'I almost went timber:' Kids of all ages test out SteelStacks ice rink before it opens Tuesday
BETHELHEM, Pa. — Some fell repeatedly, while younger kids held on tight to bright red trainers, and a trio of teens locked hands as they glided across the ice.
No matter the skill level, kids of all ages giggled in delight as they coasted around the ice rink at SteelStacks on Sunday afternoon.
They were joined by MeLVin, mascot of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who, like any good team player, helped the tots up when they lost their balance.
The group of skaters — consisting mainly of employees and their families from Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital — were invited to ArtsQuest to be the first skaters before the rink opens to the public on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
'Providing space for children'
Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital partnered up with ArtsQuest to bring back the skating rink, which is now in its second year.
The rink has expanded in size, about 1,500 square feet larger than in 2022.
It will also be open two weeks longer this year and instead melt away on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 15.
"The primary reason we feel honored to sponsor something like this is because activity, especially outdoor activity, and communities providing that space for children, is really important," Dr. Nathan Hagstrom, chair of Pediatrics at Lehigh Valley Health Network and physician in chief of Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital, said on Sunday.
"The more active children are, the more healthier they become and something like ice skating, where they learn new things, really helps with development — both brain and physical development."
First time on ice
Amelia Kuhns, a nurse practitioner at the children's hospital in Allentown, watched sans skates as her seven-year-old twin boys skimmed the rink.
Luckily, her husband was there to help the pair learn some moves.
"They seem to be loving it. They've been roller skating, but this is their first time ice skating," Kuhns, who lives with her family in Berks County, said.
"I think outdoor, active play is so important for all children to be out and be active. It gives them exposure and gets the energy out, it's a good thing."
Joey Webster, 10, appeared to having a blast as he skated alongside his four-year-old brother, Charlie.
"I definitely want to come back," Joey said, as a boy behind him gleefully shouted, "I almost went timber!"
"The more active children are, the more healthier they become and something like ice skating, where they learn new things, really helps with development — both brain and physical development."Nathan Hagstrom, Chair of Pediatrics at LVHN and Physician in Chief of Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital
Dave Matthews Band, Latin, Pride nights
As part of the fun, ArtsQuest will host 23 theme day/nights for adults and children alike.
The first theme night is Spooky Skate on Tuesday, Nov. 28, following a Barbie night on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
A Pride Night, in partnership with Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Center, takes place on Dec. 6.
For kids, there is a Bluey Skate on Dec. 3 and a Princess Skate on Dec. 10, a Superhero Skate on Dec. 17 and a Mario Video Game Skate on Jan. 17. (All daytime theme skates start at 12:45 and 2:30 p.m.)
Additionally, La Mega Night will feature Latin tunes on Dec. 12, while Taylor Swift night, which coincides with her 33rd birthday, is on Dec. 13.
There is also a Fleetwood Mac Night on Jan. 4, a La Mega for Three Kings Day on Jan. 7. and a Dave Matthews Band night on Jan. 9.
Theme nights take place at 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
To learn more about the themes day/nights, click here.
Skating sessions last 75 minutes (with 30 minutes in between).
Tickets cost $23 - $26 (ages 14 and up), $20-23 (13 and younger), and $19-$22 for ArtsQuest members.
Tickets include the price of rentals (skaters may bring their on, but the price is the same).
For groups of 15 or more tickets cost between $19-$22.
To purchase tickets, click here.