By Shayna Mace
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Where will your family be when the ball drops? Whether it’s on the slopes or in the water, here are some cool kid-friendly spots that you can celebrate—even if you don’t make it to midnight!
Green Bay: Party by Day, Games by Night
For daytime fun, the Green Bay Children’s Museum is hosting Kid’s Rockin’ Eve with dance music, activities and a bubble stomp where kids can—you got it—stomp on bubble wrap for some good, old-fashioned laughs.
If the tikes need to burn off a little energy, Tundra Lodge Resort Waterpark & Conference Center is the perfect family escape. The waterpark is 30,000 square feet of aquatic fun and has water slides, a lazy river, splash pad and toddler area. If your tween or teen likes games, the Gold Rush Arcade has 70 arcade-style games like skee-ball and air hockey. After all that fun it’s easy to eat right at the resort’s Caribou Restaurant or grab a drink at Yukon Jax’s Bar & Grill.
Lake Geneva: Cruise or Ski the Evening Away
One of the state’s most unique ways to spend the festive evening, the Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s Santa Cruise will delight kiddos and adults. Depart from the harbor in Williams Bay in a heated, covered and decorated boat and view the lights along the shoreline of Geneva Lake. Afterward, catch dinner nearby in downtown Lake Geneva at family-friendly Popeye’s or Gino’s East for delicious Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza. If you’re staying overnight, Egg Harbor Café has excellent breakfast food and a solid kids’ menu.
For an all-in-one experience that’s easy, head to the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa for a number of New Year’s Eve festivities. Tweens and teens will enjoy a celebration tailored to them with food, arcade-style games, crafts, cookie decorating, kid-friendly toast and more DIY activities. Adults can head over to the Déjà Vu party for entertainment, food and drinks. If the kids are too young to join the party, the resort’s Kids Are Grand childcare area can take care of the kids or parents can hire an in-room sitter (both for an additional fee). And if your family wants to ring in the New Year with a little outdoor revelry, the New Year’s Eve Hills and Thrills package includes a two-night stay, four lift tickets for skiing and snowboarding, and a New Year’s Eve dinner with food stations, cash bar and DJ.
Milwaukee: A City of Celebrations
Make your family’s NYE educational with visits to two of the city’s popular spots. The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum hosts a morning party with activities, a dance party and games for kids. Plus the museum’s open to explore, too. The younger ones won’t want to miss the countdown to noon complete with an apple juice “toast” for a nod to New Year’s Eve revelry.
At the Mitchell Park Conservatory, families will love the New Year’s Eve Family Festival. The evening’s lineup includes entertainment, music, food and a balloon drop. And experiencing it all among the beautiful flora in the Domes isn’t too bad either.
Before or after your adventures, stop at AJ Bombers for a kid-approved peanut delivery system (you have to see it to believe it), Water Street Brewery for on-site brewed suds and comfortable atmosphere or Transfer Pizzeria Café for tons of gourmet pizza options.
Wisconsin Dells: All-in-One Fun
The Dells, known for its endless entertainment options, is prime for family fun. And what’s New Year’s Eve without a little indulgence before you tackle your resolutions? The Kalahari’s New Year’s Eve buffet is a rich way to ring in the New Year with the family. Enjoy lots of options (seafood, appetizers, desserts) and a separate children’s buffet. The resort will have a family-friendly celebration with activities and dancing, too. And of course pre- or post-buffet should include a visit to the indoor waterpark or indoor theme park with Ferris wheel, laser tag and more.
At Mt. Olympus celebrate at the family-friendly party with live DJ, balloon drop, champagne toast for the adults and more activities. And right after Christmas, the resort’s special Ice Castle Wonderland is open through mid-March. It’s a large-scale ice sculpture that resort guests can walk through to marvel the winter season. Add in stops to the indoor waterpark and theme park and your family will have more than enough options to keep everyone happy.