Robi and Earlita Hellums remember the old South Austin skate parks.
Skate Across Texas, Hot Wheels and Skate Ranch have been closed for years now, and the couple got tired of driving to Central and North Austin for birthday parties for their now-teenage daughter.
So they took over the warehouse of an online pet supply company and opened Austin Roller Rink three and a half years ago.
“I always went to skate rinks when I was a kid,” Robi said. “So it was a no-brainer for us. What could we do for kids that we used to do as kids? [Skating is] one of the timeless things left that you as a parent can do with your kids.”
The Hellums have designed Austin Roller Rink to be a family-friendly place that is fun for kids and nostalgic for adults.
“A lot of the kids don’t skate like we used to,” Earlita said. “The parents will come and be much better skaters than the kids.”
One throwback is the price: the cost of admission plus skates ranges from $5 to $10 depending on the night, Earlita said.
“People come in and are shocked,” Robi said. “They’ll say, ‘We just came from the movie theater and paid $12 a ticket. We ended up spending $60, and it wasn’t even fun.'”
Friday nights have unofficially become teen nights, Earlita said. The rink overstaffs on those nights to prevent fights or injuries.
“We have a policy: You can’t go outside unless your ride is here,” Robi said.
The rink draws longtime residents, roller derby participants, speed skaters and even the occasional skate dancer.
Earlita has seen all ages at the rink, from toddlers being helped by parents in shoes to a 90-year-old woman.
“She came in and said, ‘I haven’t skated in 50 years,'” Robi said. “Within 10 minutes, she was back out there, going backwards and everything.”
- Tuesday—noon–4 p.m. ($6.50)
- Wednesday—Adult Night, 7–10 p.m. ($5)
- Thursday—Family Night, 3–8 p.m. ($5)
- Friday—noon–4 p.m. ($6.50) 7–11 p.m. ($10)
- Saturday— noon–4 p.m. ($6.50) and 7–11 p.m. ($8)
- Sunday—1–5 p.m. ($6.50); *June 11–Aug. 9. Closed Mondays
Austin Roller Rink’s Snack Shack offers concessions including:
- Coffee ($2.75)
- Pizza ($2)
- Nachos ($2)
- Popcorn ($1.50)
- Corndogs ($1.50)
- Cans of soda ($1.50)
- Chips ($1)
“If [a particular song] comes on, I show off all of my moves.” –Andres McGruder
“The staff is amazing. They actually take the time to get to know the kids.” –Sofia Gutierrez
“I like it. My daughter is a regular here.” –Teresa Tinney
“It’s a good activity for the kids. They can get away and be by themselves and have fun.” –Teresa Gutierrez
Austin Roller Rink, 11600 Manchaca Road, 512-292-7528, www.austinrollerrink.com