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    Skating at the Children’s Museum: no skates or ice required

    Sock skating requires a slippery floor, a thick pair of socks, and a big imagination.

    On Monday morning, 2-year-old Lea Golub-Sass might as well have been competing in Olympic speed skating instead of sliding around in her socks. The little girl tried to glide, but it was more of an excited shuffle from one end of the Boston Children’s Museum sock-skating “rink” to the other.

    “On your mark. Get set. Go!” the toddler announced, giggling.


    It was gloomy outside, but the museum’s “Snowmazing” exhibit was decorated like a cheery Alpine village, surrounded by lanterns that looked straight out of the imaginary world of Narnia. Beatles’s songs rang out in the winter wonderland, located at the center of the museum.

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    Newton resident Sharon Levine, 32, brought daughter Lea, and the duo made the most of the sock-skating rink, which is made out of a hard polymer material called synthetic ice.

    It’s the second year for sock skating at the museum and it has been “wildly popular,” said spokeswoman Jo-Anne Baxter. “Snowmazing,” which opened the day after Thanksgiving, ends Sunday.

    Museum organizers invited Boston University hockey player Jordan Greenway to inaugurate the rink by cutting a ribbon and gliding on the floor with a group of little ones. They’ve hosted ugly sweater parties and let adults slide around, too.

    “There’s no skill involved really,” Baxter said. “No special equipment. We get parents who love it, little ones working on motor skills. The 21-and-up crowd loves it — really children of all ages.”


    The rink was the brainchild of the museum’s chief financial officer, Amy Auerbach. There are apparently several children’s museums around the United States with sock-skating rinks.

    “Amy said, ‘Michele, I want a sock skating rink,’ ” said Michele Rankin, finance and administration project manager. “And I said, ‘ All right, I’ll get right on it.’ The best part about this is that people forget they’re adults and just go and have fun.”

    As children arrived Monday morning, they kicked off their sneakers and started to slide. Other times, parents playfully pulled their kids by the feet across the smooth floor.

    “This is her third time here,” Levine said. “She gets a lot of energy out. She really thinks that she’s ice skating.”

    Seven-year-old Charlie O’Neil of Newton said he preferred regular ice skating, but on Monday, gliding around in his sockswas just fine. He was on a field trip to the Children’s Museum with classmates from Angier ElementarySchool in Newton.


    “I’ve noticed if you like bend over a little bit you start to go a little faster,” O’Neil said, explaining his best sock-skating strategies. “It doesn’t even hurt when you fall.”

    “You can slide on your knees,” said Jolene Wong, 7, an Angier classmate. “Because, well, I’m not really good at skating. I just like sock skating. I used to sock skate with my brother. On ice, I trip.”

    There was at least one well-meaning sock-skating critic.

    “I think it’s fun for what it is,” said Somerville resident Eugene Lee, 39, who brought his young son, Zuriel, to the museum Monday morning. “But I think you just get more mileage out of a nice hardwood floor that’s waxed. But for what it’s worth, it’s fine. It’s hilarious when you run around and swing your kid around.”

    Cristela Guerra can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.