Wow, this year flew by! It seems like yesterday that I was posting about New Years weekend 2010 (and lamenting how hard it is to find a babysitter on December 31). And here we are again, getting ready to usher in another new year. If you’re looking for family-friendly ways to celebrate around town, you’ve got a few options, including some events happening during the day. But this weekend isn’t all about ringing in 2012 — you can still enjoy many DC attractions both Saturday and Sunday (though be sure to check holiday hours). Happy Weekend! And a Happy, Healthy New Year to all!
First Night Alexandria – Fun and entertainment will be in abundance at the area’s largest family-friendy New Year’s Eve celebration. It all begins at 1pm with a Fun Hunt and art activities for kids. Storytime and a magic show follow at 6 & 6:15pm, respectively. Then it really kicks into high gear at 7pm when live performances will take places at many venues throughout Old Town. Guests of all ages can enjoy a capella ensembles, blues and jazz shows, storytelling, children’s music, sounds from around the world, dancing, and many, many more performances. Along with the live shows, there will be interactive games, face painting, moon bounces, dancing, and crafts for kids. The grand finale of the evening will be 6,000 balls dropping 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 these locations in Alexandria. Even more information about the event is available on the website.
Watch Night – The City of Falls Church is ringing in the New Year with an evening of free festivities for the whole family. From 7pm – midnight, the indoor/outdoor celebration will include live music, dancing, face painting, balloon artists, a caricaturist, a 12-foot dragon, a moon bounce, firepits for warming, free concessions plus some for sale, and a midnight countdown.
Jump for Joy – If Winter Break has the kids (and possibly you) bouncing off the walls by now, let them expend some energy at Pump It Up, where they are hosting a Glow Jump tonight from 6 – 7:30pm. For $12, they get an hour of jump time, plus two slices of pizza and a drink. This wil take place at the Lanham location.
Midnight Noon – The Maryand Science Center in Baltimore is hosting a New Years celebration especially for little ones from 10am – 2pm on Saturday. Guests can make their own party hats and noisemakers, then boogey down as kids fave Milkshake performs at 11:30am. Interactive musical performance by Now This! Improv will also take place at 10:30am and 1pm. Admission is the regular entrance fee – $16.70/adults, $15.70/seniors, $13.70/ages 3-12, free for 3 and under. And rest of the Science Center will be open for exploration, too!
American Girl Scavenger Hunt – Girls ages 8 and up can learn about the beloved American Girl historical characters as they go on a scavenger hunt throughout the store at Tyson’s Corner. They’ll discover what it was like to grow up in America’s past as they collect fun facts about the characters and find hidden clues to solve a puzzle along the way. This event is free and open to the public, and American Girl posters will be given away at the end.
Knuffle Bunny on Stage – See the classic book come to life at the Kennedy Center. The show runs through January 8, and you can catch it this weekend at 11am or 1:30pm on Saturday. Tickets are $20 and available for purchase online.
New Year Namaste – Get a spiritual start to 2012, as you ring in the New Year with family-filled fun at lil omm! Enjoy a Family Yoga class from 5-6pm. It’s open to kids of all ages, so bring the entire family to practice together! Yoga is a wonderful way to cultivate emotional, physical, and spiritual bonding, and the Family Yoga class includes postures for the whole family, including appropriate variations to accommodate everyone. This class will have some fun music and allow everyone to explore their own inner rock-star! Celebrate with refreshments afterwards from 6-7pm. Cost: $40 per family. Click here to register.
Midnight at 7 – The New Years fireworks start early at the Symphony of Lights in Columbia, where their annual drive-through light show has been dazzling oglers throughout the holiday season. You can enjoy it on foot on Saturday, along with a toasty bonfire, food vendors, music, party favors, face painting and more. Enjoy it all from 5pm on when gates open, then watch a fireworks display at 7pm. Registration is $20/individual, $40/group of three, $50/group of four, etc. Children ages 3 and under are free. Go here to register.
Smithsonian is Open – Do some New Year’s 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 Sunday. (Note that the National Gallery of Art is not part of the Smithsonian, despite its location on the Mall next to them, and will be closed on January 1.)
A Sunny Start – Make that a sunny end, too. We’ll be closing out this year and beginning the new one with some fabulous weather (for the season, anyway), so if you want to get out and enjoy it, refer to this post listing great places to spend a nice day outdoors. (And if the weather should take a cold or rainy turn, see this post for indoor fun.)
Season Finales – This weekend will be your last chance to enjoy many events and performances exclusive to the holiday season. Model trains are winding down instead of around, curtains are getting ready to close on shows, colorful lights are twinkling for the last time. See this post for details on holiday events and this one for seasonal performances.