Castle Skateland, the name gives it away. It's a skating rink located in my hometown, Loveland, Ohio. I feel like I know that place like the back of my hand... though I haven't been there in about 10 years. I'm sure it hasn't changed much. It is a large indoor skating rink with an faux castle front. I wish it really was a castle.
As you walk up the steps into the front door you get in line or gather your group in the lobby. You then go up to the window and pay an entrance fee. As soon as you get in you stake out a bench/seat area. The benches were round or square and low to the floor. They were also covered in the same short carpet as the floor, and equally as dingy. Man, I hope they've changed that stuff. That place always had a certain musky smell to it.
There at the benches we'd change out of our shoes, into our skates and stash our stuff in the middle or underneath. Usually mom or dad would hang out here while we skated around and around and around.
By the benches there were arcade games, which we usually never played, or didn't play much because we were only allowed to use a dollar or so. Then after the arcade games came the bathrooms. There were separate male and female restrooms, but the sinks were out side the restrooms in the open so you could just roll on up. I think there might have been a drinking fountain there to. Or maybe it was just a drinking fountain? Maybe I don't remember as much as I thought... on the opposite end was the snack bar. The snack bar was pretty much the highlight of the place. We were almost always treated to some yummy items and a slushie. I remember a seating area over there with very unattractive orange benches. Above the snack bar was the "adults only" area. I'm pretty sure it was a bar? I don't really know, I was never allowed to go up there! They cleverly designed that area. What kid can climb stairs in skates? It kept us out.
They had nasty tan un-supportive looking rental skates, which I don't think I ever wore... and probably could not have been forced to. Thinking about them right now, I still wouldn't wear them... grosser than bowling shoes in my eyes. Next to the rental skates you could redeem tickets from the arcade games and buy glow sticks or plastic rings. A must.
On the other side of the rink was an ally way. I think it was carpeted with that short stuff too, or atleast it was at one point. Back there we would skate as straight, hard and fast as we could. At the end was a wooden bench rest area, where the cooler and older kids sat. I think I've been there before ;-)
As for actual skating, I was not a wall hugger (a person hanging on to the wall for dear life), no one in may family was. During the visit, the announcer guy would change up the rink every once and a while. He'd change directions, make it kids only, couples only, girls only, boys only, etc. At one point we'd all gather in the middle for the the chicken dance and the hokie pokie. We'd also kick off our skates and have a dance contest. The winner would win a dancing flower. It responded to sound and would dance when you sang to it. I wanted one so bad, but I never won.
As we got older, went alone, or went on school rewards (it was across from the intermediate school [4th & 5th grade] "good" students were rewarded every quarter) I remember going up to the DJ both and requesting songs on the request sheet. For some reason when I think of the music at the skating rink I always think of this. I must have been there when I first heard it or something.
Long live Castle Skateland! It is still there! I went to Google and did and image search to show you all and who is the first person I see? Earl! He goes to a lot of roller derby events and I guess they had one at Castle Skateland. Check them out here. You can see some of the stuff I was talking about in the background of his photos :-)