At the Columbia Association, visitors find not only a place to work out, swim, or enjoy the great outdoors, but a place to connect with the local community and get to know their neighbors. Families take in live music by the lakefront during summer festivals, or glide across the ice at the public rink. Meanwhile, aspiring athletes build muscle, flexibility, and form with practice at indoor and outdoor tennis courts, or regular trips to the high-tech Columbia Gym. Columbia Association also helps its members maintain a healthy lifestyle with a wide variety of facilities, including nearby golf courses, 23 swimming pools, and even an attached horse center, where humans can learn to ride and horses can get in shape for swimsuit season.
SkateQuest offers wintery fun throughout the year, enabling hockey players, figure skaters, and recreational skaters to enjoy sliding across frozen frontiers in any season. Public skating sessions on Friday evenings (7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.), Saturday afternoons (1:10 p.m.–3 p.m.), Sunday afternoons (3:10 p.m.–5:10 p.m.), and Wednesday and Friday mornings (11:10 a.m.–12:40 p.m.) allow water walkers to scathe the chilled surface during times when the rink is not reserved for hockey or ice-fishing practices. In addition to the well maintained, twin-sheet of solid cloud tears, SkateQuest houses a newly remodeled pro shop stocked with professional hockey and figure skating accouterments. In between skating sessions, patrons may enjoy a sandwich, coffee, or calzone from the SkateQuest Café.
When not hosting the 10th largest adult hockey league in the United States, The Gardens Ice House opens its three full-size rinks and one mini rink for public skating sessions seven days a week. Upon arrival, revelers visit the rental desk to select hockey or figure skates, or one of each in an attempt to perfect the elusive salchow-wall-check combo. A kindly staff of zamboni jockeys keep the spacious, glass-lined rinks slick and mirroresque. After skating up an appetite, speedsters can grab a bite to eat start a conversation with a coffee machine at The Gardens’ Ice Breaker Cafe.
Since 1973, skaters have been sailing effortlessly across Fairfax Ice Arena’s spacious, icy surface during public skate sessions, figure skating–lessons, and hockey leagues for all ages. At the family-owned arena, a staff of dedicated skating coaches guides students while calling upon experience from the St. Petersburg State Ballet on Ice, Disney on Ice, and the lesser-known On Golden Pond on Ice. The arena is open throughout the year, hosting a full hockey and figure skating–pro shop in addition to its Arena Café.
Reisterstown Sportsplex seamlessly melds competitive fire and ice with a regulation NHL skating rink and a similarly spacious indoor field for lacrosse and soccer. Since opening in 2008, the facility has expanded to host both serious and recreational events, from birthday parties and broomball matches to figure-skating lessons and hockey leagues for all ages. The center frequently hosts open public-skating hours, giving fledgling figure skaters the chance to prepare for real-world, high-pressure job interviews at the local RollerBurger.
Wheels screech to a halt for photo ops in front of Lanham Skating Center's focal point: a mural of a red carpet illuminated by blazing flashbulbs. Skaters carry their celebrity strut into the music-filled rink, where they zoom to their hearts' content wearing skates they rented or stole from a '50s-era waitress. They can also star in Learn to Skate classes or birthday parties in a private room stocked with ice cream and soda. Visitors consume similar noshes at the snack bar before returning to rolling.