Ready to skate? Go for a spin at these Kansas City roller rinks
Roller skating isn't for the '80s anymore. If you're looking to give it a try, here are a few tips and local resources to help you get started.
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Roller skating got a boost of popularity in 2020, with many people learning (or re-learning) how to skate during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But for some in Kansas City, roller skating is more than a fleeting hobby.
At Winnwood Skate Center, located north of the river, lifelong skaters and newcomers alike roll onto the rink nearly every night of the week. On Tuesdays from 8:30-11:30 p.m., Winnwood hosts an adults-only skating night with music from a rotating list of local DJs. The skate center teaches skating lessons and hosts family nights as well.
Besides being an all-around fun pastime, roller skating can be a good way to stay active, too. You can lace up your skates for a great workout instead of slogging through the same old exercise routine. And as long as you have the right wheels for your skates, you can do it indoors at the rink or outside when the weather’s nice.
If you’re looking to give roller skating a spin, here are a few tips to help you get started.
First, if you’re never skated before — or can’t recall the last time you did — you might benefit from some skating lessons.
Winnwood Skate Center hosts lessons for new skaters every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. It offers separate lessons for kids and adults to learn the basic skills of roller skating, such as starting, stopping and recovering from falls. Classes cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids, plus $5 to rent skates if you don’t have your own.
On Wednesdays, you can head to Skate City in Overland Park for group skate lessons. Beginner classes start at 4:30 p.m. and a class for intermediate and advanced skating begins at 5 p.m. All classes are $10 and skate rentals are $3.
Looking for a more do-it-yourself beginner solution? Or maybe you just need a few reminders about the basics to get started. Dirty School of Skate on YouTube gives you a crash course in roller skating and rollerblading. In a series of 10 videos, instructor and lifelong skater Deborah Harry takes you from the absolute basics to skating backward, spinning, doing crossovers and more.
Once you’ve got the basics down, practicing is where the real fun begins. No matter what day it is, you can likely find an indoor adult skate session happening somewhere in the Kansas City region.
Winnwood reserves several sessions for adult skating and recently enacted a policy requiring all skaters under 18 to be accompanied by an adult chaperone after 5 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for adult skating from 8:30-11:30 p.m. and feature music from local DJs. On Friday, you can get your glow on with blacklight skating. There are open skating sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, the latter being ideal for beginners looking for a more relaxed skate session. Check Winnwood’s Facebook for a weekly schedule.
Tuesdays are also adult skate nights at Skate City Shawnee from 8:30-11:30 p.m. At Skate City Overland Park, Thursdays are reserved for adult sessions from 8-10 p.m. Both locations offer open session skates on the weekends as well.
Family and kid-friendly skating
If you’re looking for an affordable family activity that doesn’t involve screens and is fun for everyone involved, skating is an ideal family outing. Most skating centers in the Kansas City region host family nights throughout the week, sometimes offering special discounts such as reduced admission fees or free skate rentals.
Winnwood Skate Center offers family nights on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. If you’re looking for a deal, Winnwood’s family night pizza special includes one large pizza, a pitcher of soda and four admissions with skate rental for $30. You can also take the family to open session skates on the weekends for $5 admission with a $3 rental fee.
Friday nights at Skate City Shawnee are reserved for families from 5-7 p.m. Groups or families of three or more skaters can score a free large cheese pizza, with $7 admission and $3 rental fees. Skate City Shawnee also hosts all-day skating sessions for kids and families on federal holidays and when school is out of session.
River Roll Skate Center in Riverside, Missouri, offers family matinee skating sessions on weekends at a reduced cost, as well as family skate nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This rink also hosts skating sessions at reduced rates on federal holidays and even snow days.
B&D South Skate Center in Independence, Missouri, bills itself as a “family-oriented roller rink” offering open skate sessions throughout the week and private party hosting, too.
Because who doesn’t love a roller rink birthday party? All of these skating centers will happily host your child’s birthday party, or any private event, as long as you call and plan ahead.
Local shops and communities
The world of roller skating extends far beyond the confines of an indoor rink. If you’re searching for your next adventure, Kansas City has plenty to offer in terms of outdoor skating, roller derby and skating resources.
But first, if you haven’t already purchased them, you’ll need your own skates. Venturing outside requires special wheels that are softer and made specifically for outdoor use.
And though falling at an indoor rink may hurt your pride, falling on pavement can lead to some pretty gnarly scrapes, bruises and even broken bones. It’s worth investing in some protective gear including knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet before heading out to any outdoor skating areas in Kansas City.
For all your roller skating, inline skating and ice skating needs, Legacy Skates is the place to go. Located at 2601 Madison Ave. in Kansas City, Legacy Skates offers indoor and outdoor skates ranging in price from below $100 to over $300. You can also stock up on protective gear and replacement parts here. It’s a great resource for new skaters and those who are looking to get more involved in the local skate community.
One way to meet skating fans locally is by joining a roller derby league. Largely a female-led sport, roller derby has a strong following in Kansas City and is home to two separate roller derby leagues.
There’s the KC Roller Warriors, Kansas City’s “premier, non-profit flat-track roller derby league,” which started in 2004 and has grown into an organization that today is home to multiple teams of players with various skill levels.
See the KC Roller Warriors in action in this clip from Startland News. If you're interested in joining or learning the rules of roller derby, you can sign up for the next Warriors in Training session or attend a game.
Kansas City is also home to the Fountain City Roller Derby, formerly known as Dead Girl Derby. Founded in 2009, Fountain City Roller Derby now has more than 100 members of all genders and backgrounds, making up four women’s teams and four all-gender teams.
If you’re looking to get into roller derby, check out the league’s recruitment schedule and bootcamp information.
Local skaters have also taken to creating Facebook groups in an effort to build a strong community of skaters in the Kansas City region. The KC/Lawrence Skate Gang is open to “all skate babes, all genders,” planning local meet-ups and sharing skate videos with its more than 1,000 group members.
It’s just one of the many places you can meet new people on your skating adventures around Kansas City.
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