Nov 5, 2020 - Things to Do

Ice skating is back at the Whitewater Center this month — plus an immersive light trail

For the second year in a row, The U.S. National Whitewater Center is bringing back its popular ice skating rink and an immersive light trail installation for the winter months. The seasonal activities begin Wednesday, November 11, and are scheduled to run through mid-February.

Even though this holiday season will look a lot different from previous years, outdoor activities are still a viable option for festive outings.

Ice Skating and Lights will provide more opportunities for the community to stay engaged. Whitewater’s goal is to continue to promote the active lifestyle and we’ll keep developing programming to get people moving,” Jesse Hyde, the center’s director of marketing and strategy, told the Agenda.

This year, visitors can expect even more lighting elements and a longer trail experience in the Lights installation. Also new for the 2020 season, The Whitewater Center is making infrastructure additions like a new full-service restaurant by the ice skating rink, an expanded skate/kayak center with an overhead walkway and observation deck, a new check-in area, gear storage, and retail areas.

Covid-19 changes: In accordance with phase three guidelines, guests and staff are reminded to wear a mask and maintain social distancing whenever possible when walking around the premises.

Ice skating: The ice skating rink includes 17,000 square feet of ice on the Upper Pond of the whitewater river. It’s designed with three areas — free skate, winter sports, and a 600-foot ice trail.

The skating area will also have an on-ice Airstream trailer serving craft beer, hot chocolate, and coffee. Skate rentals are included but you need to bring your own socks.

Lights: This isn’t your typical Christmas light show. The half-mile walking trail features otherworldly immersive light installations by Charlotte artist Meredith Connelly.

The walking trail is through the forest, and the light installations will be inspired by nature — like giant crystals, cocoons, and mushrooms.

“We’re excited to merge the natural environment with artistic interpretations of elements we see in the forest every day,” Jesse said. “Meredith and our team are creating some really compelling installations and I think this will be a unique way for the public to get outside.”

Cost: Ice skating can be accessed through an Annual Pass (kids 9 and under $189, $219 adults ages 10+), Day Pass ($59), or Single Activity Pass ($20). The Lights walking trail is free and open to the public (parking is $6).

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