It may be cold, but the weather is not putting a chill on New Year's Eve celebrations throughout the region, where thousands will gather for family-friendly events on both sides of the Delaware River.
At dusk Wednesday, those in Camden and Philadelphia can enjoy fireworks that will explode from a floating barge.
"The City of Camden is thrilled to celebrate another New Year's Eve with its sister city, Philadelphia," Camden Mayor Dana Redd said in a news release, calling the fireworks a "unique collaboration" between the cities.
In Philadelphia, events along the waterfront and throughout the city will bring in the new year, among them ice skating and live entertainment at Penn's Landing. Fireworks can be seen for free at the Race Street Pier. The Independence Seaport Museum will also host a party, with a view of the fireworks, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Franklin Square will feature a Kids' New Year's Eve Countdown with a SquareBurger SquareDrop at 6 p.m. There will be crafts and music starting at 3, and the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show will be on display until 8.
The Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park will have a Countdown 2 Noon and another ball drop at 1 p.m. The museum, currently commemorating the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, will be open from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Advance ticket registration is required.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is hosting a New Year's Eve concert led by conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Longwood Gardens near Kennett Square will offer music performances from 2 to 9 p.m. and its Open Air Fountain Shows will be on display every hour from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and then every five minutes from 3:30 to 10. Advance reservations are recommended.
In Camden, numerous events will unfold, including the third annual New Year's Eve Splash, which will host the Countdown Dance Party at the Adventure Aquarium and an Overnight Encampment on the Battleship New Jersey.
More than 1,300 people purchased tickets for the aquarium's sold-out event. Those with tickets can watch the outdoor fireworks from inside while sharks circle nearby. Hippo Haven is among the attractions, but don't expect to see the penguins. They are sleeping by evening.
"They ring in the new year in their own special way," Kimberly Horshny, director of guest experiences and exhibits, said of the penguins.
At the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial on the Camden Waterfront, tours of the ship - the country's largest and most decorated - begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, with activities continuing into New Year's Day.
There are several specials for the holidays, including a sold-out overnight visit that includes dinner and breakfast from the crew's galley, a tour, a ride in a flight simulator, and a VIP view of the fireworks over the Delaware at midnight. About 75 people have purchased tickets, said Jack Willard, the battleship's senior vice president of marketing and sales.
For those planning to sleep at home, the battleship has celebrations timed for the 6 p.m. fireworks that can be seen from the forecastle (front deck). Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased online at www.battleshipnewjersey.org, or by calling 1-866-877-6262, Ext. 107.
"If you have small kids, it's perfect. It's a really cool way to celebrate the New Year," Willard said. "It definitely has grown and has become a big part of residents' holiday."
The ship started hosting in 2003-04 with several hundred visitors. The following year, more than 2,000 people participated, Willard said.
In Cherry Hill, families can participate in countdowns earlier in the day at the Garden State Discovery Museum on Springdale Road. A ball will drop at countdowns at noon and 3 p.m. with festivities to follow. On New Year's Day, the museum also hosts a pajama party with free admission for children who attend in their PJs. See the museum's website - http://www.discoverymuseum.com - for more information.
In Haddonfield, New Year's Eve activities begin at 6 p.m., with live entertainment throughout town through midnight. The Unexpected Boys pay tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the Surfer Boys, featuring Beach Boys tunes, perform at the high school.
The Kidzone at the middle school will start with the Little Circus at 6 p.m. and evolve into a dance party after 10. The middle school will also host Doo Wah Riders and Screaming Orphans concerts, as well as the First Night Cafe in the cafeteria.
Churches along Kings Highway and restaurants throughout town also will be open. Although First Night is a nonalcoholic event, many restaurants allow BYOB.
About 6,000 people are expected to visit Haddonfield, said Rose Alemi, director of First Night.
"Everyone magically comes together at 9 o'clock for the fireworks," Alemi said. "The joy of it is really bringing the community together."
To attend indoor events, $15 buttons must be purchased. Children under 2 are free. For more information, visit http://www.firstnighthaddonfield.org
"It's a great place to start the new year," Alemi said. Visitors can take PATCO into Haddonfield. Parking is free, and shuttles will run along Kings Highway.
A similar event, with fireworks at midnight, is held in Ocean City, N.J., with live entertainment beginning at 4 p.m. Activities include ice skating, rides, and pony rides at the high school stadium, and telescope observations at the school's planetarium.
Buttons for admission to Ocean City's First Night activities cost $20. For more information, visit the website at http://www.firstnightocnj.com.