Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event’s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World’s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
With a plethora of frame and mat samples, Deck The Walls can satisfy any and all framing fantasies. The expert framespeople can make diplomas radiate (most framing starts at $99), dorm-room movie posters sparkle (24"x36" pieces start at $99), and sports jerseys shine. The design wizards can also find a home for any prized possession, such as shoebox photos, baby booties, ticket stubs, medals, and really good pot roasts. Deck The Walls' lifetime guarantee and assurance that all work is done on-site means your frameables won't be subject to mistreatment at underground commercial framing facilities.
After peering into the mysteries of the human body, guests can meander through the rest of COSI's classic exhibits. Named the No. 1 children's museum in the country by Parents magazine, COSI's three levels of hands-on experiences teach kids about the wonders of science without dull lectures or Honey-dismaying youth-shrinking experiments. Wee ones can explore the LEGO® Castle Adventure, which educates about medieval fortifications before letting kids build their own, or the high-wire unicycle, whose counterweight keeps riders upright as they traverse the 84-feet-long, 17-foot-high wire. Live shows round out the offerings with a one-on-one game of hoops between two trained rats, a demonstration of the static power of Van de Graaff generators, and a weather demonstration that simulates the windy power of a hurricane and the moist coolness of a cloud's interior.
Easy as A-B-C, the artists behind Life in Letters craft custom photographic gifts available both in their shop and online. Over the years, they've amassed a vast collection of black-and-white photos of common objects and sights that resemble letters—such as arches, golf balls, fences, and palm trees—which they assemble into meaningful words, such as love, laugh, family, and nihilism. Once customers have chosen their word and selected each letter, they can have their piece matted and framed to suit their own decor or that of a loved one. The photographers also share their skills with aspiring shutterbugs during regular introductory photography classes.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams—comprised of at least two people—vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race–style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.