Caution – this event only for people that like to have fun.
Seriously, it was amazing. I cannot recommend this enough… so I’m doing the next best thing and writing an article about it!
@DiscOasis on Instagram
Let’s start with South Coast Botanic Garden.
Glancing at the map, this park may seem like an easy size to learn and even quicker to explore. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. South Coast Botanic is a delightful maze of lively plants and scene-changing twists and turns. You could walk five minutes and realize you’re in a different environment. There’s a stretch of path behind a eucalyptus that always seems five degrees warmer than it ought to be. You can sit in a cave made up of the outstretched arms of a tall tree. A flock of yellow-chevroned parakeets will yell at you from silk floss trees. What I’m trying to say is – this garden is amazing. On its own, you should absolutely visit the park. In the meanwhile, though… you should also check out the park under the auspices of DiscOasis. It’s an oasis of disco in an otherwise disco-less land.
I’ve been a member of the garden more than a few years now, and have loved visiting the park through every change it’s undergone. They’ve held some amazing events before (GLOW was one for the record books!) and changed the landscape of the park a few times during and between these events. For this event, they’ve applied a quick bout of construction to change the landscape in some pretty amazing ways.
We’ll get to those in a bit. But also, yes – there’s a roller skating rink.
Entrance for the event starts at 5pm, and it’s over at 10pm. You should get in by 8:30 to make sure you have time to do everything, though getting in earlier lets you watch the lights come alive through sunset. Ever see the sunset bouncing off a giant disco ball? Magical.
You’ll walk in to the left of the main ticket booth, through a side entrance in the fence. There’s a waiver to fill out to be allowed to skate. It’s easy enough to fill out on your phone, and their system updates quite quickly. You’ll get a wristband to show off when you’re ready. There’s another wristband for adult beverages, which are available down near the rink.
From there you’ll set off toward the rose garden. Signs are standing every so often with pointing arrows. Take a right at the roses and swing past the cacti. Keep heading right to curve around the park on the main outer road (the one with the green painted line). There’s a few hills to walk up and down, but the road is paved and smooth. Pick your footwear accordingly. On the way down, you’ll pass the exit to the event, but trees block most of your view.
After a short stint curving around the park, you’ll arrive at a lovely sign. Words don’t do it justice, so here’s a photo:
Then you’ll make your way to the main path down to the lake. This is the same lake that, long ago, had water and a few turtles. In the more recent past, it’s where thick tufts of black mustard grow adjacent a stand of palm trees. That mostly changed, as has the path down.
Get your selfie faces ready! You’ll find the path strewn with astounding disco-plant displays. There’s an entryway lined with ropes that are actually hoses. A turntable of flowers. Wheelbarrows of music. A tunnel of love(ly plants). If this stage doesn’t get you in the mood to groove to music, the next walk down certainly will.
The displays become even more imaginative. Disco balls appear in every which way – a crescent moon with a dancing motorcyclist, a hemisphere full of flowers and mannequins and a dancing person. A car bursting with flowers in a way strangely reminiscent of Back to the Future. You’ll want to take some photos, and there’s staff at each display ready to show you some dance moves or spice up your group photos.
All this is just a trailer to the main show down below.
Skate to the Beat
Get ready to sit back and relax. At least until it’s your turn on wheels.
The lake bed has been transformed through some heavy pruning and a healthy layer of synthetic grass. You won’t have to worry about rocks or weeds as you stroll through the tents and dance around the rink. On the opposite side from where you first enter, past the merchandise, food, and drink tents, you’ll find the main stage.
If your goal is to dance, that’s the place to go. The DJ shares the space, and the music is right in your face.
Between the stage and the entrance, you’ll find ample room to hang out and enjoy the pre-skate energy and post-skate glow. Tables, chairs, and sitting room galore! There’s even an era-appropriate van parked neatly to the side. The bathrooms are found by following the path between the food trucks and the drink tent.
In the center sits the main display, and the biggest work of art – the skating rink. Congrats first off for building a level skating surface above a lake bed in remarkably short time, and while incorporating the palm trees! The palm trees direct your eyes to the center stage, where you’ll find skilled skaters dancing and generally being amazing.
The skating rink sits a few feet off the ground. Leading up to the platform are stairs, right alongside the tent-side grass. There’s a sitting area that makes me miss the skating rink up at the PV mall, complete with classic metal benches. You can hang out ringside or find a spot to change into your skates. The window to pick up your skates is also found here, right within arm’s reach.
They have whole-sized skates. Remember your shoe size, and don’t be shy about rounding up rather than down. Pinched toes are no fun.
If you think you’ll need some support while skating, they have wheeled rails that you can hang onto while skating. Think of it like training wheels that you push in front of you.
Skating happens in turns. To find out when your turn starts, check your wrist band color against the chart near the skate window.
In between each skate group, the staff on the rink clear the circle and show off their very impressive moves. It’s like a music video on ice… except with roller skates and classic tunes. Grab a stretch of ringside glass and get inspired for your turn to go. Otherwise, join the rush to go grab your skates and ditch normal land for a while. They’re on time, so make sure to check that chart and remember when you start if you want to maximize your skate time.
From there on out it’s really up to you. Skate to the music. Go fast, go slow. Teach a date how to not fall over. Do whatever your heart and hips tell you – especially if they’re telling you to move to the music.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a pleasant time checking out the plants. If you’re in the mood for more nature, please stay in touch!