You know, Glenn, this has come up on the GeekDad email list several times, and there's a lot of interest but the difficulties seem to be:
1. Location: It's hard to decide on a location that works for everyone. If you put it in a place where there's a whole lot to do nearby, would it detract from the convention or would it get people to go there?
2. Price: At least in terms of doing a GeekDad con, we wondered how to make it both affordable (since we'd certainly want it to be family friendly, we'd have to consider people bringing lots of kids) and manageable (if it doesn't cost much to attend, then it's not going to bring in much money to pay for running it).
3. Organization: Most of us on the GeekDad staff simply don't have the bandwidth to actually plan and organize a convention — we just want to be part of one. We've kicked around the idea of having some sort of "retreat" instead, where we're not running panels and activities and we just get to come together and actually see each other in person, which we don't do often because we're spread out everywhere.
So those are the obstacles we've been facing. Personally I'd love to see somebody come up with a solution, because I think it'd be awesome to hang out with other geek families for a weekend!
As for what I'd want to see: board games! Lots of activities for kids where they can be engaged. Space for parents to have conversations with other parents.
And of course you have to think about timing and distance. Since we are all spread out not just throughout the country, but the world, finding a place that would be easy to travel to might make things a little bit more difficult.
Personally, I think it's a fabulous idea, and the retreat that Jonathan brings up might actually be a little bit easier. After all, why not find a beautiful campground somewhere and spend the weekend learning about nature, campfire food, and all around general geekiness. Shoot, for a friend's bachelor party we went out to a lake, set up camp, had a few RP sessions, some sing-alongs, and general good time.
However, since I'm sure you are looking for more ideas and suggestions then deterrents, I would suggest matching the date with the area. For example, Texas has many wonderful places to camp out or do fun outdoorsy stuff... but you wouldn't want to do it in the heat of the summer. Likewise, in Washington, you probably wouldn't want something during the colder months.
I was thinking about piggybacking on the coattails of another convention.
I have connections at several conventions that range from 500 to 50,000 and it might be possible to ride their coat tails for a couple of years to build interest. That would leave out the hard parts like space, funding, when, and where just leaving what.
One of the conventions was looking for a tract to take over a space. It would almost be like having a second convention at the same complex.
The city in my opinion should have a Maker Space, vacation activities, good broadband, good air service, on or near a major interstate highway.
Kid friendly room parties? Is that something that could be done?
Game Room with consoles.
Computer room for programming with Scratch or one of the other easy programing languages?
That's what I'm thinking. Any other activities you might want?