Whereas young party animals look for adult, sophisticated events with all the stops pulled out for enjoyment, many family-minded groups consider it auspicious or just practical to witness this annual event with their children. For them it is important to find child-friendly venues, entertainment and activities so that a good time can be had by all.
New Year’s Eve: First Night in Downtown Hartford
Hartford, CT 06103
Date: Monday, December 31st, 2012 from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Tickets: $10 Adults, $2 Ages 3-15. Free admission ages 2 and under
The 24th annual First Night Hartford brings together a multicultural community of performance artists, musicians and exhibits in a family-friendly, alcohol-free and affordable public celebration to ring in the new year. Festivities take place at venerable institutions like the State House Square, Old State House, City Hall and the Hartford Public Library and continue at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Charter Oak Cultural Center, the Bushnell Carousel and Center Church, among many other locales. The innumerable exciting events throughout the city culminate in the evening with two different fireworks displays at 6 p.m. and 12 a.m. in Bushnell Park and are visible from miles around. See the website for details regarding events, locations, tickets, parking, etc.
Winter Fantasy on Ice
International Skating Center of Connecticut
1375 Hopmeadow St.
Simsbury, CT 06070
Dates: December 31, 2012 and January 1, 2013 at 2.30 pm
Tickets: $10 (adults and children) stadium seating, $ 20 (adults and children) on ice seating
Hartford Skates puts on its annual “Winter Fantasy on Ice,” an ice-skating show at the world-class facility in Simsbury, Connecticut. The opening and closing numbers include a cast of amateur young skaters who have been practicing hard for months on the twin rinks and in the ballet/dance studios. A true family outing at a child-friendly hour, the event celebrates winter, the season, the year on its way out and the new year on its way in. This holiday celebration benefits the charity organization Gifts of Love.
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19th Annual Holiday Train Show
Connecticut River Museum
67 Main St.
Essex, CT 06426
Dates: Now through February 10, 2013
Price: $8 adults, $7 seniors, $5 children 6-12 years, free for children age 6
Artist Steve Cryan’s locomotive show is eagerly anticipated by young and old. This year, the 19th Annual Holiday Train Show has intensified the magic by adding more trains, new scenery and surprises galore. The 26-foot setting hides objects within the layout and the young visitors set out on a scavenger hunt to discover them. Toddlers and little ones get a hands-on, interactive viewing of the American Flyer and Lionel train layouts. The museum is closed on Mondays, the weekday in which New Year’s Eve falls this year, but this is a great activity leading up to the new year or shortly thereafter.
Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut
409 Main St.
Niantic, CT 06357
Date: December 31, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Price: $7/person, Children under 1 and members are free
Can’t keep your eyes open until midnight on New Year’s Eve? That is why the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut welcomes in 2013 at noon with games, traditional songs and fun to set the festive mood. The mission of the museum is to promote education, encourage broadening of young imaginations and explore possibilities. All activities at this event are fueled by this mission, inviting the participation of children and families in a safe, communal atmosphere.
Dancing New Year’s Eve CT
Sheraton Stamford Hotel
700 E. Main St.
Stamford, CT 06901
Date: December 31, 2012 from 3 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Prices: Various packages
One of the best hotels in Connecticut, in collaboration with Swingshoes Entertainment, invites the entire family to an evening of dining, dancing and partying on New Year’s Eve. The event is designed to delight all ages. An early evening, alcohol-free event for children and teens includes dinner, a soda bar and dancing. Children over 16 years can attend safely without parental supervision. Younger kids need to be accompanied by their guardians. This is followed by a full dinner, open bar, dancing and midnight champagne toast for adult singles, couples and groups. Affordably priced overnight room packages allow worry-free enjoyment.