With two NHL-size rinks, seating for 350, an on-site Italian restaurant, The Ice Ranch hosts myriad activities involving ice-skating and entertainment. The staff is experienced in teaching patrons how to excel in all manner of ice-centric sports, from hockey to curling to broomball. Besides competitive programs, the Ice Ranch hosts skate lessons, public-skating sessions, and Zam Camp, where attendees get to sit in the driver's seat of the Zamboni and test their theory to determine whether the machine is actually a transformer or not.
Skate City's rinks are havens for roller-skaters tired of rough asphalt and bumpy sidewalks. Within each, a smooth white plane stretches out in front of every pair of wheels, beckoning and tempting maximum speeds. And during open-skate sessions, these rinks become mini metropolises, stirring with skaters of all ages rolling to upbeat music. Each Skate City has its own lineup of special offerings, too: at some, Sunday nights mean free slices of pizza, whereas at others, Friday nights are reserved for teenagers tired of just sitting around, getting taller. When they aren't buzzing with public skating sessions, skating instruction, and hockey games, Skate City locations also transform into the ideal spots for birthday parties.
Over the course of Lace'em Up's three private lessons, an experienced instructor will cover the basics of skating, including the different parts of the blades, weight placement in the boots, and how to tell the left skate from the right skate. Beginner-level ice-carvers will then master the techniques of skating forward and backward, crossovers, transitional turns, speedy maneuvers, and stopping without the aid of walls or gravity. Each lesson's one-on-one attention ensures that skaters will stockpile skills at the fastest possible rate until they're capable of rocketing across the ice like a well-oiled dolphin on a Slip-n-Slide.
The sounds of slap shots and blades carving the ice resound through Big Bear Ice Arena as it sets the stage for visitors participating in hockey, figure skating, and a host of other games. Hockey programs for kids and adults follow the rules and regulations set forth by USA Hockey, which allows slap shots but not checking or doing burnouts in a Zamboni. When pucks aren't careening from board to board, figure skaters can glide out onto the ice for programs that range from a Learn to Skate class to competitive team events. Less competitive patrons, meanwhile, can log their time on the ice through games such as bandy and broomball or casual open skates.
Driving through the mountains of Colorado provides breathtaking sights, but it can also be dangerous due to the elements or poor decision-making. That's where Drive Smart comes in. The non-profit transportation safety program educates teens about the importance of driving safely and smartly. Thanks to partnerships with community organizations and schools, Drive Smart helps to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities through programs such as Buckle Bear, which teaches youngsters how to buckle their seat belts properly or Teen Motor Vehicle which informs youth on safe driving and how to make smart decisions when on the road.
For those who dream of kicking back at a cozy log cabin as smoke puffs out of a stone fireplace and a crystal clear lake reflects the surrounding pines and mountains, the Evergreen Lake House is an ideal destination. The 5,000-square-foot building resides on 55 acres of park district land and hosts seasonal activities and events. An immense stone fireplace in the great room lends itself to wedding photos, while the lake lends itself to summertime activities, and safely testing how far a homemade catapult can fling you. Visitors navigate the placid waters on canoes and paddleboats or savor a sunrise during an early morning fishing trip. An observation boardwalk provides stunning views and a 1.3-mile trail offers safe passage to joggers, and bikers. When the lake freezes over in winter, skating season begins and the 1930s boat house becomes a place to warm up and debate whether Herbert Hoover invented the vacuum cleaner.