Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Downtown Tampa's new ice rink 'painful fun'

TAMPA — The white tent sits between rows of palm trees at Waterfront Park. Inside, silver snowflakes dangle from the peaked ceiling, and glittery reindeer give off the illusion of winter. The temperature drops.

"An outdoor ice skating rink in Florida?" said Jennifer Edmister, a Brandon mother. "We were curious."

Edmister and her family warmed up the ice Friday at the opening of Tampa's first outdoor skating rink.

The rink will stay open through the holiday season, defying the warm weather and offering a taste of chillier climates.

For some visitors, the outdoor rink will test their talents on ice for the first time. For others, it's a chance to redeem Northern roots or relive years of better coordination.

"It's going to be painful," said rink visitor Dawn Barton, "Painful fun."

Her ice-skating experience dates back too far to count for anything, said Barton, 32, of Carrollwood.

It had been years since Michael Paramore, 14, had stepped onto the ice, too, but the Tampa teen was far more optimistic.

"I'll get it back," said Paramore, who used to play hockey. "At first you're a little rocky, but you'll get it back."

On Friday, many stopped to scope out the sight, shading themselves from the sun.

The rink took two weeks to set up, said venue manager J.R. Malone. Under the slick surface are layers of sand, thick plastic and tubes of coolant solution. The ice stays frozen because of the coolant, which circulates around the rink and through a 200-ton chiller set to 5 degrees.

Measuring 44 by 100 feet, the rink can hold up to 160 skaters, Malone said.

"It's as close to a Rockefeller Center as we can get," he said.

Ice Rink Events set up the rink for free, according to Linda Carlo, spokeswoman for the city's parks and recreation department, and Friends of Tampa Recreation will pay for the electricity bill.

"We hope to make it an annual event," Carlo said.

The novelty of ice-skating attracted Jennifer Edmister's family, whose two young boys had been clamoring to skate after going to two Tampa Bay Lightning games.

"Ice skating!" 4-year-old Nolan sang, running to the rink entrance to press a sneakered toe to the ice.

As his parents laced up his skates, he inspected the blades and repeated the mantra that started his excitement: "Let's go, Lightning, let's go!"

"I like ice skating," Nolan said to his mom.

"You've never been," Edmister reminded him.

"I already like it!" he said.

When the skates were on, Nolan tottered out onto the ice. In the beginning, it was tough going — Nolan kept one hand pressed to the rink wall and the other on his dad.

Halfway around, Nolan sat down to play with ice shavings.

By the end of the lap, Nolan was grinning and boasting, "I was skating faster than Daddy!"

And even though his jeans were damp from the ice, he denied ever falling.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

If you go

The outdoor ice-skating rink at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park will be open through Jan. 2. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Today there will be a Tampa Bay Lightning watch party at the park, and the tent will open up to face the screen.

Admission is $10 per person for skate rental and 90 minutes of skating. On weekdays, the rink will offer a $13 lunchtime special that includes 30 minutes of skating, skate rental and a box lunch.

The rink will be closed Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving. It will open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 4 to 10 p.m. on Christmas Day.

On the web, go to

Downtown Tampa's new ice rink 'painful fun' 11/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 19, 2010 8:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  2. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  3. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  4. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  5. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.