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Free Comic Book Day – May 4, 2019
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Wabun Park Picnic Area & Wading Pool, Minneapolis
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Greater Minnesota Attractions Opening in May 2019

Free Comic Book Day – May 4, 2019

Free Comic Book DayThe first Saturday of May is Free Comic Book Day all over the country. That is May 4th in 2019, coincidentally coinciding with Star Wars Day – another big day for comic books stores! Families can find the closest participating comic book store HERE. Each year participating stores feature free sample comic books from various publishers. I love comic books, just because I love comic books. They can also be nice lead-ins to books. In the past, we have been able to find a comic book to go with our favorite books or to encourage a new book.

The Best of Parts of Free Comic Book Day

Free Comics: The obvious, best part of Free Comic Book Day is the free comic books. These can be good comics, too. I enjoy reading some of them as an adult. One bag of comics lasts an average reader a good long time.

Local Artists: Besides the free samples of national comics, local artists sometimes have their own comic books for sale during Free Comic Book Day. Just like with books, it is fun to collect comic books with a local tie-in and an autograph from someone you could run into at the grocery store. Like independent bookstores, comic book stores tend to be locally-owned businesses that have to fight against the ease of internet sales, so by supporting these events you are supporting both local comic book artists and a locally owned business.

Meet some Superheros: While waiting in line, you might just run into your favorite comic book character. Costumed characters (especially the Marvel characters) wander the lines, plus a lot of people in line dress up. This can be a fun way to mingle with other fans. It’s a good time to for kids to get some extra use out of their Halloween costumes.

Other Deals: The stores often offer other special deals on Free Comic Book Day. Did you know that some comic book stores offer free starter sets for popular role playing card games?

The Downside of Free Comic Book Day

Limited Numbers: Free Comic Book Day divides its offerings into Gold and Silver Comics. As far as I can tell, the difference is in popularity. If you see Gold Comics that you particularly want, I would recommend showing up early. Each participating store will get a limited number of comics to offer. Find the current list here.

Long Lines & Crowds: Having gone to a few of these events, I recommend finding a smaller store. In my experience, the bigger store has had long lines and chose your comics for you. In fact, I had a feeling they may have held back the best comics for select people. Last year, at one of the biggest comic shops in town, none of us got any of the comics we wanted after standing in line outside for an hour. In contrast, when we have visited a small nearby store, we had no lines and had our pick of any or all of the comics offered. Unfortunately small stores are less likely to stay in business from year to year, and our favorite store was closed the next year. It also may be worthwhile to call ahead to see how the store you want to visit distributes comics and how long their lines have been historically.

Free Comic Book Day Alternatives

Be A Day Late: Another option to keep in mind is that stores don’t always run out of these free comic books. If you are not into the crowds and don’t have particular comics that you really want, you may be able to stop by a day or two later and ask if they have left overs. We were able to take home selections from both Free Comic Book Day and Halloween Comic Day on Halloween this year. Stopping in on a different day is a good option if you would like to do additional shopping.

Thrift stores and used book stores are great places to search for old comic books. This is a good idea, again, if you want comics, but not specific comics and you want to avoid crowds.

Graphic Novels: With the rise in popularity of graphic novels, which are basically grown up comic books in book format, you can tap your library for good options — both for yourself and your kids. Watch the Red Balloon’s book clubs, because in the past, they have offered graphic novels in their Kids Read Book Club. I’ve found some good selections through their recommendations.

Wabun Park Picnic Area & Wading Pool, Minneapolis

One of my personal favorite park pools — Wabun Park Picnic Area Wading Pool in Minneapolis — was added to our master list of splash pads this summer when I decided to include wading pools in the mix. My reasoning for this was that there are so many good options around town for these hybrids that feature the zero-depth entry and spray features that parents of younger children love along with a little deeper water to practice those swim skills.

Not only does Wabun Park have a pool that fits the above description (and a cool spraying rock structure), it has terrific playground equipment that was just installed last year to replace the old, worn-out stuff. My youngest loves the updated tot lot with a shaded sandy play area and the swaying vintage camper trailer, a nod to the park’s roots as an auto tourist camp.

Wabun Park Picnic Area & Wading Pool

There is also ample covered picnic space at Wabun, perfect for that power lunch before, middle or after a rousing day at the pool and playground.

Bonus idea: If you think your kids might be up to the walk (it’s also possible to drive and park closer to the visitor center at 5000 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis), there’s a path that will take you from the Wabun Park Picnic Area down to Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Mississippi riverfront. The Visitor Promenade is open daily during park hours and little ones might enjoy spotting watercraft moving through the locks from a birds-eye view.

Wabun Park Picnic Area & Wading Pool

Wabun Park Picnic Area (part of Minnehaha Regional Park)
4655 46th Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55417


Greater Minnesota Attractions Opening in May 2019

Greater MN bannerI had way too much fun doing the research for this article — poring over trip journals and photos from adventures taken with our growing family as well as mapping out road trips to new destinations this season! It was especially enjoyable to stretch well beyond the borders of the Twin Cities — out of our comfort zone, you could say — to share ideas for family fun. Here’s just a taste of what we came up with. If there’s a favorite you don’t see on the list that you’d like added, please let us know! Read More

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