Christmas trees? Love them.
Giant inflatable Santas on your front lawn? I support you.
Christmas songs? That’s me you hear singing…and probably sobbing.
So imagine my utter joy when the time came for my husband and me to take our three-year-old son to RVA on Ice at Richmond CenterStage for his first ice skating experience.
Located downtown at 6th and Broad Streets, RVA on Ice is Richmond’s seasonal ice skating rink, now in its second year of operation. It opened just before Christmas of 2010, bringing to life Mayor Dwight Jones’s vision of an outdoor skating rink in the city. As Mayor Jones explained last year, “Our downtown is growing more alive and vibrant and this new activity is a great addition to downtown attractions that everyone can enjoy.”
Well, I need to write Mayor Jones a thank you note because our time at RVA on Ice was holiday perfection.
We ended up going on a Thursday night (a week after this season’s opening ceremonies) in an effort to avoid the major crowds. Lucky for us, there was no wait at all. It took all of five minutes for us to buy our admission tickets at the CenterStage box office, sign our waivers, and select our skates before making our way over to the changing area.
RVA on Ice offers skates as small as a child’s size 9. My son wears an 8, so we just brought a couple extra pairs of socks to get a better fit. I recommend that adults do this too; the skates available for rental are the boot/buckle variety (rather than lace-up), so it can be kind of tricky to make sure they’re secure and comfortable.
As we hobbled over to the rink, my son was beside himself with the festivities around us. A Christmas tree! Lights! A giant snowman! A fire pit! Christmas music! He hadn’t even seen the rink yet and he was about to lose his mind.
You probably won’t be shocked by the news that a three-year-old isn’t exactly graceful on the ice. Nevertheless, he was such a trooper and completely content to hold our hands as we pulled him along with us. Everyone was very considerate of each other (even the crazy teens, for the most part), and we were able to keep a slow and steady pace with each lap.
Our decision to hold off a week to avoid a massive crowd was on point; there were just enough people to give it a nice community feel but not so many that we felt like our kid was going to get run over.
All told, we probably only made four or five full trips around the ice before sensing that the need for dinner and bedtime would soon overtake our son’s enthusiastic mood. But we didn’t mind. Sharing such a fantastic holiday experience surrounded by the city we love all lit up for the season was all we were shooting for — and that’s just what we got. In fact, our son spent the entire car ride home shouting, “Mama! That was SO much fun! Wasn’t that fun, Dada?! I can’t wait for when we go back tomorrow!”
Thanks so much, Mayor Jones.
RVA on Ice is open Wednesday through Friday from 4pm to 10pm, on Saturdays from 10am to 10pm, and on Sundays from 10am to 6pm.
Special holiday hours are…
December 19-23: Noon to 10pm
December 24: Noon to 8pm
December 25: 4pm to 10pm
December 26-January 1: Noon to 10pm
The rink closes for the season on January 2.
General admission is $5. Military and senior citizens over 60 are $4. Children 10 and under are free. Skate rental is $5 per visit or $3 for children 10 and under.
RVA on Ice
6th & Broad Streets
Valerie Catrow is the former editor of RVANews and a current contributor to their parenting column, Raising Richmond. A Richmonder through-and-through, she grew up in Midlothian, graduated from the University of Richmond, and currently lives on the city’s Northside with her husband, Ross, and their son, JR. You can see what she’s up to on a day-to-day basis on her personal blog: Made in Richmond.