Guide to New Year's Eve in Columbus: Family-Friendly Events, and Parties

Kick off the New Year With These Kid-Friendly Events

Columbus, OH
Artem Vorobiev/Getty Images

Unfortunately for parents, you can't take the kiddies to the bar on New Year's Eve. However that doesn't mean families can't have fun when the clock strikes twelve. Instead, take your entire clan to an event geared toward the under-21 crowd. For those living around the Columbus, Ohio area there are many options for ringing in the New Year with the little ones. Just make sure to plan these family-friendly events and parties in advance, as they tend to sell out fast.

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First Night Columbus

 First Night Columbus

Arguably the biggest celebration in Columbus on New Year's Eve, First Night Columbus is a great place for families. The event features a variety of activities spread out through downtown Columbus. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., enjoy music, film, dance, games, kids' music, and creation stations.

Activities for New Year's have included a magic show, a puppet show, a planetarium, face painting, fireworks, animal shows, story time, and live music performances.

First Night began in 1995 and is part of an international alliance of more than 100 cities that showcase the visual and performing arts through New Year’s Eve celebrations that are safe, affordable, and fun. Sounds like the perfect way to welcome in the new year. Tickets are required.

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Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

 Amanda Carberry

Wildlights is a spectacular daily holiday light show that is open on New Year's Eve for your family's enjoyment. At this favorite annual holiday event, you'll be awed by the millions of LED lights, animated musical light shows, and more holiday festivities. Ride a carousel, take the Polar Express train, meet Rudolph and Bumble, visit Santa and his reindeer, and play seek-and-find. Special holiday treats will also be featured on zoo menus.

Wildlights attractions include: the Sparkling Spruce Christmas Tree display (which is lit every 30 minutes); Mrs. Claus' Kitchen with bakery sweets and hot chocolate; Comet's Cocoa Company with hot chocolate and other chocolate treats; Polar Bear Express train ride; camel rides; Santa's Reindeer Coral; and a historic 1914 carousel.

In addition to the animals made from colorful lights, you can also see real live animals. Discovery Reef, Manatee Coast, the reptile building, and the nocturnal building are all open for you to get up close and personal with some animals.

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Family Bowling Party at Sequoia Pro Bowl

 Sequoia Pro Bowl

Keep the kids entertained with a bowling party at Sequoia Lanes that features laser lights, music, shoe rental, party hats, noisemakers, and pizza for up to six participants. Choose from either an early party for kids or an exciting late-night Rockin’ Bowl Party to end the year. The late-night event offers music and unlimited games of laser light bowling.

There are even holiday bowling packages that make it even more affordable for groups and families.

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Magic Mountain Fun Center

Take your family to an all-day New Year's Eve event at Magic Mountain Polaris, where you and your loved ones can enjoy go-karts, miniature golf, laser tag, video arcade games, and more. There are specials offered on the park's rides and arcade. This is a pay-as-you-go park with no admission fee, plus parking is free. 

If you're looking to give a family a Christmas gift (perfect to use on New Year's Eve), buy one of Magic Mountain's promotional bundles. For example, a $10 package might include your choice of 80 arcade tokens or a pick-3 game pass.

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