Owen emailed recently:
I think a post on all the places in the region to ice skate would be a good idea.
We agree -- it is a good idea. So we put together a list.
It turns out there a bunch of places in the Capital Region that you can skate outside (alas, still no skating at the ESP). If you've got other suggestions, pass them along...
Swinburne Ice Rink
Clinton and Manning Avenue (map)
It's covered by a pavilion, but pretty much open air.
$1 for adults, .50 cents for kids). You can rent skates anytime for $2.
Monday through Thursday 3:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.
Friday 3:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. - 10:00 P.M.
Saturday 12:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. - 10:00 P.M
Sunday 12:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.
Buckingham Pond (map)
The city periodically checks the ice on Buckingham Pond to see if it's safe to skate. As long as there is no sign prohibiting it, you're welcome to do some figure 8s or get together a pick-up hockey game. (And if you'd like to shovel -- you'll win points in the neighborhood.) There are only one or two lights, so skating after dark can be an adventure.
Washington Park Lake
Washington Park, behind the Lake House (map)
The person we talked at DGS today said the city clears a section of the lake at Washington Park and checks the ice to make sure it's safe for skating. As long as you don't see a sign prohibiting skating, go for it. There are lights on the pond but we checked with the city and skating is only allowed until sundown.
The Crossings Pond
580 Albany Shaker Road
Hours vary at the crossings pond. It usually opens for skating at noon and closes between 5 and 8. Leave your hockey sticks home though, this pond is for skating only. To be sure, you may want to call 438-5587 before you go.
Long Pond at Grafton
Grafton Lakes State Park (map)
Long Pond in Grafton Lakes State Park is open for skating from 8AM until 5PM every day. The pond gets cleared every Friday, so if it snows during the week, you may be out of luck.
Schenectady Central Park (map)
Prison inmates clear the lake of snow and the city checks it to see if the ice is safe. There are lights that stay on until after 11PM daily. Skating is free but check the flag pole in front of the park's admin building: green flag means ice is safe, red means stay off. There are benches near the ice but no bathrooms, nor warming hut.
Spa State Park (map)
Saratoga Spa State Park has two outdoor rinks. The one just off the Avenue of Pines is usually used for hockey. It has a warming hut and lights. We checked with park officials and apparently there's no official closing time for this rink... so you can skate or play hockey until the lights go off at no charge. The other rink is smaller and there's no hockey allowed. It's further in the park, near the Victoria Pool. No lights here, but you can skate for free all day.
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