Finding a babysitter on New Year’s Eve is like winning the lottery, despite the fact that you’re the one handing out the cash. Kudos to all who hit that jackpot! And if you didn’t, well, here are some family-friendly ways to celebrate the start of 2011 and enjoy it with the kids throughout the weekend.
First Night Alexandria – Entertainment will be in abundance at the area’s largest family-friendy New Year’s Eve celebration. Starting at 7pm, 100 live perfomances in 17 venues throughout Old Town will thrill guests of all ages. A capella ensembles, Argentinean tangoes, blues and jazz music, a kids magic show, storytelling, and many, many more fun acts are part of the line-up. Along with performances, there will be interactive games, face painting, moon bounces, dancing, and crafts for kids. The grand finale of the evening will be a fireworks display at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. For details on where shows will take place, see the schedule on the website. Tickets are $20, free for kids 12 and under, and can be purchased at the Durant Arts Center (1605 Cameron Street) beginning at 12:00 noon, Visitor Center at Ramsay House (221 King Street) from 10am – 5pm, or at all First Night Alexandria venues beginning 15 minutes before the first performance until the last performance.
Frostival – The second annual festival celebrating winter is happening through the weeknd at the Dulles Expo Center. Among the attractions are more than 15 interactive rides, bounces, and play areas, entertainment from Rocknoceros and The Great Zucchini, puppet shows, storytellers, kids karaoke, arts & crafts, and science activities. For complete details, including ticket information, see this post from a couple of days ago.
New Years on Ice – Temperature are supposed to be around a whopping 50 this weekend, perfect for some outdoor skating. You’ve got your choice of two area rinks: The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink or the Pentagon Row Skating Plaza. The latter is open all weekend — 10am – 9pm on Friday, 10am – 11pm on Saturday, and 10am – 10pm on Sunday. Admission is $8/adults, $7/kids 12 and under, $3/rentals. If you want to glide amidst art, you can go Friday 10am – 11pm or Sunday 11am – 9pm. Admission is $7/adults, $6/children 12 and under.
Geckos and Wild Sounds – You have merely days to catch the National Geographic Museum’s fascinating exhibits, Gecko: Tails to Toepads and Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life. The last day of the latter is January 2, and the geckos will be gone after January 5. Admission to Geckos is $7/adults, $4/children under 12, and the Wild Music exhibit is free. The National Geographic Museum is located at 1145 17th Street NW. Hours are 9am – 5pm daily.
Smithonsian is Open – Do some New Years Day museum hopping. All of the Smithsonian galleries plus the National Zoo will be open this weekend, and some will even have extended hours. Check the schedule for specifics. This is also your last chance to catch ZooLights – it’s closed on New Year’s Eve, but will be open for the final evening on Saturday.