With its late night celebrations and flowing champagne, New Year's Eve often seems like a holiday exclusively for adults. But here are some ways to celebrate the dawning of a New Year with your little ones in tow.
1 If you've ever wanted to walk a red carpet, Build it Big Bubble Bash is your big shot. Even better, this red carpet is made of bubble wrap! Plus, there's water balloon painting, a bubble anaconda, parachutes and stomp rockets. And what would a party be without food and music? At noon, get a jump on Times Square with a countdown to the New Year. $30, $25 member. 9 a.m.-noon. DuPage Children's Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville. (630) 637-8000, dupagechildrensmuseum.org.
2 You don't have to be nocturnal to celebrate the arrival of 2014 at the zoo. Zoo Years Eve includes a DJ, games and prizes, plus the chance for kids to make their own noisemakers and make a ruckus when the clock strikes 8 p.m. We have a feeling all your little party animals will feel right at home. Free with admission. 6-8 p.m. Brookfield Zoo, 1st Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield. (708) 688-8400, brookfieldzoo.org.
3 Make your mark on the coming year with the Lego Wish Board at Legoland's Kid-Friendly Celebration. The mosaic, which will be displayed throughout 2014, includes kids' wishes and resolutions for the New Year. Plus enjoy music, mocktails, Lego builds and a hunt for balloons. If you don't make it there on New Year's Eve, the party continues Jan. 1. $20. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Legoland Discovery Center, The Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg. (847) 592-9700, legolanddiscoverycenter.com/chicago.
4 For an event that's truly for the whole family, check out First Night Evanston, which showcases nearly 30 musical and theatrical performances. Kids will love the afternoon events and workshops, such as crafts, storytelling, music, and even a flea circus. Later, parents can enjoy music, ice sculptures and food trucks in the final hours of 2013. Check website for cost. 1 p.m.-midnight. Raymond Park, Chicago Avenue, between Grove and Lake streets, Evanston. firstnightevanston.eventbrite.com.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
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