A place where the whole family can get to gliding across the ice, The Cooler not only hosts frequent open skate sessions, but also offers lessons and leagues for all ages. Hockey leagues separated by age allow even kids younger than seven to participate, while summer hockey camps get kids out of the heat to hone their ice skills during the season's off months. Those who haven't yet learned the how to skate can sign up for beginner classes, open to kids as young as 4 all the way up to adults. Figure skating lessons are also available, instilling US Figure Skating fundamentals for students who hope to compete or throw in a toe loop while they walk the halls at school.
Families fly around Slapshot’s 14,000-square-foot roller rink inside its 30,000-square-foot facility atop rented inline or quad skates. DJs fill the air with skater-selected beats punctuated by the electronic trills of arcade games, as wheels spin across polished hardwood floors that gleam beneath overhead lights or the cosmic glow of black lights, glow sticks, and skate left-turn signals. The Rollin’ Café refuels stomachs for return trips around the rink with hot dogs, popcorn, and other snacks, while nine-person parties can insulate themselves from the rambunctious revelry within one of six private party rooms to enjoy pitchers of soft drinks and any food they choose to order. Click here for public skate hours, which include Friday teen nights, Sunday family days, and the occasional manatees-only matinee.
A member of the U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills Program, IceForum employs a team of ice-wise professional instructors who train students in the graceful art of skating on a regulation NHL-size rink. The team conducts classes for both groups and individuals, geared toward everyone from tentative beginners to competitive ice skimmers. While family members and bored imaginary friends look on from the stands, students can practice new techniques and tricks during public-skating sessions held each day of the week. In addition to figure skating, IceForum also hosts hockey leagues for both youth and adult teams.
Multicolored globes illuminate the wood skating floor of Skate Along USA, along with the skaters strolling rhythmically to high-energy dance tunes. Throughout the week the Skate Along USA DJs look over the floor from the elevated sound booth, where they select songs for skating sessions and sound effects for the rocket-skating mishaps of cartoon coyotes. On certain nights the DJs will host themed playlists including Top 40 tracks from the realms of hip-hop and R & B, kid-friendly afternoon playlists, and late-night tunes for adults age 18 and older. An onsite pro shop vends skating accessories, including glowing items for black-light skating, and the facility's internet café and arcade gives skaters a break from the arena's centripetal force.
The sound of skate blades scraping to a stop constantly fills the air at The Marietta Ice Center, known as the MIC. Aspiring skaters gain confidence on the ice during learn-to-skate classes that teach basic skills, such as how to glide and how to stop without going into a belly flop. Hockey hopefuls learn similar basics during learn-to-play sessions that prepare them for joining one of the rinks leagues or pickup games during sticktime. Patrons regain their ice legs during public-skate sessions, with rental skates available for those who need them.
Roller skating often evokes images of ‘50s-era teens clad in poodle skirts and the black-and-white makeup that was customary at the time. But at both freshly renovated Sparkles Family Fun Centers, roller-skating proves itself as a 21st-century pastime by incorporating contemporary technology. From a DJ who spins family-friendly beats at both locations to the laser-tag zone and black lights that set the Gwinnett rink aglow, modern-day touches pervade each space. The arcades are stuffed with extra helpings of bells and whistles; skee-ball and electronically scored basketball compete for attention with racing video games that re-create famous auto duels or the 1954 Drake Relays. At nearby multistory indoor playgrounds, kids get back to physical recreation, scurrying across bridges and whipping down slick slides.