While most kids are too young to stay awake until midnight, there are plenty of ways to ring in the new year with music, dancing and even fireworks — and still get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour.
Here’s a look at fun, family-friendly ways to usher in the new year with some starting even before nap time.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History Noon Year’s Eve
Dance among the dinosaur bones as the museum hosts an end-of-the-year bash for the early-to-bed set. At high noon, a balloon drop sends those latex balls floating down into Fernbank’s Great Hall. A kid-friendly DJ spins an array of toe-tapping tunes for both tots and their parents to enjoy. The event requires a special advanced ticket purchase, but museum admission is included, so when you’re not rocking into 2018, you can explore the exhibits.
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 31. $18; $17 seniors; $16 children ages 3-12; free ages 2 and younger. Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6400, www.fernbankmuseum.org.
Kids Early New Year’s Celebration at Stone Mountain
During Stone Mountain Christmas on Dec. 31, Stone Mountain Park will operate the Christmas event as usual (2-9 p.m.) but then ring in the new year at 9 p.m. with additional fireworks, snowfall and early countdown. Immediately after the Snow Angel Snowfall and Fireworks Finale, special New Year’s Eve activities will begin at 8:40 p.m. with costumed characters, music and dance-a-longs. At 8:59 p.m., the early countdown will begin, and when the clock strikes 9 p.m., snow and fireworks will usher in the new year.
Entrance to Stone Mountain Christmas is included in the Adventure Pass. Vehicle entry to Stone Mountain Park is $15 for a one-day permit or $40 for an annual permit. To access the early New Year’s Eve event, guests will need a Stone Mountain Christmas ticket, which starts at $31.95. Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 1-800-401-2407, www.stonemountainpark.com.
Rock in the new year (early) at The Battery Atlanta
The New Year’s Eve Bash at The Battery Atlanta presented by Xfinity will feature two separate gatherings, with an earlier event suited for the littlest partyers and a later one to ring in the new year with the adult crowd. Both events are free and open to the public.
Geared to families, “The Early Innings” festivities at The Battery Atlanta, which overlooks the Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park, will feature games, activities and performances from 5:30-8 p.m. Guests will be able to enjoy music from DJ Rekka at the Fox Sports South stage in the middle of the Plaza, appearances from the Heavy Hitters and the Home Depot tools, and performances from the Panfilov Trained Pets and comedian and entertainer James Maltman.
Guests, and their children, will be able to visit Hope & Will’s Sandlot inside SunTrust Park to ride the zip line, climb the rock wall or play any of the other games. All is free except skating, which is held until 7:30 p.m. at The Battery: It’s $13 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.
The Early Innings will end with a countdown led by the Tomahawk Team that culminates with an inflatable baseball drop at 8 p.m. to ring in the new year (and then The Battery’s festivities are aimed at adults only).
Visitors attending New Year’s Eve Bash at The Battery Atlanta will be able to park in any Braves lot for free. Free (with exception of ice skating). 800 Battery Ave. SE, #130, Atlanta. 404-494-1150, www.batteryatl.com/holiday.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta New Year’s Bubble Bash
Children’s Museum of Atlanta is ringing in 2018 before sunset with a Bubble Bash. Families can celebrate with a dance party, party favors and, of course, bubbles! There are two opportunities to celebrate 2018, but the first time slot at 10 a.m. is already sold out. As of press time, there was a limited number of slots still available for the 2-4:30 p.m. spot. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets well ahead of time.
2-4:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Tickets are $8 in advance for members; $18 for nonmembers (prices will increase after Dec. 25 to $13 for members and $23 for nonmembers). Tickets will not be sold at the door, and the museum will be closed for general admission on Dec. 31. Children’s Museum of Atlanta. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-527-3693, www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org.
Legoland Discovery Center Noon Year’s Eve
If the kiddies can’t hang until the midnight hour, celebrate early at the popular play place where building bricks rule. A balloon drop falls at noon as the clock counts down on screens scattered throughout the center. Kids can hop on its two rides, check out a Lego 4-D movie, participate in a group Lego build and more. Free noisemakers and hats will be distributed while supplies last.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 31. $12.50 plus tax online. Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta, Phipps Plaza, 3500 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-848-9252, www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/atlanta.
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