To say 2020 has been a challenging year is an understatement—but the year’s almost over, and more than ever, we all deserve to raise a glass (or a juice box) and celebrate the beginning of a new, and hopefully, a better year. But even though the pandemic isn’t going anywhere (yet), there are still plenty of ways you can party with the whole family safely, either virtually or in-person. So grab those party poppers, horns, hats, and masks and get ready to celebrate at one of these festive events—see ya, 2020!
Featured photo via @brynnnora
Ring in 2021 with one of these kid-friendly NYE events:
First Night Morris County
5:40PM to 12:15AM
This event is a virtual, reimagined version of Morris County’s popular First Night event, a kid-friendly celebration of arts and culture. There are over 40 performances and 100 artists, and it all kicks off at 5:40PM on New Year’s Eve. There will be a flurry of performances until midnight, including music, theater, magic, and comedy shows. And don’t miss the virtual Light Up The Night show at 9PM, the midnight countdown, or the virtual fireworks at just past midnight. Also, each ticket includes on-demand access to performances happening until January 3rd.
Cost: $10-30, depending on the ticket package.
Six Flags Great Adventure: Holiday in the Park
Now through January 3; 1PM-9PM on New Year’s Eve
Experience your favorite theme park in a new light—literally. Head to Jolly Jamboree, the park’s catering area, and admire all of the lights, festive trees, and other decorations. Then grab some kid-approved snacks, like fried s’mores, kettle corn, cookies, and sip on hot chocolate and other seasonal drinks. They’ve also got almost 30 rides and roller coasters for you and your older kiddos—and your littles can fly over lit-up animal decorations in Wild Lights National Park. Reservations are required, and you can also rent a firepit, where the whole fam can warm-up and roast (more) s’mores.
1 Six Flags Blvd
Cost: Tickets start at $29.99 (for a one-day ticket). The Holiday Bundle, which comes with a s’mores kit and popcorn bucket, is $49.99.
New Year’s Camp at the YMCA Campgrounds
December 30, 2020, to January 1, 2021
Looking to get away, but stuck because of travel restrictions? Celebrate at Sussex County’s YMCA campgrounds. You’ll go hiking during the day, kids can make crafts, and the whole fam can test their skills at an archery class. You’ll stay in cabins—with heat and bathrooms—and eat in the dining hall (following safety guidelines). And at night, you can warm up by the campfire, go for a night hike, and welcome in the New Year. If you want to extend your New Year’s celebration, you can continue to rent a cabin from January 1-3 for an additional cost.
1035 Fairview Lake Rd
Cost: $135 for adults 18 and over, $115 for kids 12-17, $92 for kids 5-11. Children 4 and under are free.
iPlay America’s NYE Family Celebration
All-day, but hours vary by facility attraction
For a truly kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party—with fun rides, games, laser tag, go-karts, and an arcade—this is the place to be. Take a food break and refuel at Miracle restaurant inside or under the heaters on their outdoor patio (they have a Christmas bar for adults), or reserve a personal NYE igloo and get food from Gametime Bar and Grill. After that, it’s back to the games, rides, and other attractions. You can also book a Topgolf swing suite—and there are private VIP suites where you can watch the NYE celebration and ball drop in Times Square on a big screen TV.
110 Schanck Rd
Cost: $34.99 for the New Year’s Eve ticket. Activities, like the swing suite and VIP suites, are additional.
Bye 2020 New Year’s Eve Virtual Run
End the year strong and healthy with the entire family by running or walking on this virtual run with plenty of options like a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon. Choose your route and time—then lace up and get going. Each participant will get a postcard, a certificate of completion, a digital running journal, training plans, access to contests, and more, and kids will receive a passport activity booklet.
Cost: $5 for the virtual packet, $14 for the medal packet, $30 for the full packet, $39 for the premium packet.
New Year’s Eve Bubbly Bash with The Rave-Ons at Surflight Theatre
5PM and 8PM shows
Jam out to some pop and rock songs with your kids as The Rave-Ons usher in the new year. Make sure you reserve your seats early—not only are seats going quickly, but the theater is blocking off several seats at each show to ensure they’re following social distancing guidelines. Champagne will be served (for the adults)—and littles will get sparkling cider.
201 Engleside Ave
Beach Haven, NJ
Cost: Prices vary based on the seat. Check the seating chart for details.
Noon Year’s Eve with Miss Jolie
Planning to turn in early? Littles will love celebrating Noon Year’s Eve virtually with the Whippanong Library. Miss Jolie will bring a twist to beloved children’s songs with interactive singing and dancing—and clapping, snapping, and stomping are all encouraged. Afterward, you’ll do the classic countdown, and kids can toast to 2021 before naptime.
The Strand Center For The Arts’ A Christmas Carol
Available to stream until December 31
Spend the night in watching Gerald Dickens, Charles Dickens’ great-great-grandson, perform the timeless classic, A Christmas Carol. For over 20 years, he’s been performing it live and as a one-person show (where he plays all 26 characters), and now you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. The 70-minute performance takes place in Rochester, England, where Charles Dickens found inspiration for his stories. Alternatively, Paper Mill Playhouse is also streaming A Christmas Carol—performed as a one-person show by Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays.
Virtual—watch on Vimeo.
If your family loves bowling—and a little friendly competition—this is the New Year’s Eve party for you. During the three-hour session, you get a private reserved lane with complimentary shoe rentals and access to more than 25 arcade games, a personal dining table where you can snack on kid-friendly pizza, Bavarian pretzel bites, and gelato. There’ll also be a New Year’s Eve ball drop simulation, along with champagne for you and Shirley temples for littles. And to promote social distancing, the bowling alley is leaving an empty lane between groups.
300 Main St
Cost: $335 per lane, plus a 21% administrative fee and sales tax.