Taking the kids to the races sounds like a recipe for disaster and boredom for everyone involved, except that there is hours of kids entertainment planned for Twilight Race Day! It includes pony rides from 12pm to 4pm, a magician, a face painter, a balloon twister, a jumping castle and giant board games. There’s even an Australian Wildlife Show with visiting lizards, pythons, frogs, crocodiles, birds and marsupials, and kids can pat certain animals.
Open from 12 to 5pm, with races starting at 1pm, some families might like to spend the day at the races before watching the fireworks later in the evening. You can call Gosford City Events on 4322 7726 to arrange your free ticket, otherwise the cost for general admission on the day is $10 for adults and kids are free.
This is an alcohol-free event that is separate from the races and the Mariners game at Bluetongue Stadium that are on the same day. Festivities kick off around 5pm at the Central Coast Leagues Club field, where you can sit with the kids and enjoy entertainment such as live music and a jumping castle before the fireworks at 9:15pm rather than midnight so kids don’t have to be out too late. You can walk over to the Gosford Waterfront Carnival at Gosford City Park anytime before or after the fireworks to go on the rides too. You may want to catch the ferry across if you live in the Empire Bay or Woy Woy areas as it will be picking around 4pm and departing shortly after the fireworks have finished.
New Years Eve at The Entrance
Another alcohol-free event, this celebration is being held in Memorial Park, and there will be plenty of security to ensure it is safe for kids to attend. It starts early at 12pm, and there will be stalls and rides as well as plaster painting and sand art. Live music will be playing on the main stage, and there will be fireworks at 9pm (there are no midnight fireworks at this event). The water play area and new playground will be open too.
Mum and dad can eat dinner in the restaurant while kids can dance and ring in the new year at the kids disco in the auditorium from 6pm to 9pm. Then the whole family can go to the sporting field next door to watch the club’s own fireworks display at 9pm. Entry to the disco is free to kids who have parents that are members of the club. If you live locally you can catch the courtesy bus home. Call the club on 4382 4890 to make a booking.
Macmasters Beach SLSC
The surf life saving club is throwing a free kids disco, starting at 6pm. where The Jitterbugs will be performing until 8pm, then there will be a band for adults afterwards if they want to stay around with older kids. There’s no fireworks at this event.
Hunter & Newcastle Area
For anyone north on the Coast, you may want to check out New Years Eve celebrations happening in the Hunter and Newcastle regions. We’ve included them in this list even though they’re not local because they have lots of kids entertainment and will all have fireworks displays.
The Hunter Valley Gardens is continuing their Christmas Lights Spectacular for New Years Eve which means when you enter the gardens your entry fee includes access to the display as well as a fireworks display at 9pm (before the gardens close at ten). The kids fun zone at the back of the gardens also has jumping castles, a giant slide, and a show featuring magicians. A family pass is $72 for 2 adults and 2 kids and it’s $7.50 for a wristband for the fun zone. You can buy tickets on the HVG website.
There’s also new year celebrations happening at Tucker Park for the Paterson Festival where there will be live music and clowns, a slippery slide, games, tattoos and face painting for kids. The gates open at 4pm, and the children's program starts at 6pm, and the main fireworks display is at 9pm. There will be another fireworks display at midnight too. It’s $15 for a family ticket.
Finally, there are festivities at Newcastle NYE 2016 at Honeysuckle in King Street. A kids play zone will be set up on the Newcastle Museum lawn from 5pm to 8pm and there will be a Splashdown Water Show held on the harbour too. There will be three stages featuring different entertainment and roving performances from characters from Hunter Drama's production of Shrek The Musical Jr. and other surprise acts. There will be lots of things to eat with food vans and market stalls, and a fireworks display over the harbour at 9pm.