Typically persons 12 years and older must provide picture identification. Check with the facility that you are visiting to confirm what the required age is to provide picture identification.
When you arrive at the facility you may need to wait in line to be processed in. Some facilities require sign in, fingerprint recognition, walking through a metal detector, and/or but not limited to body search. You are subject to searches both prior to and after you visit your loved one.
The facility staff will let you know what you can bring into the visiting area. There may be a locker assigned to you to store your personal items or you may be asked to lock it in your car. Let them know if you are on medication and when you need to take it. It is a good idea to bring a clear container (clear purse, zip lock bag) for the items you can bring into the visiting area.
Know the rules for the facility that you are visiting when it comes to how close you can be to your loved one. Some facilities allow a hug and kiss, others will allow you to hold hands, others do not allow any physical contact. Some allow children to sit on laps, some do not. Also know that different facility staff may interpret the rules differently each time you visit, so listen to what they say. If you are warned once not to have so much contact such as hugging too long, listen to them because it could be cause for you to lose your visitation rights (along with apparent reasons like contraband).
There is typically a limit to the amount of money you can bring into the visiting area. There may be a commissary and/or vending machines, so it is advised to bring smaller bills and change. Eating together is a great activity to share with your loved one and it gives them an opportunity to have foods they may not have access too otherwise.
Minors must be accompanied by an adult for visitation. Minors must be under control of the adults. There are typically cards or some type of games for children and adults that may be in a central area, or need to be checked out. It is advisable to select games for your visit as soon as you arrive.
If you are traveling long distances to visit, check with the facility, typically the warden, if you would like extended visitation, e.g. dates or times other than typical visitation dates. Also know that if there is an inmate issue or lock down, that your visit could be shortened or denied.