By Jean Janes
As any resident of the Pacific Northwest will attest, there is always a demand for indoor activities that require physical activity. With a jubilant three-year-old, my family is always seeking somewhere wholesome and fun for the whole family to burn off some energy. We also have a one-year-old, however so our options are limited.
With all that to consider, we were thrilled to find Skate Tiffany’s! – Roller Skating & Family Fun Center, the perfect combination of fun, exercise, and entertainment we could all participate in as a family. We took our kids to the Saturday “Walk and Roll Skating Session.” My older son was able to roller skate for his first time while my husband and I took our younger son around the rink in his stroller.
I also had the opportunity to sit down with Melinda King, co-owner of Skate Tiffany’s to find out a little about the roller rink that has been part of the Puyallup community for over 40 years.
Melinda King describes the skating dynasty that Skate Tiffany’s represents to the Puyallup community: “At this point, because we’ve been open so long, we have, you know, grandparents who brought their children, now bringing their grandchildren,” and I can understand why.
Bright and fun, the atmosphere is happy and exciting. The Kings are long-time professionals when it comes to the skating business. Previously known as “Tiffany’s Skate Inn,” the rink was built November 12, 1969 and has been operated by the King family for over forty years. Having previously run skating rinks in Washington, the Puyallup location is their lasting legacy. Melinda King emphasizes their experience, “My husband is the fourth generation in the business.”
Greeted by friendly staff, my family purchases our tickets and go in. First stop, skate rentals. For a little extra, they offer inline skates, but we opt for the traditional version. They also sell skates and equipment, but maybe after we’ve had a bit more experience. Cheerful, energized music fills the hall and there are convenient lockers near the entrance for storage of small items.
We sit down to don our skates and my eldest son’s excitement is barely contained…until he tries to stand up. Suddenly, his enthusiasm is overwhelmed by fear and apprehension. Falling down was not exactly something he had bargained for. Luckily, Skate Tiffany’s offers a handy solution: “Skate Mates” are a triangular apparatus with wheels that children can hold onto for balance as they find their self-esteem and confidence. For the $5, we discover it to be quite worth it.
With my son’s balance mostly intact, we venture onto the rink. Beautifully mirror-polished, the floor reflects the multi-colored lights and lanterns strung across the ceiling. Television monitors hang from the center, providing lively visual entertainment for the chaperones as kids zip around the perimeter. The music is dynamic, seats are conveniently positioned around the main skating track for emergency rest stops, and employees stay vigilant for any safety infractions. All in all, this feels very family-friendly.
King explains why the skate mates are so invaluable for nervous new skaters. Especially as parents are bringing out their little ones for the “Walk and Stroll Skating Session,” parents can get out there and walk, but if they are doing some skating as well, “they’re also not getting pulled down by their kid, and the kid just feels so confident, and their self-esteem—you can see the difference. Kids come out struggling, and within five minutes of having those [skate mates], they’re like, ‘I can do this!’ and they go around and after a little bit they don’t need it anymore.” She is so right! My son, so tenuous at his start, begins to truly enjoy himself. I can see the enjoyment and confidence grow with each spin around the track.
After about an hour of gliding around the rink, we are ready for a break. Rolling around on wheels is a real workout! This amusing recreation also happens to be great exercise. King agrees, “Kids can have something fun and get their energy out and get healthy.” She explains, “You can burn over 600 calories an hour skating” which seems a great deal for a day of fun with the family and a work-out at the same time.
In addition, King emphasizes the worth of having a fun activity that does so much good physically. She explains, “I have a lot of customers come where their kid either had some kind of gross motor skill issues or needed to go to physical therapy.” After spending some time skating, parents come to find their child has benefited as skating “really enhances and helps them get better with that whole situation because you have to use so many muscles in your body and you’re balancing, and it’s fun so they don’t feel like they’re having to practice something.”
We finally leave the rink and turn in our skates. There is still an arcade and pizza parlor to enjoy. We spend the day as a family enjoying music, motion, and play. We will certainly be returning to Skate Tiffany’s, especially for their extended summer hours. See their website and Facebook page for their schedule and prices.
Perhaps next time, we’ll be planning a birthday skating party or stopping in for their “$2 Tuesdays.” I know my son can’t wait to come back.