When your cabin fever heats up, cool down at some of the area’s iciest attractions.
From indoor rinks to outdoor lakes, Northeast Pennsylvania offers several spots where you can lace up your skates and hit the ice.
Here are a few venues around the area now offering public skating and what you’ll need to know before you go.
Address: 38 Coal St., Wilkes-Barre
Details: 570-208-9471 or toyotasportsplex.com
The Luzerne County ice rink has resumed public skating at a limited capacity, with dates and times varying based on other activities happening there. The public must reserve spots in advance, as the rink does not accept walk-up admissions or cash transactions at this time. Admission costs $9, and skate rentals cost $4 per pair.
The rink also is home to the Anthracite Curling Club (see anthracitecurling.com for more information), hosts ice hockey leagues and partners with Diamond City Figure Skating Club. Freestyle figure skating costs $15 an hour for full and associate Diamond City club members and $20 an hour for guest skaters; for more information about the club, visit diamondcityfigureskatingclub.org.
Revolution Ice Centre
Address: 12 Old Boston Road, Jenkins Twp.
Also in Luzerne County, Revolution offers public skating on select dates with a maximum 100 skaters allowed on the ice per session. Guests must wear masks and also fill out a waiver and COVID-19 questionnaire before entering the rink; anyone with a temperature of over 99.9 F or higher will not admitted.
Admission costs $8 for ages 11 and older, $5 for ages 3 to 10 and ages 65 and older and $10 for glow-in-the-dark cosmic skating. Children 2 and younger enter for free. Skate rentals cost $3.
Additionally, the rink hosts the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Junior Knights and college ice hockey teams; offers figure skating and hockey lessons, camps and clinics; and other programs.
Address: 1188 Winola Road, South Abington Twp.
Details: 570-586-9316 or facebook.com/aajrbHillSidePark
Hillside Park welcomes the public to play hockey or figure skate on Eston Wilson Lake when conditions are safe enough. Free skate and hockey equipment rentals are available Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The lake is lighted at night. Volunteers continually clear snow and check and resurface the ice, so keep an eye on the park’s Facebook page for updates about skating availability.
Wright Twp. Municipal Park
Address: 321 S. Mountain Blvd. Wright Twp.
This park in the Mountain Top area features a recently restored ice rink open for the first time in six years. Officials planned to split the rink into areas for ice hockey and family-friendly figure skating. The community members behind the restoration hope to get the site named the Madry-Kahlau Memorial Rink in memory of two former Crestwood High School ice hockey players: Tanner Kahlau, who died in a skiing accident last month, and Brian Madry, who died in a 2011 car crash.
Ann Street Park
Address: 201-207 W. Ann St., Milford
The park has a 100-foot-by-100-foot ice-skating rink open when conditions allow. In light of the pandemic, the warming shed remains closed to the public, and guests must bring their own skates and wear face coverings. Check the Milford Winter Lights Festival Facebook page for current conditions and hours.
If what’s under the ice is more interesting to you than what’s on top of it, then head to one of these nearby state parks to try some ice fishing: Frances Slocum, 567 Mount Olivet Road, Kingston Twp., Luzerne County; Hickory Run, Route 534, Kidder Twp., Carbon County; Lackawanna, 1839 Abington Road, North Abington Twp., Lackawanna County; Locust Lake, 220 Locust Lake Road, Ryan Twp., Schuylkill County; Nescopeck, Honey Hole Road, Dennison Twp., Luzerne County; Promised Land, 100 Lower Lake Road, Greene Twp., Pike County; Ricketts Glen, 695 Route 487, Fairmount Twp., Luzerne County; Tobyhanna, 114 Campground Road, Coolbaugh Twp., Monroe County; and Tuscarora, 687 Tuscarora Park Road, Rush Twp., Schuylkill County.
Some state parks also offer opportunities for ice boating, ice skating, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and sledding. For more information about conditions and activities available, check the State Parks Winter Report at dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/WinterReport or contact the individual parks.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources offers several tips to stay safe while ice fishing:
- Use an auger to test the ice’s thickness before fishing. The recommended minimum thickness of solid ice is 4 inches for single anglers and 7 inches for small groups of anglers.
- If in a group, spread out so there is not too much weight on one area.
- Look out for changes in ice thickness and note that perimeter ice is weaker than other areas of a body of water.
- Avoid places where logs, brush, plants and docks protrude from the ice, because they can weaken the surrounding ice.
- Stay away from spots with multiple or intersecting cracks or where there is standing water on top of ice.
- Remember that ice on rivers and streams can seem thicker than it actually is because moving water erodes ice under the surface.
- Do not go out onto the ice alone.
- Wear a personal flotation device, such as a life jacket.
- Learn how to use safety equipment and take it with you.
- Check the weather in the days before you hit the ice. Keep an eye on temperatures in particular, since several days with temperatures above freezing will weaken ice.
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest