ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Among the city skyline and a bay filled with boats, a little winter wonderland has popped up in downtown St. Petersburg.
- Ice skaing rink opens in downtown St. Petersburg
- Rink part of the Holidays in Sunshine City event
- A 200-ton chiller is used to keep the ice cold
"I don't know anywhere in the country where you can go ice skating and see a sailboat," Mayor Rick Kriseman said.
A first of its kind outdoor skating rink has opened at Albert Whitted Park. City leaders have been working hard to keep the ice frozen in Florida's warm climate.
"The ice is four inches of solid ice. We have a 200-ton chiller that's out back that runs the chemical through the system and keep the ice cold," Leisure Services Administrator Mike Jefferis said.
Each night, staff members hose down the rink to freeze another layer. They said the hard work is all worth it when they see the smiling faces of children and families who've come out for a spin. They hope the ice-skating success will also boost nearby businesses.
"Anytime you bring a recreational experience to our waterfront, we really hope it's an economic engine that will drive businesses and sponsors and visitors here to the area," Jefferis said.
It's a fun, festive way to celebrate the holiday season. Mayor Kriseman said he hopes to make the outdoor rink an annual tradition.
Ice skating dates and times are as follows and are first come, first served:
- Sessions on Dec. 15 and 16, Dec. 22 and 23, Dec. 26 through Dec. 30 and Jan. 1 through Jan. 7 are from 1 to 9:30 p.m. The first session begins at 1 p.m., and the last session begins at 8:30 p.m.
- Sessions on Dec. 17 through Dec. 21 are from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The first session begins at 6 p.m., and the last session begins at 8:30 p.m.
- Sessions on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 are from 1 to 7 p.m. The first session begins at 1 p.m., and the last session begins at 6 p.m.
- Ice skating is closed on Dec. 25
For a detailed list of sessions for ice skating dates listed above, please visit www.stpeteparksrec.org/holidayevents or contact the St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department at 727-893-7441.
The outdoor ice skating rink is part of the Holidays in the Sunshine City event.