Open Skate at Prince William Ice Center

On Saturday night, I took the kids to the Prince William Ice Center to bide my time as a football widow.  (I was pulling for Tebow, but rooting for the Patriots)

I was a little nervous when I pulled up and couldn’t find a parking space- but there were still a lot of skaters hanging around after the morning’s exhibition activities.  There was also a hockey game going on when we arrived (PW Ice Center has 2 sheets of ice).

Princess was supposed to start skating lessons on Tuesday morning, but I forgot and we missed the first day, which I’m adding to my mother of the year application! When your child enrolls in lessons, they’re put in the computer to have one free practice a week while they’re in lessons.  It used to be you got a coupon book, which probably would have worked better for me since I promptly forgot about the fact that she was in the computer when I went to pay.  I’ve seen some BOGO coupons lurking around, I want to say there’s one in the Leisure magazine the park authority puts out, but I’m not sure.  If you can find them, take them! We had 5 people skating plus 2 skate rentals, which ended up being $41.

Skate sessions last 2 hours for open skate.  We decided to arrive halfway through, which is when they clear the ice to Zamboni it, which takes about 10 minutes, so I guess the sessions are really an hour and 50 minutes 🙂

A note here.  PLEASE ask someone for help if you don’t know how to put on ice skates! I pulled a few people off the ice to re-tie their skates.  I used to help teach kids’ classes when I was a figure skater, and it really makes a HUGE difference if your skates are tied properly.  If you can wiggle around, slide your foot out, or fit your hand in your skate after you’ve tied it, “Ur doin it rong”.  Let the boots help you support your ankles!! Luckily for you guys, YouTube is here to rescue us!

Ah, that’s better!! While I’m at it DON’T WALK ON THE BLEACHERS WITH YOUR ICE SKATES ON!! THE BLADES WILL GO DULL AND THE NEXT PERSON WON’T BE ABLE TO SKATE!! If you need to sit down, there are benches in the lobby.  Sorry, it’s kind of a pet peeve of mine.  Skate blades are like your good metal knives- so don’t use them on metal!

The music was embarrassing my 8 year old.  It was mostly 90s instrumentals and they started with the first verse being sung, and then it was just music.  Of course, this meant I needed to sing! Sorry, kids, you can tell your therapist about it later!

It is rather crowded on a Saturday night (did I mention that? I’m writing this in 5 minute chunks!) so make sure your child learns how to get up before you put them on the ice. A quick way to do this is put their skates on and have them fall down and get up several times in the lobby.  On the ice there is an area with 4 cones where all the girls who think they’re the next Tara Lipinski (or whoever is the new “it” skater) go to show off their moves.  Keep your child away from that area, because it’s the place they’re most likely to get trampled by someone going backwards.

In terms of what to bring, snowsuits are a good idea on toddler skaters.  Otherwise, long pants, long shirts, and a jacket along with GLOVES!! for everyone, and if you’re being safe, a helmet is a good idea, especially for new skaters. 

There is a cafe that serves snack foods and drinks.  Outside food and drinks are not allowed according to the signs on the front doors.  Cash and credit cards are accepted both at the front desk to buy passes and skate rentals and in the food bar and pro shop, which does have gloves if you forget!!

We had a really great time skating, and will definitely be back for more fun!! Little kids (ages 2-5) will probably only make it an hour or so their first time.  Older kids, or those that have skated before, will enjoy the entire session, and your younger ones can always take a snack break.

Disclosure: My children take hockey and skating lessons at the Prince William Ice Center.  I was not, however, compensated in any way or asked to provide this review.  All opinions are my own.