For Florida kids who have never touched snow, this holiday season features four different ice skating rinks in the Tampa Bay area.
Downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park and the St. Pete Pier both have ice rinks opening this weekend that will run through January. Enchant Christmas, the over-the-top Christmas light show set up at Tropicana Field, has an ice skating trail set up in the outfield. And in Dade City, the Snowcat Ridge alpine snow park has added ice skating to it chilly features.
Even though it’s flip-flop weather outside, bring some socks. And consider layers of warm clothes because it gets downright chilly inside the tents that contain the thick sheet of ice for skating.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to go ice skating over the holiday season:
Since 2010, the notion of putting an ice rink in Curtis Hixon Park on the riverfront in downtown Tampa has been a big hit. Even during the height of the pandemic, when organizers reduced capacity, attendance actually went up last season.
The system of signing up for limited time slots in advance worked so well that organizers are bringing it back. For tickets, visit their Facebook page at Winter Village Tampa or go to wintervillagetampa.com. Winter Village will use paperless ticketing and will be open Friday through Jan. 2.
Cost: $17 for all ages includes ice skate rental. It is open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.
The new ice skating rink at the St. Pete Pier will have a grand opening from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Regular hours will be 4-11 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. There will be extended hours during the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17, the last day of the rink’s operation.
Cost: It is free to stroll around Winter Beach, where a holiday market will be set up with local vendors, artists and food for sale, from hot cocoa to smoked turkey legs. Skating costs $17, which includes skate rental for 75 minutes. You can buy tickets and reserve a skate time online at winterbeachstpete.com/ice-skating.
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The alpine snow park in Dade City features a 400-foot-long snow tubing hill, ice skating and snow to play in. Alpine Village features vendors selling crafts, food and drink. It is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. now through March 27 at 27839 St. Joe Road, Dade City.
Cost: All-day tickets start at $26.95. Ice skates can be rented for $9.95. Parking is $15. snowcatridge.com.
The light maze, which will run Nov. 26-Jan. 2, had many sold-out weekends when it opened in 2019, but it took 2020 off because of the pandemic. New this year is a Magical Night Sky, a re-creation of a North Pole night sky that will animate thousands of synchronized lights, shimmering and dancing across the stadium roof.
Cost: Tickets start at $25, $20 for ages 3-17 to enter the light maze at Tropicana Field. Ice skating is $25-$35 and reservations in advance are recommended because they sometimes run out of ice skates. Seniors, military and EMS workers can save $3 on regular adult tickets. Prices rise, depending on the date selected, at EnchantChristmas.com.