“We’re going to be sore tomorrow!” my husband announced as we left Center Ice Arena this afternoon with our two children.
He is right, but the adventure was well worth it.
Seeing that this weekend’s weather was going to be cold, rainy and gray, we decided to try out the new ice skating rink that opened ITP – Inside the Perimeter (Atlanta speak for inside the I-285 loop). The facility opened just in time for the winter holidays.
My husband, who played hockey as a kid, was looking forward to skating on a “real” skating rink. In the past, we’ve skated at Centennial Olympic Park and Park Tavern, which offer smaller scale, temporary rinks during the holiday season. Not only was this a permanent, regulation size rink, but they offered a choice between regular skates and hockey skates.
The website shows the calendar for the public skate times. For a two hour session, the cost is $8 to skate and an additional $4 for skate rental.
Arriving for the 1:30 public slot, we entered a big room with large windows showing the rink. To the left was the line to purchase tickets and get armbands. On the other side of the food counter was the booth stocked by two attendants to get skates. In the middle of the room were three hexagon shaped tables and plenty of benches to change into the skates.
What I particularly liked was that there were benches in front of the glass windows where parents could sit and watch their children skate, without getting themselves on the ice. (We’re almost there as parents, but need a bit more practice before our offspring are ready to spread their wings that wide.)
To the right of the front door is a room that will soon house lockers to place valuables. Since the facility just opened, the lockers haven’t been installed yet. However, the manager let me put my purse behind the ticket counter.
Several entrances onto the rink help allay back-up jams. We went to the left of the plate glass windows through the two sets of glass double doors, down the ramp almost to the midway part of the rink to get on. Above us, bleachers (accessed by the staircase next to the locker rental area) gave spectators a better view.
The ice was smooth. But the reverie was soon broken by sounds of thud, bump and “waaah,” from kids learning to skate for the first time.
It took me a few laps to get my ice skating groove and then I could help with our kids. Even they improved and got more confident after a few minutes. On the other side of the rink, there were benches just off the rink on both sides of the penalty box – with additional exits off of the rink and back to the large room. A large set of speakers with a digital clock hung from the middle of the room.
“Just glide,” I heard a father tell his young son.
Another father was consoling his daughter, “Everybody hates to fall, but it happens.”
After about an hour, we noticed most of the young kids wore out and went home. More adults and older kids came out onto the rink. We stopped to grab some refreshments – hot dogs, Powerade and pocorn – which were reasonably priced.
Another 30 minutes back on the rink and we were tired.
Center Ice Arena is located on Roswell Road just north of the Prado shopping center. They offer lessons for learning how to ice skate and how to play hockey. For more information, visit their website at www.centericearena.org.