Best Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Celebrations

December 27, 2010 3:41 PM

(credit: Padilla Speer Beardsley)

You’re a parent. The New Year’s Eve parties to the wee hours of the morning are but a distant (and perhaps foggy) memory. But who cares? Partying with the kids is far more fun. Unfortunately, they’d probably get bored at the party your friend is having. There will be way too many grown-ups asking them about school, and a table full of treats they can’t have even though everything is just sitting there. By the time someone sits them in front of a Disney/Pixar movie in the basement, it’s almost bedtime.

Blech! A family outing sounds like much more fun. Fortunately, you aren’t the only one to think so. There are a lot of activities you and the little ones can participate in. And afterward, if you want to, there will still be time for you to drop the kids off with Grandma & Grandpa and stop by that other party.

winterskate Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: Capital City Partnership)

Wells Fargo “New Year’s Eve” WinterSkate

11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Cost: Free to skate, $2 to rent a pair or free rentals for the whole family with Wells Fargo check/credit card
Landmark Plaza, next to Rice Park
Corner of West 5th Street and Market Street
(651) 291-5608
The WinterSkate will have open skating late New Year’s Eve. It’s a small (but not cramped) rink with a beautiful view of the lights. The rental house is only a few steps away if anyone needs to warm up.

lightsinthepark Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: Padilla Speer Beardsley)

IBEW Holiday Lights In The Park

5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Cost: $10 per vehicle, but more for a bus or limousine
Phalen Park
1615 Phalen Dr. E.
St. Paul, MN 55106

Lights in the Park is a drive-thru show of more than 50 giant sculptures and animated displays. Proceeds go to charities, which can be found on their website.

maplegrove Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: City of Maple Grove)

New Year’s Eve Family Party

6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Cost: $9 if you pre-register, $12 at the door
Maple Grove Community Center
12951 Weaver Lake Road
Maple Grove, MN 55369
(763) 494-6500

Dancing, games, an obstacle course, swimming, skating, a playground and more! It is open to non-residents of Maple Grove. Ice skate rentals are free, but not guaranteed to be available. Be sure your child wears socks so they can play in the Maple Maze. Not that you’d take them out at the end of December in sandals anyway.

woodbury Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: City of Woodbury)

New Year’s Eve Family Celebration

6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Cost: Free for those younger than 2. $8 if you pre-register, $10 at the door
Bielenberg Sports Center
4125 Radio Drive
Woodbury, MN 55129
(651) 714-3740

Play equipment, ice skating, mini-golf, an obstacle course and more! There are only 600 tickets available and they usually sell out, so pre-registration is highly recommended. This is open to non-residents of Woodbury, too.

candlelightice Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: City of Richfield)

Candlelight & Ice

6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Cost: $4 per person, or free to FOWL members
Wood Lake Nature Center
6710 Lake Shore Dr.
Richfield, MN 55423
(612) 861-9365

Go on a beautiful nature walk lit with hundreds of candles. Wind through the cattail islands and forests of Wood Lake. Then, come back to the building to warm up by the fire, munch toasted marshmallows and sip hot cocoa. There is no need to pre-register for this one. It is also open to non-residents of Richfield.

rocktheuniverse Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: Mall of America)

Rock The Universe

6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Cost: Free admission and attractions, but normal ride ticket prices
Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
60 East Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425
(952) 883-8800

The School of Rock Road Crew will be performing at Nickelodeon Universe, the indoor theme park at the Mall of America. Aside from music, a ball drop and the rides, there will be party favors, free rocker hair and airbrush tattoos and of course, Nickelodeon characters for photo ops and meet & greets.

miraclesmitch Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: The Miracles of Mitch Foundation)

Miracles of Mitch’s Minnesota Miracle

5 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Cost: $249 for 1 adult and 1 child, $349 for 2 adults and 2 children, or $15 for each additional child
Hilton MSP Airport Hotel
3800 American Blvd. East
Bloomington, Minn. 55425
(952) 548-0993

Don’t balk at the price tag, you get a lot and it’s all for the Miracles of Mitch Foundation, founded to help families of children battling cancer. You get dinner, overnight accommodations and brunch in the morning. Aside from that, there are of course children’s activities, silent and live auctions and live orchestral music.

sparklerama Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: Minnesota Children's Museum)


6 p.m. – 9 p.m. (dinner at 5:15 p.m.)
Cost: $14, or $10 for members, or $2 less if you pre-register
Minnesota Children’s Museum
10 7th Street West
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 225-6035

Live music from Will Hale and the Tadpole Parade, dancing, karaoke, inflatable guitars to jam on and of course, a chance to make your own sparkly hat. Parking and a snack are free with admission. Pre-register for a pre-party dinner at $3.50 per child, $5.50 per adult.

comozoo Best Family Friendly New Years Eve Celebrations

(credit: City of St. Paul)

Noon Year’s Eve Celebration

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55103

Aside from the usual attractions at the Park & Conservatory, enjoy crafts, activities and live music. There is even a countdown to a more appropriate time for children to be awake — noon. Como is always free, and relies on donations.

Randon Brown is a Web Producer at

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