In Kakaako, An 'Ice' Rink Without Ice

Published On: Dec 09 2011 09:29:48 PM HST   Updated On: Dec 16 2011 08:20:43 AM HST

A new ice skating rink just opened in Kakaako for the holidays, but this one doesn't require electricity or ice.

"We wanted to do something different, something innovative, something cool in Kakaako," said promoter Mike Miller, who oversees Kakaako Wonderland.

Cool, but not freezing. That's because it is synthetic ice. Plastic, actually, that cost Miller about $67,000 for the entire 30-by-60-foot setup.

"It's recyclable plastic. No water, no electricity. Simple as connecting a big puzzle," he said.

The rink had its soft opening Friday night, with just Miller, his 4-year-old son Max and other family and friends trying out the ice.

The official opening happens next Friday at an ?Eat The Street? event with dozens of lunch wagons, but it was open until midnight Friday and will be open from noon until midnight Saturday and noon until 10 p.m. Sunday.

The cost: $5 for kids and $10 for adults, which includes use of brand new skates.

Miller said maintenance of the synthetic ice is easier than real ice, no need for a a Zamboni, the machine used to clean traditional ice.

"It's just simple, sweep up with the broom and it is water soluble, like a mist we put on to keep it a little slippery, but it's pretty slippery as is already," he said.

But skaters said it?s not as hard, wet or cold as real ice when you fall down.

The Kakaako Wonderland ice rink is in a warehouse at the corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and Ahui Street, right next to Pfleuger Acura near Kewalo Basin.

It's the same place that Miller, a mixed-martial arts promoter, has mounted a haunted house for the past two Halloweens.

He said he's already working on deals to take the rink to Windward Mall in Kaneohe and Queen Kaahumanu Center on Maui, temporarily taking up residence at the sites of Borders Books stores after the chain closed late this summer.

"We can make it as big as we want, as small as we want. Private parties. We could go to your back yard, set up a little, you know, practice run," Miller said.

Ice hockey players, figure skaters and others are already using these plastic ice rinks to practice on so they don't have to travel as far to traditional ice rinks.

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