Skate your way around Chicago

Photo: Frank Pinc

On their knees or upright, skaters enjoy Chicago rinks.

You could say the Cooneys are one cool family–they spend five to 10 hours a week on ice rinks. Daughters Dylan, 14, and Hannah, 11, are accomplished amateurs who skate in U.S. Figure Skating Association competitions, and parents Dan and Carolyn regularly join them on the ice.

“It’s a great environment,” says Dan Cooney of the programs. His daughters compete on rinks at the McFetridge Sports Complex in Chicago and the Robert Crown Center in Evanston. “They’ve met a nice group of people — kids who are happy, healthy and talented.”

Their fascination with ice skating began even before they were a family. “When I met Carolyn one of our first dates was ice skating,” remembers Dan Cooney.

Dylan began lessons at age 5, and Hannah at 4. “I don’t think they’ve been away from skating for any length of time since they started,” Dan says. “They’ve done ice shows, team competitions, and individual competition.”

The Cooneys, who live in Chicago, may not be typical. But they are a great example that there are on-ice opportunities available throughout Chicago-area rinks. From open-air skating on Navy Pier to the triple-rink indoor ice palace at Artic Ice Arena in Orland Park, skaters of all abilities can find plenty of places to cut figure eights.

Some rinks are open year-around, but for most the season began several months ago. The Chicago Park District operates nine outdoor skating rinks and its official skating season runs to Feb. 28, weather permitting.

And finding a rink within your budget is usually not a problem either. Prices vary but at Chicago’s rinks adult admission is $5, $4 for residents; for those under age 17 and over 64, it’s $4, residents $3.

There are special schedules of classes at each rink but if you’re just looking for some cool air and a little exercise, all facilities offer some open skating.

Oak Park resident Matt Stelter and his son Joe, 7, hit the ice about once a week at the Ridgeland Commons ice rink run by the Park District of Oak Park. It’s not competitive, just an hour or two of sliding along. “We both love to skate, and it’s a great way for us to spend time together,” Stelter says. “Plus it’s good exercise.”

To get the full Currier& Ives experience, many skaters head to outdoor rinks. They can skate while viewing the skyline from Millennium Park, or brush against nature at a frozen pond.

For those into cold competition, ice hockey leagues for all ages are operated by park districts and other organizations throughout the area. The equipment is expensive, but it is full-blast exercise.

Marianne Ziegenhorn of Arlington Heights says ice hockey has provided excellent exercise and camaraderie for her son John, 10, who has played for five years at the Glenview Ice Center in Glenview. “It’s good not only for the players, but also fun for the parents,” Ziegenhorn says.

As the map shows, skating venues abound in the Chicago area. So sharpen your blades, fill the thermos with hot cocoa, and hit the ice. But don’t be surprised if you find it hard to leave, says Sharyn Weiss, junior membership chair of the Skokie Valley Ice Club. “Anybody who’s been remotely connected to ice skating comes back to it. It’s a passion.”

Ed Avis, an Oak Park-based writer and publisher is the author of “The Lobster Kids’ Guide to Exploring Chicago.”

CHICAGO

Chicago Johnny’s Ice House 1350 W. Madison St. (312) 226-5555 www.johnnysicehouse.com

McFetridge Sports Complex 3843 N. California Ave. (312) 742-7585 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Daley Bicentennial Park 337 E. Randolph St. (312) 742-7648 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park 55 N. Michigan Ave. (312) 742-5222 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

McKinley Park 2210 W. Pershing Rd. (312) 747-5992 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Midway Plaisance Park 1130 N. Midway Plaisance (312) 745-2470 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Mt. Greenwood Park 3721 W. 111th St. (312) 747-3690 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Riis Park 6100 W. Fullerton Ave. (312) 746-5735 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Rowan Park 11546 S. Avenue L (312) 747-8880 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Warren Park 6601 N. Western Ave. (312) 742-6600 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

West Lawn Park 4233 W. 65th St. (312) 747-8500 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

NORTH

Barrington Ice Arena 28205 W. Commercial Ave., Lake Barrington (847) 381-4777

Centennial Ice Arena 3100 Trailway Dr., Highland Park (847) 432-4790 www.pdhp.org

Glenview Ice Center 1851 Landwehr Rd., Glenview (847) 724-2800 www.glenviewparkdist.org

Gurnee Mills–Rinkside Sports and Family Entertainment Center 6152 W. Grand Ave, Gurnee (847) 856-1064 www.polariceent.com

Iceland Ice Rink 8435 Ballard Rd., Niles (847) 297-8011 www.niles-parks.org

Lake Forest Academy McKenzie Ice Arena 1500 W. Kennedy Rd., Lake Forest (847) 615-3261

Northbrook Sports Center 1730 Pfingsten Rd., Northbrook (847) 291-2993 www.nbparks.org

Robert Crown Center 1701 Main St., Evanston (847) 328-9400

Skokie Skatium 9300 Weber Park Pl., Skokie (847) 674-1510

Centennial Ice Rinks 2300 Old Glenview Rd., Wilmette (847) 256-9666 www.wilmetteparks.org

Winnetka Ice Arena 490 Hibbard Rd., Winnetka (847) 501-2060 www.winpark.org

Zion Park District Ice Arena 2400 Dowie Memorial Dr., Zion (847) 746-5503 ex. 460 www.ourzion.com

NORTHWEST

Crystal Ice House 320 E. Prairie, Crystal Lake (815) 356-8500 www.crystalicehouse.com

Edge Ice Arena 735 E. Jefferson St., Bensenville (630) 766-8888

Edge Ice Arena South 545 John St., Bensenville (630) 766-8888

Franklin Park Ice Arena 9711 Waveland Ave., Franklin Park (847) 671-4268

Glacier Ice Arena 670 N. Lakeview Pkwy., Vernon Hills (847) 362-1222 www.glacierskate.com

Oakton Ice Arena 2800 W. Oakton St., Park Ridge (847) 692-3359 www.parkridgeparkdistrict.com

Polar Dome Ice Arena Routes 25& 72, Dundee (847) 426-6753 www.santasvillageil.com

Nelson Sports Complex 3900 Owl Dr., Rolling Meadows (847) 818-3210 www.rmparks.org

West Meadows Ice Arena 3939 Winnetka Ave., Rolling Meadows (847) 398-2700 www.rmparks.org

WEST

Addison Ice Arena 475 S. Grace St., Addison (630) 543-9200 www.addisonice.com

All Seasons Ice Rinks 31 W. 330 North Aurora Rd., Naperville (630) 851-0680 www.chicagofun.com/allseasons

Carol Stream Ice Rink 540 E. Gundersen Dr., Carol Stream (630) 682-4480 www.carolstreamicerink.com

Center Ice of DuPage 1 N. 450 Highland Ave., Glen Ellyn (630) 790-9696

Downers Grove Ice Arena 5501 Walnut, Downers Grove (630) 971-3780 www.downersgroveicearena.com

Elmhurst YMCA Ice Rink 211 W. First St., Elmhurst (630) 834-9204

Fox Valley Ice Arena 1996 S. Kirk Rd., Geneva (630) 262-0690 www.foxvalleyicearena.com

Oak Park (Ridgeland Common) 415 W. Lake St., Oak Park (708) 848-9661 www.oakparkparks.com

Seven Bridges Ice Arena 6690 S. Route 53, Woodridge (630) 271-4400 www.sevenbridgesicearena.com

SOUTH

Arctic Ice Arena 10700 W. 160th St., Orland Park (708) 403-4231 www.arcticicearena.com

Bridgeview Park District Ice Arena 9645 S. 76th Ave., Bridgeview (708) 598-3738 www.lincolnnet.net/bvpark/

Darien Sportsplex 451 Plainfield Rd., Darien (630) 789-6666

Homewood-Flossmoor Ice Arena 777 Kedzie Ave., Homewood (708) 957-0100 www.hfparks.com

Oak Lawn Ice Arena 9320 S. Kenton, Oak Lawn (708) 857-5173 www.olparks.com

Rocket Ice Arena 180 Canterbury Ln., Bolingbrook (630) 679-1700 www.rocketice.com

Southwest Ice Arena 5505 W. 127th St., Crestwood (708) 371-1344

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