3 places to spend NYE together as a family

Ahh, New Years Eve.

Champagne, dressing up, dancing, kissing.

When I was a child, New Years Eve was spent watching “Its A Wonderful Life” with my family and occasionally close friends as well.

It always meant eating appetizers and drinking sparkling grape juice in a plastic champagne glass and staying up LATE to watch Dick Clark.

When I was in my early twenties, it was about waiting until after Christmas to buy a velvet dress at Kohl’s for 60 percent off, plan with your friends to go into the city to Excalibur but actually stay in the suburbs and go to WhirlyBall because OMG, THE CITY IS EXPENSIVE ON NEW YEARS EVE WHEN YOU ARE 23 AND WORK IN RETAIL.

After I had my children, I never went out on New Years Eve. Oh, maybe to my parents home where we spent the night, but never to another party.

I wanted my children to have the New Years Eve’s of my past, with pigs in a blanket, fake wine and all!

And we did that, for many years. But now that the girls are getting older, we have decided that this year we want to do something a little different.

We want to party with our girls.

Get out the velvet dress, choker necklaces and Montell Jordan, it’s about to get real up in here. OK, maybe not that real but we are … leaving the house.


I know all you parents of littles are in awe right now, but don’t be! You, too, can have this kind of rocking New Years Eve with your kids!

There is a little secret I want to let you in on. Don’t let it get out!

Not all the fun is in the city limits of Chicago.


Rahm Emmanuel doesn’t want you to know this.

Here are my three picks for fun on New Years Eve with the kids in Lake County and beyond.

The Abbey Resort

I have to give credit to my husband for finding this gem. Two years ago, we had a pretty stressful summer, so the weekend before school was to begin, he planned an overnight getaway for the four of us. When he told us it was a “family-friendly” resort, I immediately thought of “indoor water park.” Not that there is anything wrong with that, but that’s just not something I was looking forward to that particular weekend. What we got was bend-over-backwards service, amazing restaurants and a cool children’s room where kids could do crafts supervised by trained child care professionals. Movies at the indoor pool, glow-in-the-dark necklaces and popcorn while floating on a raft. I have never been on a cruise or even on an all-inclusive vacation, but this felt like what I believe those to be. To find a place where the kids have so much fun that they don’t want to leave, and where the parents walk away relaxed, is near impossible.

So when thinking about doing something fun and outside of the box with the girls this New Years Eve, we knew where to turn. The Abbey offers so many cool New Years Eve options for families including a Half Night of Fun where the teens and children get away from the parents for a few hours to celebrate on their own with pizza and activities while the parents go to dinner or just relax at one of the many amenities this resort offers. Then you all meet up to ring in the New Year together!

Head to their website to check out all they offer or give them a call at 262-275-6811. If you are sold and want to book your room today, head here.

They are located just outside Lake Geneva at 269 Fontana Blvd. Fontana, Wisconsin.


Pinstripes is a fun family activity center with three locations in Chicagoland: Oak Brook, Northbrook and South Barrington. With such fun features like a year-round outdoor patio and fire pit, bowling and bocce. They also have a cool bistro restaurant that offers favorite Italian American dishes. Basically what I wish was available back in 1993. WHERE WAS THIS THEN??!?!?

So this is the cool thing – you can bring your children to this groovy joint. I KNOW. Kids of all ages are welcome at Pinstripes, and on New Years Eve it is no different! They offer two balloon drops, one at 8 p.m. for the younger set and another one at midnight for those kids who are pro’s. There will be live music and party favors as well as bowling and bocce until midnight.

The two locations in and around Lake County are in Northbrook at 1150 Willow Road 847- 480-2323 or in South Barrington at 100 W. Higgins Road 847- 844- 9300.

Key Lime Cove

For a pricier option, Key Lime Cove in Gurnee offers a New Years Eve package starting at $299 but includes extended water park hours, a New Years Eve buffet and breakfast buffet on New Years Day as well as DJ dance party and balloon drop. Call 224-717-3311 for availability.

Key Lime Cove is located at 1700 Nations Drive in Gurnee.

So this New Years Eve, don’t try to find a sitter! Instead bring the kiddo’s with you and ring in the year as a family.

I plan to rock out in a choker necklace and my Doc Martens for my daughters this New Years Eve, sending us into 2015 with a little Lenny Kravitz and some mortifying stares.

It is fun to be a parent.

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