Having the Best New Year’s Eve with East Bay Kids


Thanks to Chabot Space & Science Center for sponsoring our guide to family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebrations with kids in the East Bay because parents and little kids can’t always stay up until midnight!

Chabot Space & Science Center is hosting a balloon drop you can join from home! | Photo: Photo: Chabot Space & Science Center

See ya 2020! Make plans to celebrate 2021 safely at home. It’s time to celebrate the coming of a sparkling New Year! Yes, we’ll be ringing in 2021 in the comfort of our own homes, but that doesn’t mean we’ll have to miss out on all the fun. There are some terrific, local-but-virtual, kid-focused daytime celebrations for ringing in the New Year with children. Cheers!

Virtual celebrations | More stuff you can do at home | Special food and drink for New Year’s Eve

Celebrating with Chabot Space & Science Center

Celebrate strokes of midnight around the world as you count down to the stroke of noon during Chabot’s Virtual Balloon Drop New Year Celebration! When it’s noon in Oakland, it will be 2021 somewhere on the planet. To mark the occasion, Chabot is hosting its famous family-favorite Balloon Drop with a 2020 zoom twist.

Join the party on Zoom for fun STEM activities, a dance party, a family-friendly toast and the classic, colorful live balloon drop spectacle. Continuing a 20-year Bay Area tradition, the party will feature hundreds of colorful, biodegradable balloons raining down from the ceiling at the Center.

Tickets to Chabot’s New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop include admission to the virtual event, STEM activity kits, New Year’s party items and shipping. Order your tickets before Dec. 22 to be sure to get your party pack on time.

Buy Tickets with Party Pack >>
Special Discount: Receive a free event ticket and STEM Activity Kit when you purchase a Chabot membership >>

Supplies to keep on hand for a festive New Years Eve at home

Party decor. Be sure to load up on some fun crafting projects and party supplies like tiaras, face painting kits, some homemade bubbles, noise makers, balloons, and maybe some party string if you’re feeling up for it.

Mother Nature’s Gifts. Carol’s family loved to go to Sulphur Creek for the annual Mother Nature’s Gifts Event. Years later, it is a special memory. The supplies are easy to find at home or on a nature walk. We used a pine cone, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and cereal. We would hang it from a tree in our backyard. The gift is very easy to make, and we had fun watching the birds and squirrels enjoy the gift for the new year. Here’s a tutorial if you’d like to try it.

Experiments. Notice that some of the virtual celebrations listed below have a STEAM or crafty tie-in. The Chabot Space & Science Center virtual balloon drop STEM kit includes materials to make your own catapult, planet models, a magnetic experiment, and your very own balloon drop engineering challenge.

2020 has been a very special year, commemorate your unique experience with new year’s resolutions or a pandemic time capsule.

Virtual & Combo celebrations that look super fun for a Family-Friendly New Years Eve

Bay Area Children’s Theatre (Berkeley)

The Bay Area Children’s Theatre is putting on a virtual Baby Rave for 2021!  You’ll just need to fill out this form and then they’ll contact you the day before the event with all the details on how you can tune in for this New Year’s Eve dance party and countdown to Noon.
Cost: FREE
When: 11 am
Website >

Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito)

BADM’s annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration is going virtual! Put on your favorite jammies and jump online for music, dancing, a pajama fashion show, and a festive countdown at 12 noon.
Cost: FREE
When: 11:30 am – 12:15 pm
Website>

Chabot Space & Science Center (Oakland)

balloon drop at chabot
The virtual balloon drop is going to be so epic, you’ll feel it at home | Photo: Chabot Space & Science Center

Ring in 2021 at home with your kids at this daytime Virtual Balloon Drop Celebration happening at 11 am. Pre-registration is required.

Attendees will receive a special STEM Kit, filled with supplies for activities they will be doing during the celebration. There will be exciting hands-on activities led by the Galaxy Explorers and an activity led by the Nano@Stanford and Stanford XLab teams. Activities include materials to make your own catapult, planet models, a magnetic experiment and your very own balloon drop engineering challenge. The party will end with a special New Year drink recipe activity for the whole family and a dance party countdown to ring in 2021. This event will be fun for attendees of all ages!

SHIPPING DEADLINE EXTENDED: Register by 12/22 to receive your STEM Activity Kit in time for the event

Cost: $20-$50, Members’ discount (Join or renew your membership for free admission!)
When: 11 am to noon
Website >

Charles M. Schulz Museum (Santa Rosa)

Join the Schulz Museum online for their annual (now virtual) Noon-year’s Eve celebration with Peanuts-themed crafts, special appearances by Snoopy and Woodstock, and a countdown to the Museum’s annual up-down balloon drop at noon. Pre-register by December 30.
Cost: $15/ non-members or $10/ members
When: 11 am to noon
Website >

hot chocolate mugs
Make the day more special with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, or cocoa bombs

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

You can party from the comfort of your home with your festive hats and bubbles for a special ball drop and the singing of Auld Lang Syne. Tickets to this year’s celebration include a Party Pack Celebration Kit for $20 with materials to make corn husk dolls, party hats, bubbles, kazoos, and more. Tickets must be purchased by 12/21/20 to allow for shipping.
Cost: $20
When: 11:45 am – 12:15 pm
Website >

Twirl (Alameda)

Twirl is hosting their in-person Holiday camps, including a session to end the year with imaginative travels to New York and a balloon drop to kick off the New Year. They’re also planning to put out a craft kit for a Noon Year’s Eve virtual party. They’ll create a virtual celebration with their teachers leading a craft kit project and dance party at noon.
Cost and Timing: TBD
Website >

Asian Art Museum (San Francisco)

Celebrate the start of the New Year in style with stories of shape-shifters, magical cats, and Buddhist protectors of children, women, and travelers, told by one of the museum’s talented storytellers. Tune in at 10 am for the stories, then the bell ringing begins at 11:30 am.
Cost: Sliding Scale
When: 10 am – 12:30 pm
Website >

kid sparklers at home
Do you have any sparklers for the backyard? We won’t tell.

Home Sweet Home

Make your own party! Sparkling juice, balloons, Netflix New Years Eve Countdown, twinkly bubble lights, Zoom calls with Grandparents, or however you choose. Kids go to bed when you say!
Cost: FREE (with optional upgrades)
When: When you say so

Special Food & Drink for New Year’s Eve

Christmas crab dinner
Crab Feast from Fraiche | Photo: Hannah Wagner for Feastin

Quarantine, isolation, Stay-at-home orders make basic shopping and cooking even more of a challenge. We are so lucky that some local restaurants and caterers and jumping in to create delicious meals and make them convenient for pickup and home delivery. I am so grateful for these members of our community. Have a delicious meal at home for New Years Eve!

Checkout our guide to Christmas dinners to go for NYE inspiration. Whether you’re looking for kid-friendly, romantic, or some combination, you’ll find a tasty meal from a local restaurant. Drizly will bring all the champagne to your door.

chabot space logo

Huge thanks to Chabot Space & Science Center for sponsoring our guide to family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebrations with kids in the East Bay. Cheers to a happy new year.




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