Nifty New Year's Activities for Seattle Kids and Families

We've been busy cataloging kid-friendly and creative family events around New Year's -- and we thought we'd share a few picks. Let us know what we missed. How will you ring in 2012?

(And don't forget. You can find a complete listing of New Year's Eve family events via our calendar search.)tacoma-first-night-button-12-27-11

- Wander through Tacoma's First Night celebration, featuring dozens of performers from giant puppets to firedancers. Kids 10 and under are free, and buttons get you entry into other museums downtown (and a free pass for skating at Polar Plaza).

- Go global at the Children's Museum's Countdown in Seattle on Saturday -- a different country is celebrated each hour.

- Gather at one of the most community-oriented community gardens in Seattle -- Bradner Gardens in Mt. Baker -- to walk among the luminaria, share food, and burn the bad stuff from the old year.

- Ring in the Noon Year at Bellevue's KidsQuest Museum (staice_skating-magic-seasonrring a bubble wrap stomp) or the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett.

- Skate in the New Year at Highland arena in Shoreline, which is holding an all-day skate session that lasts until after midnight; until 11:30 p.m. at Seattle Center's Winterfest rink; until 11 p.m. at Bellevue's Magic Season arena; and until midnight at Tacoma's Polar Plaza rink (First Night passholders skate free).

- Go tubing at Snoqualmie Pass -- a guaranteed blast for everyone from toddlers to teens to grown-ups. It's open Saturday and Sunday -- and this whole week -- from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (typically, it's closed on weekdays).

- Gawk at some of our region's best holiday light displays before they're dismantled until next year -- from professional displays such as Bellevue's Garden d'Lights, Zoolights at Point Defiance and Ivar's Clam Lights to some of the mind-boggling neighborhood light displays (Seattle Times has a good list by neighborhood.)

- And for some of the best free fun to be had on New Year's Day, spectate at -- or participate in, brrr! -- one of at least four Polar Bear plunges in the area: Matthews Beach in Seattle, Long Lake in Lacey, Tacoma's Point Defiance boat launch and Idylwood Beach Park in Redmond.

P.S. -- A final tip: One of our top picks, a Caspar Babypants Kindie New Year show at the Mt. Baker Community Club, is sold out, but you can take a chance at waiting for a ticket.

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