What it is: We have always loved taking the kiddos ice skating. We took our boys over to Winterfest in Raleigh and the Sportsplex in Hillsborough and had a great time, so we were thrilled when we heard that ice skating was coming to Durham this holiday season.
Last weekend, we headed down to the American Tobacco Campus and tested our ice skating skills at The Ice Factory. The ice rink is located at the North end of the campus near the entrance to Burt's Bees. It's in a part of the campus called "the cage" which houses basketball games in the summer. It was $10 for admission which also included the skates. We were a little nervous that they wouldn't have skates small enough for our three year old. However, they had sizes as small as size 9. They also had these little things called "double runner" skates that I had never seen before. They fit over my son's shoes and had two blades which made him much more steady.
Once we all got our skates on we headed out on the rink. Since I had both boys with me, I definitely waited till the weekend when my husband could join me. With two wobbly little boys, I really needed an adult for each kid. With the double runner skates, my three year old could really skate slowly around the rink by himself. While they didn't glide as much as some other skates, he had a great time on them, and I definitely recommend them for the little ones. My older 5 year old son wore regular skates and did a great job. He really enjoyed himself, but he did fall quite a bit. His pants were thoroughly wet by the time we left (from the ice). When we were there on a Sunday afternoon, it wasn't that crowded. However, it might get more busy as the season continues and more people find out about it.
What we liked: We loved having the opportunity to go ice skating and not having to drive to another town. It was a great seasonal activity and the boys loved it. Plus, there are lots of other fun holiday activities at American Tobacco that you could combine with a trip for skating.
What we would change: It was a bit of an expensive outing, but we were willing to splurge on the holidays. Plus, it would have been a bit tricky to manage with such young kids and just one adult. Oh, and make sure the kiddos use the restroom before heading out because the closest restroom that we could find was in the building with Cuban Revolution, which was a very long walk.
Website and other important information:
Location: The rink is located at the north end of the American Tobacco Campus. So, it's easier to park in the north end parking.
Dates: November 16-January 30
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 4-9pm, Friday: 4-11pm, Saturday: 11am-11pm, Sunday: Noon-5pm
Cost: $10 per person
(a view of the rink)
(the admission counter)
(the double runner skates)