Adults, Stop Bogarting New Year’s | 5 Destinations to Share With Your Kids

By Tanya Collings

Adults, Stop Bogarting New Year's with upset boy.

From burning scarecrows to sleeping in cemeteries, dropping colossal peaches to breaking dishes, humans have developed a spectrum of odd rituals to welcome in the New Year.  In my early twenties, New Year’s Eve was a late-night celebration at crazy electronic dance parties.  As a mother in my thirties, I’m trying to figure out how to keep my kid up past 9:00, so that we can blow a party horn, fling some glitter in the air, and fall asleep watching Rudolf and Frosty’s Christmas in July.

I’ve succumbed to some social stigma suggesting that New Year’s Eve is an adult-only holiday.  Recent conversations with more experienced mothers (mainly, my own mom who was brave enough to have four kids after me) have convinced me otherwise.  After all, holidays are culturally essential rituals that are equally important to children and adults.

I’ve outlined some of the reasons why it’s important to involve your kids in this holiday as well as our Top 5 New Year’s Eve Family Destinations.

Why We Should Raise Our Glasses (of Grape Juice) With Our Kids

New Year’s Eve is a fickle time—the end of one calendar year and the beginning of the next.  Our traditions are rooted in attempts to psychologically manage this crucial mental shift.  Our New Year’s rituals resolve the ambiguity of an uncertain moment and empower us to move forward, both as societies and individuals.

Anthropologists have described rituals and rites of passage, like New Year’s Eve, as  “betwixt and between” the everyday.  New Year’s celebrations help children adjust to the new calendar year by spending time with family and resolving to set goals.

How do we include our children on this often adult-centric holiday?  How can we make it fun and meaningful for them?  Travel is a meritorious method for fashioning snow globe moments with our families, so we recommend packing up for a New Year’s family trip.

To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 Favorite Family Friendly Destinations that will keep you and your little monkeys awake until midnight.


TWM’s Top 5 Family Friendly New Year’s Destinations

Adults, it’s time to stop bogarting New Year’s Eve.  Bring your kids along to these exciting destinations and welcome the New Year with some fresh family traditions.


5 | LEGOLAND California Resort

The entrance to Legoland.

Staying at a hotel for New Year’s is ideal for families, and there is no better place to stay than the LEGOLAND Hotel in Carlsbad, California.  With live bands playing throughout the day followed by an early LEGO brick ball drop and fireworks, this is the foolproof event for families with younger children.

4 | Walt Disney World Resort

Fireworks at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World offers a variety of entertainment options on New Year’s Eve.  Some of these events are more family friendly than others, and a visit to the Disney website may leave you overwhelmed.  Some events feature decadent desserts and dress codes that just aren’t suitable for small children.  Others fit the needs of specific age groups.  Visit Disney Tourist Blog for more informed, detailed tips on New Year’s Eve at Disneyworld.

3 | Seattle

Fireworks at the Space Needle in Seattle.

The Seattle Center hosts a 6-week long Winterfest culminating in a New Year’s Eve fireworks stunt staged on top of the legendary Space Needle.  Follow Red Tricycle’s advice and only attend the fireworks display with older kids or an extra layer of courage and clothing.  The cold and crowds may be overwhelming.

For a mellower New Years’ experience, the greater Seattle area is packed with children’s museums offering special end of the year parties:

Includes special entertainment and an early ball drop at 9:00 PM.

This popular museum offers a cross-cultural learning experience where children learn about the traditions of seven countries as they welcome the arrival of the New Year across the globe.

The focus is on Australia for this exciting event, which includes meeting a baby kangaroo and wallaby, playing with bugs, “swimming” with sharks, and watching a Dr. Science performance.


For more tips on how to explore Seattle throughout the year, read “Seattle With Kids: Semi Secret Things to Do” or Save 49% or more on Seattle’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS.

2 | Hershey, PA

Hershey, PA sign.

“The Sweetest Place on Hearth” hosts a variety of chocolatey events on New Year’s.  This includes a grand dinner, music, and countdown at Hershey Lodge and the raising of a massive seven-foot-tall Hershey’s Kiss on the town square.  Sadly, the Hershey’s kiss is constructed of aluminum and fiberglass instead of solid chocolate.  Otherwise, this event may have made it to #1 on the list.  The luxurious events at Hotel Hershey are on the pricey side, but the town events, including the Kiss raising, are 100% free.

1 | Boston

Fireworks over Boston cityscape.

For the past 42 years, Boston, “The Hub of the Universe,” has hosted a spectacular First Night and First Day party that skyrockets to the top of our list.  It was one of the first popular kid-friendly New Year’s celebrations in the United States.  And it’s free!  Evening highlights for children include ice sculptures, family fireworks, and live music.  First Day is entirely dedicated to family entertainment on Copley Square.


For More Boston activities, check out this article on “31 things to do in Boston this December” or Save 45% or more on Boston’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS.

At TWM we support planning Adventures on Purpose.  So, adults, stop hogging all the fun and share this New Year’s with your kids by inventing new rituals and exploring unique destinations together.



Tanya_Contact Us Photo 2

Tanya Collings, Managing Editor

Tanya has worked as an editor and writer for the past 12 years.  Six of those years were spent living in a canvas tent in the deserts of Southern Utah.  In her free time she enjoys exploring the United States with her dog and rambunctious two-year-old son.

Top 5 New Year's Destinations For Kids


  1. I do feel for the kids on NYE as it seems most things are for the adults. Legoland looks like an awesome place to be on NYE, as does Hershey, especially they have free events too. I’ve never been to Seattle and would honestly like to see it for NYE myself!

    1. Seattle is splendid on New Year’s Eve. As I mentioned in the article, the space needle fireworks are a little hectic with younger kids, but there are so many activities in the area for all ages. The entire Winterfest is incredible series of events that everyone can enjoy. Thanks for reading!

  2. These are all great events to partake in with kids for New Years. I feel that it’s important to establish a tradition with your kids on New Years, at least that’s what my family did.

    1. Helen, yes we agree! Fun family memories of NYE will last a lifetime. We like to refer to those as snow globe moment, cause you can take them out, shake them up and remember the beautiful time you had. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  3. I can barely make it to midnight myself, I bet my kids can outlast me! I’d love to take them to Legoland for NYE! I didn’t realize they held special events there.

    1. Erika, I hear you! The older I get the more i just want to go to bed early. But fun on NYE is worth the 5 hour energy I might have to take to get to midnight and then some.:) Thanks for reading!

  4. Boston, Seattle and Walt Disney Resort are great places to spend NYE – not just for the kids but for adults too. I would love to spend NYE in Boston and watch the fireworks into the New Year! I’ve spent NYE in London a few times and it does get very very crowded.

  5. Those are certainly some fun destinations. I don’t know that I’d do Disney on New Year’s because I’m sure they do something to make it more expensive, but the others I would totally do.

  6. We haven’t done anything big for new years with our kiddos yet but we sometimes go to bed early ourselves! This list is pretty neat, I wont be able to do any myself but I have a friend in Boston who would probably love to look at your Boston suggestions.

  7. tthese are great destinations anytime! I love new years, the out with the old, in with the new… I buy into it! We travel about 2 hours from home to a family members house and sleep over. Kids can stay up as late as they want and they get to see their second cousins!

  8. I don’t have kids myself but I do see where you are coming from and I know how prioritise shift when you’re a parent. I also agree that N.Y.E is an adult-centric celebration but at the same time I know some events do try and include children now. From your post I can imagine Legoland and disnsey world being amazing places for kids to bring in the New year 😀 – This was a very thought provoking and informative posts. I’ll passing this on to a few friends who are new parents 😀

  9. We have a fun New Year’s tradition in my family that started when my mom was a kid in Germany. Apparently, she was left home alone while the adults went out partying. (She was old enough to be by herself, but that was kind of boring!) So anyway, when the clock struck Midnight, she got out the pots and pans and started banging them together to ring in the New Year! We heard the story when we were younger, and started banging the pots and pans as well! As an adult, I still love to get them out at Midnight if I happen to be at home! 🙂 🙂 Hope you and your family have a happy new year!

  10. Legoland looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!! I don’t have kids but I would definitely take them there in the future. Didn’t even know that was a thing! And didn’t know about the Space Needle fireworks either. I live in Vancouver so will defs be considering a trip down for New Years!

    1. Thanks, Ritika! We’ve had a wonderful Christmas. In fact, we had four separate Christmas parties to hit all branches of the family. I commit to just one New Year’s!

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