Ice skates strapped firmly to her eight-year-old feet, Miss Bucket-o-nerves awkwardly stumble-walked towards the rink gate. With white knuckles gripping the gate, she turned and told us she wasn’t going on the ice. She was just not doing this. Was. NOT. I sensed a tear or two coming and steeled myself to go into child psychologist-mum mode.
But just as she turned to stumble-walk back to the seating area, a penguin named ‘Macy’ grabbed Miss 8’s attention. Macy and her waddle of penguin friends were standing at attention on the ice, like an army of patient parent helpers, ready to steady newbie skaters on the slippery surface. As an ice skating virgin, Miss 8 was equal parts intrigued by Macy, was wanting to join in the fun that all the other tween-aged skaters were obviously having out there in iceland, and was just plain-old scared.
With words of encouragement from all of us, and Macy pulled into reach, Miss 8 took her first nervous step on to the ice. The five minutes that followed were by no means pretty, but Miss 8 completed a full lap thanks to Macy, with me on one elbow, her father on the other elbow and numerous stops along the way to grab the rink fence, take a breather and reassure herself.
Planet Chill ice skating rink is new to the Gold Coast and, while located within the grounds of Paradise Resort at Surfer’s Paradise, is open to the public as well as those lucky holidaymakers enjoying the resort’s hospitality (numbers are limited for each session so make sure you book online ahead of time).
Two-hour skate sessions provide the perfect length of time for kids to stay interested and maintain their skating stamina. In fact, our two hours went in the blink of an eye! Staff kept us and our fellow skaters busy by offering different icy activities. Early in the session, plastic markers gave skaters a course to manouvere through and helped us more ‘professional’ skaters polish up our rusty skills. Then midway through the session, out came the ice hockey gear. Mum-mode had me fearing for cracked skulls and lost teeth, but Dad-mode had my other half straight into a competitive stance in front of the net. Admittedly, he was the ‘Cool Dad’ of our skate session (ie. the only dad game enough to take to the ice while the other dads watched from the ‘safety’ and kid-free zen of the viewing area). At one point, Cool Dad had a dozen tween-aged kids smashing pucks at him and while he let a few slip past into goal, he managed to keep all his teeth #winning
Planet Chill turned out to be the perfect training ground for our Bucket-o-nerves child. Within 30 minutes, she’d said goodbye to Macy and was happy to skate while holding my hand. Within one hour, she was too cool to hold my hand any more. Within 90 minutes she was skating unaided and dance-skating to the music (while smashing pucks at her old man!).
Planet Chill provided us with great memories and parenting wins. We’ll definitely be back.