More and more communities across the United States are installing pop-up ice skating rinks in their local parks over the holidays. These temporary ice rinks allow people to skate outdoors even in places as far south as Houston,Texas. Some use synthetic ice surfaces that stay intact even during mild winters like the one much of the country enjoyed last year. And the cost is low enough that even small towns can bring an ice rink to town for a limited time.
Last year, my own small town in Oklahoma erected an ice rink in a city park. Residents and visitors were able to skate in 90 minute sessions for $10 per person. The rink was usable even if the temperatures approached 70 degrees, as long as it wasn't also raining.
Since you aren't likely to find a lot of frozen skating ponds in Oklahoma, and the indoor facilities are limited, last year was the first time many people were able to give ice skating a try. It was fun to see kids and adults making their way around the rink, wobbly but trying hard to master a new skill. Even those who had skated indoors, whether on ice or on wheels, had a great time skating for the first time outside, under the twinkling Christmas lights that adorned the trees in the park.
If you've never skated before, you might want to try a lesson or two at an indoor rink before hitting the ice at a temporary outdoor attraction. Because the temporary rinks are only open for a short time, they are often crowded. Also, according to many of the users I spoke with last year, the rink in my hometown had a rough surface, making it a challenge to those who had never been on the ice before. Just make sure you know the basics and can get back on your feet after a fall before skating with a crowd of other new skaters like yourself.
If you are a proficient skater, remember that this is a special experience for others. Don't ruin it for them by being a hotshot. Use good manners on the ice, and try to be a help and not a hindrance to the new skaters around you. Just think, if everyone has a great time, the city is more likely to bring back the attraction year after year. If not, a temporary rink is an easy expense to let go in the next year's budget.
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