Ice bumer car fun. Courtesy Sprinker Recreation Center
Editor's note: This article was written pre-pandemic. There have been some changes since the reopening. Bumper cars are currently available to book Saturday and Sunday afternoons only. Fun, dimmed and changing lights happen at each session. Currently, you are not able to book a bump/skate combo. The bumper-car rentals are now 20-minute sessions instead of 15. Face masks are required. The If-You-Go section has been updated accordingly. Call the rink at 253-798-4000 for questions.
Looking for a cool and unusual activity to do with the kids this summer? We have the scoop on the new Ice Bumper Cars at Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma. My husband and I brought our 12-year-old son and his friend to try it out on a recent Friday night.
This new activity has been open for a few weeks and is a great addition to the skating rink's offerings. We signed up for the bump/skate combo which includes a bumper car session plus ice skate rental and a skating session.
After checking in, we were directed to a large TV set to watch a short instructional video about how to operate the bumper cars. To get to the cars, you have to walk on the ice while holding onto the rail — making it easy to see why close-toed, flat shoes are a requirement to ride.
Driving and spinning
We each sat down in a car and started driving. The lights on the rink were dim so the color changing lights on the bumper cars and ice looked really cool. There were just as many adults and teens as kids playing in the bumper cars, driving around, bumping and spinning their cars on the ice. Everyone I talked to, kids and adults alike, said that they had a lot of fun.
The cars feature deep seats with high backs and this makes it easy for an adult to ride with a smaller child. There is an observation area upstairs with stadium seating that looks down on the rink for parents to watch, or you can stand rinkside. The bumper-car session lasts 15 minutes, which for my son, who spun around perhaps a little too much, was plenty!
The skating area is just at the other end of the rink and we stopped at one of the many vending machines to get a cool drink before picking up rental skates. The ice rink was really big, even with half the space being used by the bumper cars. On a Friday night it wasn’t too crowded.
Staff told me that there is a concession stand open at the rink occasionally, usually in winter. When the stand is open, outside food is not allowed. But most of the time, you can bring in your own food. Or take advantage of the many vending machines that offer a variety of drinks, snacks and even Seattle’s Best Coffee. There are many fast-food restaurants within a short drive.
Good value for families?
Initially, when I saw the price of the bumper car session ($12 for 15 minutes; or $19 for a bumper car session plus ice skating with skate rental) I thought it sounded expensive. I made some price comparisons and found that at another local ice rink, for kids up to age 12, a skate session costs $13.41, and walkers (frames for skaters who are still learning) are an additional $5.
With that information, Sprinker's skate rental, skate session and ice bumper cars combo for $19 seemed like a reasonably good value. Seeing how nice the rink is and how much fun the kids had confirmed this thought. Purchasing the bumper car and skate combo was well worth it for our family so that the fun lasted more than 15 minutes. I highly recommend this activity for family fun.
If you go...
Ice Bumper Car session times:
Bumper car age requirements: To ride alone, kids must be age 6 or older and at least 42 inches tall. Riders ages 3 and older but under 42 inches tall can ride in a bumper car for free with a paying adult.
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