d recommend the halls.
- Know where your bathrooms are: There is a womens bathroom inbetween the kids zone and the concessions. There are bathrooms in the areas around the halls and panel rooms. I suggest finding those first.
- If your kid is serious about games and winning games, I’d say maybe avoid the kids zone games. If your kids can just have fun hanging out and enjoy answering quiz questions, it’s great. It might have been the long hours spent there or it might have been the lackadaisical game show format, but my son was crushed when the man upfront never saw his hand dart up and never called on him. To the game show’s defense, they were trying really hard. Nevertheless, if you know your kids is a stickler for what they have determined to be fairness, maybe just avoid those family game shows.
- There is a beer garden. It’s there somewhere, I didn’t find but at around 5 pm, I really felt like I would benefit from finding it, especially as I saw others walking around the convention, beer in hand.
- Pregame is important. If you are going to walk through the stalls, know that some of the artwork isn’t appropriate for kids. Also, maybe talk to your kids about what amount of money you’re willing to spend or set them their own budget. My kids both chose to bring $5 of their own money and they both happily spent it. I talked with my kids too about how the people sitting at the tables are the creators of the products, so, you don’t have to like their work but you also don’t need to speak every opinion. I also encouraged them to talk to artists if they liked their work or new it. For instance, we saw the author of the Hereville series, which I was super excited about. We also saw the artist who draws The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl which we as family all love. I had to remind my son that debating specific stories lines with the artist isn’t really what this event is about but that he could talk to her about the work she does if he wants. Anyways, it was good for us to talk about how we interact with people before entering the maze of artists. We also broke up the space by days, so later today we will explore the other half.
- Talk to people. If you or your kids like someone’s cosplay, talk to them. Ask them about it. Ask to take a picture. Compliment people because if you are there to enjoy the far and near reaches of nerd culture, so are they.
- Kids costume parade Sunday at 1 pm. Sounds amazing.
That’s all for now. Hope to see you roaming the halls this weekend!