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Posted at 4:20 PM ET, 12/ 9/2009

Skating returns to the National Gallery

By Lavanya Ramanathan

We've cried wolf on this a couple of times already, but skaters are finally hitting the ice at the National Gallery of Art's ice skating rink after a mechanical issue (literally) threw cold water on last month's grand opening.

The museum spends five weeks every fall transforming the Sculpture Garden fountain into a skating rink and had planned to open up shop Nov. 14. Warm weather initially pushed back the opening until the following week. Then, on Nov. 18, the museum announced the season was being postponed because repairs were needed.

So what went wrong? That frosty, perfect-for-skating slab of ice has to be kept at 14 degrees, but a problem with the refrigerant system meant the surface wasn't freezing. (Closures aren't unheard of; a mid-season problem with the Zamboni once temporarily shuttered the rink, and snowstorms and warm weather can also cause skating to be suspended.)

Contractors and staffers fixed the problem last weekend, and the rink opened earlier today. (I called, and sure enough, the recorded message says the rink is up and running.) The only bit of bad news is that the closing date won't change; the fun still ends in mid-March.

This Saturday and Sunday, skaters get a free cup of hot chocolate when they buy ice time or rent skates or a locker. The rates for a two-hour skating session are unchanged from 2008: $7 for adults and $6 for students, seniors aged 50 and over and children 12 and under.

While you're there, don't forget to look out for a new sculpture added to the garden in late October: "Graft," a stainless steel, tree-like figure by artist Roxy Paine. It is the first contemporary piece to be added to the Sculpture Garden since it opened 10 years ago.

-- Lavanya Ramanathan

By Lavanya Ramanathan  | December 9, 2009; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Misc., Museums  
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Comments

Thank you! I love this rink, and had planned to take my group there in early December, but learned of the closing. Appreciate the heads up. Just rescheduled to January 13th.

Liz Friedman, President
DC Active Singles
http://DCActiveSingles.com

Posted by: DCActiveSingles | December 16, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

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