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Balloon Drop At Chabot Space & Science Center

Three chances today to catch this New Year's Eve event a kid-pleaser.

Ring in the New Year with your children December 31 at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland. This is one New Year's Eve celebration you won't sleep through.

For the 12th year the center is hosting its annual daytime New Year's Eve Balloon Drop, geared especially for youngsters and their families. 

Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras to capture their childrens' happy faces as the balloons are dropped.

Each child will also be given a small prize during the event.

Exactly at the stroke of 11a.m., 1p.m., and 4p.m. Pacific Standard Time, the balloons will fall and the celebration begins.

The fact that it isn't actually midnight doesn't phase organizers, "After all," they say, "at 11 a.m. here it's midnight somewhere in the world."

Keeping the environment in mind, science center representatives say when the event is over 1,000 balloons will be turned into compost instead of ending up in a landfill. The latex balloons are made from natural rubber and are biodegradable.

The balloon drop tradition began at the science center over a decade ago as a way for children to celebrate the New Year without staying up past their bedtimes.

Children may not realize it, but a bit of science lesson will also be tucked into the festivities as science center staff tell them about different time zones.

There will be three separate balloon drops for children age five and under. Two separate drops will also be held for youngsters age 6 through 12. (After years of putting on the event organizers realized younger children may want to hang onto their balloons for awhile while older children get a bit more excited, make a lot of noise and enjoy popping them.)

Of course, there will be a traditional New Year's Eve countdown at 10:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., so families should allow enough time to park and walk inside so as not to miss out on the fun.

Space is limited and tickets sell out fast. To make reservations and purchase tickets you can call the science center box office at 510-336-7373.

Admission to the balloon drop festivities is $4 per child. Normal admission prices to the science center are in effect that day and are in addition to the $4 fee.  

You can read all about the center, its admission prices and how to get there by visiting its website here. Preview the fun by scanning the attached photos from a prior year.

(Follow us on Twitter @sanleandropatch or like us at Facebook.com/sanleandropatch)

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