‘Avengers’ and ‘Hunger Games’ Assemble on the Strip


These immersive attractions offer a one-two punch for movie fans…

Click HERE to read via BestOfVegas.com…

Vegas visitors have long enjoyed attractions based on Hollywood films. From MGM Grand‘s original “Emerald City” motif to Excalibur’s Polar Express 4D and Las Vegas Hilton’s Star Trek: The Experience, just about every major casino has hosted a movie-based attraction at one time or another. Even Downtown has jumped on the trend with SAW Escape Room and Fear The Walking Dead.

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Now that Cirque du Soleil has taken the plunge and premiered the Hollywood-inspired R.U.N. at Luxor, the time is right to visit the two biggest and best movie attractions in the city. They’re Hunger Games: The Exhibition at MGM Grand and Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at Treasure Island.

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Victory Hill Exhibitions is the visionary company behind both family-friendly exhibits.  They’ve been creating interactive experiences like China’s Transformers: Autobot Alliance and Madrid’s Jurassic World Exhibition for over 25 years. Victory Hill uses cutting-edge technology made possible by parent company CityNeon Holdings Limited, a sixty-year-old global firm that creates large scale projects for museums, galleries and the biggies….amusement parks. And with this being Las Vegas, you know the two companies have pulled out all the stops.

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Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) opened its doors at T.I. in summer of 2016 (official website HERE). Timed to coincide with the release of mega-hit Captain America: Civil War, it continues to draw fans from all over the world. Newly updated with elements from Black Panther, the multi-level experience allows you to step into the world of the beloved franchise that reached a climax in this year’s Avengers: Endgame.

A self-guided tour of ten character exhibits, Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. uses an interactive Mobile Training Device app to reveal key details and secrets of the Marvel Universe. You’ll receive a briefing from SHIELD Assistant Director “Maria Hill” and must pass a bio-scan designed to detect undercover HYDRA operatives before you can proceed with your mission.

Throughout the 31,000 sq. ft. facility are props and costumes from iconic set pieces like Captain America’s Vita-Ray chamber and Hulk/Bruce Banner’s bio-engineering research lab. Hop aboard Steve Roger’s motorcycle for a photo op, try your luck at lifting Thor’s hammer (only a handful of visitors have actually succeeded) and witness the incredible evolution of Ironman’s suit design at Stark Industries.

Dozens of electronic panels allow you to test your knowledge of Avenger’s history, science, genetics, and technology in their efforts to protect mankind. Theatrical sound and lighting effects immerse you in realism. You’ll even feel an icy blast as you enter the Alien Decontamination Chamber.

As you work through each hero’s case files, your goal is to assemble enough data to prove your worthiness in becoming an honorary member of the team. Your journey culminates in an all-out battle between you and your fellow tour members against the fearsome villain of AVENGERS: Age of Ultron.

As you might expect, an extensive selection of Marvel souvenirs and photos are available at the massive retail promenade. This section of the exhibit is open to the public free of charge. The facility can also host gatherings for groups of up to 200 people.


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At The Hunger Games: The Exhibition (official website HERE), large gatherings are usually reserved for The Reaping, an annual selection of “tributes”. The harsh reality of District 12 is only one part of your excursion to “Panem”, the fictional future America of Lionsgate‘s $3 billion film franchise.

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Located within The District (MGM Grand‘s retail and dining promenade), The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is a stunning collection of superlatives. During a grand opening gala this summer, the attraction’s enormous touchscreen display within the archery experience was certified as the largest in existence by Guinness World Records. Here’s the official statement:

The largest touchscreen display is 56.24 m (605.42 ft), and was achieved by Victory Hill Exhibitions – The Hunger Games: The Exhibition (USA & Singapore) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 6 June 2019.

“We strive to create unique, one-of-a-kind attractions, and the 60-foot wide interactive touchscreen offers patrons an unparalleled experience as they dive deep into the world of Panem,” said Welby Altidor, Group Chief Creative Officer of Cityneon Holdings and Victory Hill Exhibitions. “Our immersive attractions are designed with the latest technology to create hands-on interactives, and receiving a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title validates the quality, precision and creativity we put into every project.”

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Occupying a massive space that was the previous location for CSI: The Experience, The Hunger Games: The Exhibition takes you on an unforgettable ride aboard the “Tribute Train”. Travel from Katniss Everdeen’s poverty-stricken home to the gaudy, utopian Capitol of District 1. Along the way you’ll visit President Snow’s office, take a quiz at the “Capitol TV studio” and pay homage at Panem’s “Hall of Justice”.

                      Actor Elden Henson (Pollux) attends the grand opening on 6/6/19…

Throughout the exhibit are plenty of hands-on displays, trivia games, costumes and props from the movies. Rarities like an actual Mockingjay pin prop and the wedding gown worn by Jennifer Lawrence are included. Uniformed guides stay in character throughout the Experience while offering insight, guidance, little-known facts…and perhaps a helping of President Snow’s propaganda.

Much like Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., The Hunger Games: The Exhibition‘s grand finale is a full-scale interactive game. Join other freedom fighters (up to 40 at once) at District 13’s “Rebellion Facility”. Demonstrate your fortitude by arming yourself with a bow and arrows for the ultimate test at “Beetee’s Archery Training” (a waiver must be signed in order to participate).

The innovative archery range simulation uses… (Click HERE to continue reading)

Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at Treasure Island is open 10 am to 7 pm daily. Click HERE to purchase discount tickets via BestOfVegas. Children 3 and under are free with a paid adult admission.

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is open 10 am to 7 pm daily. Click HERE to purchase discount tickets via BestofVegas. Children 3 and under are free here as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Critical Care Comics: Superheroes for Ailing Children


Las Vegas volunteer organization delivers heartwarming escapism to young hospital patients….

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When I was seven years old, this writer was stricken with a condition that baffled doctors. After spending an entire summer indoors, I was transferred to a major hospital in Pittsburgh. There I was placed in isolation for a series of tests and eventually, surgery.

Being so far from home and away from my pets, friends and family was terrifying. I remember looking out my hospital window at that huge city as the sun went down, crying and wondering why my mom had left me here all alone. All I had to comfort me was a battery-operated radio and a stuffed animal that was incinerated as a precautionary measure.

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That was a long time ago, but I still carry the scars of the experience…both on my body and inside my heart. Recollections of that trauma remain, and when I hear about efforts to ease the fears of sick and suffering children, it strikes a deep chord.

            Marketing Director Danny Ballard and Dani Harter as “Captain Marvel”

While attending the film premiere of Immortal Wars: Resurgence recently at AMC Town Square, I learned about Critical Care Comics. The gentleman manning their lobby display was Richard Tango, a handsome and absurdly charismatic young man who told me about their mission.

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     “Immortal Wars” actor Ronnie Lloyd Nanos and Richard Tango at AMC…

Critical Care Comics is a local non-profit. We dress like superheroes and deliver comic books to sick kids all over Las Vegas. We visit every major children’s care facility in the city and also provide smiles to children at Cure 4 the Kids Foundation, a chemotherapy treatment center, and Care Meridian, a long-term children’s care facility.

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Not only is Mr. Tango an excellent representative for Critical Care Comics, he portrays Marvel hero “Iron Man” during visits to hospitals. Hearing about this charity brought back plenty of emotions….so much so that I had to excuse myself for awhile to regain composure.

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                Richard Tango (left) and Dan Glitch as Captain America…

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The reason Critical Care Comics was present that evening was to accept donations of comics books and funds…and also to spread awareness about their wonderful mission. Many of the volunteers have stories similar to my own…often much more severe. Mr. Tango told me that both he and founder Jason Golden are survivors of childhood cancer.

 

Mr. Golden describes the experience when the Critical Care volunteers visit children:

When we walk in, we are approaching kids who are leagues above us. Our strength, our speed, our will is nothing compared to what they’re bringing. These kids are anything but kids. There are times when they are sure they don’t have a favorite super hero. They are sure they don’t read comics. They are SURE that their situation won’t be better just because a group of people in costumes came in to say “Hi”.

And then we walk out of those rooms, and if you were to turn around just for an instant; blink and you’ll miss it. You will see those kids pick up a comic book. You would think it was a caveman inspecting the first wheel. But for them, it’s like discovering FIRE.

For a kid who was so SURE of things. We got them curious about what could be. We got them wondering about whats on the next page. We gave them an escape from what’s practical and probable and got them believing in the IMPOSSIBLE…if only for 28 pages.

Director of Marketing Danny Ballard has been passionate about comics his entire life. He created the Critical Care Comics blog to keep the public up to date on fundraisers and events. This past December he and the volunteers held a Heroes & Villains Ball downtown at The Nerd, a Cocktails-and-Cosplay nightspot at Neonopolis.

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Described as a “winter cosplay formal event”, the Heroes and Villains Ball offered a raffle, silent auction and a costume contest with prizes provided by local businesses and supporters. Of course, there was a DJ and dancing, so you could swing with Superman, waltz with Wolverine and tango with Thor.

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          Starlord and Gamora at Let’s Be More Than Super Friends fundraiser…

Last month’s fundraiser was the Valentine’s Day-themed Let’s Be More Than Superfriends. Held at Millenium Fandom Bar in the Arts District, this fundraiser also had a raffle and costume contest, but upped the ante with a special twist:

To raise money for our charity, we auctioned off dates with superheroes like Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, Mary Jane, Deadpool, Starfire, and Wonder Woman (just to name a few). We hoped it would be fun, but we never imagined that it would help us raise over $2000!

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Despite all of that fun and frivolity at gatherings like these, the special people of Critical Care Comics know that their main reason for coming together is to help the children. And since they’re continuing to grow and expand their efforts, there’s always a need for more volunteers.

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You can help behind the scenes by collecting and sorting comics, assisting in media and publicity…or by portraying one of their inspirational superheroes. There are currently openings for Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy), Thor, Aquaman, and any other superhero character not already on their roster (Vegas performers, take note!!!). You can offer your assistance by clicking HERE. Of course they always accept child-friendly comics books, too.

People need heroes because heroes save or improve lives and because heroes are inspiring. … Heroes elevate us emotionally; they heal our psychological ills; they build connections between people; they encourage us to transform ourselves for the better; and they call us to become heroes and help others.     Jason Golden

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If you’d like to donate to Critical Care Comics or learn more, visit their website by clicking HERE