NEW JERSEY - Nothing spells the holiday season and winter more than a pair of skates. Ice skating is an ideal family fun activity and even the perfect date night. Taking a whirl around the ice at NYC's iconic Rockefeller Center with the world's most recognized tree in the background is a bucket list do for many.
However, residents don't necessarily have to trek all the way into the city to take a spin on the ice. While it's true that lakes and ponds rarely freeze deep enough to allow safe outdoor skating, the Garden State does offer several indoor and even a couple of outdoor rinks that offer public skates. Some also have open hockey and recreation leagues for those that want to dig out the sticks and pucks.
The following is a list of New Jersey rinks that are open either seasonally or year-round. Most also offer skate rentals.
- The Spotswood Recreation Department puts up a rink for outdoor use at the Michael Road Park in Spotswood each season. Ice skating, but not ice hockey is permitted when the weather allows. Participants must bring their own skates and skating is free.
- ProSkate Ice Arena in Monmouth Junction offers daily public skates. Their programs also include lessons, intro to hockey programs, recreation leagues for adults and kids. Skate rentals are available and there's a snack bar for refreshments.
- The Old Bridge Ice Arena in Old Bridge is an indoor/outdoor rink and offers public skates on weekends and certain weekdays including Monday holidays from November through April. Skate rentals are available and they do have a small snack stand.
- Protec Ponds in Somerset has daily public skates as well as ice skating and hockey programs. Skates can be rented and there's a snack bar to warm up at afterwards.
- The Woodbridge Community Center on Main Street in Woodbridge offers an ice skating rink that holds public skates on weekends and certain holidays. Rentals are available and the WCC Cafe offers hot chocolate, coffee and snacks. They also have a roller skating rink here as well.
- The Roosevelt Park Family Ice Skating Rink is one of the few outdoor skating rinks in the Garden State. It is located on Parsonage Road in Edison and is open from November through April. It's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but offers public skates on Wednesdays through Fridays and on the weekends. The rink is also available for lessons and parties. Skate rentals are available as well.
- The Red Bank Armory on Chestnut Street in Red Bank offers public skates on weekends and they also have extensive ice skating and hockey programs available. Visitors can get rentals and enjoy snacks afterwards.