Suburbs focus on family, kids for New Year activities

By Cathy Janek For Chronicle Media

The younger crowd has plenty of opportunities to ring in the New Year, pint-size style.


Families can celebrate the passing of 2018 together at a more reasonable  noon hour — instead of midnight — allowing kids to mark  the change of year  along with their parents.


Here is a listing of regional celebrations geared for kids:


Vaughn Center, 2121 W. Indian Trail, Aurora  — Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.  on New Year’s Eve, the Fox Valley Park district’s center welcome party goers to bounce on inflatables, play games, participate in interactive entertainment and dance to music. A countdown and balloon drop will be held at noon. Pre-registration is $10 if received by noon on Dec. 30, which includes admission, party favors, and a snack. Day of registration is an additional $3. More information can be found at Fox Valley Park District

SciTech Museum, 18 W. Benton St., Aurora, also celebrates with a noon countdown to ring in the new year. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and featuree floor shows, hands-on crafts, and treats.  The event includes performances by Andy Head, a  national champion juggler, at 1 p.m.  The cost is $15 for kids ages four  and older, $5 for children ages three and younger. More information is at SciTech.


Funway, 1335 S. River St., Batavia, — The longtime area attraction offers two fun-filled evening events for families to celebrate the new year. Funway is hosting bowling parties that include two hours of bowling, shoe rental, one pizza and pitcher of pop per lane, color pin games for prizes, party hats & horns, balloon drop with prizes, glow sticks for kids, and a family photo.The first is from 5 to 7 p.m. and the second will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $129.95 per lane. Funway also is hosting a New Year’s Eve Family Skate Party from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Standard or inline skate rentals are available.  A New Year’s Balloon Drop with prizes will be held at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 per person; spectator tickets are $5 and include a party hat and noisemaker. More information can be found at

The Geneva Public Library District, 127 James St, Geneva, hosts  a Noon Year’s Eve family concert featuring Laura Doherty, a nationally touring children’s performer and award-winning recording artist. The event begins at 11:15 a.m. and runs through noon. Free tickets now are available to GPLD cardholders and on Dec. 23 for  non-cardholders. More information can be found at Geneva Park District

Pheasant Run Mega Center, 4051 E Main St., St. Charles — The center will be turned into a giant indoor amusement playground with carnival rides, hands-on activities, live DJ, stage shows, balloon drop and games. The interactive activities include indoor zip lining and trampoline, bungee jumping, inflatables, kiddie rides, petting zoo, carnival rides, games, rock climbing wall, Mickey’s Playhouse, panning for Gold Adventure, Jurassic Adventure Playland, giant Lite Brite set and mini golf course. A balloon drop is at 7 p.m. Additional entertainment and food concessions are available on a per-ticket basis and include face painting, create your own sand art, custom waxed hands molding, and makeovers. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $30 which includes a ride wristband.  More information can be found at Event Brite

St. Charles Public Library, 1 S 6th Ave, St., St. Charles — The library hosts a Glowing Noon Year Party beginning at 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 31. Families can ring in the New Year with a celebration of music, dancing, activities, and a glow-in-the-dark countdown at noon. More information can be found at St. Charles Public Library

St. Charles Park District  hosts a “Wild New Year’s Eve Party at its  Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, 3795 Campton Hills Road, from 11 a.m. to 12:12 p.m. Families can celebrate the new year playing games and participating in activities while also meeting the Hickory Knolls animals and sharing  a toast at noon.  The cost is $5 resident and $8 non-residents.  Advance registration required. More information can be found at the St. Charles Park District

Kane County Forest Preserves — For those who wish to start 2019 on a healthy footing, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County is sponsoring a family hike through LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W700 Dean St., St. Charles at 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Coffee and cocoa will be available in the Creek Bend Nature Center after the hike.  Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email to register.


Oswego —Ring in the “Noon” year at this family friendly event at the Boulder Point facility of the Oswego Park District.  The event will include gym play, making a party favor, and snacks. A countdown and balloon drop is set for noon. Registration is limited. The cost is $9 resident and $13 non-resident. More information can be found at

Planet Fun, 1505 Mitchell Drive, Oswego — hosts a family friendly New Year’s party that begins at 3 p.m. and  includes a “midnight” countdown at 7 p.m. The cost is $19 per child and $15 per adult.  The event includes a live DJ, confetti balloon drop, pizza buffet, unlimited mini golf, bounce room, and arcade games.  More information can be found at


Addison — Dave & Buster’s Family New Year’s Eve celebration.  From 5 to 8 p.m. families can celebrate the new year together.  The event includes two fun packages: for $35 guests receive an appetizer buffet, dessert, unlimited soft drinks, $20 power card, and video drop.  For $43, guests also will receive a $25 power card and unlimited video game play. The event will be held at 1155 N Swift Rd. More information can be found at Event Brite

Glen Ellyn — Ellyn’s Tap & Grill, 940 Roosevelt Road, is hosting a Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party.  Two seatings from 12 to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. include a kid’s buffet and drinks for $12.95 per person and an appetizer buffet and open bar for adults for $30 per person including taxes and gratuity. More information can be found at Event Brite

Lisle – Morton Arboretum’s Illumination: Tree Lights.  Tickets are available for specific times, beginning at 4:30 p.m and ending at 8:30 p.m through New Year’s Day. This year offers new twists on the one-mile paved path with interactive lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Seasonal music, crackling fire, cozy drinks and roast marshmallows for s’mores are available.  More information is available at the Morton Arboretum

Naperville – For the 17th  time, the DuPage Children’s Museum will open its doors for a New Year’s Celebration. Beginning at 9 a.m. until noon, families can explore the museum’s hand-on exhibits together, take part in special activities, listen to live music, and count down to the “new year.” The cost is $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers.

Countdown at the Carillon. The Naperville Park District has planned two countdowns at the Carillon at Rotary Hill.  Festivities begin  at 5:30 p.m. with a countdown at 6 p.m. for families to enjoy.  A traditional countdown will take place beginning at 11:30 p.m. More information can be found at the Naperville Park District

Naperville Yard, 1607 Legacy Circle, is hosting a pajama play party on Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event includes a five-level climbing structure, field of inflatables, crafts, games, refreshments, and a juice countdown to noon. The cost is $9 per child. Registrations must be made in advance and socks are required. More information can be found at the Naperville Yard

Villa Park – Safari Land, 701 W. North Avenue, is hosting a family event from 5 to 9 p.m. Packages include admission, buffet, raffle ticket, and party favor for $15. For an additional $5, guests can add unlimited rides.  More information can be found at Safari and Fun Land

West Chicago — Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides at Kline Creek Farm from 2-  p.m. on Dec. 31. Learn  about farming with real horsepower on a 20-minute ride through the farmstead and fields, if snow and weather permit. First-come, first-served. All ages. Under 13 with an adult. $5 per person ages 5 and up; under 5 free. No registration. For daily ride updates and private rides, call 630-876-5900. After a ride, take a Farmhouse Museum Tour between 4-4:40 p.m. Tours are free and registration not required.