The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center will open on Columbus Day weekend ushering in the 2010-11 winter season. It is the world’s most famous ice skating rink, with more than one quarter of a million skaters visiting each year between October and April. The opening marks the beginning of the festivities leading up to the annual lighting of the beloved Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

The Rink will open to the public on Saturday, October 9th kicking off Columbus Day weekend and the ice skating season in New York City.

To celebrate Columbus Day, on Monday, October 11th, skaters from the Ice Theater will portray Christopher Columbus and three young shipmates and offer complimentary cookies to all rink visitors.

“Rockefeller Center has long been the quintessential New York location for holiday adventures since it first opened on Christmas Day in 1936,” said Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, which operates The Rink and its surrounding restaurants, The Sea Grill and Rock Center Cafe. “Visiting The Ice Rink and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has spanned generations and lasted throughout the decades. We are proud to be a part of this tradition and look forward to many more memorable years.”

The Rink at Rockefeller Center is the premier artificial outdoor skating pond in New York City, complete with modern amenities: night skating, a heated house for changing skates, piped-in music and rink-side dining, making it the perfect destination for families and lovebirds.

The Ice Rink has several programs planned for the upcoming skating season: “Engagement on Ice” offers couples private time to propose marriage on the Ice Rink, followed by a Champagne toast at Rock Center Cafe. “Breakfast with Santa” begins in late November and lasts through Christmas Eve providing children quality time with St. Nick, a delicious breakfast at Rock Center Cafe and a skate session. For those looking for a unique morning workout, Olympic gold medalist Jojo Starbuck hosts a morning “Cool Workout Sessions” program. Back by popular demand, “Skate-a-Date” will begin January 2011 and includes dinner for two at Rock Center Cafe and VIP skating on The Rink.

The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center is located on 5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. For schedules and skate rental information, please visit www.therinkatrockcenter.com.