The World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) is just around the corner! The phenomenal photo above shows Texas artist Vincent Villafranca in the process of casting the bronze sculptures that will grace the Hugo awards this year. Anyone who can make it to San Antonio for Labor Day weekend will see the final design that Vincent is working on, along with costumes, filk songs (sf/f flavored folk songs), films, and vendors selling books and t-shirts and all sorts of fantastic things. There will be plenty of panels by and for people who love science fiction literature, too.
But what about the little ones?
I started attending WorldCon in 2002, long before my little geekling arrived on the scene. I’ll admit, I didn’t spend much time thinking about the kid’s track back then. However, now that he’s almost two and ready for his first WorldCon, I was thrilled to discover just how kid friendly this con will be.
For very small children, the Con committee has arranged for a bonded, licensed organization to provide day care in the associated hotel. KiddieCorp will be available for childcare on Thursday (Aug. 29) afternoon, all day Friday through Monday, and also Saturday and Sunday nights so that parents can go to the premiere evening events, the Masquerade (Saturday) and the Hugo Awards Ceremony (Sunday). KiddieCorp takes children younger than 12 for $10/hour, and if you sign your geekling up for a child membership, you get 6 hours of day care for free. You will probably need to sign up in advance if you are interested in this option, as space will be limited. You can sign up now through the website.
For kids who are older/more independent/more interested in science fiction and fantasy, there’s also a whole track of programming just for them. The Rangernauts program is aimed at kids 6-12. It features many different kinds of hands-on arts and crafts and science projects that kids can get involved in. Some activities require a parent to be present, while others allow you to drop your child off for brief periods of time.
In addition to these on-site options, San Antonio has plenty of things for kids to explore. The convention center and hotels are located on the justly famous San Antonio River Walk. There’s a lovely playground at Hemisfair park within easy walking distance of the convention center (already approved of by my son in a scouting trip earlier this year). The San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Children’s Museum are nearby as well.
WorldCon is one of those conventions that moves around each year, and next year it will be in London. I have a sneaky suspicion that it will be fairly family friendly in 2014 as well, since the same James Bacon who is head of San Antonio’s Children’s track will be the Programming chair for London. I hope that you’ll be able to make it to one or both of these fine conventions, secure in the knowledge that there are plenty of options to the younger set enjoy the con as well.
Full disclosure: I am on the staff of both the San Antonio (2013) and London (2014) WorldCons. For San Antonio I am organizing the Academic track of programming, and for London I am co-head of the Literary track of programming.