Noon Years Eve (copy)

Kids and families get an early start on the new year at the Noon Year’s Eve Celebration in 2018 at Colorado Springs Event Center. Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

A big-city-style New Year’s bash for kids starts at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Colorado Springs Event Center, 3960 Palmer Park Blvd.

A countdown, balloon drop and confetti blast will happen at noon during the 11th annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration. Families can enjoy the festivities through 1 p.m.

The signature event for the Pikes Peak Children’s Museum, a mobile startup seeking a permanent home, keeps growing and growing, said spokeswoman Lindsey Cherry.

The party drew a record 1,300 attendees last year, she said, with a healthy crowd expected again.

Kids can usher in the new decade with music, dancing, face painting, a bouncy house and character meet and greets.

They also can do hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities.

There will be faux snow at the Macaroni Kid Colorado Springs booth, electricity at the Colorado Springs Utilities display, a memory game from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Cognitive Development Lab board breaking at the Fear No Bullies booth and take-home pine cone bird feeders from Hike it Baby Colorado Springs.

Plus, students from Thomas MacLaren School, a state-authorized charter school, created an obstacle course, dunk tank, paper airplanes, bubble painting and shaving cream art.

Pre-event prices are $7.50 individually or $22.50 for a family of four. At-the-door prices are $10 for individuals, $30 for a family of four and $35 for a family of six.

The museum is soliciting donations to open a permanent location and will hold a silent auction during the Noon Year’s Eve event to benefit the fund.

The effort to develop a permanent children’s museum started in 2005, after a children’s museum in a storefront at The Citadel mall closed in 2001.

An inability to grow, high turnover in leadership, the loss of key grants and the Great Recession were cited among the reasons for stagnation.

In 2015, a donation of space from the U.S. Space Foundation and community fundraisers enabled the group to open a traveling exhibit, “Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

That effort also was not a long-term solution.

While organization leaders continue to work on the goal of opening a permanent site, “We don’t want the community to have to wait for the benefits of a children’s museum,” Cherry said.

So the group will expand programming and outreach in 2020 with the introduction of “mobile museums.” On-the-road displays will visit local schools and community centers next year, she said.

The museum will continue to offer its staples: in-school field trips on life sciences and physical sciences content that meets Colorado academic standards, as well as programs for toddlers and STEAM activities.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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