Best New Year’s Eve destinations for kids in the East Bay

New Years Eve for children
Rather than watching TV until the wee hours of the night, there are some terrific kid-focused daytime celebrations for ringing in the New Year with children. Not that there’s anything wrong with television!

From early to so-late-its-early-again here are our top picks:

Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland
Ring in 2014 with your kids, and the rest of the planet, at this daytime Balloon Drop Celebration happening at 11am, 1pm, and 4pm. Children 5 and under are separated from the bigger kids. Some times/ages still available. Space is limited and registration is required. Call (510) 336-7373 to register.

Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley
Count down to New Years in countries all around the globe, with noisemakers, sparkling cider toasts, and a special balloon drop.
12:00–2:00 p.m., Balloon drop at 2pm is included free with Admission

Super Franks in Pleasanton
This family-centric New Years Eve celebration includes buffet dinner, confetti, tons of organized games and activities, arcade tokens, ice cream cake, live entertainment plus a balloon drop at the stroke of 9pm! (we watch the east coast feed, so the kids can get to bed at a decent time.) It sounds like a kid’s dream come true. for $24.98 per person. This event will sell out, so get your tickets soon. 6:30-9:15pm. Fun for those who can handle being up til 9.

Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda
For big kids, this event goes from 7:30pm to 1am. Tickets to the party are $35 for adults and $22.09 for kids 16 + under, but include unlimited free pinball play on over 90 machines, snacks, champagne at midnight, and chance for prizes. Purchase tickets online >

At home at your house. Sparkling juice, videos, twinkly lights, or however you choose. Kids go to bed when you say!

Willing to drive to Marin? Consider the Bay Area Discovery Museum‘s Noon Year’s Eve party beginning at 9am. Count down to noon and watch the ball drop in Festival Plaza. Create your own party hat and noise maker to celebrate the Noon Year. A fun tradition for New Year’s Eve for kids. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.

[Photo by Heather flett]