Whether or not your kid runs around the house with a cape or tries to scale the curtains, each July, every inner-superhero surfaces for Comic-Con International when it takes over the city of San Diego. Starting in 1970 with a small group of comic, movie and sci-fi fans that assembled the first one-day “minicon” in southern California to present day where more than 130,000 fans attend the multi-day event that spans the entire convention center and includes satellite locations at nearby hotels and outdoor parks. There are panels, screenings, autograph booths, fan experiences, memorabilia for sale and more. Don’t be surprised if you see Storm Troopers walking down the street, or an Ewok in the grocery store. Stopping Superman for a selfie or getting Batman to pose for a photo comes with the territory. Dressing up is encouraged and the costumes get quite elaborate. So if you are taking your kids to tackle the Con, go in costume. Let them pick what they want to wear and have the whole family join in. You can even all share a theme like Super Mario, the Avengers, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Kids age 12 and under are free with a paying adult and Sunday is usually known as Kid’s Day. The schedule can seem a bit overwhelming so we broke down 8 family-friendly events that take place throughout Comic-Con. These are our suggestions:
#1 Have an Out of this World Experience at the Star Trek Beyond World Premiere
Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Bad Robot present the World Premiere of “Star Trek Beyond” in IMAX. It’s the first-ever outdoor IMAX premiere event and it will take place Wednesday on the Embarcadero Marina Park South. Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino’s thrilling film score will be performed live-to-picture by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Cast members like Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto and more will be there along with director Justin Lin and producer J.J. Abrams.
#2 Get Slimed at Nickelodeon
This year Nick is celebrating the ‘90s every day of the convention with an 1,800 square foot booth on the show floor that will feature: a virtual reality 360-experience where fans can step into the world of the upcoming Legends of the Hidden Temple live-action TV movie; an interactive trivia game featuring Legends of the Hidden Temple’s King Olmec, Keeper of the Temple; photo opportunities with a life-size replica of the Hey Arnold! stoop, and the nose from Double Dare; a retail area; costumed character appearances; and autograph signings with cast members.
Plus, Nickelodeon’s nostalgia block The Splat is honoring the 30th anniversary of the network’s game show, Double Dare. The original host Marc Summers will return for a live edition of the game show that’ll dominate one night of San Diego Comic-Con.
#3 Get Your Game On at Nintendo
Nintendo invites you to the Play Nintendo Family Lounge to experience the latest and greatest video games, compete in tournaments, and take photos with iconic characters. This must-see space will be on the first floor of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, just a few steps away from the San Diego Convention Center. When visiting, you will be surrounded by all of your favorite characters and franchises, including Splatoon, Mario Kart and Pokémon, as well as new and upcoming games like YO-KAI WATCH 2, Style Savvy: Fashion Forward and more. Additionally, San Diego Comic-Con attendees with a show badge can also visit Nintendo’s Booth in the San Diego Convention Center to get inked through various Splatoon game-play activities and competitions.
#4 Get a Sneak Peak at the Dynamic World of Disney Comics
Disney Comics experts will give a sneak peek Thursday into how Disney’s beloved movies and TV shows are transformed into digital and print comic books. They will share new comics based on Zootopia, Finding Dory, Frozen, Star Wars, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and more.
#5 Dress in Your Favorite Character for the Cartoon Network Costume Ball & Screening
On Thursday it’s the Cartoon Network Costume Ball and screening. New episodes of your favorite CN shows will be showcased along with some big announcements for stuff nobody has ever seen before, including a world premiere look at animation for the upcoming Ben 10 series. On top of it all, they invite you to come dressed up as your favorite CN character for a chance to impress your friends and win awesome prizes.
#6 Learn to Draw at Let’s Make a Comic: Parents & Kids Together Time
Parents, bring your kiddos, a few sheets of paper and a pencil, and let’s get your children making comics! On Saturday, comics educator, former Marvel editor, and Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt presents a quick, child-based, tutorial on how to get your child’s creativity flowing onto the page. In quick and easy steps, Andy will teach you and your child how to make a comic story on just one sheet of paper, how to learn to draw anything, and get you and your child making a comic, right in this session!
#7 Make a Movie at the Children’s Film Festival
The San Diego International Children’s Film Festival is back on Sunday for its 10th big year. This year’s day-long programming presents many new shorts, as well as favorites celebrating the past 13 years of the festival. The festival features creative, exciting, and imaginative short films—and one short feature—from around the world, live action and animation. Throughout the day, animators and filmmakers will talk about their work, how kids can make their own films, and careers in animation and filmmaking.
#8 Sing Songs with the Animaniacs Live!
It’s time for Animaniacs, live! Sunday, join the voice cast of the iconic animated series Animaniacs Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille and Jess Harnell, along with series songwriter Randy Rogel for a zany, animany, and totally insaney afternoon as they perform songs from the beloved cartoon. Animaniacs Live! will be coming to a city near you.