Triangle Rings in 2012 New Year with Family Fun

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Got plans to celebrate the New Year with your family? Across the Triangle, you'll find lots of family-friendly holiday events designed to please kids and grown-ups of all ages. Sample culture from Africa to France, or escape to the beauty of North Carolina's state parks.

On Dec. 29-30, Cary and Durham will host free family-friendly celebrations of Kwanzaa, a holiday that highlights African-American family, community and culture. Enjoy live performances, children's activities and a market featuring handmade arts and crafts with African themes. See Triangle Celebrates Kwanzaa with Family-Friendly Events for details.

On Saturday, First Night Raleigh, an annual New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Raleigh, offers a French twist for 2012. Ride "La Grande Roue de Raleigh," a 90-foot Ferris wheel, and take in Gypsy Jazz for a sample of French culture. You'll find lots more live music, comedy and dance performances as well as interactive art installations. A Children's Celebration featuring arts and crafts, storytelling, giant puppets and other fun activities starts at 2 p.m. at Bicentennial Plaza, located between the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences?. Get all the details in Carolina Parent's article onFirst Night Raleigh. Also see our Daily Calendarfor details on Marbles Kids Museum's Noon Year's Eve event, when guests wearing a First Night Raleigh badge receive free admission.

Also on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-noon, Pump It Up of Raleigh, located at 10700 World Trade Blvd., will host a Kids Noon Year's Open Jump event so families can celebrate the big countdown to the New Year together. Dine on pizza and grape juice. Adults bounce for free. For details on how to buy tickets, visit our Daily Calendar.

On Sunday, why not start 2012 off by heading outdoors with your kids? It's fun and easier than ever this year. N.C. state parks will be kicking off a new tradition for New Year's Day by offering First Day Hikes on trails across the state. The hikes, guided by rangers and volunteers, will be held at 28 state parks. All state parks and state recreation areas will be open on the holiday with cold-weather recreation opportunities and warm visitor centers with exhibit halls presenting cultural and natural history. You'll find detailed information about scheduled hikes in North Carolina's state parks under "Education" on the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation website, If you're looking to get more exercise and stay fit this year, read Carolina Parent's 4 Fun Goals for a Healthier, Closer Family.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, cat lovers might want to visit Meeowing in the New Year, an event featuring vendors and 250 cats in competition at the Holshauser building, of the N.C. State Fairgrounds, in Raleigh. See our Daily Calendar for ticket prices, event times, and more details.

Headed to the movies? Be sure to check Jean's Movie Choices for Kids first to see what's appropriate for your tot, tween or teen.

For family exhibits at local museums or more fun things to do with the kids, visit our January Long-Running eventslisting. We offer details on fun that ranges from a Genghis Khan museum exhibition to the Raleigh Winterfest outdoor skating rink.

Carolina Parent's listing of January 2012 weekly funis also out, and you can see it here.  Be sure to call ahead to check what's open before you head out.

Indoors or outdoors, wherever you're celebrating the New Year, we at Carolina Parent wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2012!


Categories: Activities, BT Activities, Family Fun, Family Ties, For You, Green Living, Lifestyle, Preschool Activities, Preschoolers, School Kids, Seasonal, Seasonal Fun, SK Activities, Things To Do, Tweens and Teens, Winter Holidays