PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2015, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please check their website for the most current information, especially about things like hours, schedules and pricing. If you notice something in this post that needs to be updated, please feel free to leave a comment with the updated information, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to make the updates. Hey, it takes a village, right? 🙂
Thanks to Ron-A-Roll for providing us with complimentary admission to Tiny Tot Skate & Bounce. All opinions are 100% my own,
Fess up. You know you remember those roller skating birthday parties you went to as a kid. I sure do. Racing around with your besties (although, the term “besties” had not yet been coined), waiting anxiously for the “couples skate” to see if that boy you liked would ask you to go for a spin around the rink and, if you were like me and a child of the 80’s, wearing bedazzled jean skirts with fluorescent tube socks (probably more than one pair of them!) all while sporting a side ponytail complete with a ginormous (and likely iridescent) scrunchy. Ahhh, I can see it now. And boy am I glad cell phone cameras were not invented yet. Whew 🙂
Well, get ready for your own memories to come flooding back today as I tell you about a fun new event we’ve found at Ron-A-Roll Indoor Roller Skating Center in Vernon, CT. (Just promise me you won’t go digging out your tube socks, ok?)
Now, first of all, I have to set the scene. The folks at Ron-A-Roll were nice enough to invite us out to participate in this event, and we couldn’t wait to check it out. Even if that meant picking the coldest day of the year. Yup. Mandy and I braved that crazy cold snap a couple weeks ago (you remember, it was that day it was only 2 degrees as we were all walking out the door in the morning) to bring you this blog post. See how much we love our readers? 🙂
Anyway, I’m telling you this because as it turns out, between the weather advisories, the school cancellations and the fact that it was probably just a whole lot smarter to stay inside on a day like that, we were the only crazy people who made it out to Tiny Tot Skate & Bounce that day. So we had the whoooooole big place to ourselves. Normally, it is not so empty.
Let’s back up for just a second though. Tiny Tot Skate & Bounce takes place every Thursday morning from 9:30-11:30 at Ron-A-Roll in Vernon, CT. It’s really easy to get to Ron-A-Roll because it’s a quick zip up 84 and the building is just off the exit. It takes me less time to get there from my house in Glastonbury than it does to go to many places that are actually closer on a map.
There is plenty of parking, both right in front and off to the side.
Like I said, it was pretty much us and the staff that day, hence the empty lot. Doesn’t it even look freezing out there??? I am shivering just thinking about it. Brrrrrrrr.
During normal skating hours and events, there are some hard and fast rules that apply here, like no outside food or drink, no gum chewing and, this one is a little different, no hats. At all.
They let the “no outside food or drink” rule slide a little during this special weekly session, but they are sticklers for the no hats. So if it’s cold outside, just be prepared to remove the kiddos’ hats right when you get into the vestibule (before you go into the rink). And for all the dads reading this, if you’re like my hubby and sometimes forgo a shower and instead just toss on a hat, you have been warned that you will not be able to wear it in here 🙂
With our hats removed, we headed through those doors and into the rink, which is where you will pay the bargain basement price of $6.25/participating child (there’s no charge for babies in strollers or kids who are going to just sit on the sidelines; adults only need to pay if they are going to skate–otherwise, there’s no charge). One thing to note is that credit cards are not accepted. It’s CASH ONLY.
As you can see, there is an ATM available just in case. It’s located just inside the doors and to the right.
We shed our gazilion pieces of cold weather gear. There are plenty of benches and tables in the snack bar area where you can park your things.
There is no enforced age limit for this event, but it is designed for toddlers & preschoolers. And it is PERFECT for them. Do you know what is so great about roller rinks? They are HUGE. And do you know what else is so great about roller rinks? They are just about completely ENCLOSED. HUGE and ENCLOSED. Are you with me?
So first off, what an amazing space to let your little one run around and burn off some energy! Now add to that a full-size bounce house:
A whole slew of fun items for active play (like scooters, bouncy balls, hula hoops, etc.):
And then, of course, there’s skating!
Look at these adorable little skates for Sweetheart! (Who is just about 2 1/2 now.)
They even had the kind that fit over shoes so my little guy (just 1 1/2) could go for a spin!
Mostly I just pushed the little guy around on his wheels, but Sweetheart was really getting the hang of it!
And all the while, they were playing upbeat kid-friendly music while the colorful lights overhead pulsed in time. Fun!
So let’s recap, wide open space? Check! Enclosed area? Check! Lots of opportunities for energy-burning active play? Check! Now, what do you think is the one thing that would put this outing over the top for us? (Think hard, you’ve known us long enough 🙂 )
Coffee! And it’s FREE!
Actually, there is coffee AND juice and snacks for the kiddos (today it was a variety of individually wrapped muffins). It’s all set up in the snack bar area. And it’s all included in the price of admission. No extra charge!
The little guy was very excited about his muffin 🙂
The kiddos enjoyed their snack, and Mandy and I got to catch up on a little
neighborhood gossip blog business.
Although the snack bar is not officially open, Ron-A-Roll staff are happy to make an exception for simple items such as soda, chips, ice cream novelties, etc. But anything that would need more preparation (or to be cooked) is not available. Just remember that they will only accept cash for payment.
There are clearly marked restrooms here too, right near the rink. We did not notice a changing station anywhere.
As you can see, there are also a variety of arcade games sprinkled around. They aren’t really Sweetheart and the little guy’s speed, but they did get a kick out of watching the flashing lights. Also, it’s good to know there are some things that would amuse an older child in the event that you need to bring an older sibling with you.
After almost 2 hours of completely stress-free playtime, we prepared to brave the cold again. Good thing it was worth the arctic experience! Tiny Tot Skate & Bounce was definitely a great way to let the kids play and be active while we mommies got a chance to hang out and catch up. And as outings go, that’s just the way we like ’em 🙂
Tiny Tot Skate & Bounce takes place on Thursdays from 9:30 am-11:30 am.
Check out the online schedule for additional public skate times and programs.
Admission for Tiny Tot Skate & Bounce is $6.25/participating child. This includes the skate rental. Adults are only charged the admission fee if they choose to skate. There is no charge for babies in strollers or any child who is going to just sit and watch. CASH ONLY.
- Stroller Friendly: YES! In fact, strollers are even allowed on the rink!
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES! As I mentioned, some of those regular rules are a little loosey-goosey during this event. So if you have a travel mug with coffee in it, you are welcome to bring it. But don’t forget that they will be serving FREE coffee there.
- Restroom: YES.
- Baby Changing Station: NO. At least, I did not see one anywhere
- Parking: YES. Free parking is available in front of and next to the building.
- Food for Sale: YES. But the selection is limited to snacks from the snack bar (no cooked foods or items that need to be prepped0. Don’t forget that they will have some sort of little snack out for the kiddos (for no additional charge) .
- Outside Food Allowed: YES. Normally there is no outside food allowed, but in this case if you have a small child with special dietary needs or they’re just too small to eat regular table food, you can bring in your own snacks.
- Cash Required: YES. Credit and debit cards are NOT accepted. But there is an ATM in the building if you need one.
- Dress Code: YES. No hats or head coverings of any kind allowed to be worn in the building. But helmets are permitted (though not required). Also, kids (and adults) can wear shoes or go in socks but no bare feet. Please wear shoes that are not going to damage the floor– so leave your cleats or 6-inch stilettos at home, okay? And of course no shoes in the bounce house. You can see their full dress code here. Also note that it might be a little bit chilly in there. We didn’t find it cold (maybe that’s because we were comparing it to the 0 degree temps outside! Ha!), but you may want to dress in layers just in case.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES for the public skating hours but NO for the Tiny Tot Skate & Bounce. FYI, you can also rent inline skates during the public skating hours.
- Discounts: NO. But at $6.25, do you really need one? 🙂
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