Who’s ready for a new start in 2019? Break out the noisemakers because the kid-approved New Year’s Eve parties are about to kick off. 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 2018 to Bed with Blue Man Group
Cap off 2018 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, Lakeview
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
Escape the Chicago chill for a winter thrill! Now in its 18th 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: $28 general admission, $13 for 42″ & under, free for 36″ & under at gate
600 E Grand Ave., Navy Pier
photo: Chicago Children’s Museum Noon Years Eve
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 2018. Make a crown starting at 10:30 a.m. and show off your dance moves at an 11:30 a.m. dance party, made complete with a confetti drop.
December 31, 10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
700 E Grand Ave., Navy Pier
Get Things Started at Little Beans Cafe’s Eve of New Years Eve Party
Ring-a-ding-ding in 2019 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., Bucktown
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., Lincoln Park
Jump Into 2019 at Pump it Up’s Noon Year’s Eve
It’s almost 2019, 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 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; December 31, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $11/person in advance, $14/person at the door (every child and adult must be counted as a bouncer)
821 W. Eastman St., Lincoln Park
Sleuth Out the Fun at SafeHouse
SafeHouse Chicago invites families and friends to travel the world in just a few short hours on New Year’s Eve with a daytime holiday party. Guests will embark on an international all-ages mission to celebrate New Year’s around the world. Sparkling grape juice toasts will be offered every hour, along with adult drink specials to celebrate different countries and time zones ringing in 2019.
December 31, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
60 E. Ontario St., River North
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., Lincoln Park
IN THE ‘BURBS
NYE Spent on a Mountain
Wilmot Mountain is hosting its annual FREE New Year’s Eve celebration offering fun for the whole family! Join Wilmot Mountain for skiing, snowboarding and tubing all day and stay for the celebration that evening. The free New Year’s Eve festivities begin at 4 p.m. and include face painting, a photo booth, party favors and more for all ages. Live music by Matt Meyer & the Smooth Riders will entertain from 8 p.m.-midnight. The Resort will also host fireworks show off the top of the mountain at 10:15 p.m. followed by a champagne toast at midnight.
December 31, 9 a.m.-January 1, 12:30 a.m.
11931 Fox River Rd, Wilmot, WI
Zoo Year’s Eve 2019 at Brookfield Zoo
Rock in the Zoo Year 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, starts at 6 p.m. (countdown at 8 p.m.)
Cost: Free with paid zoo admission
3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield
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 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., Skokie
847-674-1500 ext. 2700
Countdown to 2019 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 & 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. 21 $20/members; $30/non-members; after Dec. 21, $25/members; $35/non-members
Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview
Ring in the New Year, Munich-Style
Get the partying done early with Hofbräuhaus Chicago’s family celebration that includes stunning illusions for guests to enjoy before a parade and toast to Munich’s New Year at 5 p.m. The festivities end with a parade and complimentary champagne (or sparking wine for the littles) toast to Munich’s New Year.
December 31, starting at 2 p.m.
5500 Park Pl., Rosemont
Skate Your Way Into the New Year
Parkway Bank 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.
Parkway Bank Park
5501 Park Pl., Rosemont
Fun Family NYE 2018 at DuPage Children’s Museum
Ring in the New Year with a countdown to noon celebration! Families can spend time together exploring the Museum’s hands-on exhibits, taking part in special activities, listening to live music, creating lasting memories, counting down to Noon, and more! Bonus: Now in its 17th year, this is an important fundraiser for the museum. . . so you can feel good while you party like it’s 1999.
December 31, 9 a.m.-noon
Cost: $15+/members; $20+/non-members
DuPage Children’s Museum
301 N. Washington St., Naperville
NYE Dance Party at LEGOLAND Discovery
Dance your way into 2019 with your favorite LEGO® Characters! LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago is the best place for little LEGO® lovers to celebrate the New Year! They have BRICKloads of activities lined up including character dance parties from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., kid-friendly music and more.
December 31, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Cost: $20.50 at the door, discounts available online
601 N. Martingale Rd., Schaumburg
NYE Family Show at Medieval Times
Hear ye! Hear ye! Celebrate the new year in style with your beloved family at the colossal stone tower of Medieval Times! Medieval Times is hosting an NYE Family Show full of physical spectacles, hearty feasts and valiant knights!
Book early, and you and your aspiring young knights can participate in the Junior Knight Training that will take place one hour before the show at no additional cost! Children must be between the ages of 5 and 12 to participate. Space is limited, and training is available on a first come first serve basis for the first 100 kids. Training is open to both boys and girls.
Save up to $24 on adult tickets for this show only by purchasing tickets here: medievaltimes.com
December 31, 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $37.95/adults, $30.95/kids (Save up to $24)
2001 N. Roselle Rd., Rosemont
— Maria Chambers & Anli Chen