Childhood is a time of growth, exploration, and developing various skills. Engaging in physical activities from a young age can profoundly impact a child’s overall well-being. Ice skating and gymnastics offer many physical, mental, and social benefits. Your child can experience the joy and benefits of both activities at the newly renovated Centennial Ice Arena! Our highly qualified staff ensure your kiddos evolve through our progressive programming.  

Centennial Ice Arena can help your young skater or tumbling star build strength and flexibility and nurture a sense of self-discipline and self-confidence.  Here are some of the wonderful benefits of ice skating and gymnastics.

The Benefits of Ice Skating

1. Physical Fitness: Ice skating is an excellent way to get kids moving and stay physically active. It engages multiple muscle groups, especially in the legs and core, improving balance and coordination.

2. Cardiovascular Health: Skating promotes a healthy heart by boosting cardiovascular endurance. The aerobic aspect of ice skating helps improve lung capacity and overall fitness.

3. Balance and Coordination: Ice skating requires children to develop a strong sense of balance and coordination, which can transfer to improved agility in other sports and daily activities.

4. Mental Focus: Skaters must concentrate and focus to glide gracefully on ice. This cultivates mental discipline and sharpens their ability to pay attention to detail.

5. Social Interaction: Ice skating often takes place in group settings, providing kids with an opportunity to make friends, learn teamwork, and enhance their social skills.

6. Confidence Building: As children learn to skate, they build self-confidence, setting and achieving small goals, and overcoming challenges, all of which contribute to a positive self-image.

7. Stress Relief: Like all physical activities, ice skating is an excellent way for children to blow off steam, reduce stress, and relax.

The Benefits of Gymnastics

1. Strength and Flexibility: Gymnastics builds strong muscles and promotes flexibility. Children develop power and endurance through routines and exercises.

2. Body Awareness: Gymnasts learn to understand their bodies better, which can help reduce the risk of injury and improve posture and body mechanics.

3. Discipline and Focus: The structured nature of gymnastics teaches children discipline and focus as they work diligently to master new skills and routines.

4. Balance and Coordination: Similar to ice skating, gymnastics hones balance and coordination, improving a child’s overall athleticism.

5. Goal Setting: Gymnastics is goal oriented. Children set goals for themselves, learning the value of hard work and perseverance.

6. Creativity and Expression: In artistic gymnastics, children can express themselves creatively through their routines, fostering artistic and imaginative abilities.

7. Self-Confidence: As children gain competence and master challenging moves, their self-confidence soars, and they learn to trust in their abilities.

So, what are you waiting for? Develop your young one’s physical fitness, mental acuity, discipline, and social skills. Whether your child is eager to learn a new skill and have fun or progress to be a true competitor, Centennial Ice Arena provides it all.

With the cold weather comes snow and winter fun! Take a look at everything you need to know about our outdoor winter activities.

Outdoor Ice Skating

Sunset Woods Park: 1801 Sunset Road
Hours:  9am-9pm daily (rink is lit by existing park lights)

When weather conditions allow (an average temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder for 5 consecutive days, 5-6 inches of ground frost), Park District staff will begin flooding the ice rink at Sunset Woods Park. It takes four 24-hour days to spray and freeze the water to create a base and finish ice.

Throughout the season, the rink may be closed for snow removal or unsafe ice conditions.

Skating is free and the rink is sectioned off to allow for separate hockey and recreational skating. Groups should be considerate of one another. For the safety of our patrons, helmets are required in the hockey rink.  

There is no supervision or skate rental at the outdoor rink. Anyone using the ice rink should be aware that the risk of injury is present. The Park District encourages everyone to participate in this activity in a safe manner and suggests that children be supervised by a responsible adult.

Outdoor Sled Hill

Danny Cunniff Park: 2700 Trail Way Street (located toward the back of the park, just south of Centennial Ice Arena)
Hours: No set hours

The sled hill is free and open to the public. Please be aware that there is no supervision or warming facility at the sled hill. The Park District of Highland Park encourages everyone to participate in this activity in a safe manner and to follow these safety guidelines:

Throughout the season, the sled hill may be closed from time to time.

Cross-Country Skiing

Heller Nature Center: 2821 Ridge Road 
Hours : 7:30am – Dusk 

Hit the snow on three miles of ungroomed trails at Heller Nature Center. Skis are available for rental whenever snow conditions permit (4″ base or greater). Call 847.433.6901 to check snow conditions.

$12/person: Reservations must be made online, no walk-ins.

If you have your own skis, please feel free to use our trails at your leisure from 7:30am to dusk.

Rental Time Slots:

Monday-Sunday: 9-10am, 10:10-11:10am, 11:20am-12:20pm, 1-2pm, 2:10-3:10pm, 3:20-4:20pm

Winter Dog Park

Highland Park Golf Learning Center: 2205 Skokie Valley Highway
Hours : Dawn – Dusk 

Open mid-December through mid-March (dates are weather dependent).   A large outdoor venue for your dog to run off some of that cabin fever energy. There are two off-leash exercise areas available, depending on the size of your dog. 

For more information on our dog parks and to apply for a dog park membership, click the button below.

This week we celebrated the grand re-opening of the Park Avenue Boating Facility Breakwater and Boat Ramp. The event took place on Wednesday, July 19. Over 120 guests gathered for event; among those in attendance were Illinois State Representative of the 58th District, Bob Morgan; City Council members, members of the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners, Parks Foundation of Highland Park Board members, Park Avenue Breakwater & Boat Ramp Fundraising Committee Members, and members of the Park Avenue Working Group.

The rejuvenated Boating Facility continues its legacy as a place where residents can come to restore their minds, bodies, and spirits through boating, fishing, social activities, walking, or simply sitting to enjoy the stunning views of Lake Michigan for generations to come. If you haven’t visited the new breakwater – you are in for a treat!

About the Project

In April 2022, the Park Board approved the construction of the Park Avenue Breakwater Project.  Funding included $2,000,000 from the Park District’s capital fund, $200,000 from a Boat Access Area Development Grant through IDNR, and $455,000 from the Park Avenue Fundraising Committee of the Parks Foundation of Highland Park, made possible from community donations. Construction began in Fall of 2022.