As a state-of-the-art indoor pond, Floyd Hall Arena provides ice so smooth and true that even the Zamboni drivers can't help but purposefully get their tongues stuck to it. After strapping on their skates, all ages and skill levels can practice figural flow, hone their hockey stopping, and improve their foot-cursive penmanship. For the especially graceful, the facility also rents Olympic-quality walkers ($3, not included in this Groupon) that turn any avalanching ice princess into an upright frozen duchess. Since opening in 1998, the arena has hosted more than a dozen NHL teams and countless quantities of avid skaters young and old.
The stylists at Cranford Hair Company rarely come across a curl they can’t straighten or a strand they can’t lengthen. Though their skills are potentially intimidating—the staff includes a Redken-certified colorist and specialists in keratin straightening treatments—they go out of their way to make clients feel at ease. This combination of upscale styling and a relaxed atmosphere has won the salon many fans, as has a service menu that caters to both genders with precision haircuts, multidimensional coloring, and 100% human-hair extensions. The staff balances these scalp-oriented services with beauty treatments that focus on the rest of the body. Waxes remove hair entirely, and precise applications of airbrush makeup help skin glow brighter than a light bulb filled with plutonium.
As they sweep the ice, most gas-powered zambonis also give off harmful carbon monoxide, which lingers in the rink for hours afterwards. But Skylands Ice World’s resurfacers are different—they’re fueled by propane, which means that, with the help of special converters and frequent tune-ups, they emit much lower levels of carbon monoxide. And to make them even more eco- and skater-friendly, the zambonis warm up in a separate, ventilated room before hitting the ice, which also helps carbon-dioxide levels in the rink stay well below EPA-approved standards. It might seem odd to put so much thought into the environmental and health effects of ice upkeep, especially since the state of New Jersey doesn’t technically regulate the air quality of skating rinks, but Skylands Ice World and its staff considers it worthwhile. Because in the end, a devotion to Mother Earth and its inhabitants is just as important as a devotion to sport and spectacle, which is also why the facility has recently installed an energy-saving, low-emissivity ceiling as well as high-efficiency light fixtures.
Knowing that the air and their consciences are cleaner than a personal trainer’s bill of health, visiting skaters can go for a care-free spin around the ice during daily public-skating sessions. Visitors can also groove to toe-pick-tapping music, which blasts out of a newly installed sound system during the popular Friday night Ice Jam event. And when they need a break from the figure eights and figure zeros, skaters can hop over to the onsite eatery, which dispenses Tim Hortons coffee and baked goods.
A quartet of regulation-size NHL ice rinks live inside Ice House. There, attentive zambonies smooth things over for hockey players, figure skaters, and recreational skaters. Youngsters, high schoolers, and adults can each sign up for amateur hockey leagues, and anyone can learn to turn, stop, and avoid flying flower bouquets in U.S. Figure Skating Association-sanctioned programs. If they stick with it, students may be able to follow in the blade-steps of Olympic gold medalists Tara Lipinski, Oksana Baiul, and Sarah Hughes—each of whom used the Ice House as their primary training facility.
Inside ProtecHockey Ponds Ice Center’s impressive, 52,000-square-foot facility, figure skaters, hockey players, and casual skaters alike glide across three separate ice surfaces—including an NHL regulation-size rink—during lessons, games, and public-skating sessions. Ranging from junior hockey players to New Jersey state figure-skating champions, the team of coaches imparts skills during everything from introductory skating lessons to four-day hockey camps. When the center isn't hosting the public for skate sessions, ProtecHockey Ponds Ice Center is home to the Rutgers University Men's Ice Hockey team, the Protec Ducks Hockey Program, and the nationally recognized Protec Academy Learn-to-Skate Program. Beyond the boards, a full-service café serves lattes for visitors to warm up before watching the center's hockey teams. The rink's staff can also host birthday parties, group outings, and fundraisers in their private room.
Spread across 150,000 sq. ft., Bridgewater Sports Arena is a multi-faceted sports and entertainment complex. In one area, families play arcade games like ski-ball. In another, athletes train on a fitness center's treadmills, stationary bikes, and weight machines. The arena also encompasses ice rinks and the futuristic LaserZone, where fog and black lights set the stage for games of team laser tag.