Event Spotlight: Winter Park

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent
Skaters take a spin around the ice rink at Winter Park.

One of Columbus' coolest winter attractions soon will return to Downtown as the Columbus Blue Jackets Winter Park reopens Feb. 3-26.

Winter Park, an outdoor entertainment area sponsored by Worthington Industries, debuted at McFerson Commons as part of the festivities surrounding the 2015 National Hockey League All-Star Game held at Nationwide Arena.“It was so well-received, we decided why wait for a special occasion to enjoy it,” said Karen Davis, director of communications for the Blue Jackets. And so the attraction—the centerpiece of which is an outdoor skating rink—returned in 2016.

This year, Winter Park again will feature an NHL-sized outdoor rink on which visitors can try their skating skills. During the last two seasons, it hosted numerous open skates, hockey games and other special events.

For 2017, Winter Park also will include the Mad River Mountain Kids Slide, a two-lane mini tubing hill. The Zanesfield ski resort is providing the 24-foot-long, 6-foot-tall attraction from 4:30-8:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Another new addition is a rink-side heated tent where spectators can watch the skaters or hockey games in comfort. A video board near the rink will show Blue Jackets games on select weekends.

Skating will be available even if temperatures heat up because of the rink's special design, Davis said. “It's not something where we're waiting for water to freeze,” she said.

Blue Jackets players will be the first on the ice. The team has scheduled a practice for Feb. 2, Davis said, details of which will be available online.

The opening weekend festivities also will include the 5th Line 5K Race, presented by OhioHealth on Feb. 5. The 3.1-mile road race, which starts outside Nationwide Arena and finishes on center ice, is open to runners and walkers. The registration fee includes a voucher redeemable for a pair of tickets to a Blue Jackets game. For more information or to register, go to the5thline5k.com.

—Melissa Kossler Dutton

Winter Park

When: Feb. 3-26. Skating times vary, starting as early as 3 p.m. and ending as late as 11 p.m. See specific hours on the event website. The tubing hill is open 4:30-8:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Where: McFerson Commons, across the street from Nationwide Arena, 200 W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus 43215

Cost: Open skating is $5 and includes skate rental. The tubing hill is free.

For more information:bluejackets.com/winterpark