Riverfront Park Ice Palace offers extended family fun for winter

By Jaclyn Archer, Eagle Life Editor

Outdoor skating rinks are not just fixtures of holiday romance movies or Mayberry-esque, small towns. In fact, outdoor skating rinks dot the United states from San Diego to New York City, and Spokane has one of it’s own: The Riverfront Park Ice Palace, located at Riverfront Park on 507 N. Howard St.

Although not free to students, like the URC Ice Arena, the outdoor rink at Riverfront Park may be a close alternative for commuting students and families, particularly for those who live in Spokane.

Fees for the athletic amenities are included in student tuition, and students living on campus would have to drive 25 minutes out of their way to make it to the outdoor rink.

The Ice Palace, located at the heart of downtown Spokane, offers inexpensive opportunities for skating, curling and drop-in hockey Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays 7-8:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, 7-10 p.m.

Adult admission is $5, which is reduced to $3.50 for children 12 and younger, seniors and those with military ID. Season passes are available for $45 for all ages.

For those who do not have their own skates, rentals are available for $3.50 a pair. Those without skill need not be deterred either, as group, private and family skating lessons are available for $40-$65.

Drop-in hockey is only available on Thursday to those 16 years and older from 8:45-10 p.m. Minors must have a signed waiver from a legal guardian. Adults may also play hockey on Wednesdays during the same time slot. Sessions are $7 a night.

The Ice Palace may also be rented for events for a per-hour rate of $185 and a $3 skate rental group rate (individual rate remains $3.50 for group events).

The Ice Palace is expected to remain open until March 1.

The URC Ice Arena also offers drop-in hockey, drop-in figure skating and a free basics skating course to Eastern students and employees, Tuesdays from 5-6:45 p.m.

Cold weather alone need not preclude one from outdoor activity. The URC Ice Arena and the Riverfront Park Ice Palace offer an alternative to the gym, or jogging, which can be dangerous in slick conditions. Skating, curling and hockey are rigorous sports which may be enjoyed with friends and family, adults and children.