Ever wish you could travel back in time to the 1980s a la Marty McFly in Back to the Future? Maybe play Super Mario Brothers on a newfangled 8-bit Nintendo system while sporting big hair and neon clothes? Well, you don't need a time-traveling DeLorean to experience one tubular '80s trend that's back in vogue: roller skating rinks! They're the perfect place to throw a radical birthday party or spend a mega-fun afternoon indoors with the kids. Here are some rolling skating hot spots for your family to enjoy (spandex pants optional).
Northern New Jersey
Branch Brook. Photo courtesy of the rink.
Branch Brook Park Roller Skating Center – Newark
One of the largest skating arenas in the Tri-State area, Branch Brook is three-in-one family fun with a huge roller-skating rink (1,000 people can fit at once), fully stocked cafe, and arcade. Skate the night away to music played by a live DJ, and enjoy disco lighting at special times. Lessons and birthday parties can be arranged.
Florham Park Roller Skating Rink – Florham Park
Take a step back in time with this old-school rink, complete with a wooden floor and heavy skates. Public skate sessions are held on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The rink also offers skating lessons (private and group) and a competitive artistic roller skating club.
Central New Jersey
Deptford Skating Center – Westford
The whole family can rock and roll at the 15,000-square-foot skating rink in the Deptford Skating and Fun Center. Families could literally spend hours here: there's an arcade, roll-in cafe, inflatables set up on Thursdays and weekends, an ice cream shop in warm months, laser tag, a hockey program, and more. Large-screen TVs help parents keep an eye on the kids while they skate and play. The center also has locations in Hammonton, Cherry Hill, and Mount Laurel.
Frenchtown Roller Skate – Frenchtown
This quaint wooden rink offers a variety of open skate options, including Tuesday nights, Thursday mornings, Friday nights, and weekends. Admission for parents is free during daytime sessions.
Holiday Skating and Fun Center – Delanco
From roller hockey to an arcade, this facility has everything to keep a roller skating aficionado happy. Look for "Roll and Bounce" on Wednesdays, featuring extra fun on inflatables.
Jackson Skating Center. Photo by scholder99 via Instagram.
Jackson Skating Center – Jackson
This quintessential roller skating rink gives you all the essentials: music, special lights, a snack bar, and arcade games. A sister skating rink—South Amboy Arena—is slated to open in March 2017.
Roosevelt Park – Edison
The outdoor rink at Roosevelt Park is for ice skating in the winter, but it transforms into a roller rink in the spring and fall. Located around the corner from Menlo Park Mall, this rink is a perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors. Rolling skating is open April–June and September–October. Check the site for specific dates and hours.
Woodbridge Community Center – Woodbridge
Woodbridge Community Center is an amazing facility, complete with a gym, pool, mini golf course, batting cages, and—of course—a skating rink. In addition to open-skate sessions, quad or in-line skating lessons are available. Encircling the rink is a fun arcade where kids can win tickets for prizes.
Southern New Jersey
Millennium Skate World. Photo by djjammin via Instagram.
Millennium Skate World – Camden
This huge roller rink offers open family skate sessions as well as special events such as skate and bounce nights with inflatables; costume character skate; dollar days; Gospel artist night; and more.
Young’s Skating Center – May’s Landing
This lively rink has figure skating, inline hockey, tot and parent lessons, junior skate classes, and more!
Bushkill Park – Easton, PA
Just across the border in Pennsylvania and minutes from NJ towns like Phillipsburg, 115-year-old Bushkill Park recently reopened its roller skating rink. The original wooden floor from the 1920s is still in use, and some old favorites like country line skating are offered on certain nights. Balloons the Clown may even drop in for special appearances. Open skate takes place on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as Sunday evenings.
Top photo: Jackson Skating Center. Photo by thedivisionbelle via Instagram.
Originally published 2013; updated February 2017.