Families explore sundry smile-inducing attractions within Skate Station Funworks' bright interiors. Guests can strive to beat high scores in the arcade, which houses such felicity infusers as air hockey, basketball hoops, and skee-ball to sharpen hand-eye coordination. Visitors skirt over to the roller-skating rink to glide as smoothly as velvet-covered curling stone over the rink's expansive wooden floors beneath effulgent, dancing neon lights. Players ages 10 and younger can head to Wally's Playground to explore the two-story, 30-foot, soft play zone that piques curiosities with a forest, slide, and kitten pit.
Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex offers 100,000 square feet of sports and socializing space, including its impressive NHL-sized, year-round ice rink. Public skating sessions (valued at $9, with skate rental valued at $3 on Friday nights and weekends) last two hours and are scheduled almost daily. Because rink guards are on duty for the Sportsplex's highly attended public glide-fests, you can tuck the eyes on the back of your head snugly into a winter cap and still feel safe about bringing the whole family. Ice skating is a great way to stay active and healthy without using fancy exercise contraptions (bags of rocks, bags of corn chowder, etc.). Put those neglected leg muscles to use and burn calories while having a blast mimicking your favorite skating champs such as Elena Dementenova, Isaac Dementenova, or Russell Dementenova. Purchase multiple Groupons to plan a slippery escape with friends, or use up to four yourself to master Mighty Duck maneuvers before tryouts.
Daytona Ice Arena sends skaters glissading across an ultra-smooth, NHL regulation-size sheet of ice. Bleacher seating with room for more than 300 spectators looms behind the glass on one side of the rink, and above, a snack bar overlooking the facility doles out refreshments. While escaping Florida's heat and the panhandling paddleboards that come with it, visitors to the frosty, 35,000-square-foot arena can soak up extra relaxation at the Penalty Box Sports Pub, which accompanies elevated views of the ice with an arsenal of big-screen TVs. The building—located just minutes from the beach—buzzes daily during public skating sessions but also plays host to a medley of other ice-tied triumphs including learn-to-skate programs, birthday parties, and youth and adult hockey leagues.
Even though flakes rarely brave the Florida sun and Jack Frost will never be grand marshal of the Citrus Bowl parade, some winter traditions are the same no matter where you live. One look at Winter in the Park confirms that. Spanning the holiday-packed days from November 14 to January 11, the festival decks out a portion of Central Park with frosty fun for the entire family. The centerpiece is a chilly ice rink, where skaters loop through delicate figure-8s and wreaths and other decorations help visitors capture the end-of-year spirit without having to find a local polar-bear adoption center. Additional events in Winter Park range from a harvest festival and holiday pops concert to a pancake breakfast, a Christmas parade, and a Hanukkah celebration.
When things get going at Let's Skate Orlando, it feels like one giant party. Up to 300 people can circle the skating rink at once, fueled by the beats and melodies of bumping tunes. Lights turn the 25,000-square-foot facility into a mosaic of dancing colors, like what happens when you microwave a bunch of markers. In between laps, guests can unwind over hot dogs, pizza, and other snacks at the concession stand. All this makes the rink a go-to spot for birthday celebrations, so unsurprisingly, five party rooms surround the rink, each one done up in a fun, kid-friendly theme such as pirates, princesses, and rock stars.
Skaters of all ages and experience levels glide across Universal Skating Center's gleaming maple floors. Friends and families can don pairs of four-wheeled skates and spend a Saturday or Sunday in the indoor rink perfecting twirls, working on crossover turns, or training for an upcoming race against the speed of light while grooving to the buoyant beats of top hits and classic pop music. Pairs can hold hands, romantically circling the expansive rink—which can hold 1,800 patrons or 530 adult walruses—or see who can skate backward the longest without crashing into any walls. After an afternoon of wheel-powered revelry, skaters refuel with the salty sustenance of unlimited popcorn.