6 Ways to Celebrate New Years with Kids in the Iowa City Area

When I was growing up, my family celebrated New Year’s Eve at my grandma’s home in Florida. We watched Dick Clark and ate ice cream sundaes. Just after midnight, I called my friends home in the Midwest, wishing them Happy New Year’s from the new year, and fell asleep, dreaming of glamourous and jubilant celebrations in my future.

As an adult, though, I quickly found my evenings fell short of glamour. There was one New Year’s Eve where we went to Boston with friends, only for one to discover he had left his ID at home. We were turned away at every club until we landed at a dive bar with a strict “anti-New Year’s” policy. Another year, we spent New Year’s Day at an emergency eye doctor appointment, the result of a dance floor/party hat collision that I couldn’t replicate if I tried. I could tell you the story, but really, neither of us wants that.

At some point, I became a parent and discovered New Year’s Eve parties specifically designed for kids. These celebrations were what I was waiting for all along — countdowns, confetti, and cheer, but with time to get home and enjoy an ice cream sundae. If the night goes well, I won’t even be awake to receive east coast calls from the future.

If you are looking for daytime festivities, check out these options here in the Iowa City area:

6 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s with Kids in the Iowa City Area

Kids New Year’s Eve Party at Big Grove
Where: Big Grove Brewery
When: December 31, 2021, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Enjoy a New Year’s Eve Party for kids— with all-you-can-eat cake pops, cotton candy, and popcorn for $5! The part features two times:  11 a.m.- 1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.Since the little ones need to get to bed early, BGB is making sure they don’t miss out on the fun of New Year’s Eve. Kids can dance and see a balloon drop at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. with a video of the ball drop on a big screen to recreate the feel of midnight in NYC!

The Taproom will be closing at 7 p.m. for the Adult New Years Party.

These events are free. Seating is limited and based on first-come, first-serve. In order to order food, you must have a table.

Kids New Year’s Eve Party!
Where: The Play Station – Cedar Rapids
When: December 31, 2021, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Ticket includes all-day access to the event from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Unlimited play maze, unlimited climbing walls, a $10 game card, 1 free game of Lazer Maze, and a refillable drink cup. In addition, all guests that purchase the New Year’s Eve ticket get a goodie bag and can enjoy a live DJ, balloon twisting, and more! Tickets are $24.99+ tax.

New Year’s Eve Countdown Celebration
Where: The Iowa Children’s Museum
When: December 31, 2021, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Ring in the new year all day long! Attendees will celebrate 2022 arriving across the world with hourly countdowns. Countdowns will take place at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3  p.m., and 4 p.m. No need to stop the play or gather in a large crowd—noisemakers, balloons, and other celebratory items will be distributed each hour for a museum-wide countdown over the speaker system. While you play you can also create your own party hat, take a selfie in a photo station, and complete a countdown scavenger hunt.

All activities are included with regular museum admission. Free for members!

New Year’s Scavenger Hunt
Where: Coralville Public Library
When: December 31, 2021, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Drop-in New Year’s Scavenger Hunt available in the Children’s Room until 5:30 p.m. Find items to take home and ring in the New Year!

Noon Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop
Where: Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center Pool
When: December 31, 2021, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a pool party from 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. and a pool-tastic beach ball drop once the clock strikes noon! The cost is $10 per child and pre-registration is required. Space is limited so register early.

Noon Year’s Eve
Where: North Liberty Community Center – Gym
When: December 29, 2021, 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m.
Kick-off the New Year family-style at this Roaring ’20s themed party complete with a balloon drop at noon. Join in the fun by coming in costume for crafts, snacks, music, and dancing.

How are you celebrating the New Year with your kids?

More Holiday Fun in the Iowa City Area

Ultimate Guide to the Holidays in Iowa City | 2021

Susie is a mom of two, book-lover and frequent challah baker. In addition to working at The University of Iowa, Susie is a PTA volunteer and sorority advisor. She loves date nights in the Ped Mall, catching a show at the Englert, and most of all, cuddling her family on the couch.


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