“Build it, and they will come.”

Obviously, building an ice arena or recreational facility in your city is guaranteed to attract everyone from ages one to 100. That’s the goal anyway, right?

In order to achieve that, however, you first want to be sure that your facility not only appeals to visitors on the outside, but on the inside as well.

Undoubtably, the main components of your facility like ice rinks, courts, and turf fields will attract athletes, but what else can you do to make your facility alluring and truly impressive to all of your guests?

A few years ago, we coined the term “recre-tainment”, i.e. entertaining in your recreational facility. After all, the reason you’re placing a facility of this nature in the community is to bring people together in a fun and entertaining way.

By incorporating a mix of these traditional and trendy elements, you’re sure to do just that.

The Tried and True

1. Party/Meeting Rooms

What better way to sell your facility as a team building space or outfit for birthday parties than by offering rooms specifically for those types of gatherings? Ensure the space is large enough to accommodate a considerable amount of people in addition to tables, chairs, TVs, and counter space that is flexible for all meeting or party needs.

2. Pro Shops

Make your facility a one-stop destination with an on-site pro shop that offers last minute necessities such as stick wax, tape, laces, skate guards, and mouth guards. If you have the space, and we can help make sure that you do, go big with larger equipment like sticks, skates, and even local team swag to appease the shoppers in the family.

3. Arcades

Inevitably, the younger brother or sister won't want to sit around and wait for their sibling's practice or game to end, toss a game room on the side with air hockey, bubble hockey, pinball machines and racing games to keep them entertained in a contained area.

4. High-End Locker Rooms


It seems like a no-brainer, but making sure you have Grade A locker rooms across the board can make a huge difference in how your guests, both local and away, feel about your facility. Provide stalls and rooms with enough space for teams to get ready, while feeling safe and comfortable to store their belongings. Naturally, signage for picking up after oneself and reminders for staff to keep rooms tidy is also an important element to this feature.

5. Weight Room/Dryland Training

Give your home team an edge with an on-site weight room and dryland training space. Jazz it up as an above mezzanine area with large overlooking windows where teams can rotate groups between on-ice and off-ice practices.


The Bold and New

6. Private Schools

Recently, we've seen a rise in sports-focused, leadership-themed private schools. There is a growing demand to get more training time for athletes, so, what better way to accomplish that than by incorporating practice time into the school day? This is great for rink operators who typically struggle to program weekday hours — it’s a win/win situation!


7. Athletes' Lounge 

Impress the skating groups and teams at your facility with an athletes' lounge that makes them feel like winners every time. Plush seating and a table with cards or team bonding board games can really make a group feel appreciated while waiting to get in a locker room or take the ice.

8. Coffee or Yogurt Shop

Long gone are the days when hot dog and popcorn concessions were the only food options at facilities. You’d be hard-pressed to find a hockey parent who wouldn’t absolutely love a Dunkin’ coffee at the rink for a 7 a.m. game, or a coach who wouldn't want to treat his players to frozen yogurt after a hard fought victory. Again, as is a theme with many of these features, the more you can offer on-site, the longer visitors and customers will stay (and the increased likelihood of them coming back).

9. Climbing Walls/Indoor Playgrounds

Step-up from the classic arcade and build a full-blown playground and climbing wall for siblings. If you decide to include, like with any large amenities and features, be sure to have the appropriate insurance and waivers to avoid any liability issues for injuries that may occur.

10. Skating Trails

People long to get away from their structured lives and enjoy a leisurely skate around a curving, well-landscaped outdoor trail. There is a feeling of nostalgia that goes with it – almost like you are skating on a lake or river. Skate trails provide a unique experience for young and old alike, and it’s that unique experience that attracts the whole family, parties, and even corporate events.

Naturally, these features are just a few of many possibilities to leave your visitors in awe. Whatever your vision is, we want to help make it come true.

Make your indoor rink a reality. Talk to a Recreation Architect

Published on April 20, 2021

Topics: Ice Arena Architecture, Rink Design, Recreation, Indoor Sports Complex, Recreation Center

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