What’s to Love: Do you want to teach your kid/s to roller skate? Look no further, this is your spot! The staff is friendly, it’s inexpensive, and it’s located right inside the Oaks Amusement Park in southeast Portland offering plenty of parking. For beginners, the staff will adjust the trucks on the wheels, so your kid won’t end up flat on his/her backside. This adjustment tightens the wheels so kids can literally walk/scoot across the floor. This helps develop their balance and their confidence. The rink also features some very fine lessons offered each skating session, plenty of room to skate, and of course, Chipper the mascot!
Caveats: This is a very old establishment. It’s not the cleanest place you’ll visit in your life, but it does the trick. Not all skating times are best for toddlers or small children. Please check the website for more information.
Website: Roller Rink
Distance from Portland: Rink is within 5 miles of downtown Portland near the Sellwood Bridge.
Recommended Ages: Many parents get their kids on skates as soon as they can comfortably walk. They will fall a lot, but it’s part of the learning process. Of course, roller skating is for everyone!
Parental Stress Factor: Low stress factor; unless, you haven’t put on roller skates for 20 years! In that case, be extremely careful.
Physical Difficulty: Low to moderate depending on how hard you skate. If your kids don’t like exercising, this is a great way to disguise it.
Family Fun Factor: High! Oaks’ is a fine venue for skating with a very family-oriented staff and atmosphere. There will be plenty of families and kids during the toddler sessions.
Pet Friendly: Nope!
Weather Considerations: Great rainy day activity!
Insider Info: When you get your skates, they may not offer to adjust the trucks on the spot. Make sure you ask them to do it if you think it’s necessary. Sometimes, they tighten them up a bit too much – go back and have them try again. They will go out of their way to help you. Check their website for discount days and the best days for beginning skaters. Sometimes I avoid “stock” lessons offered at various businesses, but the lessons at this rink are first-rate. The best thing they will teach your kid is how to get up after they fall, which will greatly improve YOUR experience. They also rent the rink for birthday parties.
Family Tips: Chipper the mascot is a lot of fun, but can be pretty scary to young kids. Of course, he’s very friendly, but seeing a big bear on roller skates can be a bit much for young toddlers. My son didn’t want to get near Chipper on his first visit, but later, as you can see in the picture, he warmed-up to him.
Avoid pulling your child’s arm out of the socket! I fell into this trap, and my son almost took me down with him a few times. Keep a light grip, but don’t be afraid to let them fall – it’s a short distance and injuries at that height and speed are very rare.
If your kid just doesn’t want to skate, head to the center of the rink where they deploy all kinds of fun toys to keep seated-skaters entertained.
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