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Release Date: November 9, 2012

Ice Rink in National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Opens November 17 with Free Hot Chocolate on Opening Weekend; Offers Wide Range of Skating Classes for All Ages and Interests


Aerial view of the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Photo by Rob Shelley © 2001 Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art

Washington, DC—The 2012–2013 ice-skating season at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden will begin November 17, 2012, and continue through March 16, 2013, weather permitting. A wide variety of skating classes will be offered for all ages. Located on the National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW, the ice rink is a favorite destination, attracting thousands of visitors to skate in the nation’s capital. The ice rink is managed by Guest Services, Inc.

The experience of skating in the Sculpture Garden, surrounded by the grand architecture of national museums and monuments, is enhanced by views of splendid large-scale sculptures by such post–World War II artists as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, Tony Smith, and others from the Gallery’s renowned collection.

To celebrate the opening, visitors who purchase time on the ice on November 17 and 18 will receive a coupon for a complimentary cup of hot chocolate from the Pavilion Café on those dates.

Ice-Skating Rink Hours and Fees

The hours for the skating rink are as follows:
Monday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

During the evening, when the Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed to the public, access to the ice-skating rink is restricted to the entrances at Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive near 9th Street.

The skating fees for a two-hour session (beginning on the hour) are as follows:
$8 for adults
$7 for skaters age 50 and over, children age 12 and under, or students with a valid school ID

Please call the ice rink office at (202) 216-9397 for additional information. The Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed on December 25 and January 1.

The skate rental fee is $3 (ID required as a deposit), and lockers are available for $0.50 ($5 deposit required). Season tickets are available for $195.

Skating Lessons and Registration

This year Guest Services is offering skating lessons for all ages through the Skate with U.S. program designed by the U.S. Figure Skating Association:

Snowplow Sam and Mom/Dad &Me: Classes introduce children as young as three to skating while holding a parent’s hand.

Children’s Classes: Classes for children with more skating experience who no longer need the assistance of an adult, are comfortable on the ice, and are ready to learn to skate backward and to glide on one foot.

Adult Basic Group Lessons: Teens and adults have many opportunities to hone their skating skills with Adult Basic group lessons, organized according to four levels of experience.

Sculpturise and Ice Theater: For skaters inspired by the monuments and sculptures surrounding the rink, the Sculpturise exercise class or Ice Theater artistry performance class provide a wonderful creative outlet.

Hockey: Hockey skating classes for children and adults.

Skaters looking for more one-on-one attention may make an appointment for a private lesson. Special group rates are also available for parties of 10 or more.

Registration for group classes will be held on November 14, 2012, 12:00–4:00 p.m.; December 27, 2012, 4:00–5:00 p.m.; and February 2, 2013, 7:30–8:30 p.m., at the entrance of the Pavilion Café. To register in advance or arrange for a private lesson, please e-mail [email protected].

Pavilion Café

The café has panoramic views of the Sculpture Garden from its floor-to-ceiling picture windows. Visitors may enjoy the recently installed interior sound system while dining indoors. The menu features freshly made dishes such as soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and gourmet tarts. Beverages include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, wine, and beer. A children’s menu for ages 12 and under is also available. Managed by Guest Services Inc., the café seats 98 people inside and 64 people outside on its north and south terraces. Hours for the Pavilion Café during the skating season are Monday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

For general information and announcements about openings and closings, or to make reservations for lessons, call (202) 216-9397 or visit Guest Services’ website, More details are available at

Sculpture Garden and Ice Rink

The skating surface, which measures approximately 135 feet long and 90 feet wide, can accommodate more than 200 skaters at a time. A state-of-the-art music system delights skaters, diners, and spectators without distracting other visitors to the Sculpture Garden. At night, lights encircling the rink illuminate the ice, contributing to the festive atmosphere and the skating experience. Sixteen banners that surround the ice-skating rink represent a cross section of spectacular portraits from the Gallery’s collection, on display in the East and West Buildings.

Designed to offer year-round enjoyment to the public in one of the preeminent locations on the National Mall, the 6.1-acre National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden opened on May 23,

1999. The richly landscaped setting provides a distinctive backdrop for 17 works of post–World War II sculpture by internationally famous artists. Visitors may enjoy spacious seating and walking areas amid the native American canopy and flowering trees, shrubs, ground covers, and perennials. In the summer, the majestic fountain at the center of the garden gives visitors a chance to rest and reflect on the works on view, or to enjoy one of the popular Friday evening Jazz in the Garden concerts. In the winter, the fountain transforms into an ice-skating rink.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden was given to the nation by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.

The Sculpture Garden is located on the National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW, in the block adjacent to the West Building of the Gallery. There are six public entrances to the Sculpture Garden, from four corners and at two sides; and the area is accessible to visitors with disabilities. Admission is free. More information is available at

Groups and Tours at the Sculpture Garden and in the Gallery

To arrange a special guided tour of the Gallery’s permanent collection for 20 or more adults before or after a visit to the ice rink during regular Gallery hours, call (202) 842-6247 at least three weeks (or up to four months) in advance. Information about other Gallery programs, exhibitions, restaurants, and shops, is available at (202) 737-4215 or


General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.