The trees are starting to change color and you know what that means in Texas -- Christmas is coming! Of course, when we say “changing color” we don’t mean the leisurely way Mother Nature does it. We mean green to red in in two seconds or less. As in the Illumination Celebrations at the Galleria, 13357 Dallas Parkway.
Okay, usually I’m all “get outside, you don’t get any vitamin D sitting indoors,” but this weekend’s weather reminded me that sometimes the great outdoors isn’t all that great. That’s when we thank God and mass marketing for places with indoor entertainment. Preferably free. Throw in some low-cost exercise and all you need is chocolate to make it perfect. Preferably chocolate served hot after a rigorous ice skating session.
After watching the skaters (hey -- I couldn’t skate and shoot pictures, too) I wondered whether the calories burned in a skating session would cancel out the chocolate. Calorie counting site www.ehow.com says one hour of ice skating burns the same number of calories as jogging with lower impact (not counting falls). For a one hundred-twenty pound woman, that’s 381 calories an hour.
Up the intensity and you up the calories. The way national skating champions Ashley Cain, Josh Reagan and Amanda Dobbs will during their exhibitions at the Galleria this Saturday, December 3, at 5 p.m. Additional performances and skaters perform the following two Saturdays, all free.
Cain and Reagan are the 2011 U.S. National Junior Pair Champions. Dobbs is a U.S. medalist and international competitor. U.S. Junior National Champion Jonathan Cassar joins Dobbs for the December 17 performance.
Between skating exhibitions, you can watch the huge mid-rink Christmas tree do its multiple choreographed color changes daily at noon, 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. through December 24. (No 8 p.m. show on Sundays.)
Or take to the ice yourself. See www.galleriaiceskatingcenter.com for times and rates.
And of course, restaurants line encircle the rink, in case you succumb to the temptation to sip or nibble.
When it comes to ice skating in Dallas, the Galleria isn’t the only game in town. Downtown in the Plaza of the Americas, America’s Ice Garden is open daily, offering freestyle sessions and classes. See www.americaicegarden.com for details.
Plaza of the Americas, 700 North Pearl Street, is immediately adjacent to the Pearl Street DART train station and bustles during the week. However, be warned that during the weekend, virtually all of the Plaza’s restaurants close. You can brown bag for weekend skating sessions. Or you can stroll a few blocks to the downtown Neiman Marcus, 1618 Main Street.
This year’s holiday windows at Neiman’s include a maze of climbing tubes for kids. Free, this Thursday through Sunday (December 1-4), from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The event repeats later during the month.
Neiman’s Zodiac Room restaurant is open daily except Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Neiman’s website is www.neimanmarcus.com/. However, I had trouble finding information about the window display there, and instead happened on a bevy of excited kids during a recent outing downtown.