Naperville kids' museum welcomes new year with noon balloon drop

 
By Ann Piccininni
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 12/27/2016 6:23 AM
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  • The DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville will hold its annual Bubble Bash with a family-friendly countdown to noon on New Year's Eve.

      The DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville will hold its annual Bubble Bash with a family-friendly countdown to noon on New Year's Eve. Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Roughly 800 kids and their parents are expected to attend the Dec. 31 Bubble Bash at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville.

    Roughly 800 kids and their parents are expected to attend the Dec. 31 Bubble Bash at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville. Courtesy of Rick Beato

Roughly 800 children and their parents will demonstrate Saturday that you don't have to wait until midnight to celebrate the arrival of the new year.

The kids and moms and dads will gather on the morning of Dec. 31 at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville to celebrate a family-friendly version of the Times Square ball drop.

At precisely noon, inflatable beach balls will fall from the ceiling as Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico conducts the countdown to the new year.

Before that highlight of the museum's annual Bubble Bash celebration arrives, museum visitors will celebrate the beginning of 2017 with an exploration of the underwater world.

"The theme is 'Under the Sea: Dive Into the New Year!'" said Katie Cadena, the museum's senior public programs manager. "The whole museum is filled with new activities. We'll have all our classic exhibits, supplemented with art projects and activities."

Adventurers will enter the undersea world via a red door marking their passage. As they do, each child will be given a pail to collect stickers from each of the activity areas. Activities are designed for children age 2 to about 10 or 12, she said.

In the museum's art space, The Studio, children will use paper crafts, Crayons and pencils to make a "bioluminescent" sea mural, fish kites, woven turtle shells and sand paintings.

The game room will host an octopus ring toss, magnet fishing and a lobster claw catcher. Kids also can decorate cookies and discover an exhibit called "arctic water."

And revelers who want to preserve Bubble Bash memories will have the chance to get family portraits done by a professional photographer, Cadena said.

Cadena said a DJ and Circle City Steel, a live steel drum band, will provide music.

"We do have food available for purchase in the cafe area," she said.

The Bubble Bash is the nonprofit museum's largest fundraiser of the year, Cadena said, and it changes every year, with new themes and attractions.

A burst pipe caused flood damage to the three-story museum building on Washington Street in January 2015.

"The flooding affected all three floors," she said.

Cadena said the museum was closed for nine months while repairs were made. The mishap gave the museum an opportunity to renovate as well as restore.

"We're basically a new museum from what we were two years ago," she said.

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