New Years’ Eve has traditionally been an adults-only celebration. After all, what’s more grown-up than staying up past your bedtime and drinking bubbly? But whether you go out or host your own party it can be an expensive hassle (just finding and paying for a reliable babysitter is enough to put a damper on anyone’s festive mood). So why not do something different this year by making it a family affair?
All of the following events take place on Saturday, December 31, 2011 and are alcohol-free.
Start the fun at NOON! The Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana will be hosting its annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Kids can make their own party hats and tambourines and learn about the chemical reactions that cause canisters to pop and fly through the air. There will be a special countdown and toast from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. This event is free with paid admission to the center ($12.95 for children 3 to 14 and seniors 62 and up, and $14.95 for adults).
Be there when the ball drops – the Big Orange one, that is. The Orange County Great Park is hosting their first annual Family New Year’s Eve celebration from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Besides the games, rides and children’s activities, the event will feature live music and dancing that reflects the decades from the 1940’s through the present. Military vehicles and vintage cars will be on display and various gourmet food vendors will be selling their wares. Four special high-tech photo booths will be available for you to send your picture to family and friends or post them on Facebook. At 9 p.m., the Great Park Balloon will descend in sync with the Times Square ball in New York City. Admission is free, but parking is $10 (enter through the Trabucco Road entrance).
Historic First Night. Boston was the first city to host a First Night event at the end of America’s 1976 bicentennial. Since then, several U.S. cities have hosted these celebrations and Fullerton was the first California city to do so.
This year is Fullerton’s 21st Annual First Night New Year’s Eve family celebration, which runs from 7 p.m. to midnight. Included are food vendors, live entertainment, rides and ice-skating. The city’s museum will also be open. Admission to the downtown market fair is free, however various activities cost $2-7 per person. A fireworks display will cap off the event at midnight.
Celebrating Family and Friends. Rancho Santa Margarita’s New Year’s Eve celebration coordinates with their anniversary of being incorporated as a city and runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the City Plaza. Featured are a variety of food vendors, live music and performing artists, and rides, crafts and games for the kids. Plus, prepare to be amazed at the talent showcased at the ever-popular Children’s Art Contest.
Celebrate with Mickey. Remember, you don’t have to pay the admission price to Disneyland to enjoy their fireworks. Spend the evening at Downtown Disney and enjoy the show from there!
Or… you can always stay home. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating with your kids at home. Make it special for them by letting them help you plan the event.
Instead of zoning out in front of the TV, play some board games. If your kids are 8 or older, Tripoley is lots of fun and can make them feel like Old West gamblers.
Finger foods are always fun and including fresh fruit and veggies among the pizza bites and items from the “-ito” family can keep things from being unhealthy. Instead of putting out tons of candy and cookies that promote over indulgence (on your part as well as theirs), introduce them to one special adult-like dessert, like cheesecake or crème bulee.
Any way you chose to ring in the New Year, have a safe, happy and blessed 2012!