Looking for a way for your and your preschooler to stay active during the winter months and beyond? Head to Cabin John Ice Rink in Rockville for the Parent/Tot Skate. At only $3.50 for both parent and child, this is one bargain that can’t be beat!
Located in the Cabin John Regional Park, the ice rink can be a little tricky to find. Though the address is on Westlake Drive, you will need to turn in to the parking lot before you can see the building. This year round indoor ice skating facility boasts two rinks, skate rentals, a cafe, a WIFI area and plenty of lockers and restrooms.
Parent/Tot Skate Sessions are held each week on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:15 to 11:15am. Though only an hour, the timing seemed sufficient for my 4 year old to get her fill of skating (and falling down). I would advise arriving around 10am in order to pay, get skates and get geared up to take full advantage of the session.
Skate rentals for both the parent and child are included in the $3.50 admission. Rentals do not come in half sizes for kids so bring along an extra pair of socks if you think your child may be between sizes. Age range for this session is for 4 and under (though if you have an “early 5” I don’t think anyone would question you).
On the day of our visit there were two other families there to skate. This left a whole lot of ice for three preschoolers and their parents! Held in the NHL rink, the parent and tot skate hour is basically just open ice time with limited participants. This gives little ones a chance to try out skating without moms and dads having to worry about them getting in the way of the big kids. Be prepared to be a little creative or come with a friend.
There are no “props” or music, just the open ice rink. One mom at the session had brought along a few beanie baby sized animals for the kids to throw and then skate to. My daughter also liked trying to skate around the circles and to “connect the dots” from the hockey markings on the rink.
A few things to bring along to ensure a safe and fun skating trip are warm clothing and socks, a jacket or heavy sweatshirt, gloves or mittens (for parent and tot) and a helmet for your child. Even with one series of lessons under her belt my daughter took a few hard falls. A few toys such as the small stuffed animals mentioned above would also be helpful to have on hand.
The ice rink does have a cafe but it is not open during the hours of the Parent/Tot skate. Vending machines for snacks and drinks are available in the lobby and eating is permitted in the lobby area but not in the rinks. Restrooms are available in the lobby and in the rink area.
Aside from this time set aside for preschoolers, Cabin John offers many Open Skate sessions for all ages including Cheapskate and Family Skate sessions. View the schedule online.
A trip to the Cabin John Ice Rink could easily be combined with a visit to the huge Cabin John playground (easier to drive than to walk) during nice weather or lunch at the Montgomery Mall located just 2 blocks away. Picnic tables are located directly outside the entrance if you want to bring your own lunch.
Photo by Kim Engstrom