"Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen technical difficulties with the ice making process, the Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station opening has been delayed until further notice. We will not be able to open on Thursday, Nov. 16. The opening will be coming soon and updates will be on www.radychildrensicerink.com."
For the third straight year, Liberty Station will be bringing winter fun and ice skating to the Peninsula.
The grand opening of the Rady Children’s Ice Rink will take place soon. Opening night will feature an ice-skating show, a welcome program, live music, hot chocolate, holiday vendors, festive goodies, and other fun family-friendly activities throughout the evening.
NBC 7 San Diego will emcee the special evening, which begins with a show performed by San Diego Ice Arena.
The Holiday Marketplace will be open, giving attendees the opportunity to shop for gifts, purchase food and drinks from local vendors and more. Opening night tickets to skate are $10 and include skates.
“It will really set the scene for a magical holiday season, providing families a great way to have fun and also support patients and families at the Peckham Center,” said Bridgett Brown, Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary president.
Brown discussed the purpose of the seasonal Liberty Station ice rink in relation to the hospital.
“Rady Children's Ice Rink's mission is to work in partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego to advocate for the health and well-being of children, increase community awareness of Rady Children’s Hospital, and raise funds to support the psychosocial programs and services offered through Rady Children’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders,” said Brown. “Rady Children's Ice Rink will continue to raise funds to help support psychosocial programs which include, but are not limited to, bereavement and supportive care, child life services, social workers, translators, parent liaisons and entertainment.”
Brown noted that 100 percent of sponsorship dollars, donations and net proceeds support patient care and supportive programs at Rady Children’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, the largest pediatric cancer center in the region.
In its first two years, the Liberty Station Ice Rink was successful, drawing about 30,000 people in 2015 and 33,000 people in 2016. Each year, the rink has raised approximately $130,000 to support the Rady Children’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The rest of the funds cover operational costs.
With technology borrowed from Canada, the Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station is uniquely designed underground, and is the first of its kind in Southern California.
Pipes in the ground must keep the 1 1/4-inch thick concrete above them cold enough to freeze the ice on top. That is accomplished via a chiller, which pumps the fluid through the pipes at cold temps without freezing – using water mixed with glycol.
The water mixture then flows through the pipes under the cement to allow water to freeze on top. The mixture returns to the chiller about 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, then starts the process again (removes heat from the mixture and sends it back out).
A construction crew builds a wood structure around the chiller area to help reduce the noise of the chiller and pumps.
Liberty Station had no place to store the ice that gets cut each night at the ice rink when the Zamboni (ice resurfacer) is used. So a permanent ice pit had to be built in the ground with metal doors covering it in the off-season.
Liberty Station also had to install its own SDGE box to isolate electric usage for the rink. A crane company is required to lift the chiller off the truck and set it on the chiller site. Before this happens, the Liberty Station landscape company clears all the plants from the chiller area. Most plants are stored and replanted at the end of the season.
The rink freezing process must be started slowly. Once turned on, the chiller takes a couple days to get the cement to a desired temperature. Once the cement is ready, the water is added a bit at a time.
San Diego Ice Arena staff work around the clock to make the ice. They can be seen spraying the ice with a hose at all hours of the day.
The seasonal ice rink will be open throughout the holiday season until Jan. 7.
Rady Children’s Ice Rink
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Closed: Christmas and Thanksgiving. Christmas Eve the rink closes at 5 p.m.
Tickets: $14 for adults, $12 for children. Season passes available.