It’s the first weekend of the New Year! How will you welcome 2011? If you’re in the East Bay, consider swinging by the New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop at Chabot Space & Science Center, then taking a New Year’s Day Butterfly Walk at Ardenwood. Or start off the year with a celebratory good time watching Rock ‘n Roll Cinderella in San Francisco. Wherever you choose to roam, there’s definitely something doing, like the following activities from throughout the Bay.

San Francisco

25th Annual Japanese New Year Bell-Ringing Ceremony
It’s a special tradition to ring the sixteenth-century Asian Art Museum bronze bell from Japan a total of 108 times. As you and your kids take part in “ringing in the New Year,” custom has it that you’ll bring good luck, too. Fri., 9:30 a.m., free with museum admission. Event details.

Sweet Can Circus
The one-hour production combines traditional circus with physical theater and dance. The show features aerial silks and slack rope, acrobatics, and hula hoops – all to the beat of live music. Using everyday objects like a broom, a chair, dinner plates, hula hoops, and simply their bodies, Sweet Can manages to convert everyday life into a breathtaking circus. Sun., 4p.m. & 6:00p.m., $15-$25. Event details.

East Bay

New Year’s Blast at Playland
Games and surprises are always fun, especially at the Museum of Fun, with activities geared to celebrate the New Year. Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $15 adults, $10 children under 14 and seniors. Event details.

New Year’s Day Butterfly Walk
Get the New Year started with an inspiring visit to the monarch butterflies’ winter home at Ardenwood. You’ll get a chance to see these beautiful butterflies close up with the help of some handy dandy spotting scopes. Sat., 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., $2 adults, $1 children (4–17 years). Event details.


300 San Jose New Year’s Eve
Come by this swank bowling alley for pizza and sparkling cider then try for a strike during their afternoon and early evening family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. Fri., 4-7 p.m., $30. Event details.

BIG BACH for the New Year
It’s time for the annual New Year’s Eve concert at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto. Tells the kids that the Bach works will be performed on an organ with 4,568 pipes!
Fri., 8-9 p.m., $10. Event details.



BADM Noon Year’s Eve Party
Make party hats and noisemakers, rock to DJ Mancub, and watch the balloon drop at noon at this fun Bay Area Discovery Museum event for the whole fam. Fri., 10 a.m.-12 p.m., $8-$10. Event details.