Little M loves ‘Frozen’, he can’t get enough of penguins and thoroughly enjoyed watching this amazing skating video shortly before our excursion to Leeds Ice Cube for our first attempt at Ice Skating… so it was surely going to be a success.
Full of excitement and a clear expectation after a decent naptime, we set off for Leeds City Centre and the council organised Ice Cube.
Parking at Woodhouse car park is a short walk from Millenium Square and reasonably priced. Expecting long queues we arrived in plenty of time with tickets purchased online. The cost for the three of us was £18 for a session. (Parent & Toddler at £9.50).
At university I helped organise charity events at ‘Leeds Ice Cube’ and it was evident on my first visit back since 2004 that they have refined the whole area and booking process.
The queue was reasonably short and we had plenty of space to navigate the pram in and around the ice rink. We didn’t however, realise that we needed to exchange our online tickets for physical tickets at the main ticket office, which did cause a little delay.
Once in, we started to get ourselves ready and with Little M being size five shoes, he was given skates which go over shoes instead of the proper ice skates that his three-year-old friend received.
Before we had even seen the ice, we had hit an unexpected barrier! After one skate was on, Little M declared quite emotionally that he did not want his second shoe obscured by such a monstrosity.
We ventured out and were greeted by the lovely street stars of Capital FM, who took our photo before we headed to the dedicated toddler area of the ice rink. It was at this point that we managed to get the second ice skate on.
Fifteen minutes into our session, neither Mrs M, Little M or myself had ventured onto the ice, but there was enough intrigue and acceptance of the whole ice skating wonderment for us to give it a go and Mrs M stumbled onto the ice like a drunken bambi. After negotiation and the very kind assistance from one of the marshalls who obtained a penguin for us, we were on the ice with Little M as well.
It was very short-lived, though. Little M did use the penguin and he did go on the ice in his ice skates. He used them to get off the ice as quickly as he possibly could and made it very clear that while ever the skates were on his feet we could not be trusted, so the ice skates were removed and our happy toddler returned to continue watching from a distance.
So, it was one of our failures as a day out for a 2 1/2 year old toddler. As with all these days out, it does depend on the child and also the universe that the child is living in on that day.
We were fortunate that we were with friends, so we could take it turns to skate and watch, so each enjoyed a decent amount of time on the ice and even had a spin together! If it had have been the three of us, I would recommend one skater and one non-skater if you are unsure if your child will enjoy it. For the cost of a session, it is a lot if you fail like we did with two paid up skaters on the sidelines at all times.
But, its not just ice skating at Leeds Millenium Square Ice Cube these days. There is the mega ‘Capital FM SnowSlide’ and various small fairground rides. The 6m high, 40m long dry Snowslide slope is brilliant; we watched our friends slide down in a large rubber ring and they loved every moment.
Little M chose to return to what he knows and enjoys, with two trips on the Frozen Steam Train ride. There was also a helter-skelter (adults can’t go on with the children) a 3D experience and a rollercoaster.
Finally, we then ventured into the ‘The Cuthbert Brodrick‘ Weatherspoons at Millenium Square where upstairs we enjoyed a bargain meal and drinks before heading home.
As a family we had an enjoyable excursion, being with friends reduced the significance of the ice skating fail for Little M, which was more about our child’s personality than the experience itself.
There is a cafe, excellent access, friendly and helpful staff and a lovely atmosphere. The 3.30pm afternoon slot worked really well and although the toddler section was busy, it was fine for our friends’ child to wobble around on.
It was a fail for us, but it's still a great event
Whilst little M didn’t get the most out of Leeds Ice Cube and it’s one of the more expensive activities we have undertaken, it is a well organised, friendly with supportive staff.
It was great to see so many families out enjoying themselves and for a child who understands what’s going on and is keen to wear ice skates, it is a popular annual activity.
Watching ice skaters is enjoyable for non-skaters and being on the ice is great fun. It wasn’t a success for us this year, but perhaps we will try again.