Travel Tips

Window Seat or Aisle Seat: New Ways to Celebrate a New Year

Locations in this article:  Charlotte, NC Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Celebrate the New Year at Home

North Carolina

There are 11 Great Wolf Lodge Resorts in North America each celebrating New Years with a family-focused Snowball party. At the Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, North Carolina for example the festivities start at 7 pm with a magician, caricature artists, and a team of face painters and balloon artists who will paint festive designs on your children’s cheeks and create elaborate balloon hats, bracelets and ball balloon animals. Everything leads up to the Dance Party that includes Zumba, and contests. Then at 10 pm everyone heads to the Mountain Edge Raceway Mat Racer Waterslides for the duck race. You and your kids can cheer on your very own personal duck as he races down the slide. The family with the winning duck receives a free night’s stay at the resort. The grand finale is a balloon drop at midnight.  To find out more about these resorts and their New Years celebrations check out Great Wolf Lodge.


For a completely out of the ordinary experience, how about attending one of the years best rodeos? For the 21st year, Bullmania in Klamath Falls, Oregon has been hosting 30 bull riders and 16 ranch bronc riders making this event the biggest Bullmania in the Pacific Northwest. See world champion Bullfighters, Saddle Cow Shootouts, Wild Horse Race, and the largest balloon drop in Oregon with cash in the balloons. Afterwards you and your children can enjoy a smokin’ New Year’s Eve party with live music and dancing. For more information and entries call 541-884-3280. Tickets: VIP: W/Dinner $35 Presale Tickets $18 at the door $20 Kids 7 under free Discover Klamath, call Erin Williams 541-882-1501.


Boston’s First Night Festival of the Arts, annually showcases the work of 1,000 artists in 200 performances and exhibits at 35 indoor and outdoor venues located throughout the downtown area on New Year’s Eve. This signature Boston event is the oldest and largest of its kind in North America, typically attracting about one million people from around the world. The daylong celebration runs from 1 pm to midnight each year on December 31.

In addition to the broad range of lively music, dance, theater, visual art, and film programs offered, First Night’s traditional activities include a Family Festival at the Hynes Convention Center, a Grand Procession down Boylston Street, colossal ice sculptures that dot the city’s landscape, and a spectacular fireworks display at midnight. One of the great benefits of attending First Night for you and your family is the First Night button you receive can be used for free or discounted admission to dozens of other Boston family attractions for the week or even month following the actual First Night.


At the Tennessee Aquarium families are invited to sleep with the fish. “New Years Sleep in the Deep” is your roundup of Fun Family New Years celebrations. Aquarium educators highlight New Years traditions from around the world as guests enjoy a special guided tour of the galleries and exhibits. Overnight guests also go behind the scenes to learn about animal care. Then you and your kids stretch out in the Undersea Cavern to enjoy a night of slumber while toothy sharks, playful sea turtles and colorful reef fish swim overhead. This event begins with the perfect sleepover party food – pizza. The next morning guests have a continental breakfast before serving the river otters their breakfast. Click here to register.


The Hawaiian Islands are the perfect New Year’s getaway destination for families who want to feel like they’ve escaped home, but don’t want to leave the U.S. Easy to get to, warm and welcoming the recently renovated Sheraton Kona Resort on Big Island invites you and your children to participate in any of the twenty-two December 31 events and activities they have going on. Everything from an early morning hike, to afternoon sailing, lei-making classes, a fire knife dance show, dining with bat rays and the celebration is topped off with a Polynesian New Year’s Eve Party.

For more New Years 2013 ideas, check out:

By Kerri Zane for Kerri Zane is a family travel expert and author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom’s Guide to Finding the REAL One, on sale now. For more advice on health, beauty and travel, visit her at