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 2015 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. Purchase tickets online >

Albany Community Center Hall in Albany
Celebrate Noon Year’s Eve in Albany – perfect for kids (and parents) who can’t stay awake past 9pm. FREE party kits, craft stations and music from 11:00-2:00pm. The ball drops at noon (Time-Square style) – don’t miss it.

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.

Playland-Not-At-The-Beach in El Cerrito
Playland is throwing a New Year’s celebration everyone can enjoy. Bring the whole family (stick the sleepy ones in the “quiet room”) and play pinball, partake in the New Year’s treasure hunt, and drink sparkling cider all night long. Tickets are $30 and no RSVP is required.

At home in 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]

Get the {510} Families weekend planner in your inbox. It's free!

* indicates required

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. says

    For anyone willing to face the crush of a NYE pub crowd with kids in tow, we have enjoyed our trip to the CommonWealth Café and Public House in Oakland for the past couple of years. Since they celebrate the countdown for GMT (8 hours ahead of us) we are able to go out and party with grown ups AND kids in a congenial pub atmosphere and still be home in time for an early dinner. It introduced the boys to the New Year’s Eve scene without being too raucous or keeping us out late. In the past they’ve had a bagpiper play at “midnight” (on top of the bar due to the throngs of partygoers) and last year they also had a photo booth set up with free photos emailed back to you framed with the event & location info. The one caveat I would give is that it is crazy packed with people and I would not feel comfortable bringing a small toddler who would want to wander but just get lost in the legs, or a child (or adult) who has issues with crowds.