SEATTLE -- Despite temperatures that were easily above freezing, an outdoor ice rink opened Tuesday in Cal Anderson Park, delighting many in the neighborhood.
But skaters quickly learned the rink is actually made of polyurethane, something that is much easier to maintain in Seattle's moderate climate.
"So it's not really ice skating, it's like plastic skating," joked Benjamen Hebert, a Wisconsin native who had never donned ice skates until Tuesday. "I never really had an opportunity, so it's really, really awesome to get an opportunity to do this today."
After a ribbon cutting with Mayor Mike McGinn, the first 100 rink visitors were allowed to skate for free. The rink typically costs $12 an hour for adults and $6 an hour for kids age 8 and under -- even if visitors have their own skates.
The rink will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Christmas Eve.
"I was just about to go to the one in Bellevue, to the ice rink, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, there's one in Seattle!'" said college student Mary Chisholm. "I got so excited."
Amanda Allender guided her 3-year-old nephew Cole to the ice for the first time in his life. After a couple steps, he started to slip, but Allender held on tight.
"It's so great for the community," she said. "We've never had this before, so it's pretty awesome."