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Feeling of Flight: a Blast from the Past at Illinois Roller Rink

By Kelly Church

At the Aurora Skate Center in Aurora, IL, owner Dan Warner works hard to share the joy of skating in a family-friendly environment. He prides himself on offering something for everyone, from the little ones to adults who have been skating for years.

"Skating is the number three cardiovascular sport according to the AMA and AHA (following walking and swimming)," Warner says. "Think heart health! Regular skaters know the physical benefits and that is why skating-related sports are the number three recreational activity in the USA (following bowling and treadmill exercise)."

The center offers everything from special programs for homeschoolers and children with disabilities, to school fundraisers, to Adult R&B Soul Night.

In addition, Warner sets up seasonal events for families. Summertime features Summer Matinees on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for ten weeks. The matinees include fun skating activities and challenges like races, four corners, wipeout, skating backwards, and couples, to name a few. The center also hosts more unusual events, like Minion Mania, inspired by the popular Despicable Me film franchise. Kids can come, wearing their yellow minion gear, and meet Carl, one of the minions from the series.

If minions aren't your thing, the skate center has plenty of other events to appeal to all demographics. Adults can enjoy the Monday night organ and dance sessions with Frank Pellico, the organist for the Chicago Blackhawks. Thursday nights also give adults the chance to relive their childhoods with Old School Music night, featuring tunes from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

The Aurora Skate Center is available for rent for birthday, school, church, and private parties. The birthday boy or girl even receives a free pair of skates for having their party at a public session!

Warner believes the entertainment he is offering his customers is why they've kept coming back for more since the Aurora Skate Center opened its doors in 1955. "Reflecting on the concept of why people keep coming back (to any favored activity), I am reminded of Stanley Krippner's descriptions of the 20 States of Consciousness," Warner says. "Krippner describes the experience of learning as the state of ecstasy. When we have that experience, we tend to recreate those moments often- that is why we call it 'recreation.'"

"We want every guest to experience joy each and every visit," Warner says. "Every visit should feel fresh and new for the returning skaters. Over time, skaters will meet new friends, experience continued improvements in their skills, feel up to date with the changing landscape of music, experience the expressions of movement and dance, and get to experience the nearest thing to the feelings of flight. In short, they will have a blast!"

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