Most had never seen ice, let alone skated on it, so as Perth's first outdoor ice- skating rink was tested for the first time yesterday, there were fascinated faces and plenty of bumps, slides and wobbles.

Primary schoolchildren were the first to cut into the James Street Amphitheatre icerink before it opened to the public today.

Year 2 students from The Quintilian School Olivia Stephenson, left, Ebony Withers and Luc Hellier were among the first to experience the Winterland outdoor ice skating rink. Picture: Megan Powell/The West Australian

Events company Big Bang Productions unveiled its icy-themed Winterland ahead of school holidays.

The centrepiece - a 250sqm square icerink - relies on the nation's biggest chilling system to turn flooded concrete in one of the world's sunniest cities into a block of ice in 36 hours.

School holiday plans include Australia's first toddler-only skating session where children will be able to use skating aids shaped like penguins to glide along the ice.

For the adults, DJ sessions will be held on evenings and mulled wine, warm cider and winter treats served at a pop-up cafe.

Promoter Aaron Gill said: "Our winters aren't severe or cold by any mark, most kids will never see snow and would never see ice, so we wanted to give the kids a new experience."

Mr Gill said the positive response and selling out of many sessions in advance had prompted organisers to consider making the ice-skating rink in the city an annual feature.

Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority place management director Veronica Jeffery said the authority was open to discussing "future prospects" with the event organisers. The outdoor ice-skating rink will be open until July 20.

Pre-sale tickets range from $10 for under-5s to $24 for adults and can be bought at www.winterland.com.au

The West Australian

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