Bumper car rink in at the Ice Zoo in Sydney, Australia

Picture yourself spinning and laughing as you careen across a smooth surface, howling as you smash into friends at high speed before zooming off and twirling away to do it all again.

That’s the promise of ice bumper cars, a winter entertainment trend that hasn’t quite reached Philadelphia — yet.

Australia-based “Bumper Cars on Ice,” a company that recently orchestrated pop-ups in Sydney and Melbourne, says it’s embarking on a North American tour and Philly is on the list.

A press release promises “life in the fast lane” with the zippy cars, which are surrounded by an inner tube-like buffer, are controlled via joystick and slide across ice on low-friction wheels. The attraction will also feature “a winter wonderland themed bar,” organizers said, featuring mulled wine and frozen winter cocktails.

Slight snag: the ice bumper car tour is slated to hit Philadelphia in May 2020. Yes, May.

That may be the beginning of cold weather down under, but (unless climate change pulls something really weird) it’s right when things start to warm up in this hemisphere. A spokesperson did confirm the projected Philly date.

Where will all this happen, exactly? Organizers said they’re in the “final stage” of securing a location, after which exact dates and prices should fall into place.

YouTube video

The skating-tubing-racecar mashup, which is promoted as appropriate for people of all ages, appears to have widespread appeal.

Colorado Springs has operated a dedicated rink for close to a decade, and it spawned a company that manufactures the vehicles for venues across the nation. Two years ago, folks running the Delaware State Fair rented a few, and the attraction was an immediate hit.

Later in 2017, Providence, R.I., bought 16 cars for regular use at the city’s ice rink, a development the mayor called “the most exciting thing we’ve done since I’ve been [in office],” and the trend blossomed from there. These days, the attraction can be found all over the country, from Jamestown, N.Y., to Tacoma, Wash. Prices range from $10 to $30 per person, depending on age, length of session and amenities.


When the Australian tour comes to North America this winter and spring, it’s also promising stops in Vancouver and Los Angeles (both February 2020).

If you’re curious and don’t want to wait, you can head out to Brick Township in Ocean County, N.J., where Ocean Hockey Supply currently hosts ice bumper car sessions every weekend.

Danya Henninger is a Philadelphia-based journalist who believes local news is essential for thriving communities, and that its format will continue to evolve. She spent six years overseeing both editorial...