Should old acquaintance be forgot? Maybe they should, when seeing them on New Year's Eve costs $20+/hour in babysitting fees. Far better to find some fun that can be shared with the kids, and see those old acquaintances some other night. LA rings in the new year in fine family fashion from noon to midnight and beyond; check out some memorable outings on our radar...
Skating Plus invites kids and teens to roll into 2016 with both an afternoon and an all-night skate party. If al fresco skating is more to your taste, Woodland Hills Ice, Pershing Square, and Ice at Santa Monica are all open on New Year's Eve, until 9pm, 9:30pm, and 10pm respectively, for celebrating on east coast time.
2. Noon Year's Eve
Local children's museums Kidspace and the Discovery Science Center OC and new Discovery Cube LA celebrate with balloon drops, live music, sparkling cider, and a count down to 2015 at 12:00 noon instead of midnight. Similar noontime celebrations take place at La Habra Children's Museum and Pretend City.
3. Knott's New Year's Eve
We feel the same way - it's Knott New Year's Eve already, is it? But apparently it is—and happily the Knott's New Year's Eve party definitely is a party, with family entertainment everywhere you look, all day and way into the night. We did this last year and had a ball; and by the time it started getting really crowded, the kids were ready to call it a year anyway.
Legoland hosts its annual gala celebration, culminating in a brick ball drop at 6:00pm followed by fireworks.
5. Family Festival
Shoreline Village in Long Beach offers a free, early evening, family-friendly celebration featuring all manner of entertainment for kids. The ball drops at 9:00pm, timed to coincide with the east coast, and sensible bedtime.
What, your family doesn't go out and watch flamenco together? Well what better time to start! El Cid restaurant in Silver Lake is offering two seatings of its 51st annual New Year's Eve Flamenco Dinner Show, and the 5pm slot is particularly welcoming of families. There's no question this option is pricey, but so is a New Year's Eve babysitter, right?
If not flamenco, how about some good old-fashioned fighting? No, really, old-fashioned—as in knights in armor jousting and clashing broadswords. Medieval Times Dinner Theater has a family-friendly New Year's Eve bash planned (with the emphasis on bash), and it costs considerably less than the flamenco idea.
Santa Monica Playhouse offers its family-friendly New Year's Eve show, the Annual All-New, One-Time-Only New Year's Eve Review (which performs twice!). The theater, in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica, has a distinctly hometown feel, and the annual variety show incudes a buffet dinner, champagne, and party favors; early and late seatings are available.
9. Zoo Drop-off
Santa Barbara may sound far, but that depends on how desperate your search for a babysitter has become. The Santa Barbara Zoo offers a very reasonable drop-off evening ($30) from 5:30pm-10pm, which allows for some quiet date night time while kids party like animals. Everyone can come back together to drink a toast quietly at home at midnight.
10. Party Downtown
If your kids are old enough to stay up until midnight in the heart of DTLA, Grand Park is hosting a free party, with public art installations, face painting, performances, food trucks, and a midnight countdown projected right onto city hall.
11. Early Fireworks
Kids can get the full-on New Year's Eve experience without staying up much past their bedtime in Marina del Rey, at a perfect compromise celebration in Burton Chace Park. The big countdown starts at 8:59, as everyone watches the Times Square ball-drop on a big screen. A big fireworks display is then fired off the south jetty in the Marina, at the civilized hour of 9pm.
12. Late Fireworks
Kids who can make it till midnight can huddle close to their parents in the crisp night air and enjoy fireworks over the Queen Mary in Long Beach, or up above Universal Studios when the grown up bash on City Walk reaches its climax.
As always, there are plenty more options on our daily events calendar!
Originally published December 28, 2011