Ice skating comes to Rockford this winter

Gliding around at an outdoor skating rink can be just the ticket for families tired of being cooped up in the house. And, for a twist on the usual oval-shaped rinks, take advantage of a new rink in Rockford that includes a skating trail through lighted evergreen trees and along the banks of the Rock River.

The newly built Harris Winter Wonderland opened this month in Davis Park in downtown Rockford and is being touted as the largest outdoor synthetic ice rink in the world. Because synthetic ice is actually made from plastic, not frozen water, fluctuating temperatures don’t affect the use of the ice.

The skating center has an oval-shaped rink similar to most skating rinks. But it also connects to a trail that is about 12 feet wide and 850 feet long, with benches along it to sit and take a break. There’s also an indoor warming facility and concession stands for hot chocolate and apple cider, coffee, hot dogs and pretzels.

The Harris Winter Wonderland will be open during December and January. Regular hours will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 6-10 p.m. Fridays, 4-10 p.m. Saturdays and 2-6 p.m. Sundays. Holiday break hours, from Dec. 20-30, will be 4-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 2-6 p.m. Sunday. The rink will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Admission to skate is $3; skate rental is $2.

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