Fun Ways to Start the New Year With The Family

My Neighbor Totoro

Whether you choose to take the family out to First Night, get a sitter and party like it’s 1999 or stay home and fall asleep before midnight, when you wake up you have to keep the kids busy on New Year’s Day.

No worries, there are some fun ways to celebrate the beginning of 2012 with your family.

Here are some fun ideas and information of what’s open on New Year’s Day:

1) At New York’s IFC Center, you can enjoy the Studio Ghibli festival, which includes films by Hayao Miyazaki. You can see My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo and Kiki’s Delivery Service. My youngest daughter absolutely loves these films and even asked Santa to by her the DVDs.

Studio Ghibli Kids Festival
All ages.
What: GKIDS is bringing a twenty-five year retrospective of films from the famed Studio Ghibli animation studio to the IFC Center this winter! Don’t miss your chance to see some of the greatest films of all time on new 35mm prints, including such favorites as My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away, as well as rare films like Only Yesterday and The Ocean Waves. Films will be presented in both subtitled and English dubbed versions.
Where: IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas at West 3rd Street, NYC
When: Through January 16. Click here for schedules.
Cost: Kids $9, Adults $13

2) While you’re in NYC, visit the American Museum of Natural History. The Origami Tree, Butterfly Conservatory and the new Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration exhibit are must sees.

3) Head to Liberty Science Center to catch the last day of the Twelve Days of Science:

Liberty Science Center’s Twelve Days of Science
All ages.
What: Go to the Science Center between December 21 and January 1 (except for December 25) for all sorts of cool, winter-based activities: Liquid Nitrogen Ice cream, Insta-Snow, Mathemagician Art Benjamin, Penguin Pointers, The Polar Express IMAX screenings  and much more! Activities are available on a first come, first served basis. Most of the activities are free with paid admission but some require a sign up or extra fee, check activity details for more information.
Where: Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City NJ.
When: December 21 and January 1 from 9 am – 5 pm.
Cost: Most are FREE with Museum Admission.

4) Go ice skating! Many indoor rinks are open on New Year’s Day. Check here for where to go.

5) Drop the kids off at Parteaz in Maplewood for some “Spa Day” fun:

Spa Day at Parteaz
Ages 6 – 12.
What: Your daughter may need a little pampering and fun to get those A’s and B’s rolling. Get a manicure w/ crackle nail polish or decals, a mini facial w/ hot towels and cucumbers. Make a themed craft either bath salts, sleep mask or lip gloss -each month is different. Dip fruit, pretzels and marshmallows into our luscious chocolate fountain! Come for Glitter tattoos, hair feathers or henna tattoos.
Where: Parteaz, 1860 Springfield Ave, Maplewood, NJ.
When: Sunday, January 1 from 1 pm – 3 pm.
Cost: $50/child or $40/child for two or more children Call 973. 447.0616 or e-mail to register.

6) Go to Turtle Back Zoo and see the Holiday Lights Spectacular on its last day of the season.

Holiday Lights Spectacular
All ages.
What: Turtle Back Zoo’s annual Holiday Lights decorations of 100,000 bulbs and 50 lit displays illuminate the zoo this holiday season.
Where: Turtle Back Zoo, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ.
When: Weekends from November 25 -December 18 and daily from December 19 – January 1. Open from 5 pm – 9 pm.
Cost: Admission is free!

7) If you have little ones, Imagine That! in Florham Park is a fun place and on New Year’s Day they have a “Make a 2012 Card” craft.

Make a 2012 Card
Little kids.
What: make a 2012 card to celebrate and ring in the New Year.
Where: Imagine That, 4 Vreeland Road, Florham Park, NJ.
When: Sunday, January 1 during museum hours (10 am – 5:30 pm)
Cost: $9.95 children, $7.95 adults

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