With winter only a few short weeks away, people across the Delaware Valley are getting ready for ice skating season.
“It’s nice when the ice rinks open for the season,” said South Philadelphia resident Theresa Cinalli. “Even though Philly is one of the biggest cities in the country, there’s just about nothing to do on the weekends if you’re under 21.
Ice skating gives us a chance to do something other than going to the movies or South Street on a Saturday night.”
And where does one ice skate in Philadelphia?
The Blue Cross River Rink at Penn’s Landing is the only outdoor rink in Philadelphia. It features a huge heated tent, a snack bar, lockers and a video room used for DVD release parties.
“It can be considered Philly’s Rockefeller Center,” said Laurie Curtin, River Rink Public Relations Director.
Friday and Saturday nights feature a DJ until 1a.m., while on Sundays, the rink hosts a Battle Of The Bands.
The Army-Navy game will be featured in the video room Dec. 6 with fireworks to follow the game. College and military discounts are available for this event.
Public skating is only $5 on weekdays and $6 on weekends, with a $3 fee for skate rental. Group discounts are available for college students.
Most ice rinks are only open from November to February, but the Class of 1923 ice rink on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania distinguishes itself by having a month and a half longer season, open September to the first week of April.
“The River Rink is fun, but it is too cold to skate there, especially in January,” said Cinalli. “Penn is great because it’s inside and you don’t have to wear layers and layers of clothes.”
The Class of 1923 is also home to Drexel and Penn’s ice hockey programs.
“On a regular skate night, we get between 100 and 150 people. It’s not super crowded,” rink manager Richard Robertson said.
Admission is $6.50 with an additional $2.50 skate rental fee. The rink offers two for one coupons and special group discounts.
The Flyers Skate Zone on Comly Road in the Northeast is one of the most modern skating arenas in the area and home to Temple Ice Hockey.
When you’re not watching Temple’s icemen pummel the competition, the Skate Zone holds public skating sessions that feature laser light shows and dance music. Sessions are offered seven days a week. Admission is $6 along with a $3 skate rental fee.
If you get too cold or are just sick of skating in circles, there is also a game room to keep you occupied. For those who are tired of the pain and blisters of rental skates, the Skate Zone has a full service pro shop to get some new steel on your feet.
There are over 40 ice rinks in the Delaware Valley. These are just a few of the many choices area skaters have.
The Zamboni is fueled up. The hot chocolate is piping-hot. Lace ’em up and take the ice.
Jillian Swanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org