Stuhr Museum adds ice rink

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – The Stuhr Museum on Grand Island is adding a synthetic ice rink called the Glaciarium. The hope is to open it by the end of November.

The Glaciarium will be located on the southwest side of the museum grounds near the rural church.

“The Stuhr Museum has a strong historical connection to this hobby due to our proximity to the ancient Schimmer Lake,” said Executive Director Chris Hochstetler.

Schimmer Lake was formed in 1898 by diverting water from the Wood River to the current location of Hall County Park, just south of the museum. Ice skating was a popular winter activity there.

“We want to increase the opportunities for visitors to enjoy the Stuhr Museum throughout the year,” said Hochstetler. “The Glaciarium will offer individuals and families another way to experience history and create special memories during the winter months.

While the history of artificial ice rinks dates back to 1841, museum officials say the Glaciarium will use the latest and greatest materials.

Built on a concrete slab, the Glaciarium will be made of a specialized dry lubricated plastic that requires less maintenance than natural ice, said Karen Buettner, director of marketing and communications. The 40ft by 60ft rink will consist of multiple panels that fit together like a puzzle and can be taken apart and put away when not in use.

“The synthetic surface provides a 90% gliding experience compared to the real thing,” she said, “so skaters can do all of the movements they would do on natural ice. But they’ll never have to worry about breaking through like they would on a frozen lake.

Because the Glaciarium will be outside, skaters will be able to create these memories of Currier and Ives, Buettner said, but they will want to wear coats, hats and gloves to protect themselves from the cold.

“If we have hot days, the rink will be able to stay open because there is no risk of the ice melting,” she said. “If too much snow or debris is blowing on the surface, the maintenance will just be a quick sweep or rinse. “

Buettner said the Glaciarium will serve people of all ages from the local community, as well as visitors to the area. The rink will accommodate up to 30 skaters at a time.

The rink will be open on weekends and some weekday evenings this winter. Parties and groups may request private rentals at other times.

For the general public, one hour of skating, including skate rental, will cost $ 12. Regular entrance fees will apply from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and skaters are encouraged to explore all the museum has to offer. Members of the Stuhr Museum enjoy free entry and a reduced rate of $ 8 per hour of skating.

Helmets and skate aids will be available for hire for $ 5 each.

“We are working to develop educational programs and special activities to accompany ice skating,” said Buettner. “Our research and collections departments are working hard to find photographs and artifacts that could be displayed, and we are also planning to have a selfie station for skaters to commemorate their experience.”

Hours of operation will be posted on the Stuhr Museum website closer to opening, and tickets will be available for purchase in person and online. You can follow the Stuhr Museum on social media for ice skating announcements and giveaways.

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