Skate Into Spring... On Wheels

Published in the March 2010 issue of Boston Parents Paper

March is mud season -- not always a good time to romp in the great outdoors. When the weather or winter-weary grass isn't cooperating, burn off some energy at an indoor roller rink. More than a half-dozen rinks across eastern Massachusetts welcome skaters of all ages and abilities. Admission averages about $7 and skate rentals, if not included in the price, are available for about $3. Most rinks offer lessons and birthday party packages. Public skating hours vary by day and season, and some rinks have special sessions for tots, teens and families. Call or check a rink's website for the schedule before setting out.

Family Focus

Colorful murals deck the walls at Carousel Family Fun Centers. Recently refreshed and updated, the rinks provide a bright, safe place for kids, teens and families to gather for fun and fitness. With snack bar, game room, great sound system, a Wednesday night all-you-can-eat family pizza package and frequent themed entertainment, there's something for everyone. Non-skating parents accompanying their kids are admitted free, but parents might want to return on Sunday evenings for the Adult Fitness Skate: the background music's beat ramps up gradually for a cardio workout that really rocks!
Carousel Family Fun Centers, 1055 Auburn St., Whitman, 781-857-1286 and 4 David Drown Blvd., Fairhaven, 508-996-4828;

Super-sized Saturdays

With a Saturday public session that runs from 11:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. and skate rentals that run from a toddler's size 8 to a man's 16, a family can log a lot of miles at Roller World in Saugus. Blacklights make painted images of the planets pop off walls and carpets. Like other family-friendly rinks, Roller World's a social place and can be a good spot for playdates. The rink's Michelle Breen says there are many skaters "of all ages who come two or three times per week, and they've made friends." Parents might want to get a sitter on Tuesday or Saturday nights when Roller World becomes a dance hall hosting ballroom and line dancing.
Roller World, 425R Broadway, Saugus; 781-231-1111;

Laser Labyrinth

After they've chased each other around on skates for a while, kids can chase each other through the laser tag mazes at Roller Kingdom's two locations in Hudson and Tyngsboro. Each $4 game is a high-energy, 10-minute adventure complete with pulsing lights and sound effects. A computer prints out individual scores, and players earn tickets that they can cash in at Roller Kingdoms' prize counters. After an exhilarating laser battle your kids might be too pooped to put their skates back on, but some snack bar fuel should reenergize them. Parents accompanying their kids skate free at Roller Kingdom.
Roller Kingdom, 5 Highland Park Ave., Hudson, 978-562-3440 and 355 Middlesex Rd., Tyngsboro, 978-649-3440;

More Places to Get Rolling

Roller Palace, 130 Sohier Rd., Beverly; 978-927-4242; Has an adjacent soccer facility

Skateland, 19 Railroad Ave., Bradford; 978-372-3050; New rock maple floor and jamskating to hiphop

Silver City Skateland, 1 Lawton Ave., Taunton; 508-824-4866; Tiny Tot Sessions include a beginner lesson and free skating for one parent