So I’m the first to admit, I loathe winter. The cold and snow, while pretty, is well…cold. Ick. Give me sunshine and shorts any day.
That being said, I don’t really know what to do during the winter. We spend a TON of time cooped up in our house. While out driving one day I happened to notice an outdoor ice rink. I thought that sort of stuff was only to be found in places like Chicago or New York.
I’ve lived in the Rockford area my whole life and I had no idea we had such things as outdoor rinks! I may be in the minority, but I figure if I didn’t know about it there had to be others out there that also didn’t know. So I asked around, drove all over and compiled a list of outdoor rinks all over the Rockford area and beyond.
You must have your own pair of ice skates to enjoy the outdoor rinks, unless otherwise noted, but they would be a worthy investment that could be used year round at our indoor rinks. And just think of the memories you’ll be creating with the kids!
So without further ado, here’s our list of outdoor ice skating rinks:
1. Eclipse Lagoon @ Sinnissippi Gardens, Rockford
Did you know that the lagoon at Sinnissippi Gardens turns into an ice rink in the winter?!? I certainly didn’t! You can only skate when the ice is 4+ inches thick, and the best way to find out if it’s open is to check that Nicholas Conservatory Facebook daily or check the rainout line. When weather permits and conditions are safe, the community is welcome to enjoy open ice skating or open hockey at Eclipse Lagoon daily from 9 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
2. Riverside Ice Arena @ Doty Park, Belvidere
Riverside Ice arena can be found in Belvidere at Doty Park. They have 1 NHL regulation rink and warming house where you can rent skates and enjoy some concessions. Check the website for dates and times as some days public rental is limited due to team practices and tournaments. Also be sure to check the rainout line as well to ensure the rink is open.
3. Ice Rink @ Village Green Park, Rockton
A hidden gem, the Ice Rink at Village Green Park in Rockton is a favorite past time for many. Located in the park just next to the Walt Williamson Pool. Put on your layers and enjoy skating any day, weather permitting, and be sure to come out for the 2017 Rockton Yeti Fest!
Which local ice rink do you plan to visit this winter?
If we missed any of your favorite outdoor rinks please let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list!