Penn Class 0f 1923 Ice Rink

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Penn Class of 1923 Ice Rink
3130 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 898-1923, icerink@exchange.upenn.edu, website

This wonderful write up comes to us from guest writer “Mom Sequitur.” She was kind enough to share her experience at Penn Class of 1923 Ice Rink.for we could have it on the site. She did an awesome job. So here is everything you need to know about Penn Class of 1923 Ice Rink.

I’m originally from Upstate New York, and one of my favorite things about working at a college there
was the free lunchtime skating. That was a decade ago. So I was pretty excited when I discovered that
the Penn Ice Rink had skating at lunchtime and offered lessons on weekends. I didn’t learn to skate until I was an adult, so my evil plan was to teach my kids to skate early so I could get some other hockey players in the family. My plan only half-worked: now I’ve got a budding figure skater on my hands. But we have a great mother-daughter tradition of Sunday skating followed by milkshakes.

The Class of 1923 rink is old, rough, and unloved by a university that puts its priorities into new shiny things like Penn Park. But if you grew up bumming around in old rinks, you’ll feel right at home. The rumors of it being torn down are patently false, according to my inside sources in the executive office at Penn.

Open Skate

Lessons are offered on Sunday afternoons in two shifts, 12-12:30 and 12:30-1. The earlier shift is for the younger/less advanced skaters, while the second shift is advanced kids and all adult levels. The lessons run in 5-week cycles, or you can sign your kid (or yourself!) up for the whole year at once. The price of lessons includes free parking and skate rental, plus admittance to the free skating that starts at 1 pm. If you want to free skate alongside your kid after they’re done with lessons, they sell a parent pass that’s good for the free skate and rental, so you can get on out there. If you don’t, there are plenty of places to sit in the stands, but be warned: it’s cold in there! Bundle up and bring a blanket. There’s a snack bar that sells hot chocolate and coffee, to help keep you warm.

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First-timers are a little nervous.

The coaches are a variety of ages from mostly figure skating backgrounds. They really know how to work with kids, from getting them into it to working a bit more with the beginners who are more gravity-challenged. The lessons are rated according to the standard US Figure Skating “Snowplow Sam” and Basic levels.

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Swizzles are not only fun to do, they’re fun to say.

This is not to say they don’t know how to work with adults, too! There are a large number of adult
skaters at all skill levels. In the years that we’ve been going, I’ve seen a number of older skaters go from absolute beginners to small figure skating jumps. So if you’ve always wanted to learn too, here’s your chance.

LOGISTICS

The first day of each lesson cycle is chaos. Picture the inside of a Chuck E. Cheese’s, now take away the ball pit and strap sharp blades to the feet of all the children. The staff gets them organized pretty quickly, but that first day is not for the faint of heart.

 BE EARLY THE FIRST DAY. If this is your child’s first time skating, add +15 minutes to whatever
time you would ordinarily consider “early.” If you will need to rent skates, add another +10
minutes. If your kid is the type to whine that their skates or helmet is too tight (not that I know
anything about that YES YOU HAVE TO WEAR THE HELMET), then add another +5 for
adjustments.

 Parking is underneath the Walnut Street overpass and in the Penn Park parking lot, but you have
to get a window hangtag from inside the rink.

 Skate rental: you leave your shoes with them, and they are the standard kind of rental skates.
You may want to rent for a while to see if your kid even likes it before you commit to purchasing
your own skates. And yes, just like shoes, you will be buying them constantly as your kid’s feet
grow.

 Helmets: all kids under advanced level MUST wear a helmet, and believe me, you will want them
to have one after the first time you see a kid bounce off the ice. A lot of the kids seem to wear
bike helmets – check that your kid’s helmet covers the back of their head. If it doesn’t, get a
different one.

 Class level: if your kid has already skated, s/he can be bumped up to the next level. You can ask
the staff to assess. They’re pretty good about moving them around, and the beginner class
quickly stratifies into “beginners who show aptitude” and “beginner-beginners.”

 What to wear: ice skating is the delicate balance between the desire to move your limbs and the
desire to have them not freeze off. Uniqlo Heattech is your friend. Puffy vests are also good for
adding that second (or third) layer of warmth while enabling arm movement. Snowpants can be
good for beginners because they provide extra cushion for falls while also being water resistant
and warm.

 Boys and Girls: there is an even split, and because it’s the basic skills program, it does not matter if your child intends to play hockey or figure skate. Both types of skates are equally accepted and the same skills apply to all.

 Getting ready: there are no public changing areas, so best to have your kids dressed in whatever
clothes they’re going to wear. There are benches where they can line up to put on skates. And
most importantly: yes, you can wear skates into the restrooms.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Other than freezing your tail off. Your kid is going to fall. A LOT. If your child is just beginning, she’s going to fall down all the time. If your child is an experienced skater, then he’s going to be learning new and more advanced stuff, which means he’s going to fall down too. I love ice skating because I find it liberating – you’re completely disconnected from the force of gravity that keeps your connected to the ground. Unfortunately, this means you’re disconnected from gravity. It’s a whole new way of moving, one that kids may become frustrated with because they are not accustomed to being out of their element like that, especially when it means you’re going to fall on your butt every five minutes.

Football, soccer, basketball: you know how to run, now add a ball. Lacrosse: you know how to run, now add a stick.Ultimate Frisbee, Quidditch: I think you get the point. It takes a long time to get good at skating, and both you and your child will need to have patience. You’ll need to give hugs if he cries when he falls. You’ll need to buy more pairs of gloves than you can imagine, because apparently that Sock Monster that lives in your laundry room has a brother who lives at the ice rink. I suggest the dollar store and save the real gloves for other times. Bring a snack (or change for the machine) so at least no one is cranky from hunger.

Lest I sound too negative, here are the other things you can expect: those huge smiles when your child masters a new skill. Your kid sliding around your hardwood floors in socks and asking if it’s Sunday yet. Snuggling with your kid under a blanket in the stands to watch a hockey game when she begged to please, please stay after you already pried her off the ice after an hour and a half.

OH, AND PARTIES

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Olaf and Elsa stopped by.The rink also has several party rooms which includes admission for a number of your child’s friends. My kid is sad her birthday isn’t in the winter. There are frequently Frozen birthday parties. The price is very reasonable, but I would never do this to my kid’s friends. “Hey, come to my birthday party where you can fall down and get cold and wet!” The kids all seem to be having a great time though.

IN CONCLUSION

Skating is an art that takes time to master – why add a long drive to the amount of time it takes? The Penn Ice Rink is right here, with plenty of free parking and an experienced staff that will have your kid swizzling in no time.And the Shake Shack 2 blocks away has great milkshakes. They also serve drinks if you need one after you fall and bump your butt.

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