For Boston-area families looking for winter sports opportunities—in particular, ice skating—the outdoor Frog Pond in the Boston Common is one of the best deals around.
During the rest of the year, the Frog Pond functions as a wading pool in summer and a reflecting pool in the spring and fall. But come winter, the side walls go up, a special rink is assembled, flooded and frozen, and a skating facility magically appears. In fact, one can even say that it’s a rink that rivals the famous Rockefeller Center attraction in New York City!
Best price around.
The best part is, the Frog Pond’s admission cost is very reasonable, especially for families. Adult admission is only $5 (age 14 and up); youngsters 13 and under get in free. To keep expenses down, you can bring your own skates—or, if you prefer to rent, adult skate rentals are $9, kids’ skates are $5. A limited number of lockers are also available, at $2.00. (But you can also just stash your street shoes under a bench, if that’s more your speed.) Skate sharpening services are available, too.
Cheap skate date.
Skating lessons, season passes, family pricing, lunchtime passes, and even special admission deals for college students are also offered (bring a college ID on Tuesday nights, and you get to skate for $2 from 5pm to 9).
First Night program on New Year’s Eve.
For those who’d like to experience a very special New Year’s Eve in the city, the Frog Pond ice rink is one of the participants in Boston’s First Night celebration. From 6 to 7pm on December 31st, they’ll be putting on a sparkly show of skating stars, with synchronized skating teams, spins, jumps, lifts, and more. Champion local and national figure skaters will be there, too, to show off their moves. Then, following the show, you can do it yourself, when the rink opens to the public from 7 to 8pm. First Night skating is free—with the usual skate rental prices.
If you get hungry or thirsty, don’t fret. The Frog Pond Café, open year-round, offers gourmet coffee, hot chocolate, water, and seasonal menu specials for both adults and youngsters. This year, Belgian Waffles are a new addition to the menu. They even have wi-fi, for the businesspeople who can’t seem to leave their laptops behind.
To get to the Frog Pond, you can take public transportation (MBTA green and red lines, Park Street or Boylston stations), or the Silver Line SL5 to the Boylston St. station. If you drive in, it’s recommended that you park at the Boston Common Garage rather than trying to park at meters on the streets around the Common, where there is a risk of being ticketed. For driving directions, go to the Frog Pond website for specific routes and exit information. One final suggestion: leave plenty of time for waiting on line once you get there. Since the Frog Pond rink is such a great deal, the backup at the ticket booth can be sizable, especially during peak times like weekends and holidays. So plan ahead for alternative activities to keep kids entertained while Mom or Dad wait on line.