New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be all about alcohol-fueled parties and crazy ball drop bashes. Toddlers, teenagers and parental units can enjoy the festive holiday by celebrating at family friendly destinations throughout Philadelphia. From scrumptious buffets to spectacular pyrotechnic displays, the city has it all. Skip the raucous revelers, ring out the old, and ring in the new with these top family friendly New Year’s Eve parties in the city of brotherly love.
Blue Cross River Rink
Columbus Boulevard and Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Price: $30 skaters/$20 spectators
Hours: Dec. 31 – 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Families looking for a non-alcoholic way to celebrate New Year’s Eve will find double the fun at the Blue Cross River Rink when Sugar House Casino presents the 19th annual New Year’s Eve Party on Ice. Skaters have two options to view the City of Philadelphia’s fabulous Penn’s Landing fireworks extravaganza over the Delaware River. A dusk celebration includes strolling entertainment, free face painting, crafts, beverages, snacks, party hats and noisemakers. The latter event will ring in the New Year with a bang as party goers live it up with complimentary noisemakers and photo keepsakes as well as free entertainment including music, strolling Mummers and psychic readers.
1 Riverside Drive
Camden, NJ 08103
Price: $30 adults/$25 children ages 2 to 12/free children younger than 2
Hours: Dec. 31 – 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Head down to the Camden Waterfront to party hardy with the fishes at Adventure Aquarium’s first annual New Year’s Eve Splash. In addition to catching great views of Philadelphia’s dusk fireworks display, sea creature lovers will have unlimited access to the aquarium with more than 8,500 animals. Family friendly games, activities and music will take place, including a countdown dance featuring free noisemakers, party hats and confetti canons. As added bonuses, free parking, a free family photo and a complimentary plush animal for kids younger than 12 will be available.
The Ben Franklin Yacht
401 N. Columbus Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Price: $55 per person
Hours: Dec. 31 – 4 p.m.
Take the holiday to a new level with the 2013 New Year’s Eve Family Fireworks Cruise aboard the Ben Franklin Yacht. A three-level, deluxe vessel, the yacht cruises past Philadelphia’s historic waterfront. The gleeful gala sets sail with a live DJ, a bountiful buffet and a cash bar for the adults. Best of all, guests have the choicest seats in the house to view the Penn’s Landing fireworks display.
Please Touch Museum
4321 Avenue of the Republic
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Price: $16 per person/free children younger than 1
Hours: Dec. 31 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Little sleepyheads and parents may celebrate the New Year 12 hours earlier during Please Touch Museum’s Countdown to Noon event. Doors open at 9 a.m., and countdowns happen at noon and 1 p.m. In the interim, a fun-filled “Noon Year” party is held with games, activities and confetti. Louie Miranda, a Latin jazz guitarist, will be on hand to mesmerize kids and adults alike with family oriented, interactive concerts.
Franklin Square Drop
6th and Race streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Price: free admission
Hours: 5 p.m.
Say so long to 2012 with crafts and music in award-winning Franklin Square. Located in the heart of Historic Philadelphia, the outdoor amusement area is just a short walk to the Liberty Bell. Hanging out at the square’s grand marble fountain, a miniature golf course featuring Philadelphia’s landmarks, an old-fashioned carousel and a burger joint with some of the best burgers and milkshakes in town especially appeal to teens. After a fun-filled evening, stick around for the the 6 p.m. Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown Square Drop and fireworks display at Penn’s Landing. With the early celebration, teens may still make curfew.
Related: Fun With The Kids In Franklin Square
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.