Who’s ready for a new start in 2018? Break out the noisemakers because the parties are about to kick off — and the best of them welcome kids. We rounded up bashes in the city and ‘burbs where your family can ring in the new year. Psst . . . many of these are daytime events that’ll have them tuckered out well before the clock strikes midnight (aka: champagne time for you!).
Put 2017 to Bed with Blue Man Group
Cap off 2017 with a kid-friendly performance with the Blue Man Group. For the 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. New Year’s Eve shows, children will be transformed into members of the Blue Man Group band with pre-show face painting. Other festivities include a pretend midnight countdown after the show, complete with party hats, noisemakers and a special performance of “Auld Lang Syne” by the Blue Men. Attendees at the 7 p.m. & 10 p.m. shows will be treated to festive party hats and celebratory pre-show toast for attendees. Guests to the 10 p.m. show will also experience a spectacular New Year’s Eve countdown party. Complete with noisemakers, a midnight champagne toast, confetti drop and performance of “Auld Lang Syne” by the Blue Men, it is guaranteed to be a celebration unlike any other.
December 31, 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. & 10 p.m.
Briar Street Theatre
3133 N. Halsted
Dine with Little Diner’s Crew
Forget the uninspired kid’s menus for a day and opt for a meal both kids and parents will enjoy. Little Diner’s Crew, a company with a mission to bring families together for unique dining experiences (and to get kids to try new foods while they’re at it!), is hosting a special NYE meal at Portsmith in the Dana Hotel and Spa. Kids sit at one table grubbing with their peers, while parents hang at another enjoying some much needed adult talk. The day includes special NYE party favors, a four-course tasting menu including mocktails for the kids and wine for the adults, and dessert.
December 31, 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $48/LDC Members, $52/non-members; $89.50/adults
Portsmith at the Dana Hotel and Spa
660 N State St.
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
Escape the Chicago chill for a winter thrill! Now in its 17th year, Winter WonderFest features 170,000 square feet of Chicago Blackhawks Ice Skating and more than 24 rides, all indoor! If you and your kids haven’t had enough fun after 24 rides, step outside for a spin on the Centennial Wheel that’s a tundra of fun this time of year!
December 31, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: $27 online, $28 walkup for 42″ & up; $12 online, $13 walkup for 36″-42″; free for 36″ & under
600 E Grand Ave.
Dance Party at Chicago Children’s Museum
A Chicago’s kids favorite, Chicago Children’s Museum, has planned a wonderfully jam-packed Noon Year’s Eve party before we say adios to 2017. Make a crown starting at 10:30 a.m. and show off your dance moves at an 11:30 a.m. dance party. Make sure your little one drops by Very Eric Carle, a temporary exhibit that introduces, reacquaints and inspires visitors to the work of the renowned author and illustrator, Eric Carle and his Very series.
December 31, 10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
700 E Grand Ave.
Get Things Started at Little Beans Cafe’s Eve of New Years Eve Party
Ring-a-ding-ding in 2018 with the whole family the day before — December 30, to be exact. Join the gang at Little Beans Cafe for a preschool party complete with a DJ spinning tunes, dancing, pizza, mocktails, a balloon drop, and, of course, all the fun you can handle before this year comes to a giggly halt.
December 30, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Cost: $30 for one child, $50 for two children, $65 for three children
1809 W. Webster St.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Noon Year’s Eve Party
The earthy-cool museum invites you to a Noon Year’s Eve bash. Let your party animals get their sillies out with kid-friendly festivities that include rocking tunes, fun games and a countdown to noon, complete with an apple juice toast.
December 31, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Cost: $20/adult member, $25/ adult non-member, $10/ages 2-18; free for ages 2 & under
2430 N. Cannon Dr.
Jump Into 2018 at Pump it Up’s Noon Year’s Eve
It’s almost 2018, so jump, jump . . . jump around! At this bouncy blast, kids of all ages can jump, shake and party all their energy out until it’s time to head home. Celebrate the end of the year with 2 ½ hours of play, followed by pizza, drinks, a sparkling beverage toast, a countdown to a balloon drop and a party favor to take home. Socks and a signed waiver are required for each child and online reservations are highly recommended.
December 30, 5:30-8 p.m.; December 31, 9-11:30 a.m., 12:15-2:45 p.m. & 3:30-6 p.m.
Cost: $10/person in advance, $13/person at the door (every child and adult must be counted as a bouncer)
821 W. Eastman St.
New Years Eve at LPZ
Ring in the New Year with the twinkling and dazzling lights of ZooLights as your backdrop. The zoo will distribute festive hats, horns and party favors to visitors, while supplies last.
December 31, 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
IN THE SUBURBS
Zoo Year 2018 at Brookfield Zoo
Rock in the Zoo Year 2018 with your little monkeys at Brookfield Zoo! There will be a DJ helping you get your groove on, games, party favors and prizes. Swing by the Hamill Family Play Zoo to make your own noisemaker for a festive 8 p.m. countdown. Best of all, the event is free with paid zoo admission.
December 31, countdown at 8 p.m.
Cost: Free with paid zoo admission; $19.85/adult, $14.15/ages 3-11, free for ages 2 & under; discounts available online
3300 Golf Rd.
Exploritorium’s Annual Itty Bitty New Year Bash
Think the grownups get to have all the fun? No way! The Exploritorium’s Annual Itty Bitty New Year bash transforms The Oakton Community Center and the Exploritorium are transformed into a mini Times Square. The festivities will include a DJ and a countdown to noon with a balloon drop. Pre-registration is required and space is limited, so don’t wait on this one.
December 28, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Children ages 1 & up, $10/residents, $13/non-residents, $2/adults
4701 Oakton St.
847-674-1500 ext. 2700
Countdown to 2018 with Kohl Children’s Museum
Kohl Children’s Museum will transform an entire wing of the Museum into a giant Times Square style party with the biggest confetti drop you’ve ever seen! A special children’s concert and dance party will feature Wendy Morgan and DB. Along with music, kids will be treated to hairstyling by Kidsnips, party hat making and horns, free family photos and photo frame decorating to remember the day.
December 31, 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Prior to Dec. 24, $17/members; $27/non-members; after Dec. 24, $22/members; $32/non-members
Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd.
Ring in the New Year, Munich-Style
Get the partying done early with Hofbräuhaus Chicago’s family celebration that includes a face painter from 2 p.m.-4 p.m., followed by a magic show complete with illusions, live animals and engaging audience participation. The festivities end with a parade and complimentary champagne (or sparking wine for the littles) toast to Munich’s New Year at 5 p.m.
December 31, starting at 2 p.m.
5500 Park Pl.
Skate Your Way Into the New Year
MB Financial Park welcomes you and your crew to figure 8 the year away at their Chicago Wolves Ice Rink. Bring your own skates and skate for free or rent skates onsite for $8. As the clocks strikes midnight, look to the skies for a spectacular fireworks display over the Park’s parking garage.
December 31, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
MB Financial Park
5501 Park Pl.
Bubble Bash 2017: A Walk on the Wild Side
This annual year-end celebration has become a holiday tradition for families in Chicago’s western ‘burbs. First, you’ll slip on a hat and decorate a vest to travel through stations that include weaving a beautiful collaborative canopy, contributing to the firefly fluorescent sky, building a fort, constructing a raft to float down stream and moving to the beat of African drums. Kids will be encouraged to let out a roar to ring in the noon confetti countdown celebration. For those sensitive to noise, there will be a quiet countdown and quiet jungle room available for their comfort. You can feel great about this wild family adventure because it’s an important annual fundraiser for this special museum.
December 31, 9 a.m.-noon
Cost: $20/members; $25/non-members
DuPage Children’s Museum
301 N. Washington St.
How are you ringing in 2018? Let us know in the comments!
— Maria Chambers & Anli Chen