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Where to have the Zoo in 2010?

Anthrocon has the option of moving the Zoo into the Convention Center in 2010. Right now we are looking at Hall D or E. Those are on the ground floor immediately below the current dealer's room. We would then use the Allegheny Room for additional large-group programming space.

Advantages

The Zoo would be much larger.
It would only be a short escalator (or elevator) ride to the Zoo from Hall B instead of the long trek.
All non-programming functions would be consolidated in the Convention Center.
A built-in concession stand could be operated at mealtimes (same as in the Dealer's Room)
Planned hotel-shuttle stop would be right outside the door. (This one is going to have to wait).

Disadvantages
The Zoo would be much larger.
Cannot be open 24 hours. Zoo would have to close at 2:00 AM and re-open at 8:00 AM.

We ourselves are split over which is the best decision. It has been suggested that a portion of the Allegheny Ballroom could be kept open during the 2:00 AM to 8:00 AM time frame in case people still wanted to hang with their friends (although personally I would hope that the 6-2-1 rule would kick in, here). There is a concern about crowding in the Westin lobby as well since the hangout spot will now be across the street.

So help us out. What do you think?

Poll #1444967 Where to have the Zoo at Anthrocon 2010?

Where should we have the Zoo at Anthrocon 2010?

Convention Center (Hall D or E, right below Hall B)
77(32.0%)
Westin (Allegheny Ballroom, where it was in 2009)
164(68.0%)

Comments

( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
witchiebunny
Aug. 17th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
While I can appreciate the reasoning behind having the Zoo be in the Convention center, certain problems spring to mind:

1. It'll have to close. I know that one of the appeals of the Zoo is that it's a place to hang out at all hours, if you happen to be up at a late hour and want to find somewhere to find some other furs. Taking away some of those hours could indeed lead to crowding in places where you don't want it as furs try to find places to congregate.

2. It's not only a hike for those in other hotels, but also those in the Westin. While I don't doubt it'll still be used a lot of its convenience would be gone.

While it'd make the zoo more convenient for Convention programming within the convention center, I believe it's equally convenient now for that-the walk isn't that much further from the Zoo to the programming, and the inconvenience to those in other hotels and within the Westin itself I think offsets the plus points.

Plus....do we really want that many furries in the Zoo at one time at it's busiest?

ETA: I somehow missed the bit about the shuttle stop. Okay, that's one objection down. And a concession stand would be nice...

Color me undecided on this one at this point.

Edited at 2009-08-17 11:50 am (UTC)
jym
Aug. 17th, 2009 11:58 am (UTC)
Noo no no, the Zoo can't close at night, that's when the Zoo comes alive!
marymouse
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
I voted for the convention center because of size, (finding a table is ridiculous at times), but frankly having an all night zoo has been a lifesaver for me in the past. While my friends are up in the room snoozing, I have a place to go to work on commissions until 5 am...

I am highly for having a night time zoo like hangout.
the_gneech
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
Generally speaking, I'd say the hotel makes for a friendlier gathering place.

-TG
stahi
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
Personally, considering I'm hardly UP anymore past midnight-2am I voted for the Convention Center, though the "keeping a part of Alleghany open" from 0200-0600 would be a good idea too.
deejayawesome
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
Hmm...
One thing I hear recycling over and over is that the convention center is too big for the number of people, so the easiest way to address that is to put more people in it. Moving the Zoo to the convention center is probably a good idea. Attendance numbers are just going to keep increasing, and anything to take a little more strain off of the hotel and its staff (ie crowding in the lobby and hallways) is going to be a good change. As long as the new location is easy enough for even the most directionless of furs to get to, and as long as there is somewhere for people to relocate after 2am, I say move it. While having it in the ballroom isn't really a problem right now, it's better to offer a solution before it becomes one.
jack_talon
Aug. 17th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
I think either have it in the ballroom, or have it in the convention center and then open the ballroom when the convention center closes. The zoo is always going. Some people have different sleep schedules, some people may just be having too much fun, etc. People need a place to hang out 24 hours a day.

Looking back at this years AC, when the ballroom closed on Sunday night, people were very upset. A lot of us (myself included) found ourselves wandering around looking for a place to go hang out.

Leave us some place to go 24 hours and we will be set. :D
tyrrlin
Aug. 17th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
One issue that may not have been considered (and I'm not sure would be a problem) is the noise. If you have the zoo next to the Dealer's Room/Artists' Alley, there might be a problem of the louder "zoo" groups being loud enough to disturb those trying to do business in the next room. I know the Dealer's Room/Artists' Alley has rules about audible music/DVDs. Would it be necessary to extend those rules to cover the Zoo, if it were to move next door?

Another issue is if you have Registration in the Convention Center again, would you need to staff it until 2am to keep people from wandering over and messing with the equipment and supplies?

The Ballroom seems to be the better location, even with the incipient space squeeze.
duncandahusky
Aug. 17th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
Halls D and E are being proposed for The Zoo; these are on the ground (street) level of the convention center while Hall B, where the Dealers Room/Artists Alley/Art Show are located, are on the second floor. I can assure you noise will not be an issue, given the noise would have to travel through a foot of concrete or more :-)

There was already someone watching the Registration equipment overnight this year, so that issue has already been addressed.
tashabear
Aug. 17th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
Have they addressed the fact that someone came through the air wall between Halls A & B on Saturday evening this year after closing (I think it was Saturday; it was whichever day the Dealer's Room closed early b/c the schedule was wrong)? He got caught by me, my husband, and the two Dorsai who were chatting with us as we closed up shop, but still, no one should have been in that hall in the first place.
duncandahusky
Aug. 17th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
I seem to recall that came up in the meeting with the DLCC on Monday morning after the convention, so it's definitely on their radar.
tyrrlin
Aug. 17th, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
Ah, that's good to hear then.
mortonfox
Aug. 17th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
I voted for Westin because the Convention Center didn't have free wi-fi internet. I know others share this concern too because I saw more than a few notebook computers every time I went to The Zoo.
lobo_do_mundo
Aug. 17th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
Keep it at the hotel...Free Wifi Internet and Fun things happen after hours. It would totally suck to see the zoo close. :3
wingedparadox
Aug. 17th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
Although the wifi and potential difficulty of finding others in an even larger space are making me lean towards keeping it in the Westin, I personally think either option would be acceptable, but I agree with marymouse - it would be beneficial to have somewhere for us night owl artists to go and get our commissions done while our exhausted buddies crash in the rooms.
desteredra
Aug. 17th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
I can't say as i have a strong opinion one way or another; i hardly ever have time to go to the zoo at present. It does sound, from reading others' comments, that our ability to set up an overnight zoo space could be a major factor in the decision.

Two other factors coming up in my mind, however...

--Programming. At present, i imagine that we don't put programming in halls D and E because they're too big to host a single panel. If we moved the zoo, we might be able to split the ballroom again, thus creating 2 more rooms of an OK size for panels. That might be nice.

--Accoustics. If halls D and E are anything like halls B and C, i'm imagining big vaulted ceilings and concrete walls that bounce the sound around beautifully (of course, the different floor might indicate some difference there). If so, we could be looking at a significantly louder zoo, since there wouldn't be anything there to deaden the sound and prevent massive echo. Just a thought.
fenris_lorsrai
Aug. 17th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
D and E are apparently different in layout than B and C but I suspect it still has a concrete floor, which reflects a LOT of sound. If it moves over there, a sign up reminding people that sound bounces, please keep your voice to normal speaking levels, may be in order to keep it from getting ungodly loud.
rcoony
Aug. 17th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
I sign won't work. When things are happening, it gets loud. The only way to keep noise levels down will be to have a noise police. Then everybody will be pissed off; one group will be upset that nobody pays attention to the sign, and the other group will be upset at being constantly harassed to quiet down while they're just trying to have a good time.

I definitely say stick with the hotel. Even if it is much larger, I don't think everybody would get a chair to sit in, and who wants to sit on concrete? In addition to other comments I've seen so far, the convention center just seems... colder, and less comfortable. If the zoo was much larger, then everyone would probably cluster into distinct individual groups. In the hotel, it felt like everyone was all one big group. I guess I'm just going by feel. Over in the Westen just feels better.
kazzellin
Oct. 2nd, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sitting on concrete can be irritating, but concrete also stays cool. During the heat of summer or for people in/just out of fur suit, that could potentially be beneficial (so long as they don't overdo it, that is).
kanickb
Aug. 17th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
I'd say the hotel hands down.
cambria_jacolf
Aug. 17th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
I would have to say the convention center since there would be more room and the food stand is a good thing as well.
talon2303
Aug. 17th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
I wasn't aware of the Wi-Fi internet issue.
Perhaps the DLCC can find a way to wire an access point to the zoo for the duration of the con? Surely, a high-tech center such as this has internet already. Just needs to be channeled to the appropriate areas.

As for the hours, it makes sense to close at 2 to make people sleep, but I can see the point that during those 6 hours, there will be no central gathering place indoors that isn't a hotel lobby.

Maybe it's possible to rent one of the smaller rooms in each hotel AC's got contracts with for 2-8, just a 6-hour period, to keep random gathering furs out of their lobbies. I'm sure the hotels wouldn't argue with that logic. Just a bunch of after-hours satellite Zoos until the main one opens. People can migrate from one to the other as groups meander back and forth. From what I've seen of the zoo, there's very few people in it between 3 and 7. (Yay, insomnia!)

The pizza-ordering thing is a good point, too. Unless the DLCC intends to keep the concessions stand open the whole time. Heh. But that wouldn't be very cost-effective I'm sure, for either the DLCC or AC as furs are fickle eaters and like to eat out during cons, too.

Could always use a ghetto idea and section off a part of the DLCC's garage during 2-8. It always seems open. :P But naw.
semjay
Aug. 17th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
I thought the space in the zoo was fine this year. we were there just about every night and there was tons of table space from what I remember. I think it would really be crappy if you guys moved it to the convention center - it just doesn't seem worth it to me for all we'd have to sacrifice.
colinstu
Aug. 17th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
I hate the zoo, takes up a huge awesome room, just so random people can screw around in there.

They can mill around somewhere else, make it easier for the suiters to do all their games, etc right in the hotel, since the lobby is off-limits half the time.

skippyfox
Aug. 17th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
How far are the third-floor rooms in the DLCC from either prospective zoo? That is, would it be a longer walk from the DLCC Zoo or from the Westin Zoo to get to, say, a headless lounge, or the Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom, or some of the panels that are way down that one hallway (where the charity auction was this year)? But most importantly, the headless lounge?
graystonethusky
Aug. 17th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
If you move the Zoo to the DLCC and it has to close during those hours, where are the people going to go that stay in the Zoo during those hours? I'm sure you don't want them all milling around the lobby as the security was already trying to keep the lobby as clear as they could this year.
I selected to keep it where it was last year. But if you can find another place for people to go during those hours that also has available wireless internet then I might be up for changing my vote.
I must thank you for asking how we feel about this, instead of just doing it. Again thank you Uncle Kage.
kiallamraptor
Aug. 17th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
I personally never found the existing one to be that small or over crowded.
kittrel
Aug. 17th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
I don't think people will use it as much if it has closing times and no internet. It might be a hassle to have a second zoo open during the 'closed' hours. It surely has the potential to confuse people. No point in having a larger space if fewer people will show up.
kittrel
Aug. 17th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, after reading comments here, as people have pointed out the convention is always growing and eventually the zoo will need to get bigger whether people are comfortable with the change or not. So maybe I should change my vote. You would need to get internet in there somehow though. And I'd call the after-hours zoo something else so as not to confuse people. Like the Night Owls Club or something. A sign outside the zoo advertising the late-night area would help inform people of the new option too and keep them from getting upset that they're going to be kicked out at 2am.
czgoldedition
Aug. 17th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
I took refuge in the Zoo two nights in a row this past AC, since there was nothing else to do after 2 AM. 24 hour Zoo is a necessity of the con. (:
treerat
Aug. 17th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
I'd like to chime in with the 'Zoo needs to be open all night' crowd. Also, for 'just chilling' the Alleghany is a lot more comfortable than one of those concrete-floor-and-glass-window sections of the DLCC.
gman586
Aug. 17th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
If you move the ghosts will have to seek refuge somewhere else!

0r30
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
I don't use the Zoo much. However, these last 2 years I've gone to AC, I've noticed how essential it is to have it open 24/7. People working on art, people needing a place to socialize... all in the whee hours of the morning. Sunday night from this year was a prime example of what happens when the Zoo is closed; the contents of that room explodes out amongst the con space, creating even more of a "zoo" than the Zoo itself.

I really do believe that a Zoo with limited operating hours would be opening a can of worms.
ferdiaferlin
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
I'd like there to be at least some gathering spot near programming. This year I was able to enjoy myself at the dealer's den looking at various bits and pieces while waiting for programming in the convention center, and I could hang around in the zoo while waiting for programming at the hotel.

Even if the dealer area is closed, the convention center is big enough that there are places to gather without getting in the way, but, as far as I can see, the hotel doesn't have a good spot like that if you move the Zoo.
stokerbramwell
Aug. 17th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
I'm all for keeping it in the Westin. Being available 24 hours is a huge plus that can't be overestimated, imho.
recherei
Aug. 17th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
The Ambiance of a Convention Center Exhibition Hall
The nice thing about Hall B is its space and relative closeness to the rest of the convention. When you look around, you see the Art Show, The Dealer's Den, Artist's Alley and the Concession Stand.

Outside of what the dealers bring in, the furnishings are limited to tables, chairs and partitions.

The main difference between the 2nd floor exhibition halls and the first floor halls is ceiling height and pillars. (Lotsa pillers downstairs) If the second floor is any guide, then the walls, the floor the ceiling and the pillars are all concrete. When decked out with the festoonerie of convention exhibitors it's one thing. If all you see is rows of banquet tables and chairs, I fear the effect will be less than inviting.
edhyena
Aug. 18th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
While the Allegheny Ballroom is probably in the best spot, locationally speaking, it is no longer a good spot to hang out. During peak times it was impossible to find a place to sit and, more than once, I had to depart because it was so noisy I couldn't hear the person sitting next to me. Hopefully moving it to a convention hall will fix this problem.
originalisme
Aug. 18th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
Is there any way we could do both?? That way if the Allegheny Ballroom gets over crowded, people could get shooed to the other one.. just a thought
nevask
Aug. 20th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
as said before you could do both. for the last day of the con the convention center is usually "off limits" when the closing ceremonies are over, so everyone hangs out at the the Allegheny Ballroom afterwards. I am not sure if that will still possible to do so next year if its moved to the CC. As for having at the CC as well i think would be a huge benefit, especially having the built in concession stand. Though it would be nice if the concessions could be open to later times in the "new" den, my mother had a hard time with her meals because she was on jenny craig, luckily Cory's let me heat her meals up for her. :)

Also it would be nice to have it the CC for the dealers and artists so they can work on there art/whatever right after the den closes. That way they have a shorter distance to lug all their stuff, and it would make it easier for the commissioners to find the artists as well.

Hope this helped some. ^^;
scs_11
Aug. 20th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
One staffer's opinion/viewpoints, for what they're worth:

Sometimes the zoo is very busy, and sometimes it isn't. When it is, it's much too small. A larger zoo seems to me a desirable thing. Especially Sunday night.

In past years, the after-2AM period has been prime time for 911 calls, with the zoo usually involved. This year the hotel had the 2AM closure Sunday night/Monday morning, and the number of calls was 'way down. I don't think that's a co-incidence, but we'll see next year if it works the same way. Mind you, that's independent of the zoo being in DLCC or the Westin; a 2AM close is a 2AM close.

Moving the zoo to the DLCC has the benefit of removing some of the focus from the Westin. Right now, everybody tries like hell to get in there, with incredible amounts of wailing and gnashing of teeth as rooms open, close, change, yadda-yadda. With the zoo in the DLCC and buses, you can get a hotel room that's better suited (no pun intended) to your budget, one where you could maybe get a bunch of your friends to all book into. As AC keeps growing this problem is only going to get worse; moving focus away from a specific hotel doesn't cure it but does reduce it.

Moving the zoo to the Westin will do interesting things to security (my gang of folks). Will other hotels start wanting AC security in their hotel? Or if there's less crush in the Westin, might it actually reduce our work? I dunno.

IMHO we got a huge benefit this past year from moving registration out of the Westin and into the DLCC. Psychologically, it changed from being a crowded, hothouse atmosphere to being much more relaxed and open (Chia and I have discussed this at length, and we pretty much agree). That's not to say everything was perfect, but honest, the number of problems relating to crowding and interpersonal drama were way, way down. I strongly suspect moving the zoo to the DLCC would have the same improvements. Conversely, it does mean that there might be more incidents in the public area of the Westin after the zoo closes.

We ought to try it once and see. Better to do it once and go by real experience rather than base it on conjecture about what might be better or worse.
obliviousally
Aug. 22nd, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
I much prefer the Zoo in the Westin. The two years I've stayed in the Westin, it's been nice to travel downstairs and just hang out in my socks and chat with people. I don't want to have to trek over to the convention center just to do that.

Plus, I feel that, even if the Zoo was moved to a larger area OUTSIDE the hotel, people would still congregate in the area the Zoo is in now, in the hallways and such.
sethcat666
Aug. 26th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
In a word NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...!\
For a more detailed explanation the Zoo is supposed to be a place that you cn go hang out in when you can't get to sleep at 4:30 in the morning due to caffeine and sheer excitement.... PLEASE DO NOT add yet another reason to hate this con to the list.
Along with the ever increasing Nazi-like behavior of the dorsai and the banning of glow stringing.... Which if you can not avoid someone in the far corner of the dace hall surrounded by a five foot circle of light then you really need to wear a helmet for you own protection anyway.... -__-
leighqualix
Aug. 28th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
westin

better atmosphere
kendoro
Sep. 10th, 2009 06:06 am (UTC)
Well, here's my input, hope it helps.

Personally, I have found the Zoo being open at all hours to be quite the blessing. Because this year in 2009 alone I found myself not even being in my hotel room most of the time, except only to shower and put stuff away. Most of that time spent was elsewhere, but it almost always was at the Zoo during late hours. Sure, moving it to a larger venue closer to the main convention hall is a great idea, in theory. But like it's been said, the sheer fact that it would have to close at 2am would be a major strain on those who depended on the Zoo during those late hours.

So, if I can, I would propose an idea: Why not have the Zoo open at the Convention Center during these regular hours of 8am to 2am, and during the late hours relocate everyone to the old spot in the Allegheny Ballroom. I'm sure by the time 2am rolls around, the crowd won't be so massive that there would be many problems. Not to mention any non-programing functions would probably not be operating by that time. That way, everyone wins!

Although, I do foresee one problem with the Zoo being relocated to the Convention Center, that being the lack of Wi-Fi in the Convention Center. Perhaps such accommodations can be arranged if this were to take place? I know that a lot of people with laptops do love the fact that the Zoo had Wi-Fi to access the internet so that not everyone had to clamor for the computers at the Tigerden center.

So yeah, hopefully this can all be considered before any actual decisions are reached. My opinion in this I guess is undecided at this point, so we'll see what happens?
unclekage
Sep. 16th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
It seems that the general concensus is to keep the Zoo in the Westin, so that is what we will do.
antimon
Sep. 21st, 2009 07:37 am (UTC)
yeah originally i was thinking, eh who cares convention center seems to make sence sure why not, but after readign just some of the feedback, i decided, hmmm their right, and agree it should stay (for now) in the hotel, for a number of important reasons.

Does that mean that hall d and/or e will now become the large programing spaces you were going to migrate the zoo too? seems like a much better fit overall from hours feel and everythign else.

Also since you scrossed out teh shuttle service, whats that mean exactly?

we're not going to have the shuttle? what about the associated increase in membership cost?
unclekage
Sep. 22nd, 2009 11:49 am (UTC)
Ain't happenin'
( 47 comments — Leave a comment )

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