(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Weather wimps can get their skate on year-round at McFetridge Sports Center, the city’s only public indoor rink. Even when the weather outside is frightful, you can take to the ice for exercise or fun at their NHL-size ice arena with seating for 1,200 spectators. McFetridge also boasts the city’s only public indoor tennis courts, a tennis pro shop, snack shop and ice skate rental. If tennis is what you love, McFetridge has 6 tournament quality courts. The Sports Center is hopping 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and over 2,000 Chicagoans come through in an average week.

Patrons can experience competitive or recreational figure skating, hockey and tennis. They even have a party room for rent for $60 an hour. Outdoors, California Park is home to Illinois’ first wheelchair baseball field, a 50-yard pool, tennis courts and basketball courts. The park is located on California Avenue between Addison Avenue and Irving Park Road, just west of the river.

(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)


(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Public (Open) Skate:
Please note that schedule/fees are subject to change

Dates: December 24th, 2011- January 6th, 2012 – rink closed
January 7th, 2012 – June 17th, 2012

Hours: Wed & Fri: 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. (all ages)
Sat & Sun: 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. (all ages)
Wed: 9:15 – 10:30 p.m. (adults only)
Fri: 9:15 – 10:45 p.m. (teens & adults only)

No Public Skate on the below listed dates due to special events:
April 16th – 22nd, 2012 (Annual Ice Show)
June 9th & 10th, 2012 (School’s Out Competition)

The fees for Public (Open) Skate are as follows:
School Age (12 years & under): $4.00
Teens (13 – 17 years): $5.00
Adults (18 – 59 years): $5.00
Senior Citizens (60 years & up): $2.00
Skate Rental: $3.00
All fees are subject to change.

Special Events

School’s Out Competition
June 9th & 10th

This figure skating event, now entering its 23rd year, offers categories for all skill levels. The following divisions are included: Tots, Pre- Alpha, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Freestyle 1-10. Events offered include Tot Racing, Solo, Solo Compulsories, Music Interpretive, Footwork, Open Freestyle, Solo Spotlight, Couples Spotlight, Family Spotlight, Stroking, Synchronized Formation and Skating.

Scary Skate
October 31st

Hit the ice with creepy, kooky and cool characters of all ages annually on Halloween day. Come in costume and skate free. Rental skates are an additional $3.00.

(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)


McFetridge offers a number of figure skating, hockey and learn-to-skate classes for children and adults. They even offer ice dancing, sled hockey for the wheelchair bound and rat hockey. Lines form early and classes fill fast. Check out their main website for registration deadlines and schedules. Hockey Clinic registration is only available online, while figure skating registration is only in person.

We enrolled in learn-to-skate classes as soon as the kids were old enough. Their instructors teach gently, make learning to skate fun and teach little ones how to fall safely and get back up again. Kids learn to march on the ice and keep their footing. Then they learn to glide. Finally, they learn to speed up with confidence, all within the guise of fun games and competitions.

Rat Hockey is presently available at the following times:
Monday: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday: 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Friday: 1:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.


Annual Ice Show
April 16th – 22nd, 2012

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara explores adventures in urban-odd ball-off the wall-alternative-eco-punk parenting in Chicago, IL. at ChiILMama.com.