Our trip to the Oakland Ice Center at 519 18th Street Oakland, CA 94612 consisted of my two sons and I with another mom and her children. We also invited my child’s friend who plays hockey. Having multiple experienced skaters with us on the ice to give us pointers was ideal. This establishment has two ice rinks, and while it is the home of some local ice hockey teams, they do have hours of operation for public skating.
My friend had advised me to purchase the tickets and the skate rental prior to arrival to maximize our time on the ice. There can be long lines at the front door for admission, so this would allow us immediate entry. Purchasing tickets in advance proved to be quite easy. Online ticket purchase is non-refundable, so please take this into consideration.
Taking the bus or BART is an option, as there are some nearby stops. The website lists a local parking garage, as well, which is a couple blocks away.
We drove and secured a parking spot about a half block from the entrance. We read and took note of the displayed sign: “Do not leave ANYTHING in your car.” It was quite evident that windows are frequently smashed in this part of town. Oakland Ice Center recommends a local parking garage which is a couple of blocks away.
The admissions queue was long and time-consuming. I was pleased with our idea to pre-purchase tickets.
The facilities were clean with plenty of room to sit, tie-on our skates, and organize our belongings. There are lockers in the establishment, but we did not utilize these. Instead, we skated with our backpacks to the opposite side of the ice rink, where we placed them on benches.
The skate rental kiosk allowed for rental of either figure skating ice skates or hockey skates. We started out with some hockey skates for the boys but switched over to figure skates as a better learning experience. Because I had pre-reserved our skate rentals, I showed the workers at the rental area the confirmation on my cell phone in exchange for the skates. When we needed to do a swap-out for different skates, it was a cinch. The employees were super friendly and helpful.
An arcade section, including an air hockey table, which was just enough to keep the children entertained as they warm up off the ice.
Lessons: If you or your child is interested in learning to skate, there are options to sign up for either hockey or figure skating lessons
Parties: This is a great location for birthday parties! It has everything you need to ensure a fun event for your child. Please see the website for additional details.
Hockey Games: If you do not feel like skating, you can visit to watch some hockey games.
Pro-Shop: This particular ice rink has a pro shop for purchasing quality skating equipment for the ardent and committed athlete.
Snack Bar: Children get hungry and thirsty from all their skating, so having an on-site snack bar is super helpful.
1. Be sure to either go with somebody who knows how to ice-skate or talk to the friendly staff of the center.. It is super helpful to have somebody that can give you tips and suggestions on the best way to skate AND the best way to fall.
2. If/when you fall, pop up fast. Sitting on the ice is COLD and you risk major injury from fellow skaters and pose as a tripping hazard to them.
3. Go more than once. The first time you are out on the ice, you will be flopping and flailing around like a newborn giraffe gaining its footing. Skating takes practice! The more you go, the better you will get. It is a great form of exercise.
4. Be sure to have plenty of padding on your backside. One suggestion is to tie a big puffy sweatshirt around your waist so that when you fall, your tailbone is protected.
5. Bring gloves. I would have been fine skating without any mittens, but my children’s hands were freezing.
6. Operation hours may change, depending on pre-scheduled hockey games. Don't be disappointed - check the center's calendar beforehand.
In the upcoming days, as my hindend healed, I could feel soreness developing in other parts of my body. But, this was a GOOD type of soreness: It was an indication of muscle use from physical activity. Because my concentration was on staying upright, I failed to realize just how much good exercise I was getting at the same time!
Children love ice skating! My son happily announced that he didn't fall for two laps around the ice. The sense of achievement is very high with this sport. So I give this kid friendly venue a five star rating on our KFV app. There is no need to wait until the wintertime to take part in this great activity!