New Year’s Eve with the Kids in New Jersey

Family-friendly New Year's events in New Jersey

New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays that changes drastically once you become a parent. Any kind of grown-up fun usually involves weeks of planning. Who can babysit? How much do we pay on New Year’s Eve? Do we let the tweens stay up until we get home? Unless you truly need an adult night out (in which case, GO for it!), how about a happy compromise? Read on to get the scoop on events in NJ for families who want to ring in the New Year together.

The Funplex (East Hanover & Mount Laurel, NJ)
A mega entertainment center for older kids and adults, The Funplex is a perfect choice for families that want to let loose on New Year's Eve. With bumper cars & go carts, laser tag, a “Jersey Shore” arcade and the popular MagiQuest, an interactive fantasy game, there’s definitely no shortage of high energy options at this gaming complex.  Admission includes unlimited use of their indoor attractions from 6:30pm to 1am, great music, buffet dinner, refreshments and 40 tokens to start you off in the game room. Think the kids will have trouble making it to midnight? The Funplex will be offering an apple cider toast and early “ball drop” ceremony at 10pm complete with a countdown. Although The Funplex is family-friendly, most of the attractions are geared towards older kids (7 & up) and even the pre-teen set would enjoy a night here. Please call 973-428-8772 for more information.

iPlay America (Freehold, NJ)
iPlay America Indoor Theme Park in NJ is hosting its annual bash for all ages and you're invited! The special celebration features hours of fun from 7:30pm to 1am with unlimited rides like Go Karts, Bumper Cars, Kite Flyer and Skyscraper, plus endless attractions like the 4D Theater and Laser Tag. The Party Pass  includes rides, attractions, game card, party favors, live DJ and countdown to midnight. Admission is free for toddlers. Dining options can be added for an additional cost. Please call 732-577-8200 for more information.

Sahara Sam's (West Berlin, NJ)
Bathing suits & goggles might not be the first thing that comes to mind when making New Year's Eve plans but you can get your swim on at Sahara Sam's Midnight at the Oasis. Kids (and fun-loving parents too) can splash the night away at all of the indoor water attractions, including the awesome Nile Mile body slide. Take a break from the water and grab some mini ravioli or chicken parmesan from the huge dinner & dessert buffet. When midnight draws near, the whole family will have a blast dancing and singing in the foam party. Round out the celebration with champagne for mom & dad and sparkling cider for the kids--noisemakers and party hats included!  Please visit their website to book tickets in advance or call 856-767-7580.

Adventure Aquarium (Camden, NJ)
This family-style New Year's Eve Splash is a daytime event so it's great for even the wee ones. Aquarium Manager Kimberly Walker says: "We're excited to once again host the New Year's Eve Splash, where families can ring in the New Year together and enjoy the beautiful fireworks celebration over the Delaware River, and still make it home in time to get the little ones to bed!" Kids will love seeing aquarium mascot Gill the Shark decked out in a tuxedo as the evening's host. Marvel at the beloved hippos in the African exhibit or check out sharks in their 760,000 gallon tank before the New Year's Eve "Countdown" Dance Party complete with a fireworks display at dusk.  Please call 856-365-3300 for more information or purchase tickets online now.

Pump It Up (Hamilton, NJ)
With no school and cold weather, kids need an outlet for all that post-holiday energy! Reserve a spot at Pump It Up and they can bounce and climb their way into 2016. And if that's not enough excitement, how about a special room set up for a glow in the dark party and holiday-themed karaoke? Throw in a festive party hat for each child during the early Balloon Drop "countdown to midnight" and you've got a celebration. And best of all, come home to a clean house!  All ages welcome but kids must be 24 inches tall to bounce. Please call 609-586-5577 to reserve your spot.

Sesame Place (Langhorne, PA)
What better way to make sure the little ones are wiped out by bedtime than a full afternoon of play at an amusement park?  Sesame Street fans will have a ball singing & dancing with all of the monsters--food & party favors included! In between the festivities, enjoy the mainstay attractions such as Elmo’s Cloud Chaser, Grover’s World Twirl or take a stroll through Sesame Neighborhood, a “life-size recreation” of the famous television set. Before heading home, guests will be treated to a Street Party Parade and huge fireworks display set to Sesame Street music. Please call 1-866-GO-4-ELMO for more information or purchase tickets online now.

Happy New Year!

Image courtesy of Sesame Place

Originally published 2011