Updated December 2019.
Going ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza is one of my family’s favorite things to do at holiday time. It’s not winter to me, until we’ve taken a couple of spins on the ice. After the holidays, the crowds thin and skaters can enjoy a less crowded skating rink. The outdoor rink is a Des Moines winter landmark and a perfect place to make family memories.
Even if you’re not a great skater, I encourage you to give it a try. Nobody in my family is what I would call a strong skater, but we still have a great time. And, quite honestly, everybody else seems to be at about the same skill level. Of course, there’s always a couple of “showboats”, but for the most part, skaters are just there to enjoy a little wintertime fun.
Know Before You Go
- Hours of Operation: Weather permitting, the rink is open seven days a week, including holidays. Monday through Thursday 12:00 noon to 9:00 pm; Friday and Saturday 12:00 noon to 11:00 pm; Sunday 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. Hours are modified for holidays. Check the Calendar for specific hours. Also, if the weather is unseasonably warm or cold, check to make sure the ice rink is open before heading out.
- Cost: Adults $9.500; Child (6-12 years old)/Military/Senior 62+ $5.50; Skate Rental $5.00; Skate Mate Rental $5.00; Shoe Check $1.00 and Skate Sharpening $5.00. Admission is increased by $1 on holidays. Group rates are available.
- Food: Outside food, drink and alcohol is NOT allowed. A concession stand is available and located in the same place where you pay and pick up your skates.
- Restrooms: There are restrooms available on site.
- Parking: Metered street parking is available on Robert D. Ray Drive and throughout the Historic East Village. Additional parking in the lot behind the Argonne Armory Building, north of Brenton Skating Plaza or in the Iowa Workforce Development parking lot northeast of Brenton Skating Plaza (after 5 pm on weekdays). City of Des Moines parking ramps are also available.
- Prior to your visit check out Brenton Skating Plaza’s website where you can find even more information.
Brenton Skating Plaza, which is located along the Principal Riverwalk, at the corner of Robert D. Ray Drive and East Grand Avenue, offers outdoor ice skating from mid-November until early March.
Have an Ice Day!
I’m not sure what it is, but I love the feeling of gliding across the ice with the Des Moines skyline in the background! We tend to go ice skating in the late afternoon and stay until early evening. It ends up being a great mix of skating under a sunny Iowa winter sky and skating under the stars with the lights. We also like to stop by a Downtown restaurant after working up an appetite ice skating?
Public skating sessions are the perfect outing for families, groups or couples looking for a one of a kind activity in Downtown Des Moines. Public Skating hours are available throughout the week and the rink also hosts several holiday events and theme nights like a New Year’s Eve Skate and Mascot Skate.
Don’t know how to skate? Not a problem. FREE Skate Clinics are available at the Brenton Skating Plaza for children 4 and older and adults of all ages. You’ll learn basic ice-skating skills in a fun and energetic environment. Skate Clinics will be offered this season on December 14, 2019, January 11, 2020 and February 15, 2020 from 10:30 to 11:30 am.
If you have a winter baby, you might want to consider hosting their next birthday party at Brenton Skating Plaza. The Party Package includes admission and skate rental, hot chocolate or juice box and one free admission pass for a future visit for each party guest. The fee for birthday parties is $150 for up to 10 skaters (an additional $14 for each additional skater).
If you plan on taking the kids ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza this winter, here’s a few tips:
- Wear “comfortable” layers. So, you can take things off if you get too warm, which often happens after a bit of skating. Often your legs can get cold, so wearing a pair of Cuddle Duds under jeans or pants can help, leggings or “jogger” pants for kids are a good idea too.
- Protect the extremities. Your toes and fingers will get cold. It’s a good idea to take along an extra pair of gloves. You may also want to double up on socks or wear really thick ones. This will also help protect against blisters. If you do wear an extra pair of socks, you will likely need the next size up in skates.
- Have kids wear snow pants or bring along an extra change of clothes. Kids learning to skate will inevitably have a few falls. So, their clothes, particularly their pants may get wet. Have them wear snow pants or take a change of clothes or pants, otherwise they will get very cold afterwards (especially if you are considering going for a meal or treat afterwards).
- Ice skates are not easy to get on or off. Most kids will need help getting their ice skates on, pulling them off and tying up the laces. (My 10-year-old still needs help getting them on.)
- Use hand warmers. You can pick up packs of hand and foot warmers about anywhere and they are great to have on hand when ice skating.
- Make sure you have enough adults to adequately assist the number of children you have. The Skate Mates are helpful but little ones may not feel confident going out on the ice by themselves. If you are not confident skating yourself, perhaps go with friends who can, so there are other adults who can help your child.
- Don’t push it. If you’ve never gone ice skating before there will be a learning curve. Be sure to take some breaks, have some hot chocolate, watch the Zamboni and enjoy some quality family time.
With the Des Moines skyline as a backdrop and proximity to all that Downtown has to offer, winter is a great time to give ice skating a whirl at Brenton Skating Plaza!
Brenton Skating Plaza
Address: 520 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: (515) 284-1000
Has your family gone ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza? What are your tips?