A Brief History of The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center
By Mary Connell, The Woodlands Township
People from colder climates who move to Texas may not expect to ice skate during the holidays, but in The Woodlands, people have been ice skating for decades! This time of year, The Woodlands offers the perfect place to grab some skates and hot chocolate and glide into the holiday season.
Currently, The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center is located adjacent to The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion near the southwest corner of Lake Robbins and Six Pines. A partnership between the Township and the Pavilion created the facility, and it opened to the public in 2016. Every year, the Township offers skating at The Ice Rink from mid-November to mid-January. In the summer months, the location of The Ice Rink is a private event venue, operated by the Pavilion.
The 21,000-square-foot permanent multipurpose facility features ice skating in a main room with a state-of-the-art sound system and tables for parties and concessions. Skates are available for rent, as well as skating lessons. Free parking is available in the Gold Lot and Town Center Parking Garage at 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77380.
The Ice Rink has a long history of bringing joy and holiday magic to the community and is only one of three that have existed in The Woodlands.
The Woodlands first shopping center, known as The Wharf, in the Grogan’s Mill Village Center was the initial location for The Woodlands Ice Rink in the late 70s and 80s. The rink served as a gathering place for those who could skate or wanted to learn. It was part of the shopping center that included an ice cream balcony overlooking the rink, Cunningham’s Drug Store, Jamail’s Grocery Store, and eclectic shops and artists’ workshops. There was even a famous pop artist, Peter Max, who contributed designs for the walls and floor of The Ice Rink.
Much to the dismay of the local skaters, the rink closed in the 1980s and The Woodlands was without a rink until 1999. That year, a new Ice Rink opened on the southside of The Woodlands Mall where Fleming’s and The Woodlands Waterway are now located. It was a small rink with a skating surface of 60 x 100 feet. The Ice Rink stayed there until 2002 until development of The Woodlands Waterway and the expansion of The Woodlands Mall necessitated a move.
The Ice Rink then relocated to the corner of Six Pines Drive and Lake Robbins Drive (now the location of Kirby’s Ice House) and expanded to a much larger tented, skating surface of 80 x 120 feet. The seasonal tented Ice Rink was funded by sponsorships and produced by Town Center Improvement District initially and then was produced by The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau. The operator was a locally-based company, Spectrum Events, the operator of the Rink today.
The yearly construction of the tented Ice Rink marked the beginning of the holidays each year as it was surrounded by holiday lights and festivities. During cold weather, a visitor to The Ice Rink could almost feel that they were at the North Pole while skaters glided and twirled, or in some cases, did the best they could.
Today The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center is climate-controlled and available to all who would like to get into the holiday spirit on ice. It is another great reason to feel thankful and blessed to live in The Woodlands—you can enjoy 70-80 degree temperatures outside and still go ice skating—the best of both worlds for the holidays!
The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center
Open through Monday, January 15, 2024.
See you on the ice!
Many thanks to The Woodlands 50th Anniversary Sponsors:
FOUNDING – Howard Hughes
LEGACY – Woodforest National Bank
HERITAGE – Waste Connections Inc.
GOLD – Entergy Texas, Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital
SILVER – SVN/JBeard Real Estate, The John Cooper School
PRODUCER – The Woodlands Township