Get out and skate!

Get out and skate!

MetroParks Ice Rink Opens at Riverscape

By Valerie Beerbower

The holidays are a special time when family and friends gather to celebrate and create memories together. Often, that includes food and beverage indulgences that can really pack on the pounds. But Five Rivers MetroParks offers a solution that will still give families the quality time they desire, combined with a recreational experience in a fun atmosphere. MetroParks Ice Rink, located under the pavilion at RiverScape MetroPark in downtown Dayton, offers skate rentals, ice sports programs, lessons, special events and even private rentals.

Its location combines a scenic view of the Great Miami River and a vibrant urban atmosphere with downtown Dayton shopping, dining and entertainment options just steps away. “We unveiled the new skating rink in 2010 and it has been growing in popularity ever since,” said Urban Program Coordinator Kendra Foote. Find the daily operational schedule online at metroparks.org/icerink.

The rink will open the day after Thanksgiving – Nov. 23 – and stay open through the end of February. MetroParks Ice Rink is open daily with special hours during holidays. “This year, we’re also adding a few more options for families looking for a fun activity in a cool, downtown setting,” Foote said.

Monday through Thursday, there is no admission fee – those who bring their own skates during weekday hours can skate for free! Rentals are available for $5 during these weekday hours. Rentals run from preschool size eight to women’s size 11 and men’s size 15 in whole sizes. Admission on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays is $7 and includes the cost of skate rentals, if needed. Children ages three and under are free with a paying adult.

Dayton-area residents who miss the fun and camaraderie of summer softball leagues have a unique opportunity to get their friends and co-workers together for a winter league sport. Broomball is an on-ice sport that does not require skating. Similar to hockey, teams must score goals by moving from one end of the ice to the other with a goalie defending their net. Instead of a puck, broomball is played with plastic balls and sticks with plastic, webbed “brooms” are used in place of traditional hockey sticks. Teams are forming now for competitive and recreational leagues that play in the evening. Visit www.daytonbroomball.org/riverscape to sign up. Not ready to join the team? Check out a Try Broomball program, hosted by the Dayton Broomball Association. Another winter sport bringing brooms and ice together is curling. Learn how to play this Olympic sport Jan. 22, 29, and Feb. 5. Visit metroparks.org/skating for details on these programs and links to register for Try Broomball and Try Curling programs.

New programs just for families also were added to the lineup. Beginning Skate lessons take place every other Sunday and will be separated by age groups. On Jan. 15 and Feb. 19, parents will have a special opportunity to skate with their children, get their picture taken with ice rink mascot Parker the Penguin and enjoy a complimentary cup of hot chocolate during Mommy and Me (and Daddy, too!) programs. Check the current issue of ParkWays – delivered to Montgomery County homes and available at Five Rivers MetroPark facilities – for details on programs and how to register. Online registration for these and other programs is available at metroparks.org/skating.

Kick off the weekends on Friday nights at the rink for on-ice dance parties. DJs spin tracks for everything from pop to country to hits from the television show “Glee.” Visit metroparks.org/skating for information about upcoming theme nights.

Café Vélo will re-open for the skating season, featuring comfort foods, snacks and healthy fare, such as salads, wraps and soups. No trip to MetroParks Ice Rink is complete without a cup of hot chocolate to drink while sitting beside a glowing fire pit. Visit metroparks.org/riverscape and click on the “amenities” tab for the link to Café Vélo to find concession hours and the current menu.

Looking for a “cool” holiday party for your extended family or an unforgettable office get-together? Rent the rink from 6-8 p.m. on Sundays and Thursdays. The $300 fee includes 50 pairs of skates and 50 cups of hot chocolate. For an extra $75, you can have a special guest – Parker the Penguin! Dates fill quickly for these private rink rental functions, so be sure to book soon. Call (937) 275-PARK (7275) for more information or to make a reservation.

Another option for smaller get-togethers is a Parker Party. For $150, Parker Parties include 10 rink admissions and rentals, plus two 6-foot tables and chairs, invitations and envelopes, and a meal (hot chocolate, chips and a hot dog) from Café Vélo. Parker Parties make an ideal function for children’s birthdays and are available any day of the week, including weekends (except holidays). Book a Parker Party today by calling (937) 275-PARK (7275).

Reach DCP freelance writer Valerie Beerbower at ValerieBeerbower@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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