Winter is just around the corner and soon you may find yourself in search of the perfect location to enjoy the crisp air and light of twinkling decorations. The US National Whitewater Center, while normally incredibly popular during the warmer months, will host two new events this year that will allow you to experience the site as a holiday adventure. Last year the USNWC debuted two new events for the holiday season: ice skating and a half-mile long walking trail of lights.
The ice skating rink will include 17,000 square feet of ice on the Upper Pond of the whitewater river. The rink will have three designated areas: free skate, winter sports, and a 600-foot ice trail, so people of all ages can have fun.
The skating rink offers an on-ice Airstream trailer to serve craft beer, hot chocolate, and coffee.
What is usually used as the Raft Pavilion gets transformed into a beer garden environment, complete with indoor heating, fire pits, and panoramic views of the skating so you can still enjoy the event without freezing your toes off.
Skating requires an access pass through an Annual Pass, Day Pass, or Single Activity Pass starting at $20. Skate rentals are included with a ticket, but visitors need to bring their own socks. Hours for ice skating may vary depending on weather conditions, but it will generally be open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The Lights exhibition is another of USNWC’s family-friendly holiday features. The half-mile walking trail has otherworldly, immersive light installations by Charlotte artist Meredith Connelly. The trail leads through the forest, and the installations will be inspired by nature, like giant crystals, cocoons, and mushrooms. Lights includes 173 separate sculptures in 15 different installations. It will be like stepping into another world of giant honeycombs, vines, streams, and much more. The show will run nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., rain or shine and it is free to the public.
These holiday special activities open in late November and continue through mid-February.