I have crossed over. Dreams of elegant parties and midnight champagne toasts have been replaced with longing for easy bedtimes and a good night's sleep. But it feels wrong not to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another without some sort of revelry. Happily, there's no shortage of ways to celebrate New Year's Eve together as a family: no baby sitter required! Whether you're interested in bowling or skating (ice or roller), museums or light shows, there's something for everyone. The First Night events in Hartford and Westport offer a little bit of everything including fireworks, music, and more.
For more great ideas to finish up 2017 and make plans for 2018, be sure to check our frequently updated events calendar and subscribe to our weekly newsletters. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram so that you won't miss a thing. Merry Christmas! See you next year!
1. New Year's Eve Craft, Darien
Younger kids especially will enjoy saying farewell to 2017 with a special craft activity at Darien Library. Free.
2. Noon Year's Eve at the Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk
Countdown to the New Year with a DJ, “bubble-ologist” Kim Winslow, face-painting, and more. It's the last day to enjoy the "Flurry Zone," when snow falls from the ceiling of Newman’s Own Hall every hour on the hour.
3. Hogmanay at Stepping Stones, Norwalk
Celebrate the Scottish tradition of Hogmanay as part of the last Festival of Light event at Stepping Stones, where you can also enjoy a noon countdown and a special New Year's craft before the museum closes early at 3:00pm.
4. New Year's Eve Jump, Norwalk
Make sure the kids are worn out well before midnight with one of three jump sessions at Pump It Up. Kids will enjoy a live DJ, a balloon drop, and more.
Photo courtesy of Ally Noel
5. First Night, Westport
This town-wide celebration includes fireworks, karaoke, inflatables, and music in more than 30 events located in Downtown Westport or Saugatuck Elementary School (free shuttle bus service available).
6. Celebrations Around the World, Bristol
Ring in the New Year celebrating cultures and traditions from around the globe at Imagine Nation's New Year's Celebration. Kids can create confetti, masks, noisemakers, and a colorful flower float, as well as dance to a DJ, march in a New Year's parade, and count down to the ball drop at noon.
7. Noon Year's Eve Party, Canton
Younger kids will love this special mommy and me celebration at the Little Green Tambourine that will include a New Year's craft, play, dance, and sparkling cider toast.
8. First Night Hartford, Hartford
The city's official New Year's Eve celebration features performances, fun activities for the entire family, firework displays, and more. The events will be held at more than 20 venues and sites in downtown Hartford.
9. Family Skate at Simsbury Farms, Simsbury
Enjoy a free gift as well as hot chocolate (while supplies last) while counting down to an early New Year celebration.
10. DJ Celebration at Veteran's Memorial Skating Rink, West Hartford
DJ Flo and MC Lovin' will entertain families for a countdown to an early midnight on the ice.
New Haven County
11. Spirits of Milford Ghost Walk, Milford
Start the year off with a spooky stroll through Milford's haunted past (appropriate for all ages).
12. Fantasy of Lights, New Haven
If you haven't seen this incredible light display at Lighthouse Point Park, tonight is your last night! Special bonus: you get to stay toasty warm in your car and no one will know if you're already in your PJs!
13. New Year's at Noon, Wallingford
Your kids will be bouncing off the walls at Sky Zone where you can enjoy an early celebration beginning at noon.
14. Public Skate at Roller Magic, Waterbury
Obviously my kids weren't around for the roller skating craze of the 70s, but they love this retro roller rink, which is hosting a public skate on New Year's Eve day. Rental skates are available.
15. New Year's Eve Beach Party, Woodbridge
Join the JCC of New Haven for for swimming, crafts, snacks, and some time in the playscape (JCC membership not required).
16. Hands On Model Train Exhibit, New Milford
New Year's Eve is the last day your little engineers will be able to take a turn running the electric trains through the exhibit at New Milford Gallery. Free.
17. New Year's Eve at Ski Sundown, New Hartford
Families can hit the slopes as early as 8:00 am and ski all day. In the evening there will be a special torchlight parade.
18. Family New Year's Eve Party at Sparetime, Groton
Sparetime bowling alley is the place to be for daytime and early evening family fun that includes bowling, pizza, and prizes, as well as a laser light show.
19. Countdown to Noon, Niantic
Join the Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut at the East Lyme Community Center for arts and crafts, animal encounters, and more. (Note: the museum itself is closed for the day; all the fun is at the community center).
20. New Year's Eve Square Dance, Lebanon
Swing your partner at this family-friendly event that includes dancing and a potluck supper.
Originally published in 2014.