We took the teenager to try and get us all more active. The skating part of it was fun and we will definitely go again. Having said that there were a number of issues that do need addressing.
We had tried to go the previous week but the website was down (it's still down now) so we decided to have a drive through to get our bearings and hoped it would be open as it was the school holidays. We went in and they said there wasn't too long left of the session. We said we'd have a go anyway. This seemed fine until we wanted to pay with a card and they said they were cashing up so we couldn't pay but the next session was in another couple of hours. We decided to call it a day since they weren't going to let us on the ice. I asked for a list of the opening/session times as the website wasn't working. They didn't have this but wrote it on a piece of paper for us.
We then made plans to go again and checked the session times on the paper - the website still wasn't working! Something told me to give them a ring to check as they seemed to be a bit shambolic and yes - different session times to the ones they had written down for us. First tip - check by phone before heading out.
So our first proper visit was pretty good. Parking was easy. Good value for money now we have the Life card although an initial investment and probably only worth it if you intend to go regularly. Second time it cost £15 for two adults and a child including skate hire
Not a massive wait first time and onto the ice pretty quickly.
Toilets are truly disgusting and definitely need a refurbishment asap and downstairs everything is a bit scruffy. The seating area is falling to bits and at busy times hard to find somewhere to sit and put your skates on. As people say, the lockers take your 20p and so bring a supply if you intend to be in and out of the lockers.
Second time we went there was a queue a mile long with, as a previous reviewer mentioned, only one person serving on the tills. The session was for a 1pm start and you would think they would want to get things moving but we had to wait almost 20 minutes. As we went to pick up our skates, we faced a second queue with another 20 minute wait due to only one person being on the skate hatch. The last time we came there were multiple people doing this so it definitely made a difference. You can purchase skate aids - penguins and the slightly larger snow men - but be warned it costs an extra £5.10 when you get your skates.
The first time we went the whole rink was open and despite being busy, the one way system seemed to work well. The Ice Wardens (not sure that's their official title) were visible and one lad was helping people up if they fell. One girl seemed more interested in how good she looked on the ice and after my wife fell she sauntered up to her and told her she wasn't allowed to sit on the ice. My wife told her it that it wasn't through choice she was sitting there and the girl skated off.
The second time we went however, a quarter of the rink was cordoned off for two children playing (or pretending to play) curling. It was a massive amount of space, given how busy it was, for two kids to have a mess around with a couple of sweeping brushes and some curling stones. We noticed the difference and would like to have been warned as I wouldnt want to go again if the whole rink wasn't available. It was hard to get going, given that we are beginners and like to be close to the sides. People weren't necessarily following the one way system and just stopping to have a chat which meant you couldn't get around them easily. Those bloomin' penguins were also causing problems with kids almost taking you out at every turn. Maybe an adult skate might be better if the teenager could come. Wish someone would have spoken to the parents to get their kids to follow the rules.
Kids were scraping up ice and throwing it. The ice was all cut up and grooved in places by the time they'd done and it might just be me but it seemed quite hard to skate in some areas. The Ice Wardens were no where to be seen and since they weren't on the tills or the skate hatch, I do wonder where they were. It did take one member of staff to supervise the two weird kids and their mum with their pretend curling though!
We tried some slushies which had a very chemically after taste and the food serving counter looked grubby so not sure what the food would be like. The seating area for food and drink has also seen better days. Certainly did look like anything special which is a shame as I think they're missing a trick, given that everyone probably goes to Centertainment afterwards if they want something to eat.
All in all we loved the first session but the second session wasn't as good due to poor staffing and the whole rink not being open given that it was so busy. Will we give it another go? Yes but if we have similar issues we might give Doncaster Dome a go.
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