WORCESTER, Mass. — Celebrating New Year's Eve doesn't always require staying up until midnight. Just ask the dozens of families who stopped by the EcoTarium in Worcester for "Noon Year's Eve."

When the clock hit noon, Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty and EcoTarium president and CEO Noreen Smith volleyed beach balls into the crowd — and dozens more followed. 

"It's such a thrill. The kids love it, and you look down at the crowd, it's the entire city of Worcester and the communities around us," Smith said. "We have families from all over who come here, and everybody is together having fun. It couldn't be better."

What You Need To Know

  • Dozens of families gathered at the EcoTarium for a "Noon Year's Eve" celebration

  • Activities for kids were held at the planetarium and throughout the building

  • Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty helped lead a countdown to noon

  • Families also wrote down New Year's resolutions and posted them on a wall

"It's a great community event, they do this every year so if this is your first time hearing about this, come by next year," Petty added. 

The countdown was only part of the early celebration. Kids were also able to take in shows at the Planetarium and make a 2022 time capsule, among other activities.

"We have seven different tabletops of kids making noisemakers, making their New Year's resolution, making family time capsules, and it's really just a great opportunity for kids to have some fun, hands-on learning," said Katie Chappell, the director of education and exhibits.

New Year's resolutions were hung up on the wall, with goals ranging from staying happy and healthy in 2023, to simply trying to learn the ABCs. 

One family Spectrum News spoke with said their goals include learning how to do fractions, getting better at math, being more present and in the moment, and becoming a veterinarian. 

As 2022 came to an unofficial close, everyone was also reflecting on all the positives the busy year brought — Petty included. 

"I think we have a lot to celebrate here in the city of Worcester, especially our diversity, how we come together as a city in a time of challenges," Petty said. "We have since COVID and prior to COVID. Every organization gets together, and that's what makes Worcester special."