You say you wanted to go to the San Diego Comic Con but you couldn’t get a badge? Well fear not, friends, because there are plenty of cool things to do for free around the world’s biggest Geek-fest. From a free Interactive Zone where you can mingle with some of your favorite characters and even meet celebrities to movie- and television-related displays, there are plenty of chances to enjoy the madness that is Comic Con.
One of the best places to go for free is the Interactive Zone at Petco Park. Here you can walk the bridge from the FOX series Sleepy Hollow and meet the Headless Horseman himself. If you’re into something dark, you can check out the Sin City 2 display which includes several cool classic automobiles. The kids can meet characters from Sanrio’s Hello Kitty franchise, have their picture taken with the Angry Birds and fire the Pizza Launcher – a huge, tank-like contraption – against Shredder at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles display.
One very cool section is the Courtyard Marriott’s Super Hero HQ, which includes a makeup area where professional FX makeup artists will transform visitors into their favorite character or creature. Once the makeover is complete, you can have your picture taken in front of a green screen and then placed into one of several comic-related backgrounds. It was at Super Hero HQ that actress Chloe Noelle of the HBO series True Blood was turned into a zombie for the day.
The Interactive Zone is not just a fun place for kids. The area even has adults in mind, with a section inspired by the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim that includes a Fun House and the Meatwad Experience. The Interactive Zone is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. except Sunday when it closes at 7:00 p.m.
On the bay side of the Convention Center, at Bayfront Park, several exciting displays and activities have been set up. One of the wildest is the GOTHAM Zip Line, presented by FOX. This 130-foot-long zip line takes fans across a recreation of the GOTHAM skyline, starting at a height of 30 feet. At the end participants receive a photo that they can share with their friends as well as GOTHAM-related goodies. Also available during Comic Con are special UBER GOTHAM Police Cars that will take visitors around downtown. The Zip Line runs from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day; GOTHAM UBER cars are available at varying times.
FOX also presents a The Simpsons area featuring Homer’s Dome, a walk-through display of the inner workings of Homer’s brain – such as that is. The 4-D experience runs every day of Comic Con from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., except Sunday when it will close at 3:00 p.m.
The King of Monsters also returns to Comic Con as the Godzilla display gives fans the chance to experience the legendary creature. Photo opportunities and giveaways and a giant Godzilla are among the highlights.
Of course, one of the most enjoyable free events of the Comic Con is the legions of cosplayers who swarm downtown San Diego. Cosplay – short for “costume play,” for the uninitiated – allows and encourages fans of movies, television, comic books and more to indulge their inner geek. Costumes can range from the simple to the amazingly elaborate, and can be enjoyed anywhere around the Convention Center. The Bayfront Park area is a particularly good spot, and is often the site of clashes between fans of rival franchises, such as the Marvel vs. Capcom meet-up.
While getting badges to visit Comic Con can be a challenge, that is no reason to miss out on one of the greatest cultural phenomena of today. With the many free activities available, anyone can indulge his or her inner geek.
Outside Comic Con has a full list of activities and events available. More information can be found as well on individual sponsors’ websites.