We are entering a real Ice Age — and we're not talking about the seasonal chilly temperatures.
This is the golden era for ice skating and there's another kid on what seems to be an already crowded ice block this season. There are now four seasonal temporary rinks in Summit County for holiday revelers to slip and slide on.
The Akron Zoo has opened a new synthetic ice rink — translation, you glide on polymers instead of ice — as part of its nightly Wild Lights that runs through New Year's Eve.
The covered rink is situated next to the zoo's Komodo Kingdom and a snowball's throw away from the carousel. To protect the surface, guests have to rent special skates that are $5, which includes time on the rink.
Zoo spokeswoman Elena Bell said guests should not let the lack of "real ice" fool them.
"There's still the ability to fall," she said.
A reason why the zoo opted for an ice-free rink, she said, is that it doesn't require the noisy and expensive chilling equipment and it is not subject to the whims of Mother Nature.
"Even if we have a warm streak, you can still skate when it's 60 degrees out," Bell said.
Those not brave enough to take to the rink, she said, can enjoy watching ice carvers in a pavilion right next door or take in the tens of thousands of lights that make the zoo glow in the night.
Things are finally chill enough for skaters at Akron's Lock 3.
The city's popular ice rink in the center of the downtown park is now up and running for the winter season.
The opening of the ice rink and the debut of the new bumper car attraction had been delayed as workers got the rink's new chilling machinery up and running and then had to wait for the ice to firm up.
The rink is now open for business and the first spins on the new bumper car attraction happened a week ago when Mayor Dan Horrigan ventured out in one of the contraptions.
The battery-operated bumper cars from a Colorado company require reservations and cost $10 for a 10-minute ride and use a portion of the large rink so you don't have to also dodge the ice skaters.
To reserve a time, visit https://booking.appointy.com/…/lock3akronoh/bookings/service and remember you also have to sign a waiver that is also found on the city's website.
The Huntington Bank Ice Skating Rink is billed as one of the largest outdoor rinks in Northeast Ohio, measuring some 10,000 square feet. It costs $4 and that includes the skate rental, or $2 if you have your own skates.
For youngsters, Lock 3 has a Polar Cub Rink that has a synthetic surface geared toward beginner skaters ages 14 and under.
After a one-year absence because of construction in Falls River Square, Cuyahoga Falls once again has an ice rink at the plaza by the downtown pavilion and amphitheater on Front Street.
Admission to the new rink is free. There will be free ice skating lessons provided by Kent State University from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Be sure to bring your own skates or rent a pair for $4.
Summit Metro Parks offers lake and pond ice skating at a pair of its parks. But they caution guests to only venture onto the ice if there are signs indicating they are open for skating.
For the area to be safe, they say the ice must be 4 inches thick, free of snow and temperatures must be several degrees below freezing for long periods of time.
You also have to bring your own skates.
The two parks include:
• Furnace Run Metro Park/Brushwood Lake, which is lighted, 4955 Townsend Road, in Richfield.
• Sand Run Metro Park/Big Bend Area, which is lighted, 1337 Merriman Road, in Akron
For updates on whether the outdoor rinks are open, call 330-865-8060 or follow @metro_parks on Twitter.
Downtown Canton's outdoor seasonal ice rink, in its third year, is open for the season.
The Hall of Fame City Ice Rink measures some 60 feet by 100 feet and is situated on the north side of Tuscarawas Street West, between the Stark County Courthouse and Arcade Coneys.
It costs $2 to skate and an additional $4 to rent a pair of skates.
Cleveland is home to a number of outdoor rinks. One is in the heart of downtown in Public Square.
The Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink is located by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument and costs $10, which includes a skate rental.
The Rink at Wade Oval, located in a park outside the city's famed museums in University Circle, is also open for the season and costs $2 with an additional $3 for skate rentals.
The new Pinecrest development off Interstate 271 in Orange Village has an outdoor rink called Skate in Central Park where folks can glide by a large Christmas tree and watch holiday movies on a large screen.
Craig Webb, who can't ice skate to save his life, can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3547.