|photo via Ann Arbor Ice Cube|
I did not grow up in Michigan, so ice skating is not my activity of choice, but since my kids are Michiganders, we try and get out a few times a year. We love going to Ann Arbor Ice Cube. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, the ice is smooth and the kids always have a great time. The staff is extremely friendly and more than willing to help. Happy skating!
Check the times. Public skate varies and is subject to change, so check the public skate calendar. I have noticed they often have morning public skate times that start around 10:30 am on the weekdays and around noon on Saturday, but check before you go!
Plan for about 1 hour. I remember noticing that open skate was often only for a little over an hour at almost any ice rink. I thought that was crazy, but it’s actually perfect! Most amateur kids and adults have had enough ice time after about 1 hour, so don’t let that turn you off.
Wear two pair of socks. If you don’t skate often, have your kids double up their socks. This cuts down on blisters and whining.
Dress in layers. The Ann Arbor Ice Cube is freezing, but once you start skating, everyone seems to warm up. Layers are always good. If you are a spectator and plan on staying by the rink to watch, bring your coat, hat and gloves…it is chilly.
Arrive early. This is key. If public skate starts at 10:30, arrive no later than 10:10. This will give you time to get the right size skates and exchange them if necessary. It will also allow you first dibs on the “skate walkers” that give support to new ice skaters. If you have extra time, you can watch the hockey teams practice or the zamboni smooth the ice, which is pretty cool. If you don’t arrive early, plan on waiting in line. We’ve also noticed that especially during days off from school, the rink is relatively open for the first 20 minutes of skate time. After that, it gets pretty crowded.
Find skates that fit. Make sure the skates feel good on your children’s feet before you get started. Nothing can ruin good ice skating fun like hurt feet.
End early. If you hate lines, get off the ice about 5-7 minutes before open skate is over. This will allow you to return your skates and get your shoes before the rush of people need theirs.
Bring a few quarters. Because ice skating can be a bit of a short activity, I will often bring a few quarters for each child to play a video game after we skate. It doesn’t last long, but it is a fun little bonus.
If you go.
Admission. Open skate isn’t bad…Adults: $4, Under 12: $3, Skate Rental: $3, Youth tutor rental: $2
Parking. Free and plentiful.
Food. There is the Cube Cafe, but it is not always open. There are some vending machines just outside the ice rinks.
Birthday parties. The Cube offers birthday parties. I have never had one there or attended one, but they are available.
Lessons and other offerings.