Lauded as one of the biggest party holidays of the year, New Year's Eve is also the perfect opportunity for kids and families to get in on a little celebratory action. Get ready to welcome in 2015 in style with the whole brood on Wednesday, Dec. 31.
With musicians performing throughout the day in various locations of Longwood Gardens (1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square), this horticultural getaway will be the perfect finale to a great year. Fountain shows will run every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and every five minutes from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. See the center's holiday displays and revel in the festive sights one more time.
Betsy's our bestie. That's why we're celebrating the First Lady of Flags' birthday at 11 a.m. on New Year's Eve at the Betsy Ross House (239 Arch St.). With treats from City Tavern and tons of kid-friendly activities, this party is sure to be happening.
Who said you needed to wait until midnight to have a good time? The ball drops at the Please Touch Museum (4231 Avenue of the Republic) at both noon and 1 p.m. for an Alice in Wonderland-themed event. Fall down the rabbit hole with Alice and the Mad Hatter and let the champagne — err, confetti — rain down at the Countdown 2 Noon.
The Garden State Discovery Museum (2040 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill) celebrates in a similar fashion by counting down to noon (and 3 p.m.) with dancing and age-appropriate partying.
The Count's second favorite holiday (besides Halloween, of course) due largely in part to the fact that you count down to the New Year, is celebrated at Sesame Place (100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne) with three character-filled mealtimes: noon, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. followed by a parade at 6 p.m. fireworks show at 6:25 p.m.
Rounding out Franklin Square's (6th and Race Streets) holiday programming is their New Year's Eve SquareDrop, descending upon the park at 6 p.m. But before that, music and crafts are set to begin at 3 p.m., and a kids dance party will round out the evening before the final Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show of the year at 8 p.m. Other activities include the park's carousel and mini golf.
Another waterfront event — this time on the Jersey side — welcomes firework viewers aboard the Battleship New Jersey (100 Clinton St., Camden) for music, food and a view of the fireworks. The ship opens at 4 p.m. for the 6 p.m. show and at 10 p.m. for the midnight show. You can even book a bunk and stay the night (make your reservations ASAP: 866-877-6262 ext. 203).
Swapping spirits for soda, this early cruise aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia (401 S. Columbus Blvd.) is perfect for kids looking to get some grub and bust a move. Boarding begins at 4 p.m. and cruising continues until 6:30 p.m., giving sailors an up-close view of the 6 p.m. fireworks.
Live the seaport life at the Independence Seaport Museum (211 S. Columbus Blvd.) where they'll supply you with the party gear — hats, noisemakers and sparkling cider — to watch the fireworks along the waterfront. Nesquik's Bunnyland will be open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with games, prizes and chocolate milk.
A strike may be in your New Year's Eve plans. North Bowl (909 N. 2nd St.) is hosting a family bash from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. including unlimited bowling, face painting, hula-hoop games, buffet and a DJ.
The newly revamped Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (101 S. Columbus Blvd.) not only hosts a late-night party on ice, but another one a few hours earlier from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. where families will get a prime view of SugarHouse's 6 p.m. New Year's Eve Fireworks, food, party favors, face painting and entertainment.
Make a splash at the Adventure Aquarium (1 Riverside Dr., Camden) with a dance party, a nighttime view of the aquarium (with special appearances from the aquarium's animals!) and a waterfront view of the fireworks. Dress to impress and get there for the party, running from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Running from 6 p.m. until midnight, Haddonfield's First Night offers a music and entertainment for all ages throughout Downtown Haddonfield, N.J. For tots specifically, circus performers, jugglers, magicians, music, food and fireworks at 9 p.m. will make the evening unforgettable.