New Year’s Eve: Family spots in New Jersey to ring in 2020
There’s still time for New Jersey families looking for New Year’s Eve fun with the kids. A few events wrap up early for the youngest crowd who might be in bed before 2019 is over. Call ahead and check ticket availability before heading out.
1. iPlay America (Monmouth County)
110 Schanck Road, Freehold
Seating for dinner is either at 7:30 or 9:30 p.m.
The year-round place for all-ages fun in Freehold, with a special bash to greet 2020. There's a Party and Dining Pass that includes a dinner reservation for a buffet style meal, plus some unlimited rides, attractions, a game card to start, party favors and countdown to midnight. (Admission is free for toddlers under 36 inches tall). There's also a Party Pass available for both adults and kids, without the dinner reservation.
2. Adventure Aquarium New Year's Eve Splash (Camden County)
1 Riverside Drive, Camden
10 a.m - 6 p.m.
Visit with your favorite animals during extended hours, enjoy DJ "Shell-ebration" Dance Parties and end the evening on the waterfront to see a twilight fireworks display over the Delaware River. Activities included with Aquarium admission.
3. Great Adventure (Ocean County)
1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson
1 - 9 p.m
The theme park in Jackson is offering its seasonal festivities for those who’d like to cap off their New Year’s at a reasonable hour. "Holiday in the Park” on New Year’s Eve will offer this year’s holiday lights, with over a million twinkling bulbs park-wide, toast a s’more (or four) by the fire pits and go on a few rides before heading home. There's a New Year's Day (Jan. 1) fireworks celebration planned this year at the park.
4. Medieval Times New Year's Eve 2020 (Bergen County)
New Jersey Castle, 149 Polito Ave., Lyndhurst
9:30 p.m. - 1:30 a.m.
There's a chance to ring in the New Year, with the lords and ladies of Medieval Times. A special NYE package includes the two-hour tournament, four-course feast, admission to the Museum of Torture, party favors, music and dancing, champagne toast at midnight (non-alcoholic drink for minors), midnight countdown and "midnight snack."
5. Spend NYE Overnight on the Battleship (Camden County)
Battleship New Jersey, 62 Battleship Place, Camden
5 p.m. - 9 a.m. New Year's Day
Families can welcome 2020 aboard the Battleship New Jersey — the overnight program features dinner and breakfast served at the chowline, a guided tour of the Battleship and the chance to sleep in the same bunks as the crew of the USS New Jersey. The Battleship also will offer guests a special view to watch the twilight or Midnight Fireworks over the Delaware River. Guests must be part of a family; at least one parent or guardian and one child age 6-17.
6. Roll into 2020 at Bowlero (Monmouth & Middlesex Counties)
1400 Route 36, Hazlet 732-264-0800
1 Carolier Lane, North Brunswick 732-846-2424
Also at AMF Strathmore Lanes
1061-g Route 34, Aberdeen, 732-566-7500
Depending on your kiddos' ages, there are daytime or evening party packages that feature unlimited bowling, signature menu items, champagne toasts and premium bar packages.
7. Morris County’s First Night (Morris County)
4:45 p.m. - 12 a.m.
New Jersey’s traditionally biggest First Night celebration is in Morristown, with a packed schedule of family-friendly, alcohol-free festivities. This year involves 100-plus artists, more than 40 performances at 16 inside venues, with a free shuttle running to all locations. There's also a Light Up The Night show at 9:15 p.m. and a Midnight Countdown to Welcome in the New Year (at midnight).
8. Ocean City First Night (Cape May County)
various sites in Ocean City
4 p.m. - 12 a.m.
A full schedule, from ice skating, inflatables and indoor swimming for early activities, plus magic shows, a karaoke party, and lots of live music and other entertainers. The evening wraps with a fireworks show at midnight. Admission ‘button sales‘ also support local charities. On New Year's Day, there's also a First Day at the Beach ocean plunge for brave participants.
9. First Night Ocean County (Ocean County)
Seaside Heights Boardwalk
12 - 5 p.m.
An afternoon family celebration along the Seaside Heights Boardwalk includes games, crafts, face-painting and shows, with early fireworks at 5 p.m. (weather permitting).
10. Dave and Buster's (Middlesex County)
Dave and Buster's, 274 Woodbridge Center Drive, Woodbridge
noon until 3 p.m.
The arcade at Woodbridge Center Mall is offering a New Year's afternoon celebration geared toward families that includes an appetizer buffet, dessert, unlimited soft drinks a $25 Power Card per guest, unlimited video game play and a video ball drop to ring in the New Year.
11. Sahara Sam’s (Burlington County)
535 North Route 73, West Berlin
7 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
The indoor water park is offering a ‘Midnight at the Oasis’ for families this New Year’s. Revelers can splash the night away on the water attractions, enjoy a foam party, music by DJ, play games and giveaways. Each ticket also includes a midnight toast — champagne for adults and sparkling cider for the kids. (Children 2 and under are free.)
12. Garden State Discovery Museum (Camden County)
2040 Springdale Rd, Ste 100, Cherry Hill
Noon and 3 p.m.
Be the first to ring in the New Year and still get to bed on time. The entire Museum will be singing and dancing and counting down to 2020, twice in the daytime. The first is an 11:45 am countdown to noon, followed by a 15 minute countdown to 3 p.m.
Also of note: Hogmanay Bonfire (Mercer County)
100 Meadow Road, Lawrenceville
6 - 8 p.m.
The event rooted in Scottish tradition will be in the Great Meadow behind the historical Brearley House in Lawrenceville. "Create a list of all the bad things you want to forget about 2019" and bring it to the fire on New Year's Eve. The most important aspect of any Hogmanay celebration is cleansing for the new year. According to the description at Revolutionary NJ, "Cleansing includes paying off old debts, washing the home, and banishing thoughts of bad happenings from the previous year."