The saner among us will be spending Valentine’s Day watching the entire human species go down in a spectacle of torn flesh, blood, and brain.
That’s right, The Walking Dead returns to AMC on February 14.
We’ll admit that The Walking Dead is not for everyone. Like IPAs, Americanos, and Thom Yorke, there are few who remain neutral about one of television’s most dark and gruesome shows. Even if you’ve never seen an episode though, anyone who’s experienced Phoenix during midday in July knows that the zombie apocalypse is a real and impending danger.
Fortunately, Arizona is rife with opportunities to armor, train, and strategize in the event that the undead take over. Inspired by the shenanigans of Sheriff Rick Grimes and his gang of zombie killers, we’ve found some of the best places to visit before the first sign of outbreak. Prepare and you just might fare better than, well, everyone in this show.*
Where to Suit Up
The Allied Surplus Store
Whether you’re a “doomsday prepper," a Trump supporter, or preparing for Trump's possible election, you’re sure to find something at one of the two Allied Surplus locations to add to your “bug-out bag”. (For those not in the know, bug-out bags are everything and anything you need to survive at least 72 hours.) From bomb canisters to Reebok hiking boots, this store literally has it all when it comes to surviving the end of the world or that trek through Papago Park. The Phoenix location is at 4230 West Northern Avenue, while the Mesa store is at 404 East Broadway Road. See more at the Allied Surplus Store online.
Center for Disease Control
Only you can stop the spread of the zombie virus. Check out the Center for Disease Control’s website and arm yourself with knowledge.
Read up on how to prevent an "outbreak."
This lovely doomsday prepper establishment at 144 South Mesa Drive has an extensive assortment of dehydrated foods, compactable kitchen appliances, and something called MREs (Meal, Ready-To-Eat). Don’t let an expiration date of 2029 frighten you because, in all honesty, the end of the world might be a while. If you would like more information on how to make carrots last a couple of decades, be sure to check out the classes they offer on food preservation. Find upcoming classes at Preparing Wisely online.
Where to Train
Papago Archery Association
Get your Daryl Dixon on at this stellar archery range on the northwest corner of 64th Street and McDowell Road in Phoenix. Whether you’re practicing marksmanship, or learning how to hold a bow without embarrassing yourself, this range offers a variety of classes just right for your skill set (or lack thereof). More information can be found at Papago Archery's website.
Agility and physical strength are essential for surviving a zombie-infested world. Take some time from binge-watching Netflix and join the obstacle course mayhem at the Rugged Maniac Festival on April 2 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, 20000 South Maricopa Road in Chandler. With 25 obstacles to choose from, an adult bounce house, and what’s promised to be “plenty of beer,” how could you stay home?
Register through the Rugged Maniac website.
Skills like building a fort, starting a fire, and dressing a wound (not zombie-bite related) are all important to have. However, they may not exist within your computer-dependent wheelhouse. Fortunately, ASU and the community colleges in both Mesa and Scottsdale offer top-notch survivalist courses. Check out what courses they’re offering in the coming months through ASU, Mesa Community College, and Scottsdale Community College's websites.
Where to Strategize
DOZD Meetup Group
Even zombie fighters need friends. Become a member of the Department of Zombie Defense and be part of a team dedicated to the slaying all things undead. You only need a heartbeat to qualify. Enrollment is available through the Department of Zombie Defense website.
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International Horror Sci-Fi Film Festival
Don't become an archetype of the horror genre variety. Attend the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival at this year's Phoenix Film Festival at Harkins 101 on April 8 and bone up on what it takes to survive a world where monsters, aliens, and general spookiness abounds.
Ticket information can be found on the Phoenix Film Festival website.
Move over Area 51, we're guessing Mountain Vault is definitely housing some top government secrets. With a 6,000 pound steel vault door and 12-inch steel reinforced walls, you’ll be kept nice and cozy from the zombie outbreak in this literal mountain vault. Just be sure to stock up on those dehydrated carrots. Find your perfect vault at Mountain Vault's website.
With enough time, foresight, and money, you could skip the zombie apocalypse altogether by selecting a top-of-the-line cryogenic cooling platform from Universal Cryogenics Laboratories in Tucson. At Universal Cryogenics, they guarantee to meet your “electronic and optical cryogenic needs”. So why not wait out the zombies in the comfort of a specially designed cryogenic unit and re-emerge when the apes have taken over? Select your custom unit at Universal Cryogenics online.
*Please note, this list does not guarantee survival in the event of an actual zombie outbreak.