New Year’s Eve for Families, Philadelphia-Style

10 (fun!) parties for you and your crew Read more

new years 2017

Well, don’t let the door hit ya, 2016. Here’s hoping 2017 will be not just better, but filled with more joy and kindness and humanity and humility and love and laughing children and unfrazzled parents. All around the world. Amen.

We’re taking our annual Wee holiday break until after the new year, but wish all of y’all a very Merry Christmas, a very wonderful holiday season, and/or a happy, happy New Year. Here’s some ways to ring in 2017 with the children, if you’re so inclined — after all, they deserve a little party, too, no? So pour our the sparkling white grape juice and hit up one of these fine bashes. You’ll still be home in time for you’re grown-up party.

What: Countdown 2 Noon
Please Touch Museum, Fairmount Park
The Details: This annual bash is always a big hit, and also always filled with big crowds (like, lines out the door. Come prepared with snacks and winter coats!) The museum opens at 9 a.m. on December 31; at 10 seconds to noon, there’s a huge group countdown in Hamilton Hall. (There’s a second countdown at 1 p.m., as well, to accommodate all the families.) It’s $5 a person for members (but preregistration required), and $25 for non-members, unless you buy pre-registration tickets, and then it’s $20. Tickets are available now online. It’s darling.  

What: (Another) Countdown to Noon!
Where: PlayArts, Fishtown
The Details: The awesome new play space in Fishtown is starting a new tradition with a full-on party: Doors open at 9 a.m.; the DJ’d dance party starts at 10 a.m.; and the whole thing culminates in a countdown to noon complete with noisemakers, a balloon drop, sparking juice (for the kids) and champagne (for the grown-ups). If you register in advance, it’s $15 for adults and $10 for kids (that’s non-members — for members, it’s $10 and $5, respectively). At the door, it’s $20 for adults and $15 for kids.

What: Countdown to Noon (yup, another!)
Where: Nest — both locations, Center City and Chestnut Hill 
The Details: Everything a tiny partier could ask for — a DJ, photo booth, parachute activities, snacks, crafts, and, finally, the big countdown and balloon drop. Times and prices (slightly) vary by location; check each site for details.

What: Family New Year’s Eve Fireworks 
Where: Independence Seaport Museum, Delaware River Waterfront

The Details: A special, fun way to see the fireworks over the Delaware River — the museum stays open late (from 5 to 7 p.m.) for a family-friendly party, with music, party hats, noisemakers and a cider toast before the 6 p.m. show. Members party for free (and get express entry); non-members pay regular admission of $16 for adults and $12 for kids.

What: Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party 
Where: Dave and Busters, Delaware River Waterfront
The Details: Your kids will basically explode with joy if they get to party at this crazy game mecca before taking in the fireworks (from an indoor perch!) at 6 p.m. Party goes from 4 to 7 p.m., and included in the $25 fee is parking, access to a buffet and a D&B souvenir. A power card for games is an additional $40, or you can pay $50 per person, which includes the power card.  

What: Franklin Square Kid’s New Year’s Eve Countdown
Where: Um … Franklin Square
The Details: From 3 to 8 p.m., Franklin Square continues its awesome holiday programming with dancing, crafts, a “square drop” at 6 p.m., plus food options and more. You can actually spot the 6 p.m. fireworks over the Delaware from the park; the party closes with a kids’ dance party and the final holiday light show at 8 p.m.. And it’s free to attend!

What: Winterfest’s Party on Ice
Where: Penn Landing’s River Rink
The Details: If you haven’t hit up the Winterfest on the Delaware River yet this year, the Party on Ice is a great way to get the most out of the magic that the DWRC has created — the ice rink, the great snacks, the lodges, the firepits, the arcade games, and — say it with us, now — great views of the fireworks that start at 6 p.m. It’s $30 for a ticket not including the ice-skating (looking on the site now looks like tickets that include skating are sold out), but the family-friendly party still promises to be charming, with great food and strolling entertainment. From 5 to 8 p.m.

What: Lo Spiedo’s Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve
Where: Lo Spiedo, Navy Yard
The Details: From 6 to 10 p.m., the newest of the Vetri restaurants will have a buffet for kids and adults, as well as a bar with kids’ mocktails, games and activities. There’s a ball drop at 8 p.m. Get tickets here — adult tickets are $55 and kids’ tickets are $35. (Kids under 3 are free.)

Note: New Year’s Day, Lilypad is hosting a “Play All Day” play day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with free coffee, cocoa, toys, warmth and changing tables, “while you take a break from the Mummer’s parade.” It’s open to the public.