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Superhero Sequel at the Children's Museum

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Last year the Children's Museum of Houston hosted the Summer of Epic Adventure, a superhero-themed series of days and activities that my four-year-old dragged me to at least four times. It was such a big bit that the Museum decided to go for a sequel, and all joking aside it was a lot of fun last year so I couldn't wait to try it again.

For the most part, the expansion has worked well. Various big-name costumed heroes have been signed up to appear, and my daughter certainly wasn't going to miss a chance to hug Spider-man when he was in attendance last week. Super Why will be the next one on August 16.

Funny thing about Spider-man. I'd always read that such costumed performers were supposed to avoid too much physical contact with children and stick to high-fives mostly. Spidey just picked the girl child right up, which delighted her, so maybe things have gotten a bit more trusting.

The big new thing was a new stage show featuring Telephone Man and Code Monkey. They've upped the production considerably, adding pre-shot video of other heroes in other parts of the Museum. These are a little awkward, but do ramp up the visuals. Also, who ever did the designing of the costumes for the likes of Whizz Kid really did a great job. I've seen actual superhero movies with less well-done outfits, though it did make me wonder what Spider-man does when he has to go to the bathroom.

The show itself is about an aspiring hero that wants to join in The League but who has no confidence in herself. After each test she is confronted by the evil Dr. Boredom... who is kind of gender fluid apparently considering the official art is definitely a he and the actress playing Dr. Boredom is definitely a she. Anyway, Dr. Boredom goes out of his or her way to remind our hero that she should just give up because she isn't special.

It's corny, sure, and the show's added an even cornier song to go with it, but the message is still pretty timeless. I can't think of any lesson more important than teaching a kid that even if they aren't the fastest, strongest, or smartest they can be worth something.

It all culminates in another chase-and-find game for the kids to participate in and then ends with the same "I Am a Superhero" song that haunted my sleep last year. Oh, and a dance party on stage that was thoroughly packed by young kids in capes. Superheroes are so big right now, and it's nice to see the Children's Museum using them to get more kids in.

On the other hand, I've never seen the museum more crowded, and attempts to sort of keep things under control like making entrance to Kidtropolis one way didn't really do much to limit the press of bodies. Much like the ever-expanding Comicpalooza, the Children's Museum is going to need to start thinking about how they are going to handle the sheer numbers that modern nerd supremacy has generated.

The Summer of Epic Adventure... The Sequel is happening at the Children's Museum through September 7.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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