Get out & skate

A few patrons enjoying their first skate of the year. Photos courtesy of Leah Stahl. A few patrons enjoying their first skate of the year. Photos courtesy of Leah Stahl.

The MetroParks Ice Rink opens again this November

By Valerie Beerbower

A few patrons enjoying their first skate of the year. Photos courtesy of Leah Stahl.

A few patrons enjoying their first skate of the year. Photos courtesy of Leah Stahl.

Ever watch the winter Olympics and secretly wish you could zoom across the ice, deftly and effortlessly flying through the air, your sequined skirt sparkling in the spotlight as you make your final rotation on a gravity-defying triple axel and the roar of the crowd drowns out the remixed ’80s rock ballad? What? Oh, yeah, me neither, it was just, you know, completely hypothetical.

If you can’t make it to Sochi next year (with or without a glittery unitard), you can still enjoy frozen fun right here in downtown Dayton. The MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape MetroPark opens the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 25. Sheltered under the covered pavilion, the rink is the largest outdoor skating rink in the region. Patrons can look forward to a full season with special holiday hours, plenty of skates in a variety of sizes to rent, and programs to engage and instruct budding Peggy Flemings or Kurt Brownings.

The ice rink will host outdoor skating through March 11, 2012. Patrons may skate daily. Monday through Thursdays, there is no admission charge, so if you have your own skates, you can practice your figure-eights for free. Don’t have a pair? No problem; skate rentals are just $3 on weekdays. Everyone gets into the rink for $5 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and this cost includes rentals if you need them.

Skate rental sizes range from preschool size 8 through women’s size 11 and men’s size 15 in whole sizes. While the rink is open, you can also take advantage of delicious treats from Café Vélo concessions, including a cozy cup of hot chocolate, warm chicken wraps or soft pretzels.

Want to host the “coolest” party in town? You can rent the MetroParks Ice Rink Sunday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. The $200 rental fee includes 50 pairs of skates and 50 cups of hot chocolate. Host your next birthday bash, youth group outing, office holiday party or family get-together at this unique venue. Call the Urban Events office at (937) 274-0126 for further details or to reserve your date. (We sold out in 2010-2011 season, so be sure to reserve your date quickly!)

If you’ve never skated before and would like to learn, or if you’ve skated a few times and are still a bit wobbly, consider attending a Fundamentals of Skating lesson. These Sunday drop-in programs cost just $5, and that covers your skate rentals. A skating veteran will lead your lesson and teach you to skate forward, backward, stopping techniques—even the proper way to fall! This program is a must for people of all ages who want to learn the basics of skating in order to enjoy the whole season. Attend as many programs as you’d like until you’ve reached a comfortable skill level. Children will love special programs just for them, like Sunday afternoons Skate with Parker programs. Got your basics covered? Take your toe pick to the next level with themed dance nights. Rock out to hip-hop, disco, sock hop classics, country — even hits from Glee. Visit to get the scoop on ice skating programs.

Got out-of-town guests or kids to entertain over the holidays? The rink will be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. Admission on these special days is $5 and includes rentals. There are even special weekday hours over winter break to unglue the kids from TV or video games and outside playing! Visit for the complete schedule.

Those who are into friendly backyard-style sports should check out broomball. Broomball is a team sport played on ice. Players wear shoes rather than skates, and use a “broom” (a stick shaped like a broom) to move the ball around the ice and score goals. Rules and strategies are similar to those of ice hockey. Gather your co-ed team together and register at The $200 team cost covers your six-game season and includes sticks, helmets and balls. The 30-minute games are played Monday and Wednesday nights between 6 and 8 p.m.

If you don’t have a team but are still interested in playing, you can sign up as a “free agent.” Individuals on this list are sent out to team captains so they can fill their roster if they’re short, or if one of their team members can’t make it to a game and they need a substitute. Spectators also are encouraged to attend.

Season passes are available for $25 per person and $60 per family of five. Skate anytime the rink is open to the public (November 25, 2011, through March 11, 2012). Skate rentals and rink admission are included in the price of your pass.

Be sure to hit the MetroParks Ice Rink this winter at RiverScape MetroPark. After all, what would Brian Boitano do?

Reach DCP freelance writer Valerie Beerbower at

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