Parenthood comes with sacrifices, one of which is staying out late. There’s usually only one night of the year when that becomes an issue; New Year’s Eve. The holiday revolves around staying up late—but with kids that idea can be daunting, or downright unpleasant. How do we preserve the fun of the holiday while keeping a manageable schedule with young children? It might take a little thinking outside the box, but New Years can be fun without staying up until midnight. Here are a couple suggestions for spending New Year’s Eve with kids in the Black Hills.

Celebrate Around the World

The easiest answer is to celebrate with a different timezone. Since the Black Hills are on Mountain time, we can easily celebrate at 10 p.m. with the East Coast. If your kids can make it that late, New York City’s ball drop is the quintessential American celebration of the holiday.

A similarly big bash happens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at 8 p.m. locally, with over 15 minutes of fireworks on Copacabana Beach. If you want to go even earlier, Paris, France will celebrate at 4 p.m. our time. Their show includes fireworks and a light show on the Eiffel Tower. It’s perfect for families who want to celebrate but not break an early bedtime. For added fun, serve food and drinks from the location you’re celebrating with, such as crêpes for France. Yulla’s Brazilian Bistro in Spearfish is a great place to pick up some Brazilian treats as well. 

Walk Down Memory Lane

Not overly concerned about fireworks displays or keeping exact timing? A great way to celebrate New Years with kids is with activities that reflect on the past year, while making goals for the next. Break out family photos and videos you’ve taken this year and talk a walk down memory lane. Ask your kids what their favorite memories were, and what they want to do more of next year.

This is also the perfect time to talk about resolutions you want to set for the next year. You can set them individually or as a family, but make sure everyone is on board and agrees if you choose a family resolution. For lasting impact, consider writing everyone’s goals down and hanging them somewhere like the kitchen fridge. That way you can help each other work on them all year long!

Get out of the House

There are fun New Year’s Eve events here in the Black Hills that are family-focused. One of the most well-known is the party at WaTiki Indoor Waterpark, with tons of food and family fun for all ages. Usually the party ends early enough that kids can have plenty of fun and still be in bed at a decent hour. For older kids who can stay up late and tolerate the cold weather, Main Street Square in Rapid City hosts a ball drop and ice skating party. For older kids, here are some celebrations around the hills you can look into as well.

Many businesses are closed for the holiday, but there’s plenty of open trail throughout the Black Hills. Most of them will be quieter than normal—perfect for family bonding time outside. State parks throughout the country offer First Day Hikes as a way to kick off your year outdoors having fun and creating memories; both Custer State Park and the Mickelson Trail usually participate. There are also great day trips and scenic drives you can take, here are a few ideas!

Whatever your family decides to do this year, New Year’s Eve with kids in the Black Hills can be fun. It’s also a great time to slow down and spend time together. The holiday season is winding down, and a fresh start is ahead of us. Get everyone excited about what is to come while enjoying the time we have.

WORDS: ASHLEY JOHNSON
PHOTO: ANNIE SPRATT