Here are some family-friendly options for celebrating the 2009-2010 new year in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bay Area Discovery Museum - Sausalito
What: Noon Year's Eve
When: December 31 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Museum closes at 2 p.m.)
Details: First annual count down to New Year's. Celebrate the clock striking 12 noon and create your own noisemakers and party hats as the ball drops.
Asian Art Museum - San Francisco
What: Strike a Japanese temple bell to ring in the new year
When: December 31st. 9:30-11 a.m. bell ringing for museum members. 11 a.m. bell ringing for everyone. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. art activites while you wait your turn to ring the bell.
Details: Good explanation of Japanese bell ringing tradition here.
RSVP: none. Children 12 and under get in free. Get your numbered tickets at the front desk.
Hiller Aviation Museum - San Carlos
What: Noon Year's Eve Celebration
When: December 31st, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Details: Face painting, Tree Frog Treks petting zoo, games, bounce house, climbing wall, flight simulation game, live entertainment, balloon drop
RSVP: none. Event free with admission.
What: Balloon Drop
When: December 31, noon, 1:00, 2:00. Museum closes at 4 p.m. that day.
Details: create a noisemaker, a party hat and "countdown to noon across the time zones"
When: through January 3rd, 2010, 5:30-9 p.m.
Details: This isn't a special New Year's Eve program, but if you're looking to do something fun that night, check out the Zoolights.
Embarcadero FireworksI found several mentions of this midnight fireworks display online, but couldn't find an official looking website to point you to. The fireworks happened in the past, near the Ferry Plaza. Here are two links, for a kayak tour plus a nightclub event with up-close viewing. Neither of these are appropriate for young kids, but if fireworks were a must-see, you could head to hte Embarcadero and just watch outdoors.
I'm sure there's more happening - please comment with more ideas!!!