Dress up the whole family and prepare for a night, or afternoon, on the town this New Year’s Eve. The Baltimore area hosts several safe, alcohol-free alternatives for parents and kids who want to have fun while celebrating the countdown to 2013. These are the best family friendly parties for you and yours this New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve Duck Drop
401 Lewis Lane
Havre de Grace, Md. 21078
Hours: Anytime to 12 a.m.
The Annual Duck Drop and Fireworks celebration is by far the most unique around for New Years. Held on the grounds of the Havre de Grace Middle School and Activity Center and hosted by the Susquehanna Host Company Volunteer Fire Department, this event provides a safe and fun environment for families and can be a great option for teens looking to spend the holiday apart from parents. The tradition of the falling duck began in 1999 to celebrate the turn of the millennium, and since then, the faithful bird has been through a number of travails and adventures before finally being fully restored with a new lighting system featuring around 370 lights and another more than 300 on the new year numbers. Once the duck drops, be sure to stick around for a spectacular fireworks display.
Maryland Science Center
601 Light St.
Baltimore, Md. 21230
Price: $16.95 adults/$13.95 children ages 3 to 12/$15.95 seniors/free members
Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Ring in the Noon Year this holiday season. For families that want to celebrate the ball drop before bedtime, the Maryland Science Center will be holding its 5th annual New Year’s Eve celebration: Midnight Noon. Guests are invited to come early to create decorative party hats, make noisemakers and build wintery snow globes in preparation for the countdown. Then the popular kids band Milkshake will take the stage at 11:30 a.m., playing tunes that are guaranteed to get everyone up and dancing. In addition, the entire Science Center will be open for exploration before and after the celebration.
Midnight at 7
5950 Symphony Woods Road
Columbia, Md. 21044
Price: $20 individual/discounted group rates online for three or more
Hours: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Start celebrating 2013 early by taking a stroll with the family through the one and only Symphony of Lights — a breathtaking display of holiday lights that illustrate every child’s fantasy through countless colors, designs and even animations. Aside from ogling over the light display, guests may stay warm by a toasty bonfire, eat plenty of delicious holiday foods, and pick up free giveaways and party favors while enjoying the entertainment. Don’t forget to find a cozy spot to settle in before 7 p.m. when the fireworks will start lighting up the sky. The best part is all proceeds go to benefit the Howard County General Hospital.
First Night Annapolis
1 Dock St.
Annapolis, Md. 21401
Hours: 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Celebrate by the docks in Annapolis with tons of youth activities starting at 3 p.m. in Susan Campbell Park. Families may then opt to take a tour around the city and catch dinner on the bay by taking one of the city’s free shuttles that will operate throughout the evening. Families with younger children will want to be back at the City Dock or Main Street for the best views of the fireworks, which will start promptly at 7:30 p.m. followed by music for all ages at 8 p.m. For those with a later curfew, hold out for the official countdown right before midnight and a healthy second dose of fireworks to end the evening with a bang.
Noontime New Year
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Place
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Price: $13.95 adults and children ages 2 and up/free children younger than 2 and members
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For kids who are in the New Year’s spirit way before bedtime, families may celebrate together with super heroes and super powers at Port Discovery. The Annual Noontime New Year features everyone’s favorite character, Eric Energy, and all children are invited to come dressed up in their best costumes. The noon countdown is celebrated with sound makers and a variety of festive decorations before ending with a special juice toast and yummy cookies too. Afterward, sit back and enjoy a suite of talented performances by Uncle Pete and Eric Energy, or visit the Japanese Anime Station and Geppi Entertainment Museum (among many others) for some exciting family entertainment.