Planning a family vacation can be tough, especially when you have all ages in your crew. A couple of years ago we started going to Comic Book Conventions (Comic-Cons) and have found a whole new kind of family travel.
Before you say, “But I’m not a geek!” give me a minute to tell you that you are. We all have a little bit of a geek in us – and if you are a parent you are already someone’s superhero. Comic-Cons are not just a comic book convention anymore. Posters all over San Diego this summer described Comic-Con as a celebration of the popular arts. There really is something for everyone.
The biggest of all Comic-Cons, and the one that started them all, is the San Diego International Comic-Con. It started in the early 70’s as just a celebration of comic books and some sci-fi movies and television shows. It has grown to a full on extravaganza of all things pop culture especially comic book heroes and sci-fi movies / television. The very first convention drew a crowd of around 300 people. This summer we were in line with over 130,000 attendees.
There are Comic-Cons all over the US and the world. This past year we attended the Rose City Comic-Con in Portland, Oregon and the Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle, Washington, along with attending the Mothership of all Comic-Cons, the San Diego Comic-Con. From New York, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Arizona there is probably a Comic-Con near you.
The best thing about these events is that you can go on a family vacation that makes everyone smile. Young kids will love all the super heroes walking around. If you have teens there is something there that they will love. But most of all it gives you a chance to get to know your kids better and have an absolute ball at the same time. I loved walking through the exhibit hall with my teen and letting her guide the way. I was surprised to find out that one of the most interesting parts of exhibit hall for her was all the original artwork.
There will be waiting in line. This is an opportunity for you to talk with other people attending the conference and to talk with your kids. But most of all it gives you a chance to be your teenager’s superhero. They can go explore another area of the con while you hold the spot in line. During the San Diego event I stood in line while my teen went down the sidewalk and was able to get selfies with several celebrities. While I was standing in line there was a conversation going on behind me. At one point I heard someone ask “who’s your favorite doctor?” I thought this was a strange question. But then I realized where I was and that the conversation going on behind me was all about the sci-fi television show Doctor Who.
Staying in a hotel near the conference can be really fun because there is so much going on all day long. But it can also be very expensive. One option for many people was to stay a little further out in a motel that was along the train line which has a stop right in front of the convention center. We stayed just outside of town and drove in for the conference. Parking was expensive but available and it was much less expensive than staying at a hotel near the event.
When we were driving into town for the Seattle conference I wasn’t exactly sure if I was in the right place when my kids said “Hey mom, just follow the Jedi”. The streets were packed with characters from Star Wars. It was a little bit of a strange sight seeing a town that I had known as a place where there is great seafood, great music, great shopping and great coffee and seeing it filled with characters from Star Wars, Batman, and Adventure Time walking around like it was a very natural thing.
I loved seeing families dressed up in their super hero costumes. You don’t have to dress up like Thor to have a fun time but if you want to you will be in good company.
If you are looking for a fun way to explore a different part of the US or the World and you are traveling with a family of all ages you may want to consider traveling to a city during a Comic-Con and making that a part of your grand adventure.