This week for our family field trip we found ourselves ice-skating at The Rink, Elements, in Tsim Sha Tsui. If you missed last time we were scoffing cake at the Charlie Brown Cafe and you can read all about our experience here.
This week the intrepid field trippers were: one Mum, one Dad and Gracie the tot, aged almost 3 ½. We were after a bit of festive fun, and thought what better way to start the holiday season than with a spot of ice-skating?
The only glitch in our plan being Gracie’s immediate fear of the ice rink when we arrived! She has never been ice-skating before and when she saw all the skaters gliding (and crashing!) around the rink she said she was “scared”, and then proceeded to have a mini-meltdown. At this point, I was thinking, “here we go, 150 bucks down the drain!” as we had already pre-booked our Holiday Ice Experience Lesson.
Next was the skate hire, which costs an additional $20 on top of the $150 class lesson. Then, as she waited with her other classmates by the side of the rink with her skates on, a smile crept across her face and the meltdown was long forgotten… phew!
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when it was time for the class to begin… but it soon became apparent that garden furniture would play a starring role in this lesson! Our coach arrived, and got each child to sit in a kid-sized plastic garden chair. At this point the coach pushed them along the ice sitting in their chair! This, rather than the Penguin, became the teaching aid, which I thought was an extremely clever idea as they can get used to the sensation of the ice while securely sitting down, before progressing to standing up, using the chair for balance. As the lesson moves on and their confidence grows, they can then start to push the chair themselves while remaining upright and unaided on the ice – a real taste of ice-skating!
The Holiday Ice Experience Lesson is an excellent introduction to ice-skating for small children. There are two age groups; 3-5 years and 6-12 years. The class size was small; normally classes are 4-8 students (Gracie’s class had just 4 students in total). The kids LOVED this introduction to the ice and Gracie even laughed when she fell on her “bum-bum!”. Parents spectate from the side while the kids have their lesson (this was definitely a hit for me as frankly I was slightly hungover, and the prospect of donning a pair of skates for the first time in 20 years was a bit daunting!). Class time is 30 minutes which is just the right amount of time to keep those wandering minds on the lesson. Relatively cheap as far as tuition goes in Hong Kong – $150 for 30 minutes – I thought this was pretty reasonable. And if there’s still more energy to be burnt don’t forget Elements Playground upstairs near Civic Square.
Although the coaching was excellent, the front desk staff were slow and not very engaging (pretty much like me with my hangover!), so we had to work out what to do ourselves. Essentially, you have to hire your skates, then get the sticker with your child’s name on it from the desk before the turnstiles that let you onto the ice, then the children are let through the turnstiles, and wait rink-side for their coach and the lesson to begin. Limited class times; there are only two timeslots to choose from, either 12–12.30pm or 4–4.30pm on weekends and public holidays only.
The verdict: On the whole we were very happy family field trippers this week! We thought this experience was very well taught and would definitely recommend it to others. In fact, you’ll probably see us there again!
The Rink: Daily, 10am to 10pm
Holiday Ice Experience Lesson: Weekends and Public Holidays; 12–12.30pm or 4–4.30pm.
The Holiday Ice Experience Lesson costs $150, plus an additional $20 for ice-skate hire.
Need to know before you go:
I would recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment by calling 2196 8016. They will most likely advise you to complete this course application form and scan, or fax it back to them. (On the form, you need to write “Holiday Ice Experience Lesson” in the “Other course type and course number” section, with your proposed date and time below).
Don’t forget warm clothing that is easy to move in, and gloves are also a good idea!
If you’re hungry: Your best bet is heading up to the restaurants in Civic Square, including a good Italian called Joia which does delicious pizza, and Stormies to name but a couple. Then there’s ThreeSixty supermarket, WildFire pizza near the ice rink inside Elements Mall itself, and Pret à Manger – all child-friendly options.
How to get there:
Take the orange Tung Chung line and exit at Kowloon Station, then follow indoor signs to The Rink.
If you’re in need of other transport options this link pretty much nails how to get to Elements Mall in every conceivable way.
The Rink, G/F Elements, No.1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, 2196 8016, www.rink.com.hk