Why it's cool: Sure, you could celebrate New Year's with Champagne and party hats -- or you could whoop it up in style with your kids. Ring in the New Year at the Asian Art Museum, watch the balloons drop at Chabot Space & Science Center and turn New Year's confetti into art at Habitot. Skate the night away at Walnut Creek's ice rink, or trek out to Martinez for First Night, where the family-friendly festivities run all evening long.

What kids like: Partying with mom and dad lets kids get an age-appropriate dose of New Year's Eve hoopla with their favorite grownups.

What parents like: See above. No missed bedtimes, no hangovers, just good clean fun.

Dec. 30: Ring in the New Year. Join the Asian Art Museum's annual New Year's bell ringing ceremony on Sunday. To help toll the museum's 16th Century temple bell -- and guarantee good fortune in the coming year -- grab a numbered ticket at 10 a.m. in the museum's South Court. The ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m., so while away the time with children's art activities (which run until 2 p.m.) and a Shakuhachi performance at 11 a.m. Visit http://AsianArt.org or call 415-581-3500 for details.

Dec. 30: MOCHA Noisemakers. Oakland's Museum of Children's Art helps you ring in the new year with a noisemaker and party hat-making workshop from 1-4 p.m. Materials fee: $7. Details at http://www.mocha.org.

Dec. 31: Balloon Drop at Chabot.


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Oakland's cool space and science center hosts its annual balloon drop on New Year's Eve at 12:45 and 3:45 p.m. Tickets are going at the speed of light, so call 510-336-7373, ASAP.

Dec. 31: First Night Martinez. The annual family-friendly, alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration turns downtown Martinez into a wintertime festival, with music, mime, arts and crafts -- 6 p.m.-12:15 a.m. Details at http://www.FirstNightMartinez.org.

Dec. 31: Skate in the New Year. Walnut Creek's ice rink is open till 12:30 a.m., so New Year's Eve revelers can glide in the new year. Details at http://www.IceSkateWalnutCreek.com.

Jan. 2-5: Confetti Art at Habitot. Continue the celebration at Habitot as you turn confetti into polka-dot collages in the Art Studio, and watch confetti fly in the Wind Tunnel. Details at http://www.habitot.org.

-- Jackie Burrell, Times staff writer, jburrell@bayareanewsgroup.com

For more ideas for weekend family fun, visit the Times' parenting blog, aPARENTly Speaking, at http://www.ibabuzz.com/aparentlyspeaking.

The Basics

WHERE: Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland; Habitot, Berkeley; and downtown Walnut Creek and Martinez.

HOURS: Dec. 30-Jan. 5.

TICKETS: Varies.

CONTACT: Get the scoop online at http://AsianArt.org, http://www.ChabotSpace.org, http://www.FirstNightMartinez.org, http://www.IceSkateWalnutCreek.com and http://www.Habitot.org.