Celebrating New Year's Eve can pose a challenge for families with younger children. Of course you can have a small party at home (and if you get multiple time zones on your TV, do the countdown with Newfoundland!), but what if you want to get out and do something special? Toronto has a few New Year's Eve events just for parents and kids, and there are even more outside the city.
Toronto Zoo's 10th Annual New Year's Eve Family Countdown
Doors open at 4:45pm for this outdoor event that features family entertainment, food, and of course some animal visitors. The evening concludes with a Kids' Countdown at 8pm. This is a ticketed event that costs $20 for teens, adults and seniors, $12 for kids ages 4-12, and is free for children aged 3 and under (although kids 3 and under still must have a ticket reserved for them!). Space is limited, so visit the website to buy your tickets in advance (an additional $1.50 convenience fee applies).
Citytv New Year's Eve Bash at Nathan Phillips Square
For older families, this annual Toronto tradition is both free to attend and free of alcohol! CityTV personalities will host with popular musical guests providing the entertainment until the evening culminates in the countdown to midnight. Nathan Phillips Square is always very crowded on New Year's Eve, so be sure to get there early (and to make your family has a plan to find each other if you get separated).
New Years Eve Family Events in Southern OntarioIf you're willing to venture a little outside the city, a number of other opportunities for family fun on New Year's Eve become available. Be sure to call ahead or visit the websites below to confirm details.
Howl n' Hikes Ring in the New Year at Bronte Creek - Oakville
A park naturalist will lead family hikes to teach you about coyotes - and to teach you how to howl like one! After the hikes, a Countdown for Kids will take place around the bonfire at 8:30pm. If the weather is agreeable you can stay later (or come earlier) to skate, and you can get a hot drink or snack from the store. Regular park entrance fees apply.
New Year's Eve Hoopla at the Mountsberg Conservation Area- Campbellville (West of Milton)
From 6:30pm - 9:30pm Mountsberg will have a whole slew of family fun on the go including wagon rides, night hikes and puppet shows. The countdown is scheduled for 9pm. Not including HST, tickets are $24 for adults, $15 for children 5-14 and for seniors, and $5 for ages 4 and under. Visit the website to learn more or call 905-854-2276.
New Year's Eve at Blue Mountain Ski Resort - Collingwood
For those who are staying at the resort, Blue Mountain has a buffet dinner, family entertainment, and fireworks for all ages from 5:30pm-9pm. Tickets are $75 for teens and adults and $50 for kids 6-12, and are only available as an addition to your Blue Mountain lodging package.
Civic Celebrations Around the Greater Toronto Area
Most cities have their own family-friendly New Year's Eve event planned at the city center. Generally these events are outdoors (thus only held weather permitting) and many won't actually go until midnight. Visit the sites below to find information on local New Year's Eve fun.
- Ajax - New Year's Eve Family Party
- Aurora - Family First Night
- Barrie - Downtown Countdown
- Brampton - New Year's Eve Party (2012 theme is "A New Year's Eve Knight")
- Burlington - New Year's Eve Celebration (with a space theme for 2012)
- Mississauga - Ring in 2013 on the Square
- Newmarket - Tim Hortons' First Night
- Orangeville - First Night Celebration
- Oshawa - Oshawa Celebrates 2013
- Pickering - New Year's Eve Family Countdown
- Whitby - New Year's Eve Family Skate