New Year's Eve activities are usually adult fare, but there are some local places that cater to the families. Here are my 5 picks to celebrate 2011 with your children:
Here's a way to tire your little ones out BEFORE the ball drops. Take 'em to Going Bonkers where they can run around in the indoor playground and play arcade games. For parents, there is a time-out room with a complete view of the playground and arcade. Best of all, there's free Wi-Fi! When the kids conk out in the car from all of the activity, mom and dad can cuddle on the couch at home and have a sip of champagne to ring in the new year.
Good to know: No outside food or drinks allowed; Must have socks to play.
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Recommended for: 8 and younger
Holiday Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 31; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Jan. 1
Where: Going Bonkers (near Vista Ridge Mall), 2565 MacArthur Blvd., Lewisville, TX 75067
Cost: ages 1-2(must be accompanied by an adult), $2.50; ages 3-18(must be accompanied by an adult), $5; adults 19 and older, $1; infants younger than 1(must be accompanied by an adult) are FREE!
Info: 972-315-9000, http://www.goingbonkers.com/bonkers_tx/
This is definitely a place for your older kids, but all of the New Year's Eve packages include all-you-can play bowling, billiards, laser tag, party favors, Fun Card, complimentary shoe rental and more. The Family Fun Celebration package includes the Main Event buffet with pizzas, mac-and-cheese, chicken tenders. The Ultimate Celebration Package includes a Texas Barbecue Buffet (and a champagne toast for the adults). If you have other plans for dinner, you could also get a Winter Fun Pass, which includes all-you-can-play bowling, billiards and laser tag, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
Good to know: These events may sell out. You can purchase your tickets in advance at https://www.maineventusa.com/nye-tickets
Recommended for: 8 and older
Holiday Hours: 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Dec. 31; 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., Jan. 1 Special New Year's Eve Events: Winter Fun Pass, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 31; Family Fun Celebration, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 31; Ultimate Celebration Package, 9 p.m. to close, Dec. 31
Where: Main Event, 407 W. State Hwy 114, Grapevine, TX 76051
Cost: Winter Fun Pass, $15.95 per person; Family Fun Celebration, $29.95, adults; $16.95, 12 and younger; Ultimate Celebration Package, $29.95 per person
Info: (817) 416-1111 http://www.maineventusa.com/
For the sophisticated set, here's a cool option. The NYE Matinee package includes bowling with shoe rental, pizza buffet with salad and unlimited fountain sodas, party favors and balloon drop.
Good to know: No person under 21 years of age will be admitted after 10 p.m. unless bowling in a family or group that includes a parent.
Recommended for: 10 and older
Holiday Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Dec. 31; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Jan. 1; NYE Matinee package is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 31
Where: 300, 3805 Belt Line Rd. Addison, TX 75001
Cost: NYE Matinee is $22 per person. Regular shoe rentals for adults, children and seniors, $4.50
Info: 972-620-0021, http://www.threehundred.com/dallas.html
The Countdown Party includes "glow" bowling, laser tag, rock climbing, billiards, unlimited video game play, pizza buffet, soft drinks and favors. There will also be a drawing for and iPad and iPod Touch.
Good to know: There are a limited number of packages available. Call 817-784-2695 for ticket information.
Recommended for: 12 and younger
Holiday Hours: 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Dec. 31; Noon to 1 a.m., Jan. 1; Countdown Party is from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Dec. 31
Where: Alley Cats, 2008 W. Pleasant Ridge Road, Arlington, Texas 76015
Cost: $40, adults; $25, 12 and younger (Prices are good through Dec. 28, then increases by $5 per person)
Info: 817-784-2695, http://www.alleycatsbowl.com
Free Family Fun
It wouldn't be me, without a freebie. Here's my suggestion: We went to visit my oldest stepson in Florida a couple years ago. While he and his Dad had some father-son New Year's Fun, I stayed with my then 8-year-old stepson and 6-year-old granddaughter. The first thing I told them was that we were going to have our own New Year's Eve Party and that they could stay up all night, watch the iCarly marathon and dance all night long. I put their punch in plastic champagne glasses and we "dined" on mac-and-cheese. We broke out the party favors, streamers, noisemakers and danced all around the living room and made as much noise as we could. They both fell asleep on the couch BEFORE the ball dropped in Times Square on TV. It was one of the best New Year's Eve parties I've ever had.
Here's hoping you ring in the New Year with family around you!