It can be hard to get that holiday feeling. Once you've switched your radio to KLUV, and you've tried gingerbread houses, sugar cookies, stringing lights, and braving the malls, you might want to lace up those ice skates from your childhood. There aren't many places to skate this holiday season, but here are a few in and around Dallas.
Sparkle 2014 Last year's Sparkle event at the Hilton Anatole was a beautiful affair, all ice skating rinks, Christmas lights and time-consuming attractions for the youngsters. But there was one problem. What was generally sparkling was not so much the lights as the ice crystals forming on your eyeballs. Thanks to last year's unseasonably cold weather, frostbite was an unintended main attraction. To their credit, the fine people at the Anatole, 2201 North Stemmons Freeway, have heated things up considerably this year -- moving the event indoors to a tolerable 70 degree environment and freeing visitors from the puffy confines of their winter gear so they can better enjoy this massively fun family Christmas event. Sparkle 2014 features 1.2 million (!) Christmas lights, a giant Santa slide, Velcro wall, bounce houses and the return of that ice skating rink. Check the schedule for story times, visits with Santa, appearances by Dallas zoo animals, plus live music and more events held in the cozy and inviting interior of the hotel. The warmed up winter wonderland kicks off on Friday and is open daily through January 5. Admission is $19.95 for ages 13 and up and $15.95 for seniors and children ages 3 to 12. Toddlers get in for free. Visit hiltonanatolehotel.com/christmas-experience for more information on daily events and to order tickets.
Galleria Dallas Skate underneath the largest indoor Christmas tree in America at the Galleria in North Dallas. If you've got shopping to do, set your teenagers up with some skates and shop in peace, or join your little ones on the ice for their first skate. It's open year round, but it's much more festive during the holidays. Admission is $10 and skate rentals are $3. Its daily hours are similar to mall hours. Visit the website for more info.
Panther Island Ice Growing up in Texas, my visions of what Christmas should look like were always thwarted. In the movies and the songs there was all this talk of snow, but we were lucky if there was a nip in the air. Perhaps that's why the idea of an outdoor ice rink is so appealing to me. Of course, since the Anatole moved its rink indoors this year, you'll have to drive to Fort Worth's Panther Island Ice to hear the swish of a metal blade against the slightly melting ice. Sure, you may not need to bundle up, but at least you can leave with sore ankles and rosy cheeks. Panther Island Ice (223 NE 4th Street, Fort Worth) is open daily from 3-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 3-11 p.m. Fridays, and 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Regular admission is $11. More information at pantherislandice.com.
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Dr. Pepper Star Center If you're looking for skating lessons or special events like Skate with Santa, the Dr. Pepper Star Centers in Dallas' Northern suburbs are where to go. It's not open to the public all the time, but admission and hours are available on their website.