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Family-Friendly New Year's Celebrations and Activities

By Emily Frost | December 30, 2012 9:00am

NEW YORK CITY — New Yorkers who want to ring in 2013 with their family have plenty of options. There's much more to New Year's Eve celebrations in the city than the ball drop in Times Square — and avoiding overzealous crowds doesn't have to mean staying home.  

DNAinfo.com New York rounded up the best New Year's Eve events suited for revelers of all ages.


3, 2, 1… Happy New Year!
Brooklyn Children's Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave.
Monday, Dec. 31 at 2:30 p.m.

At this family celebration kids can add to the museum's New Year's "Wish Mural" and decorate a festive hat and noisemaker to ring in 2013. The activities will be held in the Totally Tots Area and are free with museum admission. 

The idea behind the Wish Mural is "to help kids articulate and verbalize their own wishes for family, the world, themselves and participate in posting it, enhancing their New Year's memory and experience," a museum spokeswoman said.

These activities are designed for kids age 5 and under.

Museum admission is $9 per person and free for members and children younger than 1.

Coney Island Polar Bears Club
The Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island
Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. 

Don swimsuits and neoprene bathing boots and jump in the frigid waters off Coney Island for a thrilling swim sure to go down in family history — or enjoy watching while safely snuggled in your parkas. 

The event is free, but donations are welcome and will go to Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Maine for kids with life-threatening illnesses.


Big Apple Circus Legendarium
Lincoln Center,
Damrosch Park at Amsterdam Avenue and West 62nd Street
Monday, Dec. 31 at 12:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Jugglers, acrobatic troupes and flying trapeze artists are among the performers at this two-hour show, which includes an intermission.

Tickets range from $25 to $175.

Family Fitness at the JCC
JCC, 334 Amsterdam Ave. at West 76th Street
Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Kick off your New Year's resolutions as a family with all-ages fitness classes. The classes are aimed at teaching motor development in a "supportive, non-competitive environment."

According to a spokeswoman, "the event is for people to start their New Year's resolutions of a healthy lifestyle together as a family. There are no strings attached."

Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Classes are free on Jan. 1 as part of the JCC's Fitness Fair. Pre-registration is encouraged but walk-ins are welcome.

Confetti Collage
Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 W. 83rd St.
Monday, Dec. 31 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The museum is hosting a confetti collage activity for kids 4 years old and younger. Kids can make a confetti collage with sparkly glitter glue and shiny metallic paper to celebrate 2013. 

According to the museum, this activity helps with kindergarten readiness skills, including exploring texture, developing sensory awareness and shape and color recognition.

Admission is $11 for children and adults, $7 for seniors, while children under 12 months are free.

Time's Up New Year's Eve Bike Ride and Outdoor After Party 
Washington Square Park under the arch
Monday, Dec. 31 at 10 p.m.

If you have an older child who insists on staying up past midnight, prove you're a cool parent by together joining a festive ride from Washington Square Park to Belvedere Castle in Central Park hosted by the bike group Time's Up. The ride is free and ends with an outdoor party with noisemakers and a view of the fireworks.

Find information about group rides that feed to the main event here.


The Handsome Little Devils Present the Squirm Burpee Circus 
The Queens Theater, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Dec. 27 to 31, shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. 

The show features slapstick comedy, circus acts and high-energy acrobatic feats like "The Human Cannon," "The Ladder of Love" and "Chainsaw Juggling." 

Tickets for all seats are $32; or a family four-pack of tickets for $99.

Bill Bywater's Ice Sculpting Apprenticeships
New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Dec. 28 to 30, from 3 to 4 p.m.

If your New Year's resolutions include trying new things, this activity could be right up your alley. Learn how to make ice sculptures with heating elements and contribute to a group sculpture. Space is limited to six participants/projects. Recommended for ages 8 and older. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
The activity is $12, plus museum admission for one child and one adult ($10 for members).
Museum admission: adults (ages 18 and older): $11; children (ages 2 to 17): $8; students (with college ID): $8; senior citizens (age 62 and older): $8.

Van Cortlandt Park Ice Skating Rink
Broadway at 242nd Street.
Monday, Dec. 31 from noon to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Jan.1 from noon to 8 p.m.

Take a spin on the brand-new skating rink at the park, the Bronx's only public ice rink, to celebrate the New Year.

Admission: weekdays, $5; weekends, $8. Skate rental is $5.


The Staten Island Children's Museum
1000 Richmond Terrace 
Monday, Dec. 31 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The museum is hosting a children's party and sing-along with musician Patrick Rafferty.

Cost is $6 for visitors older than 1 year old. Free for members.