Hundreds of people ring in the new year at local museums

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockford's Burpee Museum helped countries all over the world ring in the new year by celebrating the city's diversity with an international day of fun.

Each hour the museum dropped leaves onto visitors to celebrate the New Year in a different country. Hundreds of guests took part in making New Year’s crafts like masks and noise makers. Several different dance groups performed their traditional dances. The museum says it wants to highlight and celebrate the different cultures that make up our city.

"Rockford's such a wonderful, diverse location so we bring people from different kinds of cultures together and having an opportunity to share our different perspectives on the world is just really exciting. And it's been a great celebration of the diversity here in Rockford and all the really exciting things that we do as different kinds of people,” said executive director of Burpee Museum Anne Weerda.

The Discovery Center is also celebrating the start of the New Year with their countdown to fun event. The museum says nearly 1200 people visit the Discovery Center each New Year’s Eve to play games, make crafts and watch the ball drop. The museum says some families have made celebrating New Year’s at the Discovery Center a family tradition.

"They can make their own hats, their own noise makers. They’re ringing in the New Year with jingle bells. We've got gingerbread play dough, we've got bird feeders. We can build stuff we can decorate stuff, boy are we having a good time,” said Corinne Sosso, director of education and programs at the Discovery Center.

You can kick off New Year’s Day by playing at the Discovery Center Monday. The museum will be open all day to continue celebrating the start of 2018.