Rediscover rush of roller skating
I recently rediscovered the rush of roller skating while escorting my daughter to a friend’s birthday party at Skate Zone 71, a roller rink located alongside I-71 in Columbus.
Fond memories of the 1980s came flooding back as I slipped on a pair well-worn, tan skates with orange wheels, just like the ones I wore when I was a regular at Medina Skateland in Medina, Ohio.
Except instead of swooning to such songs as Journey’s “Open Arms” and Benny Mardones’ “Into The Night,” my daughter, Rosie, and I circled the rink to DJ-spun tunes by the likes of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.
It was Rosie’s first time roller skating, but she quickly got the swing of things thanks to the help of a triangular contraption called a “skate mate.” It works like an elderly person’s walker with wheels. Instead of clinging to the walls, she was able to sail into the rink with ease and confidence.
Skate Zone’s rink can accommodate 700 roller skaters and rollerbladers. Skaters can mill around the middle trying freestyle moves or lounge on the plastic couches.
This isn’t the Skateland of my childhood, though. It’s much bigger with rows of tables for simultaneous parties; an arcade with games that dispense tickets that you can redeem for prizes; a haze-filled, glow-in-the-dark space for laser tag; and a concession stand offering hot pretzels, pizza, snow cones and cotton candy.
Guests can skate to Disney tunes on Saturday mornings or to glow lights on Sunday afternoons. Weekend family skate times are Fridays 7-10 p.m. and Saturdays 12:30-3 p.m., 4-7 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. Admission is $7 with an added $4 charge for skate rental.
Need a refresher course? Skate lessons are available on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-noon for $6 per person.
Skate Zone 71 is located at 4900 Evanswood Dr., Columbus. For more information, call 614-846-5627 or visit www.unitedskates.com.