DuPage Children’s Museum rings in 2013 with its annual Bubble Bash, held this year from 10:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 31 at Wentz Concert Hall on the North Central College Campus, 171 E. Chicago, Naperville, Ill. | For Sun-Times Media~Rick Beato
Updated: December 20, 2012 6:51PM
The new year will be upon us soon, so now is a good time to make plans for New Year’s Eve. The choices are many for families who want to ring in 2013 together. Here we offer up a selection of daytime and evening celebrations that are family friendly. For parties closer to home, check with your local park district — many offer kid-friendly New Year’s Eve festivities.
Chicago Children’s Museum: The annual Noon Year’s Eve party runs from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 31 during which visitors can make a personalized crown or hat and participate in the kid-hosted countdown. Admission: $12. 700 E. Grand, (312) 527-1000; chicagochildrensmuseum.org.
Children’s Museum of Oak Lawn: The annual NYE party runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 31 and includes crafts, games and a noon countdown. Admission: $7, free for kids younger than 1. 5100 Museum Drive, Oak Lawn, (708) 423-6709; cmoaklawn.com.
Crown Point Mayor’s Office of Special Events: Targeting kids of all ages, the Grand Finale party runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 31 and features music, dancing, a magic show, a visit from the Cat in the Hat and pizza. Admission: $5, free for kids 2 and younger. First United Methodist Church, 352 S. East St., Crown Point, Ind., (219) 661-2271; crownpoint.in.gov.
DuPage Children’s Museum: The 11th annual Bubble Bash counts down to 2013 from 10:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 31 in a new location this year — Wentz Concert Hall on the North Central College campus. Festivities include music by Jeanie B! and the Jelly Beans and a “Bubble Wonders” show by Geoff Akins. Admission: $15 (plus $2 service charge), preregistration required. 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, (630) 637-8000; dupagechildrensmuseum.org.
Legoland Discovery Center Chicago: Party throughout the day Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 when balloon drop countdowns at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. will be accompanied by sparkling grape juice and party music. Other activities include Lego building challenges, photo opportunities, Kingdom Quest Laser rides and more. Admission: $19 for adults and $15 for kids. 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, (847) 592-9700; legolanddiscoverycenter.com/chicago.
SciTech: Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 31, SciTech hosts a noon countdown accompanied by cake, poppers and more. Admission: $6. 18 W. Benton, Aurora, (630) 859-3434; scitechmuseum.org.
Spirit of Chicago: A noon countdown, buffet dining, party hats, noisemakers and great Chicago views can be enjoyed during this family-friendly Dec. 31 cruise from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost: from $42.90 for adults, $25.95 for kids 3 to 12. 600 E. Grand, (866) 273-2469; spiritofchicago.com.
WonderWorks: The countdown starts at noon Dec. 31 but the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers sparkling cider, crafts, face painting, music and singing to celebrate. Admission: $6. 6445 W. North Ave., Oak Park, (708) 383-4815; wonder-works.org.
Berghoff: Food and fun reign from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 31 at the legendary restaurant. Enjoy a buffet meal (includes Berghoff soda station) and entertainment from the Environmental Magic Circus Band. Cost: $59.95 for adults, $16.95 for kids 2 to 12. 17 W. Adams, (312) 427-3170; theberghoff.com.
Brookfield Zoo: It’s Zoo Year’s Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 31 at the zoo, complete with music, games, party favors and a countdown as the finale. Admission: $15 for adults, $10.50 for kids 3 to 11; parking, $10. 31st Street and First Avenue, Brookfield, (708) 688-8000; czs.org.
Deep River Water Park: Underground refrigeration turns the water park into a frozen wonder, so families can glide into 2013 on skates from 5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 31. The celebration includes crafts, music, skating ($6 skate rental or bring your own) and an 8 p.m. countdown with a sparkling juice toast. Admission: $5. 9001 E. U.S. Hwy. 30, Crown Point, Ind., (219) 947-7850; deepriverwaterpark.com/ice.html.
Navy Pier: Enjoy Winter WonderFest during the day on Dec. 31 and stay for the pier’s Family New Year’s Eve Bash, which kicks off at 4 p.m. at the Winter WonderStage with a performance by the NC4 Dance Troupe and top 40 music by Your Villain My Hero. It culminates with fireworks on Dock Street at 7 p.m. Free. 600 E. Grand, (312) 595-7437; navypier.com.
Shoreline Sightseeing: Two family-friendly cruises that take in the Navy Pier fireworks are offered Dec. 31. The 75-minute family architecture tour begins at 6 p.m., takes in the city’s skyscrapers on all three branches of the Chicago River and ends with a view of the fireworks from the mouth of the river ($29). The 30-minute family lake fireworks cruise heads into Lake Michigan to watch the show against a backdrop of the city’s skyline ($19). 600 E. Grand, (312) 222-9328; shorelinesightseeing.com.
Jennifer Burklow is a local free-lance writer.