Families

Chicon 8 is a family-friendly event, for many definitions of family, and particularly welcomes families with children, from babies to teenagers! (Adult children are also welcome, of course, but they’re not eligible for the majority of services provided below.)

This convention is for young fans visiting or growing up in fandom, as well as for adult ones. In order to make it easier for those who are not yet adults to attend, the convention will offer Childcare, Children’s Program, and a Teen Lounge, amongst other things. What younger attendees will have access to will depend upon their age.

Note that the Covid-19 masking policy applies to children as well as to adults, throughout the convention. Please see the full policy for specific details.

Opportunities and Services for Younger Members

Childcare

Professional childcare will be available for a subsidized fee at the convention. We intend for this service to cover most of the program hours, starting around 10:00 am and running into the evening every day except Monday, when it will finish sometime in the mid-afternoon. It will be available during both the Hugo Award ceremonies and the Masquerade. We expect that this service will be available for children, at very least between the ages of six months and 13 years. Full details will be available once we have confirmed a provider for them.

Additional babysitting services will not be available through the convention, but other commercial services, such as UrbanSitter, are available in Chicago for those who need them.

Children’s Program

The Program team is putting together a varied and entertaining program especially for the convention’s child members. Full information on Children’s program includes the hours of availability and rules for dropping off children there, are available here.

If you have any additional suggestions for family-focused program items, Program would be particularly interested in hearing about them. (As of the time of writing.)

While children may well enjoy attending program items outside of the Children’s program track, and are welcome to, they should only attend items which they and their caregiver are comfortable with. Where relevant to the topic, other program may include adult themes. Moderators are encouraged to give content warnings where such content is likely, but conversations may develop in unexpected directions.

Play Areas

Small play areas, with soft furnishings and/or coloring and other art supplies, will be available in several places around the convention.

Teen Lounge

There will be a dedicated space geared towards teenagers. It will be near other lounges set aside for specific groups and needs.

Nursing/Pumping Room

The convention will have designated space set aside as a nursing/pumping room. We expect it will be necessary to ask the Operations team for access to this space, since it will be kept locked by default.

Elsewhere around the Convention

Although most of our plans are provisional right now, many of them should come to fruition at the convention. Here’s some of what to (hopefully!) expect.

  • There are plans afoot for a parents with babies and toddlers meet-up.
  • If all goes to plan, you’ll be able to learn basic soldering skills in order to Build-a-Blinkie (with twinkling lights!) in the Maker Area in the Exhibits Hall, or play with a starship simulation computer game.
  • You are forewarned that we expect there to be dealers with a tempting selection of age-appropriate books and plushies, amongst other things.
  • The Art Show is likely to have a wide variety of engaging artwork appealing to visually-oriented younger people. If you are concerned about the possibility of mature themes which might be depicted in the art show, we recommend that caregivers wander through the show themselves before taking a younger person.

Hotel

The Hyatt Regency Chicago offers a variety of amenities to make staying with children easier. As part of a booking, you can request a crib, a rollaway bed, or connecting rooms. (Look for the check boxes under “Special Requests”.) See the Booking A Room page for additional information.

Tourism

Chicago has wonderful museums and parks for younger people to explore. In addition to items on our tourism page, specific highlights near the convention include playing in the water at the Crown Fountain and around the mirrored “Bean” (Cloud Gate), both in Millennium Park, a short walk away from the hotel. Also nearby is Maggie Daley Park, which has a ton of stuff for kids and families, including a climbing wall, mini golf, and a huge playground. The Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier (highly recommended) is a free trolley ride away.

For other suggestions, see the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Families page.

Requirements

Memberships

Please see Memberships for specific details of, and requirements for, different convention Memberships, depending on age.

Adult Contact Person

Every person under the age of 18 attending the convention will need to have one or two designated adult contacts associated with them. Teenagers with Teen memberships may provide that information themselves, but younger people will need an adult to provide that information to the convention once they arrive. The details of how this information will be recorded at the convention are still being confirmed.

COVID-19 Policy

The convention’s COVID-19 masking and vaccination policy applies to children as well as to adults. Please see the full policy for precise details as to what is required, depending on age.

Questions

If you have any questions about the convention’s provisions for children and teens, please email us.