Six-year-old Luna Montellano clung to the plastic walls surrounding the Rotary Ice Rink in downtown San Antonio on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday marked Luna’s first time on an ice rink, said her father, Raul Montellano. He watched her from the side of the 4,700-square-foot rink, encouraging her to venture out farther.

“She made a round already, but she got stuck here,” he said, gesturing at his daughter wildly scraping her skates against the ice in front of him.

Luna was one of the hundreds of skaters to pass through the ice rink in Travis Park that day, which reached a balmy 75 degrees. The Rotary Ice Rink, which is put on by the nonprofit Rotary Club of San Antonio, started its 2021 season Friday. The ice rink first opened in 2019 but did not return to downtown San Antonio last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Luna Montellano, 6, skates away from the boards at the Rotary Club’s ice rink at Travis Park on Sunday.
Luna Montellano, 6, skates away from the boards Sunday at the Rotary Club’s ice rink at Travis Park. Credit: Nick Wagner / San Antonio Report

“A lot of people just want to know how you keep ice frozen in San Antonio,” rink manager Mike Bishop said with a laugh. Bishop works with Ice Rink Events, a company that constructs and operates mobile ice rinks around the United States.

For $14, visitors can get a pair of rented skates and 75 minutes of ice time. Bishop estimated about 2,500 skaters visited the rink from Friday to Sunday. He added that the rink drew so many skaters two years ago that the Rotary Club wanted to keep the event going.

“They want to bring it back every year,” he said.

Darleen Hilliard watched skaters circle the ice from the outside. She brought her 8-year-old granddaughter Gia and a few of Gia’s friends to check out the rink and see if they’d be interested, Hilliard said.

“I saw it on Friday that they opened it up,” she said. “[Gia] made good grades in school and I told her, ‘We’ll do this for you because you had good grades this nine weeks.’”

Like Hilliard, most of the rink’s customers are people bringing kids to ice skate for the first time, Bishop said.

Children watch as Jayden Geffre drives a Zamboni to shave the ice at the Rotary Club’s ice rink at Travis Park on Sunday.
Children watch as Jayden Geffre drives a Zamboni to shave the Sunday ice at the Rotary Club’s ice rink at Travis Park. Credit: Nick Wagner / San Antonio Report

“It’s a big family thing,” he said. “Everyone comes together for the holidays looking for something to do in San Antonio. It’s pretty much the same — River Walk, lights. Throw an ice rink here and they all come to try it out!”

Proceeds from the ice rink will go to the Rotary Club of San Antonio, Bishop said. The rink, open every day through Jan. 17, offers movies, food trucks, live music and discounts on certain days. Find hours and more information about skating at the rink here.

Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is the local government reporter at the San Antonio Report.