As parents, New Year’s Eve takes on a whole new meaning. Instead of fancy clothes, too much champagne and partying well into the wee hours of the night, it’s all about having fun with the fam and maybe watching Ryan Seacrest countdown the minutes in Time Square. However you choose to celebrate this year, we’ve put together a list of fun celebrations that will let your little ones ring in 2016 a few hours early, plus a few that will take them into the New Year.
photo: The Bellevue Collection
Ring in the New Year at Celebration Lane
If the Littles can’t stay up ‘til midnight or you just want to get it over early (like days early), head over to The Bellevue Collection’s Celebration Lane where you can celebrate the New Year starting the day after Christmas. The nightly 7 p.m. performances will feature Americana-inspired songs, brilliant costumes, festive routines, dazzling lights, dancing characters and dramatic drumming with a New Year’s twist. Psst! Be sure to catch the festive bubbles as they fall from the sky. Dec. 26–31, 2015. 7 p.m. Bellevue. Free. Event details.
New Year’s Eve Daytime Party at Imagine Children’s Museum
Just because you’re partying before it even gets dark out, doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun! The Imagine Children’s Museum goes all out for their annual Daytime Party—music, tons of little kid dancing and traditional NYE crafts such as crazy hats and noisemakers. The celebration lasts from noon to 4 p.m. and you can enjoy the Museum exhibits before or after the special activities. Dec. 31, 2015 from noon-4 p.m. (museum open 10 a.m.-5 p.m.). Everett. Free with admission or membership. Event details.
photo: Kenna Konoske
New Year’s Eve Nighttime Party at Imagine Children’s Museum
If you really want to make this a New Years’s Eve to remember, get your tickets to the Imagine Children’s Museum’s New Year’s Eve Nighttime Party! This year’s theme is Crazy Hair Night which means it’s time to let your hair down and go wild. At this blow out celebration, watch comedian and juggler Eric Haines as he entertains you with his stilt walking and juggling shenanigans, enjoy a high-energy, interactive musical and comedy show with Cowboy Buck and Elizabeth and participate in balloon twisting with TatorTot. There will also be plenty of fun activities including a crazy hair station, glow bowling, rocket racing and a scavenger hunt. Food and beverages will be available for purchase if all these fun activities work up an appetite. And remember to dress for the weather. Rain or shine, the lighted ball will drop outside the Museum at 9 p.m. Dec. 31, 2015 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Everett. Purchase tickets in advance. Event details.
photo: Kenna Konoske
New Year’s at Noon at KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Who needs fireworks when you can make some really cool popping sounds during a bubble wrap stomp, the highlight of this annual made-for-kids, daytime New Year’s Eve celebration! Dec. 31, 2015 at noon. Bellevue. Free with admission or membership (as space allows). Event details.
New Year’s Eve Around the World at Seattle Children’s Museum
Want to celebrate the New Year with India, Russia, France and Morocco? Head to the Seattle Children’s Museum on New Year’s Eve Day. From 11 a.m.–4 p.m., families will be able to celebrate with different countries around the world, just as those countries are ringing in the New Year themselves. Each hourly celebration includes a fruit juice toast and a craft from that country. Dec. 31, 2015 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (museum open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.). Seattle. Free with admission or membership. Event details.
photo: Seattle Children’s Museum
Noon Year’s Eve Party at Hands On Children’s Museum
Celebrate 2016 with a bang at the Hands On Children’s Museum. Every hour watch the ball drop as you make like a mad scientist and ring in the New Year. Meet Dr. Science and experience exciting and colorful chemical reactions in the museum lab, freeze ice cream with liquid nitrogen and mix chemicals to make bubbly concoctions. There will also be special programming for the littlest guests, a non-stop dance party for kids who want to get down and party and plenty of other fun activities like face painting, cupcake decorating and a photo booth. Psst! Don’t miss the meet and greet with your fave Ice Princess (think Frozen) from noon-2 p.m. Dec. 31, 2015 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Olympia. $8-$10/Kids; $4/Adults (accompanying member adults Free). Pre-registration is strongly recommended. Event details.
photo: Hands On Children’s Museum
First Night in Downtown Tacoma’s Theater District
Families south of Seattle and in Tacoma have made First Night a New Year’s Eve tradition for over 20 years! It doesn’t begin until 6:30 p.m., but if you’re willing to keep the kiddos up a little bit late, or if you have older kids, everyone in your brood will enjoy strolling around this (alcohol-free) arts-centered New Year’s Eve festival. The main event kicks off with a participatory parade that includes marching bands, costumes, masks and giant puppets. As the parade ends music, dance, laughter fire and magic light up 20 different stages and spaces until midnight. Note: The outdoor events are free to all festival-goers; $10-14 gives you admission to 10 indoor stages and more than 50 artists as well as free all-day activities including ice skating and entrance into Tacoma’s museums. Dec. 31, 2015 from 6:30 p.m.-midnight. Tacoma. Outdoor activities free; access to indoor performances $10 to $14. Event details.
New Year’s Eve at the Needle
For those of you who are feeling brave this year, there’s nothing like heading down to the Seattle Center to watch the fireworks shoot off the top of the Space Needle when we turn the calendar from 2015 to 2016. The crowds are crazy and it’s freezing cold outside, but it will all be worth it when you see your kids’ eyes light up! Get down there early to enjoy a free rockin’ dance party with The Machine (starting at 8 p.m. in The Armory) and be sure to catch the Fountain of Light display at the International Fountain featuring dance music by KEXP DJSharlese and visuals projected onto the fountain by Baryonyx. Then, grab a good spot under the Needle and wait for the elevator to reach the top. Psst! Don’t forget to bundle up! Dec. 31, 2015 from 8 p.m.-midnight. Seattle. Free. Event details.
photo: Wallslide via flickr
Alderbrook Resort & Spa
If you’re looking to get out of town this New Year’s Eve, Alderbrook Resort & Spa is providing complimentary childcare to its overnight hotel guests. That’s right! While you enjoy a five course dinner with wine pairings, live music, a dance party and a fireworks display with complimentary champagne toast at midnight, your kids will be making their own New Year’s Eve memories and enjoying fun activities around the resort. Dec. 31, 2015 from 5 p.m.-midnight (dance party starts at 10 p.m.). Hood Canal. $80/person; childcare Free. Event details.
photo: Alderbrook Resort & Spa
We’d love to hear how you’re spending New Year’s Eve with your kids this year? Share with us in the Comments below!
— Kristina Moy & Katie Kavulla
feature photo courtesy of Hands On Children’s Museum