My outdoor skate in downtown Chicago got postponed due to impending bad weather. Flip of the coin says I'm still going out skating this particular Friday night. I'd been meaning to check this place out which I'd drove past numerous times on a job I used to have. So, Rollaire in Manitowoc, Wisconsin was my destination of the evening.
I'd remembered the building looked more like an old school house than a roller rink which makes it pretty easy to spot. It turns out that it sits in front of or as part of, don't know which, a larger multi-use recreational lot. There's a small children's playground featuring swings and stuff but also a device I'd never grown up with; a zipline practice cable. Interesting. There's a pool, baseball diamonds, basketball and tennis courts. That complex is called Citizen Park. I found no reference to the skate rink in their website so I'll assume private ownership of the rink.
Entering the skate rink building reminds me of either an old theater entrance or a subway station of some bygone era. There's a sign that states "Since 1945". Options were to pay $7 for a two-and-a-half hour session or $10 for a four hour session. I opted for the latter. Both the timing and prices were reminiscent of my Friday and Saturday night experiences with Rollaero in Cudahy.
Passing the entryway after paying my admission fee, I was greeted with a very familiar site. See, Rollaire is basically a gymnasium complete with retractable basketball backboards and hoops. This configuration is exactly the same as the Pius XI roller skating gymnasium in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin not too far from where I live. I'd say the big difference is Rollaire's floor is slightly longer and their snack bar with a DJ booth elevated to a second floor platform above the snack bar and skate rental area. Beyond that, it was almost as if I was skating in a carbon copy of Pius. That is until the sun finally went down. The number and variety of lights deployed are more impressive than those at Pius.
The floor is an excellent wood basketball court skate floor. When I was paying to get in, I was informed that the surface had just been renovated over Easter, a mere six or seven weeks prior to my arrival. The music was a mixture of the modern pop that I hate with some old school skate jams thrown in. As usual, I was unable to get my requested song played. This is understandable as the skaters were nearly all under age and heavily leaning toward the middle school years. I was one of only five adult skaters. I figure, it's their place their time. If I ever heard of a special adult session being held at Rollaire, I would definitely return for that even if it is a bit of a haul for me from where I reside. I might even return one day without such a session being held. Overall a good evening.