Brenton Skating Plaza: A fun place to skate in the state


Let me just say this right up front: I do not ice skate. I will never ice skate. I’m doing good just to walk across an icy parking lot to my car.

So, for me, going to the Brenton Skating Plaza in downtown Des Moines is purely a spectator sport. But I think it’s a cool (no pun) thing to do in the winter, so I went a couple of weekends ago just to watch.


According to the website, Brenton Skating Plaza, at 520 Robert D. Ray Dr. on the Principal Riverwalk, is the first of its kind in the state because of its unique, open-air design. Here are some fun facts:

  • A 120′ x 60′ ice sheet makes up the skating surface
  • The rink holds up to 220 skaters
  • It takes roughly 8,000 gallons of water to form the ice rink
  • There are 3 miles of piping underneath the rink to refrigerate the ice surface
  • The unique exterior building material gives off a blue glow at night
  • The Zamboni weighs 4 tons
  • The ice surface is 2″ thick

IMG_4736The skating plaza is open November to March every day of the week (check this website for hours), with a DJ on Friday night 8-11 p.m. They offer season passes, or you can pay by the day ($4.50-$6.00 for adults, $3.00-$4.50 for kids, depending on the day). Kids younger than 6 are free. You can rent a pair of skates for $3.50, or bring your own.

The $4.5 million Brenton Skating Plaza was a gift of the Brenton Foundation.

In the summer, the skating plaza transforms into an outdoor event center, for community events, concerts, and other gatherings. I read an article in the Des Moines Register on Thursday that said a canopy may soon be added for the warm summer months to shield the plaza from the sun. Principal Financial is leading that charge.


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