MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many of us are getting ready to ring in a whole new decade tonight. There are a ton of parties and events going on to celebrate 2020, and some among them are just for the kids.

At Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, they were already ringing in the new year at noon. They dropped confetti on a group of suspecting parents and kids as part of what they called their “Noon Year’s Eve” party.

“Even as an adult I don’t like staying up until midnight. Having something fun to do with the kids early on is a good way to celebrate,” mother Carrie Sandell said.

The festivities also included face painting, large games, music from a DJ, and more. The Como Zoo has been doing this extra-early, free-admission new year’s celebration for 15 years now, and see a couple thousand people annually.

Organizers said they want kids to leave with a message of doing what they can to save the planet, which is why they drop a specific kind of confetti now instead of beach balls.

“(Beach balls were) a lot of fun, but it was also a huge plastic waste. So we wanted to look at ways we could be a little greener in our practices,” event coordinator Lindsay Sypnieski said. “Instead of doing plastic that we drop on people’s heads, we use some fun biodegradable confetti.”

If your little ones missed Tuesday’s event, the Como Zoo is setting up to do it all over again at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

As far as New Year’s night goes, there’s no shortage of celebrations. The Minnesota Children’s Museum has music, art and a ball drop that starts at 8 p.m.. The Mall of America will have a celebration at Nickelodeon Universe.

And who wants to watch a ball drop when you can watch a “bear drop” at the White Bear Country Inn in White Bear Lake?

Tuesday night is also about new beginnings. Debra McPeck just retired and this was her first day volunteering at Como Zoo. Volunteering is her top resolution.

“Coming here today has been such a gift to me that I thought, this is wonderful. And I thought, I’m going to get our whole family to volunteer here,” McPeck said.

John Lauritsen

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