Wheaton Ice Arena, located in the Wheaton Regional Park, is a NHL size rink offering a variety of opportunities for those who enjoy being on the ice, including public ice skating sessions, group and private ice skating lessons and hockey lessons, and an affordable place to host a party. My 7-year-old daughter recently attended her friend’s 8th birthday party here and left wanting to take ice skating lessons.
The party rooms are located right off of the ice rink making it easy for guests to come and go from party room to ice, as they please. This was a very nice feature and made the party flow. Each room holds a maximum of 25 people, including adults and children, and can be rented for $50.00 an hour.
Two rooms can be combined for a maximum of 50 people and rented for $100.00 an hour. Admission and skate rental are not included in the room rental fee. The rooms do get tight when they are at capacity. However, the room had a large window that looked out onto the ice rink and a mirrored wall which helped to make the small space feel bigger.
Each room comes with 3 large banquet tables, chairs and a small table in the front of the room. The backs of the chairs have cutout holes which make it easy to attach balloons to the chairs. Renters must provide and decorate the room themselves.
Since your contracted time starts once you enter the room, it is a good idea to plan your party around one of the two daily public skate sessions. They run about 2 hours and are subject to a 15 minute Zamboni break. We attended a 2-hour party. It was ample time for the guests to eat pizza and cake, and skate in between the party festivities.
On weekends and holidays, admission to the public skate session is $6.50 for ages 5 & up. Ages 3 to 4 are $3.50 and a child 2 and under is free with a paid adult admission. Guests can bring their own skates. If needed, skate rental is $3.25 unless your party coincides with the daily “Cheapskate” session where the $6.50 admission includes skate rental.
Group discount books are available for $55.You receive 10 admission-only tickets with no expiration date. See “Good to Know” at the bottom of this review for the rink’s current schedule which is subject to change.
You can bring in your own food and drink or purchase a 16”/8 slice pizza at $11.50 for cheese and $13.00 for pepperoni. Soda is available at $5.50 a pitcher. Paper products can be purchased for $3.00 per place setting and include cups, plates, napkins and eating utensils. Food is delivered at the time you requested. Rink staff cannot serve guests and there is no freezer or refrigerator available for use.
Wheaton Ice Arena staff were friendly and the skate rental attendant gave advice to my daughter as she put on her skates and tried walking in them for the first time. A staff member was on the ice during the public session.
The music was appropriate for all ages and it was not too loud. However, the rink was colder than I naively thought it would be. A heavier jacket and a pair of gloves would have been useful. The party room was climate controlled and a great place to warm-up. The rink was so large that it never felt crowded.
I learned that the rink reaches capacity on weekends and holidays but there were barely 20-30 people on the ice during our public skate session. Maybe this was due to being a Saturday in late October with competing activities.
The party guests made up most of the novices that clung to the side rail. Those who could do more tended to skate in the middle of the rink. Since this rink is used for hockey, there were a couple of side boxes with a bench along the edge. They were a great place to stop and rest for my beginner skater. Some children wore helmets and I wish that I brought one for my daughter. There was bleacher seating in the ice arena for spectators.
While this is an affordable party idea, the costs can add up fast when you cover the price of the skate rental and admission. We attended a party of 7 and 8 year-olds and most had never been in ice skates. Our host was generous enough to cover the costs of parents who wanted to skate with their children. This might be something to factor in as you plan your party.
Despite so many novices, the girls had a fantastic time. I imagine more than one child left the party hoping to return to Wheaton Ice Arena. I know my daughter did.
Good to Know
- Party rooms can be reserved in-person or by calling Wheaton Ice Arena. Room fees are due in full at the time of application and a minimum of 2 weeks is needed for cancelation.
- Public skate sessions, subject to change, are currently: Friday are at 12:30pm to 2:30pm and 4:45pm to 6:15pm, both are Cheapskate sessions (skate rental included in admission) and a Teen Skate in the evening; Saturday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm and 4:00pm to 6:00pm (Cheapskate); Sundays from 2:45pm to 4:45pm and a Family Cheapskates from 11:00am to 12:45pm designed for parents and children, ages 12 and younger. Check website, www.WheatonIceArena.com, for changes in schedule and information on special events. Special events range from Halloween Skates to a Winter Skating Show to a month of special events during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, February 2014.
- The rink is cold. Dress in layers and wear gloves. Helmets (not provided) are recommended for young beginners.
- Children age 8 and under must be accompanied by a person 16 years or older.
- Parking is plentiful and free.
- Group figure skating and hockey lessons are available and you can register at ParkPass.org. Wheaton Ice maintains a list of instructors for private lessons.
- Internet access is available ask front desk for password.
- The entire rink can be rented for exclusive events at $325 an hour. Maximum capacity is 450.
- A snack bar and plenty of vending machines are located outside of the ice rink. There are places to sit adjacent to the snack bar and right outside the ice rink with large windows to watch the skaters.
- A pro shop is located on the premises and stocks equipment and accessories for hockey players, figure skaters and recreational skaters.
- Wheaton Workout center is located in the facility. It features treadmills, cross-trainers and shoulder, leg and chest press machines. Monthly membership is $14 and one year costs $125.
Photos courtesy of Teresa Flaim.