Thursday, January 8, 2015

Outdoor Ice Rinks 2015

Brrrr...... We all know it's been cold enough for ice to form, and this week the ice rinks are being placed at the parks that needed 6" of frost in the ground before the ice could be made.  In the photo above, you can see a hose spraying the rink at Lake Park.  So where can you ice skate outdoors?  There are a number of places and some of them are new this year. There's a somewhat complete listing at the county parks website, and there you can get additional information about opening dates.  They don't include the Urban Ecology Center or the village rinks.

At Hales Corners, there's a land rink that is being named after local Olympian Alyson Dudek.  I was there last year and it was quite small and full of snow, but I understand they continue to request donations, and should it happen that they get all they want, a structure with rental skates will be constructed. For now, you'll need to bring your own skates.  It is free and is open 9 am-9 pm daily.

The Friends of Center Street Park have a new rink this year at Center Street Park funded in part by Waterstone Bank. If you've lived in Wauwatosa for a good long while, you might remember this used to be an ice rink 25 years ago.  Bravo to them for finding the desire and funding to add another fine outdoor recreation area for Wauwatosa area residents.  This rink is also free.  Skates may be provided by the Pettit Center, but details haven't been released yet. They will be forming the ice this week.

LaFollette Park in West Allis had a nice rink last year and will reopen this weekend with their land rink.  The building will be open on weekends and evenings, provided there is someone there to supervise.  The rink is lit until 9 pm. This is another fine example of how a friends group has been able to provide recreation in conjunction with the Milwaukee Parks Department.

Whitefish Bay just formed a rink at Klode Park yesterday.  Bring your own skates. There are restrooms and warmth in the building near the tennis courts which is open as a warming house.

Parks that have lagoons will open rinks as the ice allows.  My favorite outdoor space is at Washington Park Urban Ecology Center.  There you can borrow ice skates and walk just outside the door to the ice.  You may have to help with shoveling if there's been a recent snowfall.  If you tire of skating, they also have sleds, snowshoes, and skis available to members.  This is a bargain for anyone not wanting to purchase and store lots of cold weather gear.  Annual membership begins at just $30!

The Washington Park Urban Ecology Center has chairs and skate rental for first time skaters

You may find the rinks covered in snow so it's a good idea to bring a shovel if we've had a recent snow
If you prefer groomed ice, you can always check out indoor Wilson Ice Arena.  A calendar of open skating times is available.  You can rent skates and skate for a fee of $4-6 depending on age.   The Glow Skate sessions are always lots of fun.  An outdoor alternative is Slice of Ice at Red Arrow Park.

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