To take advantage of early registration fees for the conference and all associated events and workshops, please be sure to register prior to March 1, 2015 at If you want any conference apparel to be ready and waiting for you when you get to Chicago, please make sure to include this as part of your registration no later than March 10, 2015.

Reduced hotel room rates at Swissotel Chicago are only guaranteed through March 6, 2015, so it’s time to do that as well. We are aware that there have been problems with the online hotel room reservations system showing the correct conference rate, but that has been corrected and can be accessed at: This will be a great opportunity to enjoy an amazing city with your family. Please scroll to the bottom for lots of helpful links and suggestions. My husband and I are taking our daughters to the Chicago Botanic Garden on Easter Sunday for brunch and an egg hunt:

If you are looking for a roommate, IAAAM member Ashley McGrew has been kind enough to organize this Facebook page: You can also contact her directly at Thank you Ashley!

The scientific sessions are just about set, so you should be hearing from your session chairs shortly. To all poster presenters, your session chairs will remind you of this, but the word from our hosts is that poster dimensions need to be limited to 48 inches or less.

Don’t forget to gather your donations for this year’s student auction that will be held at the Brookfield Zoo on Thursday, April 9, 2015. Items can be sent to Chicago prior to the start of the meeting at the following address. If possible, please give Bill Van Bonn ( a heads up that something is on the way and please also mark the item with the donor’s name and estimated retail value. 

William Van Bonn, DVM
John G. Shedd Aquarium
1200 South Lakeshore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

Finally, it’s still not too late to help support all of the various activities and behind-the-scenes logistics associated with the IAAAM conference as a sponsor. Please contact Bill Van Bonn at if you or your organization might be able to provide assistance.

Fun Things for Families to do in Chicago as told by Bill Van Bonn and Friends

  • River boat architecture tour—you get to see Chicago and our waterways
  • Walking through Millenium & Maggie Daley Parks (Maggie Daley Park has a bunch of playgrounds and might  have rock climbing wall by April)
  • Riding the el – favorite destinations:  Chinatown on the orange line, Wrigley Field on the red line
  • Visiting Daley Plaza & the Cultural Center (if just for the art & architecture – my kids insist on pics at the Picasso & the cow at the CC)
  • PIZZA! 
  • Observation decks at Hancock & Sears Willis Buildings
  • Lego Center & American Girl Place on Michigan Ave.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Peggy Notebaert Museum
  • Puppets at the Art Institute: Interactive installation for all ages celebrating the art of puppetry. Includes shadow, hand, and finger puppets, some created by artists and puppeteers from the Chicago area, based on creatures and characters in the museum's collection - including James Ensor's drawing The Temptation of St. Anthony. Across the hall in the Family Room, visitors can create their own puppets with supplies provided.
  • Ferry rides to Navy Pier
  • Divvy Bike touring with older kids
  • Oak Street Beach
  • Garfield Park Conservatory (green line)
  • Children’s Museum at Navy Pier and surrounding entertainment (ferris wheel, Cirque du Soleil, etc.
  • Improv! There’s a gazillion theaters in downtown Chicago (Second City, IO, etc.), maybe not all young kid-friendly but definitely unique to the city.

And don’t forget the Cubs game on the evening of Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at historic Wrigley Field!! A few tickets are still available, so please contact Greg Lewbart at if you’re interested.