Growing up in northern Minnesota, it was only natural to skate or play hockey on a pond or an outdoor rink. When I found out ten years ago that Fort Wayne was opening an outdoor rink at Headwaters Park, I couldn’t wait to try it out!
On a Sunday in January I wanted to give my 2 year old nephew Liam his first chance on ice skates. We headed for the park, just north of downtown Fort Wayne. We walked into a nice little warming room greeted by a very cheerful attendant to pay and rent some skates. If you are without skates they have many sizes to rent. While lacing up our skates we decided to use the benches provided in the warming area but there are plenty outside to use. Our shoes were safely put away in the many cubby boxes provided.
With our skates on, and plenty of warm clothes, we headed to the rink with a fresh sheet of ice and a canopy protecting us from the elements. Not to worry if this is your first time skating, you’ll notice you are not the only wobbly one on skates. The boards also offer you great support. My nephew and other young skaters are able to use support frames provided at the rink, that help them keep their balance and cruise around. I was a little bit hesitant that Liam might be scared to try. To my surprise he took to it with a huge smile and loved it even when he wiped out a few times.
After circling the ice for awhile we went into the warming room to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and some big, soft chocolate chip cookies from Mr. G’s. If you’re not a chocolate lover there is a variety of beverages and treats to enjoy. It can get a little crowded inside so we headed out to one of the many benches and picnic tables near the rink.
While outside, I noticed a group of about twelve 10 year-olds celebrating a birthday, enjoying cake and watching the birthday girl open her presents. I thought to myself “what a really nice way to celebrate a winter birthday.” They also picked a good time to enjoy cake, because it was intermission allowing the Zamboni to resurface the ice.
It is suggested to call ahead of time if there is questionable weather at 422-7625 or you could check out their Facebook page. The day we went, the ice was smooth and perfect with no slush. There were just a few little bumpy spots near the end boards.
At the end of the day (with a very happy but tired little two year old) we left with many new memories and perhaps the next Mike Modano. Whether your looking for something to do has a family or celebrating something, I suggest you give the outdoor rink a try. It’s a wonderful way to get fresh air and exercise during the long winter months. Or make it a date nigh,t and enjoy the view of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Bridge and the downtown skyline all lit up.
13 and younger $3.00
14 and over $5.00
Skate rental $2.00
Monday thru Thursday 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Skate sharpening is also available.
They will be open through March 3, 2013.