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Stuhr museum adding ice skating rink

Stuhr Museum
Stuhr Museum(Stuhr Museum on Facebook)
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 9:26 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Stuhr Museum in Grand Island is adding a synthetic ice skating rink called the Glaciarium. The hope is to have it open by late November.

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

“Stuhr Museum has a strong historical connection to this pastime because of our proximity to the former Schimmer’s Lake,” Executive Director Chris Hochstetler said.

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

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

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

Built on top of a concrete pad, 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 40-by-60-foot rink will come in several panels that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and can be taken apart and stored when not in use.

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

Because the Glaciarium will be outdoors, skaters will be able to make those Currier and Ives memories, Buettner said, but they’ll want to wear coats, hats and gloves to guard against the cold.

“If we happen to have some warm days, the rink will be able to remain open because there’s no chance of the ice melting,” she said. “If too much snow or debris blows onto the surface, maintenance will be just 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 be able to accommodate up to 30 skaters at a time.

The rink will be open during weekends and select weeknights 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 gate admission fees will apply from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and skaters are encouraged to explore everything the museum has to offer. Stuhr Museum members receive free gate admission and a discounted rate of $8 per hour of skating.

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

“We are working to develop educational programming and special activities to accompany ice skating,” Buettner said. “Our research and collections departments are working to find photographs and artifacts that would be appropriate for display, and we also plan 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 Stuhr Museum on social media for announcements and ice skating giveaways.

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