Hill Country Galleria is planning a skating rink during the holidays

The Hill Country Galleria at Bee Cave will house an ice skating rink this holiday season.

The rink – a first for the Hill Country Galleria – will be open to the public from November 4 to January 2, with a grand opening ceremony at 5 p.m. on November 5. The 40-by-84-foot ice rink will be outdoors between the Bee Cave Public Library and the lawn of the Hill Country Galleria, where the wading pool is currently located. The rink will be open seven days a week and can accommodate 120 skaters at a time. A 75-minute skating session will cost $15 and includes skate rental.

“We want to create a magical experience for residents and visitors and make Bee Cave the vacation destination for 2022,” Clint Garza, City Manager of Bee Cave, said in a press release. “It’s been a huge undertaking, but we know it will make this season so memorable for everyone who comes to experience the skating rink, the shops, the restaurants and the general festive atmosphere at the Hill Country Galleria.”

The grand opening ceremony on Nov. 5 is expected to include music, figure skaters, a live performance by a Grammy-winning singer and giveaways, according to the Hill Country Galleria. Beginning November 1, reservations for a skating session can be made online at the Town of Bee Cave and Hill Country Galleria websites. Reservations are encouraged, but a number of walk-in slots will be available.

“Visiting Hill Country Galleria during the holidays is always special, and this year we’re thrilled to partner with the Town of Bee Cave to provide families and friends with a fun new vacation experience,” Alora Hess, Head of marketing for the Hill Country Galleria, said in a written statement. “The on-site skating rink will be a great addition to the space, and we believe it will attract people from across the Austin area to shop, dine, skate and enjoy the property this holiday season.”

The rink will have afternoon hours when the kids get out of school, Hoff said, and will be open all day on weekends. Once local schools are on winter vacation, the rink will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Hoff said.

On July 26, the Bee Cave City Council approved the use of $300,000 from hotel occupancy tax funds for the rink. The Hill Country Galleria is contributing $100,000, Hess said.

Construction of the rink is set to begin Oct. 26, according to the city. The rink will be built on top of the existing paddling pool, which did not operate this year due to supply chain issues. The wading pool is expected to resume operations at some point, said Jenny Hoff, communications director for the town of Bee Cave.

The company that installs the rink will be responsible for the staff, maintenance and day-to-day operations of the rink, Hoff said. Additionally, Hoff said there are plans to provide additional security around the premises at night as well as a security camera.

“We expect to recoup rink costs over the eight-week period,” Hoff said. “Anything over that amount will likely go to a non-profit organization within Bee Cave. We hope that we can at least recover the amount spent so that we can start again next year.

Hoff said she expects the rink to draw large crowds to the gallery.

“The rink, to our knowledge, is the only true outdoor rink in the area this holiday season,” Hoff said.

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