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5 Family Friendly Venues to Ring In 2012

Mixing it up with the kids on New Year’s Eve...

As a young child, New Year’s Eve was spent at my grandparents' house. We would go to dinner at Stahley’s, watch the ball drop with Dick Clark and run out on the porch at midnight, noisemakers in hand, screaming “Happy New Year!”

Instead of leaving the kids with the grandparents or a babysitter, though, many parents now are opting for celebrations with less alcohol and more family friendly activities for the New Year. 

Who can blame parents?  Paying a baby sitter $7 to $10 per hour adds a lot to the tab, not to mention that driving on New Year’s Eve also conjures a fair amount of fear about others party goers who have had more than just the complimentary glass of champagne at midnight.

For whatever reason, parents are opting to include their children in their sober New Year’s Eve celebrations and finding a lot of local opportunities to do so.

is a four day festival at the SteelStack in South Bethlehem from noon to 5 p.m. starting on Wednesday. Highlights include the Family Disco Party in the Musikfest Café on the 28th and 29th, a Peep character breakfast on the 30th and a family friendly NYE Party on December 31st, the conclusion of which will feature the now famous chick drop and fireworks at 5:15 p.m.  Some of these events require a ticket, prices vary, but the scavenger hunts, Peeps diorama contest and entertainers are free.

For the family with infinite amounts of energy, the NYE Party at BounceU Lehigh Valley will help get a jump on 2012.  Located at 3241 Hamilton Boulevard in Allentown, Bounce U hosts gigantic inflatable fun from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 31. Tickets are $16.95 per person, and include pizza, unlimited soft drinks and sparkling cider, after all the bouncing, of course. 

The Crayola Experience at 30 Centre Square, Easton, hosts a NYE party complete with colorful activities and entertainment by Funtown Productions from 2 to 9 p.m.  At 8 p.m., the 10-foot Crayola crayon drops at Centre Square and the celebration kicks into high gear with fireworks and a DJ dance party.  Prices are $19 per person in advance and $23 at the door.

Kids will have a blast at the DaVinci Science Center at 3145 Hamilton Boulevard, Allentown.  From 6 to 10 p.m, kids can explore the hands- on glow-in-the-dark science activities, watch magician Matt Cadabra perform his daring acts and enjoy a hot meal with the family.  Admission is $39 for adults and $29 for children.  

, located at 7 E. 4th St.  Bethlehem, will host its second annual family friendly NYE celebration for music lovers at 7 p.m. with Dave Fry.  He is joined at 8 p.m. by Dina Hall and Brittany Ann for the NYE: 3 Generations of Homegrown Godfrey's. Admission is $10.50 for adults, and $5.50 per child. 

With any NYE event, you will want to make reservations or purchase tickets in advance because these events are popular and sell out quickly. 

Have a happy and safe New Year!

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