I'll never forget the year I tried to do an ice-skating birthday party on the cheap by taking a bunch of kids to the rink at Bryant Park and then herding them over to a diner afterward for dessert. If I had known we could have a regular ice skating party for less than $350 I probably wouldn't have this nervous tic whenever I hear a Zamboni.
Read on for the real deals on ice skating parties all over New York City. We've even dug up all the hidden fees you might not have calculated so you can truly compare the costs at these seven ice skating rinks.
Winter Village at Bryant Park – Midtown
42nd Street and Sixth Avenue
What you get: VIP Admission, skate rentals for kids, The Parka Lounge for two hours, food and beverage for each child and one accompanying adult per child, party host, balloons and tableware. Add-on options include face painters, skating lessons and entertainment by Appleseeds.
Hidden costs: Adult skating fee is $15 per person. A $75 clean up fee and gratuity are added.
Chelsea Piers Sky Rink – Chelsea
Chelsea Piers-Pier 61, 23rd Street and the Hudson River
What you get: Admission and skate rental for all guests—kids and adults. You'll also get private or semi-private use of a party room depending on your package. All birthday parties include pizza, beverages, birthday cake, paper goods and balloons. Staff will help serve and clean up afterward and all kids go home with a goodie bag. A skating instructor is available for an added fee.
Hidden costs: There is no clean-up fee, but there is a host, and although tipping is not expected, it is nice.
Lasker Rink – Central Park
Central Park, enter at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues
What you get: Lasker Rink offers two party packages. Each includes admission for children and one accompanying adult, child's skate rental (you'll pay an extra $6.50 per adult), unlimited skating, two hours in the party space (really a curtained off area of the locker room) paper goods, a party host and food and beverages provided by the snack bar. Parents are responsible for bringing the cake, however. The real difference between the two packages is the variety of food provided to guests.
Hidden costs: There is no clean-up fee, but there is a host, and although not expected, it is nice to tip them.
Wollman Rink – Central Park
Central Park, enter at Central Park South and Sixth Avenue
What you get: Guests get unlimited skating time at the iconic Central Park Rink. Per-child prices include admission and skate rental for one accompanying adult. You'll get one hour of private seating in a heated rink-side tent to enjoy the provided food and beverages, though parents will supply the cake. A host will hold onto belongings for you for an hour and a half before your tent time saving you money on locker rental. Lay out more funds for extended time in the tent or a skating coach to help newbies.
Hidden costs: Gratuity is added to your bill, but if you plan to stick around and skate after your time in the party tent, you'll have to tend to belongings or spring for locker rentals.
World Ice Arena – Flushing
13135 Avery Avenue in Flushing Meadows Corona Park
What you get: Skate rentals and admission for up to 15 children. Adults enter free but pay $5 for rental. You'll get access to a private party locker room for 1.5 hours, pizza or hot dogs and a beverage of your choice. BYO paper goods and cake. Add a skating coach for an extra fee.
Hidden costs: Be on time -- especially when your time in the party room is over or you'll incur late fees.
City Ice Pavillion – Long Island City
47-32 32nd Place between 47th and 48th Avenues
What you get: Admission and skate rental for up to 15 children. All parties include access to a private party room for one hour, a slice of pizza and beverage for each guest. Parents are responsible for paper goods and cake. If you opt for the more expensive party package, you'll get a half-hour skating lesson and exclusive access to the smaller studio rink for 1.5 hours.
Hidden costs: Parents are not included in the cost; you'll pay $5 for each adult guest to enter and rent skates. No clean up fee and tipping is up to the customer. Maybe $10 or $20 to the host, but nothing is expected at all.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside – Prospect Park
171 East Drive in Prospect Park, enter at the Parkside/Ocean Avenue or Lincoln Road/Ocean Avenue entrances
What you get: Skate admission and rental for each child and admission for one accompanying adult per child. Food and beverages, paper goods and basic decor are also included. One staff host will attend to your needs. Upgrade to the enhanced package for fancier decor, cookie and fruit platters, coupons for future visits and goodie bags for each child.
Hidden costs: A set up/clean up fee is added to every booking.
Find more birthday party ideas in our Party Guide.
This post originally published in March 2012.