Fort Worth

Brand-new skaters: Fort Worth kids hit the ice at Panther Island

“This is the best!” several Oaklawn Elementary students shouted as they timidly ice-skated for the very first time at Panther Island Ice on Tuesday.

They were part of Schools on Skates, a program that lets elementary school students in the Fort Worth district experience outdoor ice skating for free.

“It is so much fun for them because it is a completely new thing for them. It doesn’t snow a lot here and most of the students have never ice-skated before in their life,” said Paola Almeida, a fourth grade teacher at Oaklawn Elementary.

Students from 20 campuses in the Fort Worth school district will skate at Panther Island Ice over the next two months.

The field trip was built into the curriculum to help students connect math, physics and writing to the hands-on experience of ice skating outdoors, said Tobi Jackson, a Fort Worth school board trustee.

Most of the schools in the program serve economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, so students get an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise, Jackson said.

“It’s a gift to the community,” said Shanna Cate, Trinity River Vision Authority programming and development director.

The project is a collaboration of the Trinity River Vision Authority, which provided the staff, Bank of Texas which provided the transportation and the Blue Zones Project which provided healthy snacks.

“More than anything, it’s an experience for them and it helps them understand what they are learning. It helps them grow,” said Almeida.

Panther Island Ice, at the Fort Worth Coyote Drive-In at 223 NE Fourth Street, opens to the public Friday and will be open seven days a week until Jan.16, including all holidays.

Azia Branson: 817-390-7547, @aziabranson

Pricing (includes skate rental & sales tax)

▪ $12, regular admission

▪ $10, group discount for 15 or more or on Tuesdays if you bring two canned goods

▪ $9, military and Tarrant County College students and faculty, with valid ID

▪ $6, half-price on Mondays

Regular hours

▪ Monday through Thursday: 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

▪ Friday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

▪ Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

▪ Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Hours vary on holidays and during school breaks. Visit for details.