The Erie Zoo closed this past weekend for the 2022 season. However, things are just getting started at the Flo Fabrizio Ice Center.

Throughout the year, the zoo has utilized the ice center in many ways, but during the winter, it becomes a hotspot for locals. Flo Fabrizio Ice Center serves as a huge source of revenue for the Erie Zoo during its offseason.

One zoo spokesperson said that they love having this space for people to congregate this time of year.

“The ice center is really vital to keeping the non-profit zoo up and running and funding us throughout the winter months. It’s a great thing to offer our community for a fun thing to do with the family, the kids and each other,” said Emily Smicker, marketing and event coordinator, Erie Zoo.

The building underwent large-scale renovations, costing roughly $2 million before it reopened in 2019, but it has since become a hub for skaters around the city. Furthermore, the ice center has been utilized for all sorts of events, including the Glenwood Flea Market during the summer.

There, small businesses and crafters are highlighted.

“We can showcase local artisans, which we don’t really get to do over at the zoo. It’s kind of a nice venue to expand what we do and our presence in the community as the Erie Zoo,” Smicker added.

Now that winter has returned, so has the ice bringing with it ice skating pros and rookies alike. Instructors at the facility are offering one five-week “learn to skate” session that begins on Jan. 14.

We spoke with some skaters and asked them what they liked most about skating.

“The first time I went ice skating was like 1997, 1998. I come here every year since I was a kid. I love ice skating. it’s a lot of fun,” said Josh Davidoff, skater.

“I just love coming out here being with friends and family, in the coldness, so fun. I think I might fall a couple of times, but I think I’ll be good,” Corey Kowalski, skater.

The ice center has skating open to the public Friday evening through Sunday afternoon and rentals are available on-site.