We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to the Recreation Center Fitness Club repertoire – Pilates Reformer machines! As part of our ongoing commitment to providing diverse and effective workout options, we have introduced these state-of-the-art machines to enhance your fitness journey. Dive in to find out what makes reformers the hot new trend in Fitness!

What is a Pilates Reformer?

The Pilates Reformer is a versatile exercise equipment that facilitates Pilates movements and exercises. It consists of a carriage that moves back and forth along tracks within a frame, providing resistance through a system of springs and straps. This dynamic equipment allows various exercises, catering to all fitness levels and targeting multiple muscle groups.

Health Benefits of Pilates Reformer Workouts:

1. Full-Body Strength Building:

Pilates Reformer workouts engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting balanced strength development. The resistance provided by the springs helps build lean muscle without the bulk, contributing to a toned and sculpted physique.

2. Improved Flexibility:

The Pilates Reformer allows for fluid, controlled movements that promote flexibility. Regular use can enhance joint mobility and reduce the risk of injuries by improving your range of motion.

3. Core Stability and Balance:

Core strength is at the core of Pilates, and the reformer is an excellent tool for strengthening the muscles around the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis. Enhanced core stability translates to better balance and posture in daily activities.

4. Low-Impact, Joint-Friendly:

Pilates Reformer workouts are gentle on the joints, making them suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. The low-impact nature of the exercises reduces the risk of strain or injury, making it an ideal option for rehabilitation and injury prevention.

5. Mind-Body Connection:

Pilates emphasizes mindfulness and concentration during workouts. Focusing on controlled movements, breathing, and precision fosters a solid mind-body connection, promoting mental well-being and stress relief.

6. Customizable Workouts:

Pilates Reformer workouts can be tailored to meet your specific needs and goals, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced fitness enthusiast. The adjustable resistance levels and various exercise possibilities ensure a personalized and challenging experience.

We invite you to experience the benefits of Pilates Reformer workouts at the Recreation Center Fitness Club. Our experienced instructors are ready to guide you through invigorating sessions that cater to your fitness level and goals.

Pilates Reformer training – your path to a healthier, stronger, and more balanced lifestyle begins now at the Recreation Center Fitness Club! 

Sign up for Pilates Reformer training in-person at the Recreation Center Fitness Club (1207 Park Ave W.) or online.

Get In, Get Fit, Get Happy!

Keep your kids busy and active during spring break and participate in one of our programs during the week of March 25-29!

Registration Begins February 14

Monday, March 25 – Friday, March 29 • 9am-Noon

Junior Spring Break Tennis Camp

Register for one day or all 5!

Get out of the house and hit the courts this spring break.
Drill and play with our pros and also play some games.

Ages 7-14

Monday, March 25 • 10am-noon

Skulls, Wings, and Furry Things

Do they exist? Come investigate fur, footprints, smells, and bones that have us wondering if Who eats without chewing their food? What animal has 42 teeth? What animal flies silently? Get up close and personal with our animal skulls, owl pellets, and taxidermy animals to find out these answers and more!this sci-fi creature really exists!

Ages 6-10

Participants also attending Color the Forest may bring a peanut-free sack lunch and stay at Heller between programs.

Monday, March 25 • 12:30-2:30pm

Color the Forest

Put an end to the drab colors of winter and let’s add some color to our Forest! Get tagged with colorful powder in our color run tag game. Create eye-catching and bright art to decorate the woods. Lastly, discover rainbow science with hands on mixing and bubbles.

Ages 6-10

Participants also attending Skulls, Wings, and Furry Things may bring a peanut-free sack lunch and stay at Heller between programs.

Tuesday, March 26 • 10am-noon

Dragon Eggs

We are on a Quest to find Dragons and their eggs! Once we’ve discovered their eggs and see them hatch, perform experiments with what dragons can do: fly, breathe fire, and magic!

Ages 6-10

Participants also attending Life Sized Games may bring a peanut-free sack lunch and stay at Rosewood between programs.

Tuesday, March 26 • 12:30-2:30pm

Life Sized Games

For today the games at Rosewood Beach are as large as life! Join us for classic board games blown up to a larger size, causing twice the fun!

Ages 6-10

Participants also attending Dragon Eggs may bring a peanut-free sack lunch and stay at Rosewood between programs.

Wednesday, March 27 • 10am-noon

Lost! In the Woods

Ahh! We are lost in the Woods! Use your outdoor survival skills to find your way back to the Nature Center. Make a compass, build a shelter, make a fire, and develop more survival skills needed to find your way out of the woods.

Ages 8-15

Participants also attending Photo-Journalism may bring a peanut-free sack lunch and stay at Heller between programs.

Wednesday, March 27 • 12:30-2:30pm

Photo Journalism

Tell your own story using only pictures! Attendees will learn how to plan out a photo journal that tells a story they create themselves. Then, they will get a chance to practice the basics of photography as they create the photo journal themselves. (Cameras are provided during activity.)

Ages 8-15

Participants also attending Lost! In the Woods may bring a peanut-free sack lunch and stay at Heller between programs.

Thursday, March 28 • 10am-noon

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!

How did you do that?! It’s science of course. Make ghost bubbles, write with invisible ink, defy gravity, and more! See what wonders science has to offer with experiments that make you say… Is that magic?

Ages 6-10

Participants also attending Neat Nature Art may bring a peanut-free sack lunch and stay at Rosewood between programs.

Thursday, March 28 • 12:30-2:30pm

Neat Nature Art

Art is an amazing way to stay connected to the nature around us. In this program, participants will create art from the nature around them and create pictures that show nature’s beauty. We will practice creative thinking as well as some basic skills that are important for sketching in nature.

Ages 6-10

Participants also attending It’s Not Magic, It’s Science! may bring a peanut-free sack lunch and stay at Rosewood between programs.

Friday, March 29 • 12:30-2:30pm

Crate Climbing Challenge

While harnessed in and on a belay system, stack and climb up milk crates as high as 25 feet! The more crates you stack the higher you go. Are you up for the challenge?

Ages 8-15

The Park District of Highland Park was awarded $528,500 through the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant program administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to improve Lincoln Park. The OSLAD grant is a state-funded program providing up to 50% of the project costs for public park and recreation projects.

The Park District heard the neighborhood’s concerns about losing the recreational amenities provided by the Lincoln School property. With the grant funding, the Park District can implement the community-requested addition of a 5-12 playground and replace and enhance Lincoln Park’s existing amenities. 

The scope of the project adjusts the park layout and includes: 

The community will be able to participate in the design process beginning this summer (2024). Construction is expected to start in the summer of 2025. 

Join the Parks Foundation of Highland Park for its sixth annual “Champions Gala and Charity Auction” featuring guest speaker Lance Briggs, 12-Year Chicago Bears Linebacker & Seven-Time Pro Bowl Selection. Enjoy a glamorous evening of signature cocktails from our open bar, phenomenal hors d’oeuvres, and a live and online auction!

Champions Gala & Charity Auction
Sat, Apr 13, 2024 • 6:30pm
Sunset Ridge Country Club • 2100 Sunset Ridge Rd, Northfield

New Ticket Packages Just Released!!

  • General Admission: $150/ticket
  • 4-Ticket Bundle: $450 (Four tickets for the price of three – $600 value)
  • The Ultimate Lance Briggs VIP Experience: $1,200 (Ten tickets for the price of eight, including access to the VIP Party beginning at 6pm. The VIP Party includes time to mingle with Lance Briggs and the opportunity to get your items signed by the Chicago Bears Legend. VIP signature drinks and appetizers are included. – $2,500 value)

Every year, hundreds of Highland Park and Highwood kids participate in Park District programs to become champions at making friends, building skills, and appreciating the joy of recreation. The Champions Gala celebrates the dedicated coaches and teachers who deliver these great experiences for our community’s youth with a memorable evening and raises funds for the Parks Foundation of Highland Park.

An Important Message From:

Lance Briggs had a wildly successful 12-year NFL career, spent entirely with the Chicago Bears. Briggs was a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. Eight times he recorded over 100 tackles in a season. Briggs was also a vital cog in the Bears team that reached Super Bowl XLI and he finished with a game-high 13 total tackles. Chicago originally selected him in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Arizona. He was a three-time All-Pac 10 First Team performer for the Wildcats.

In retirement, Briggs has served as an analyst for NBC Chicago. He is also an avid, lifelong comic book fan and co-created his own graphic novel, The Trap. Briggs is known for his philanthropic contributions, particularly through his foundation, Briggs4Kidz, and his commitment to mentoring youth through non-contact football camps across Illinois, Arizona, and Northern California. His impact both on and off the field solidifies his legacy as a revered figure in Chicago sports history.

Online Auction Begins April 1

Participate in the Champions Gala online auction including extravagant trips, luxury dining experiences, tickets to sporting events, one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia, private wine parties, golf packages and more.

parks foundation logo

All proceeds benefit the Parks Foundation of Highland Park, a 501c3 non-profit providing scholarships to ensure that all Highwood and Highland Park families can participate in Park District programs, and supporting and enhancing exceptional Park District projects.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Gifting Sponsor

Auction Paddle Sponsor
Supporting Sponsors

We sat down this week to chat with Emily, Riley, and Campbell, skating instructors at Centennial Ice Arena who have skated there since early childhood. Their enthusiasm – for skating, teaching, and the Centennial community at large – is palpable. The three teens’ passion goes beyond the sport itself; their love for skating is inseparable from the deep camaraderie they have found at Centennial. For them and many others, Centennial is more than just an ice rink – it’s a home away from home.

Pictured: Riley, Campbell & Emily at Centennial Ice Arena

How have your experiences as a student at Centennial Ice Arena shaped your approach as an instructor?

Riley: “Coaches have helped form my teaching methods. They help walk you through things and they’re very communicative.”

Campbell: “Since we’re all skaters, when we’re teaching, we know how the kids feel.”

What’s the most rewarding aspect of teaching ice skating at the same arena where you learned?

Riley: “Seeing kids grow – not only kids you teach but other kids around the rink. It’s really rewarding to see not only yourself grow but also your community grow.”

Campbell: “It’s nice to see the whole community come together.”

Can you share a memorable moment from your skating journey at Centennial Ice Arena?

Emily: “The coaches at this rink have encouraged us to be friends with each other, and without them we wouldn’t have these bonds for life.”

Riley: “I was able to create new friendships because of skating. I fell in love with the sport when I could see my own progress – and I wanted it not only for myself but also to help others.”

Emily: “When I found my own support group at the rink, it pushed me because I had people who wanted me to succeed. It helped a lot.”

Campbell: “This is my safe space – to those Gilmore Girls fans, it’s like Stars Hollow. It’s such a nice community.”

Riley: “Every day is like a warm fuzzy moment here. Everyone is so sweet. Everyone is here to cheer us on.”

Emily: “The world of figure skating can be very cutthroat, but I feel like here it’s very welcoming and everyone wants you to succeed.”

Riley: “If I have a good day here, I have a good day for the rest of the week.”

What advice do you often give to aspiring skaters based on your own experiences at Centennial Ice Arena?

Riley: “Do it because you love it.”

Emily: “Figure skating is like life in general. You fall, you get up, there are peaks and valleys. It’s not always going to be rainbows and sunshine – it matters how much work you put in.”

Campbell: “Putting in the effort for the long run. Practice makes perfect.”

What motivates you the most about being part of the skating community at this arena, both as an instructor and a former student?

Riley: “What motivates me most is the progress I’ve seen within myself. My coaches are super understanding, and my coach pushes me to better in a nurturing way. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without my friends by my side. When I have a really bad day, they’re here to make me feel better. Putting in effort whether it’s a good or bad day makes those days great.”

Emily: “Friends and coaches. If I’m skating on my own, one of my coaches might skate past me and say good job or give me a helpful reminder, and that keeps me motivated.”

Campbell: “The community keeps me motivated.”

Riley: “Maybe I’ll have a really bad day at school, but I’ll come here, and my friends will make me laugh and it will make me feel better about things. It’s a safe space.”

Finally, what message would you like to share with the community about the value of ice skating and Centennial Ice Arena in particular?

Riley: “Centennial has a great community. Everyone knows each other – I’m friends with everyone from the little kids who just started skating to the people who have been here for years. Everyone knows each other and people say hi. That healthy supportive community keeps people wanting to skate.”

Emily: “I don’t feel the same at other rinks as I do here. If I’m skating at another rink, I’ll think ‘I’d rather be at Centennial.’”

Riley: “It’s way warmer here than all the other rinks – (Emily) “literally and figuratively. Warmer and fuzzier in every sense.”

We’re thrilled to welcome Deb Jenssen to the Centennial Ice Arena family as our dynamic Skating Coordinator! With a lifelong love for figure skating, Deb brings a wealth of experience and a contagious passion for the ice. Dive into her journey – from the early days of preschool skating in Rolling Meadows to winning National Championships with the first Starlight team. Deb’s commitment to teaching shines through as she shares a glimpse into her story and aspirations!

What is your background and what inspired you to become a skating coordinator at Centennial Ice Arena?

I grew up skating in Rolling Meadows during preschool. As I grew older, my coach asked me if I wanted to try out for Barrington’s Precision Team, now called Synchro. I skated on the first Starlight team in the area, winning many National Championships. During that time, I also skated Freestyle and Figures.  I enjoy teaching others and love seeing skaters take pride in their skating achievements.

Can you share a bit about your own journey in figure skating and how it led you to teaching?

I have always been passionate about skating. I have three cousins who skated and two who are now coaches in the area. I always enjoyed (and still do) watching skating shows and competitions. I began volunteering for Northwest Special Recreation Association’s Learn to Skate Program during college. After becoming a staff member, I helped develop their competitive skating program. Working with skaters with disabilities has taught me to be a better coach. 

What’s your favorite thing about teaching figure skating to aspiring skaters?

I really enjoy seeing the growth within skaters! Growth can be so tiny or so big! 

Have you set any goals or visions for the skaters you’ll be working with at Centennial Ice Arena?

I would love to grow the skating programs in Highland Park. Whether you are just learning or an expert skater! Skating is really for all!

Finally, what message would you like to share with the community about the joys and benefits of figure skating?

Skating is a whole-body sport! Studies have shown that doing sports like skating can help connect the two sides of the brain work together. What is great about skating is it can be an all-ages sport. You can begin at three and skate till you are 100! Skating also has so many different aspects to it: Basic, Freestyle, Ice Dancing, Pairs, and Synchronized Skating.

At the December 2023 meeting, the Park Board of Commissioners approved a renovation project to modernize the existing baseball field at Larry Fink Memorial Park. The newly renovated field will serve as a regional destination with improved amenities for the players and spectators and reduced maintenance requirements. 

The new turf will more than triple the number of usable hours of the field each year and reduce the cost of maintenance by more than 50% every year over its projected 10-year lifespan. Hundreds of hours of play are lost each year due to flooding of the current grass field. This project is part of a larger Park District Athletic Fields Master Plan, which includes long-term plans to renovate the athletic fields and Danny Cunniff Park and Sunset Woods Park. 

The project costs $1.02 million and will be funded with $500,000 from the Park District’s Capital Fund and the remainder from community donations. The groundbreaking is expected in Spring 2024, with completion in Summer 2024.

The Board also approved naming the new ballpark Jeff Fox Field, after longtime Highland Park resident Jeff Fox. It’s a wonderful story of how much the park, especially baseball, meant to Jeff and his family. See article here.

The ball field renovation is being funded with $500,000 from the Park District’s Capital Fund, with the balance paid through donations. To help fund the project, a group of dedicated community members formed a fundraising committee called the Giants Athletic Boosters, an affiliate of the Parks Foundation of Highland Park. To date, the Boosters have raised $453,000. The boosters only need to raise $49,000 to reach their goal.

When he heard that the ballfield at Larry Fink Memorial Park was being considered for a complete make-over, Corey Fox knew this was the perfect project to be involved with. He, his twin brother Ryan, and their older sister Lisa grew up across the street from the park. It wasn’t just a park to them. It was the park. When they were young kids, it was their park.

The Fox family, neighbors, and friends spent many days and nights at Fink Park playing on the swing sets, fishing, and playing baseball. Forty years ago, they played soccer, T-ball, and basketball and were part of the park district leagues. They went to classes and activities at West Ridge Center. They were what we happily call ‘Park District kids.’ Like many Highland Park families, Corey, Ryan, and Lisa went to Highland Park schools–Edgewood and HPHS–left for college and returned to their hometown. And now their kids have played all those sports and enjoyed our classes and camps. The circle is unbroken. It holds Lisa’s son Simon and daughter Harper, and Corey’s son Noah and daughters Emma and Mila. “They live at the parks —the parks are a huge part of their lives,” said Lisa. The same has been true for three generations in the Fox family. We love hearing that. It’s why we do what we do.  

For Lisa, Ryan, and Corey, Fink Park is a place that brings back great memories of family, friendship, community, and, of course, of their father, Jeff. So it’s fitting that when the opportunity arose to help with the renovation of the ballfield in that special park, the Fox family rose to the occasion—and fitting as well that the Park Board has approved “Jeff Fox Field” as the name of the new ballpark.

Jeff Fox passed away in 2021. When he was quite ill and in the last few months of his life, he would still go to the ballfield so he wouldn’t miss a baseball game that Noah was playing in. “Nothing would bring Dad more joy than watching Noah pitch in a game at Fink Park,” the family told us. Everything had come full circle.

Jeff Fox with grandson, Noah

Corey, Ryan, and Lisa are all very clear about the project’s meaning to the family. It’s not simply about it being named Jeff Fox Field. In fact, according to Ryan, “Dad might not have agreed to have a field named after him, but he loved what this particular field meant to him. Togetherness, family, having fun, making friends, and community.” “And baseball was dad’s passion and such a big part of who he was.” For the family, it’s all about being able to help create something that everyone can enjoy as much as they did.

Lisa spoke for her brothers, saying, “He gave us all an amazing childhood. This was our park, and we wanted it to be a special place for the next generation of families. We wanted dad’s legacy to be symbolized by what was most important to him, which was bringing people together and building relationships. This project was a really unique way to make that happen.”

All of us at your Park District thank the Fox family and their supporters for their commitment, and we’re grateful to everyone supporting this important ballfield renovation. You are a big part of what makes this a great community.

See you around the parks!

All programs will run as scheduled and all facilities will be open.

Friday, January 12 at 4pm

Programs will run as scheduled this evening and facilities will remain open as scheduled.

Friday, January 12 at 1pm

The following adjustments have been made to our late afternoon and early evening (3:30pm – 6pm) programming:

At 4pm, the Park District will reevaluate other later evening programs and activities based on weather conditions. Updates will be sent out via email and posted on our website and social media.

Friday, January 12 at 11am

The following adjustments have been made to our programming:

At 3:30pm, the Park District will reevaluate the evening programs and activities based on weather conditions. Updates will be sent out via email and will be posted on our website and social media.

Stay safe.

Thursday, January 11 at 6pm

Due to predicted severe weather conditions and for the safety of our residents and employees, on Friday, January 12, the following adjustments have been made to our programming:

At 10am, the Park District will reevaluate the day’s afternoon and evening schedules based on weather conditions. Updates will be sent out via email and will be posted on our website and social media.

Stay safe.

Click here for a complete description of our Emergency Closing Policy.

For information on road conditions and road closures, please visit https://www.lakecountypassage.com/index.jsp.

Designed to assist migrants, who recently have been arriving via buses from Texas to Highland Park, while they await transfer to the Chicago Processing Center, the “Take Care” Packages will be a tangible expression of our community’s care for others.

Items Needed

Non-Perishable Food/Drink: Bottled water, granola bars, dried fruits and nuts, and packaged healthy snacks

Hygiene Products: Toothbrushes/toothpaste, soap/shampoo (travel size), feminine hygiene products, diapers and baby wipes, and hand sanitizer and wet wipes

Clothing: Hats, gloves, socks, and underwear

First Aid Kit: Bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and face masks

General: Reusable water bottles and flashlights with extra batteries

Communications: Basic travel translation guides or dictionaries, and prepaid phone cards

Comfort Items: Children’s books, magazines, or puzzle books (Spanish language), and stuffed animals

Gift cards for grocery stores or pharmacies (please do not drop-off at Park District sites)

Drop-Off Locations