Three, two, one … Happy New Year! While 2018 isn’t quite here we think it’s never to early to get a jump start on a resolution to spend more time exploring the coolest family fun across the Bay Area. And guess what? We know just where to start.

Photo: Lawrence Hall of Science

San Francisco

Join Elephant and Piggy at this Super Fun Play
Expect happy high jinks galore—and a wonderful time, with music and rhyme—as Mo Willems’ two most unlikely pals cavort through the joys and trials of friendship in Elephant and Piggie’s “We Are in a Play!” Back by popular demand at Bay Area Children’s Theater for the holidays. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Chug Over to the Disney Museum for a Holiday Fave
The Walt Disney Family Museum is chugging along its holiday tradition of Home for the Holidays at Carolwood, an immersive seasonal installation celebrating Walt’s family and love of trains. The installation includes an elaborate three-dimensional model of the Disney Family home on Carolwood Drive in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles—featuring Walt’s personal steam locomotive, the Lilly Belle, chugging along his Carolwood Pacific Fair Weather Route. Fri.-Sat. Event details.

Last Call for the Nutcracker
San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker, set in early twentieth-century San Francisco, features choreography by Helgi Tomasson, scenic design by Tony Award winner Michael Yeargan, costume design by Tony Award winner Martin Pakledinaz, lighting design by James F. Ingalls, and projection design by Wendall K. Harrington. San Francisco Chronicle declared the production “a superior performance” and The New York Times called it “visually smashing.” Don’t forget to stop at the candy bar on your way to your seat! Fri.-Sun. Event details.

East Bay

Balloon Drop Celebration at Chabot
Ring in the New Year without staying up all night! Celebrate strokes of midnight from around the world at 11am, 1pm, and 4pm! Kids count down and catch hundreds of colorful balloons as they drop from the ceiling and participate in fun activities to receive a special prize. Now the kids can ring in the New Year without staying up past their bedtime. Sun. Event details.

Curate a New Year at the Hall of Science Party
Count down to 2018 with the whole world, with the Lawrence Hall of Science, as they count down from all the time zones. There are three timed and ticketed balloon drops, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Enjoy a romping good time celebrating the last day of 2017. Sun. Event details.

Light up the Night at Oakland Zoo Lights
Get the family together, be sure to dress in warm clothes, and head to the Oakland Zoo after dark to see a magical wonderland created by thousands of LED lights  in the form of animals, candy canes, lollipops, and good ole St. Nick.  See Santa and take a train ride or just get lost meandering through the magical atmosphere. This could be the start of a beautiful family tradition. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Walk in a Mini Winter LEGO Wonderland
What kid (and, uh, adult) doesn’t love LEGOS? Well make your way to the Museum of American Heritage for its annual BayLUG LEGO Holiday Show. Check out festive holiday scenes and amazing miniature cities. Fri.-Sat. Event details.

Soar into 2018 at this Noon Year’s Eve Celebration
Don’t just party but fly high into the New Year with this celebration including face-painting, a bouncy house, two balloon drops and live entertainment from Cotton Candy Express Music. Plus your ticket includes admission to the museum’s awesome collection of aviation history, including mini-planes, a spy plane, and much more. Sun. Event details.

South Bay

Calling all Party Kids in San Jose
This night may belong to the adults, but the day belongs to the kids! Celebrate the arrival of 2018 with the whole family. This countdown to noon across time zones will include family hugs and kisses, a big old crazy celebration during the museum’s version of the famed Time Square ball drop at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sun. Event details.

Ice Skate Beach Front at the Boardwalk
Now you can twirl under the flashing lights of the Big Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Play some games, treat yourself to some cotton candy then go for a cool spin on the ocean front ice. The new ice skating rink is open rain or shine. (The $12 one-hour session included ice skate rental.) Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Visit Christmas in the Park
San Jose’s most famous holiday lights and Christmas party is open every day and even on Christmas Day! From 9 a.m. to midnight you can cruise the attractions including the Lima Train, a Victorian Village featuring an animated Nutcracker Suite exhibit and Santa’s Photo Den. Guests enter a winter wonderland of lights, songs and local entertainment while strolling through an enchanted forest of trees and Christmas houses decorated by San Jose schools, community. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

North Bay

Countdown to Noon at BADM
Bring your little revelers to the Bay Area Discovery Museum for their annual Noon Years Eve celebration. Ring in the New Year with a hand-crafted glitter crown, collaborate on a sparkly chandelier, make 2018 glasses, wish wands and more. Sun. Event details.

Party (early) with the Peanuts Gang
Can’t wait to celebrate the New Year? Then make the drive to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa to hang with your favorite Peanut gang. The day-long festivities includes crafts for kiddos, a baby balloon drop at noon and 3 p.m., followed by toasts with (what else?) root beer floats. Sun. Event details.

What’s your resolution? Tell us in the comments below!

–Chantal Lamers