Walking into the entrance to the Kendall Ice Arena is like stepping back in time. The hand painted entrance sign overhead adds character and context to the space where time is seemingly frozen. However, there’s something quite attractive about the unapologetically outdated arena. Even though it’s my first time here, it feels like this is the rink I came to every Friday night in middle school to meet up with my friends.
As I look around, I notice that somehow almost every demographic is accounted for, although there couldn’t be more than 20 people in the public rink (it’s only 11am and the rink has been open for one hour). There’s a group of snap chatting, giggly teenage girls, a small group of 20-somethings, a 10-year-old’s birthday party and a grandfather cheering on his granddaughter from behind the plexiglass. After some time dominating the air hockey table in the arcade, I join them all and hit the ice (check out the video below to see how that goes). All the Panther games I’ve been to with South Florida Ford had me pumped to throw on some skates.
After some time doing what I can only try to describe as “maneuvering” in the ice, I reached the threshold of my Floridian body’s cold tolerance and left the ice to explore (I wore pants, a thin long sleeved shirt and a beanie. My hands were freezing but simply bringing a jacket would have helped me, so be safe – no sorry!) If you come during the day like I did, you will most likely catch some practice sessions going on in the private rink. I really enjoyed watching the skaters practice – brought me back to my old dancer days!
So now that I’ve convinced you to make the drive out to go ice skating, when is the best time to go? Well, if you’re a beginner, you have two options: come mid-week during the morning/afternoon and you’ll have the place to yourself to practice your skills or come in the evening when it’s much more busy but your lack of experience will get lost in the crowd. Either way, you’ll find me clinging to the rail for dear life; the days of me racing across the ice without a care in the world have sadly been replaced with paranoia of the consequence of a 5’9″ girl falling onto ice, but hey – it sure made for a great time.
Where: 10355 Hammocks Blvd, Miami, FL 33196
Cost: $11 adults/children ($8 entrance + $3 skate rental)
Hours: Vary by day (www.kendallicearena.com)
Good for: Breaking the ice on a first date
Great for: A cool place to bring the kids when it’s just too hot or too wet outside.
Note worthy: Live DJ Friday and Saturday nights, 8:30 pm – midnight.