PENGUINS FROM MYSTIC AQUARIUM TO VISIT RINK AT PARADE PLAZA IN NEW LONDON TOMORROW (11/17/12)
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Rink opens for second season in time for Thanksgiving weekend

New London, CT – November 16, 2012 – After a successful inaugural season, New London Main Street, the downtown revitalization organization, has officially reopened the Rink at Parade Plaza through early March. In response to positive feedback from last year, the Rink is open prior to Thanksgiving and the kick off to the holiday season. There will be ample public skating sessions this season, and the rink will have a full schedule of skating lessons, youth and adult hockey clinics, special evening events and much more. The first major public event planned for the Rink will happen this weekend when penguins from the Mystic Aquarium will be featured Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Penguins

Two of Mystic Aquarium’s African penguins and their trainers are visiting The Rink at Parade Plaza this Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Visitors can get an up-close look at the feathered friends, pose for photos and learn about the plight of this endangered species. Mystic Aquarium’s penguin conservation efforts in Connecticut and South Africa help prevent population loss and preserve African penguins for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

The Return of the Rink @ Parade Plaza

This will be the second season for the skating rink on the Parade Plaza in New London's Historic Waterfront District. The Rink will be the premier outdoor winter venue offering affordable, family entertainment throughout the winter. People can enjoy skating in the heart of New London’s historic downtown on a 45 x 90 synthetic outdoor skating rink located on Parade Plaza across from Union Station.

The skating rink will be open through early March of 2013. There will be free community open skate times courtesy of a variety of sponsors. New London Main Street will be working with shops and restaurants in The District to promote special offers and promotions for businesses throughout the season for skaters.

“We had approximately 11,500 skaters on the Rink last season, as well as 22,000 visitors,” according to Tony Silvestri, New London Main Street board member and past president. Silvestri spearheaded the Rink project last year and continues to oversee its operation.

“The Rink helped build foot traffic downtown during the winter months, which are typically much slower for our merchants and restaurants. We also benefited from community sponsorships, which allowed numerous kids to skate for free. We are doing very similar programs again this season,” continued Silvestri.

Youth and adult skating lessons, youth and adult hockey lessons, figure skating lessons, and group skates are available. Rink rentals are also available for parties and events. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Rental skates are available for youth and adults for $4. Sharpening is also available at no charge.

Open seven days a week, the Rink’s currently scheduled hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 3pm to 8pm, Saturday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Some exceptions may be made for special events or private parties.

For general inquiries about the Rink, email rinkmanager@newlondonmainstreet.org or call Danielle Benson, Rink Manager, at 860-910-7787. Visit www.newlondonmainstreet.org for a full schedule of Rink activities.

The Rink at Parade Plaza is made possible with the support from the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund (Bank of America, Trustee), The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law and Hall Communications. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
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