Ice Rink Replacement Project

The concrete slab has been poured. The contractor will now conduct work on the mechanical system while the concrete cures.

About the Project

During regular annual maintenance in June, staff uncovered an unknown issue on the Centennial rink floor. The Park District acted swiftly to conduct an exhaustive investigation of the facility and ice flooring system with an engineering firm. The findings confirmed that the building is structurally sound. However, the rink floor had been compromised and requires complete replacement.  

Dec 26-30 @ 9am-12pm

Creative Dramatics Camp

Ages 4-7

Introduce your child to the magical world of theatre with the perfect blend of acting, singing, dancing and fun! An instructor will build upon the unique personalities each child brings, while also providing campers with pertinent tools that will help them advance to the next level of their theatrical journey. At the end of the week, campers will be able to share their progress with loved ones through an energetic and age appropriate showcase! Campers will also be able to flex their technical skills by constructing props, costume and set pieces! This camp offers everything and more!

Dec 26-30 @ 9am-12pm

Intro to Theatre Camp

Ages 8-12

Your artistic journey awaits! There’s lots in store with this jam-packed introductory theatre camp! This camp will allow aspiring young actors to gain confidence and ace their next audition. Campers will also learn acting and directing techniques from industry professionals. Hone in on special skills and end the week with a new theatrical resume, audition package and professional headshot! Campers will have a mini showcase at the end of the week for friends and family. What else are you waiting for? Register today!

Dec 27-30 @ 9am-3pm
Jan 3-6 @ 9am-3pm

Winter Break Camp

Grades 3-5

Spend winter break with some of your favorite summer camp staff. Campers will participate in some of their favorite camp activities like gymnastics, ice skating, swimming, open gym, camp games, arts & crafts, and weather permitting – outside snow play! Participants must bring their own lunch each day.

Dec 27-30 @ 9am-12pm
Jan 3-6 @ 9am-12pm

Junior Tennis Winter Camp

Ages 5-14

Get out of the house and hit the courts this winter break. Drill and play with our pros and also play some games. New activities for smaller kids and board games. Pack lunch with your child.

Dec 26-30 @ 1-3pm

Improv for Teens Camp

Ages 13-17

YES, AND! This camp will allow aspiring young comedians to think quick on their feet and dive deep into what it takes to be an improvisational actor! Through movement exercises, fun and energetic games, and exploring action and reaction, campers will build confidence and enhance their social skills. Looking for a fun way to laugh and connect with your peers? Look no further! This camp takes an active approach in introducing teens to dreaming big and acting loud-with no limits!

Jan 2-6 @ 9am-12pm

Heroes & Villains Training Camp

Ages 6-10

Get ready for an epic battle between good and evil! Discover what qualities makes a hero and a villain! Determine what fights are worth fighting, as well as the power of friendship and collaboration. With activities, crafts, and games based on everyone’s favorite superheroes, princesses, and villains, this camp is sure to capture the imagination and inspire animation and adventure. Campers will get to choose their favorite heroes and villains—embracing the persona, characteristics, and stylings that make them so fantastically awesome! Register today and explore this WORLD of camp that has never been seen!

Jan 3-5 @ 9am-12pm

Dance Around the World

Ages 7-11

Travel around the world through dance! This brand new mini workshop will offer students the opportunity to experience different dance cultures and expand their knowledge on many styles of dance. Students will tell stories through movement and get a well-rounded understanding of dance fundamentals. This workshop will give dancers the freedom to be explorative of themselves, while having fun and creating lifelong memories!

Sheet pile installation continues and is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

About the Project

High lake levels accompanied by intense storms over the past few years caused damage to the breakwater wall/barge and concrete ramp at Park Avenue Boating Beach. These extreme weather conditions have affected communities all along the Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline.  

At the April 27 meeting, the Park Board approved construction of Phase 1 of the Park Avenue Breakwater Project in the amount of $2,221,890. The base scope of this project includes removal of the existing barge breakwater and boat ramp, stockpiling and salvaging existing breakwater fill and armor stone, construction of a new steel sheet pile breakwater with a concrete crown wall and construction of a new concrete boat launch.   Funding for the project includes $2,000,000 from the Park District’s capital fund and $400,000 from the Parks Foundation of Highland Park, made possible from community donations

Helical piles that will support the new boardwalk are currently being installed. Boardwalk sections have been delivered and will begin being installed next week. The project is expected to be completed by mid-December.

About the Project

In summer 2019, Park District began working with engineering firms, contractors, and the US Army Corps of Engineers to investigate numerous repair approaches and reopen the path and Dog Beach. In early 2020, an engineering firm was hired to develop preliminary site improvement plans. Those plans were presented to the Park Board in August 2020. After careful consideration, the Park Board elected to defer the final design phase to a future year. Repair of the beach access path is a goal in the Lakefront Master Plan Update. The project’s final design was included in the 2021 Capital Plan, and construction began as scheduled in 2022. 

The Park District is partnering with Fill a Heart 4 Kids to help local homeless and at-risk youth stay nourished through the Thanksgiving school break. Food donations will be accepted Tuesday, Nov 1- Sunday, Nov 13 at the following locations :

Recreation Center of Highland Park
1207 Park Avenue W.

Lincoln School
711 Lincoln Ave W.

Deer Creek Racquet Club
701 Deer Creek Pkwy.

Highland Park City Hall
1707 St. Johns Ave.

West Ridge Center
636 Ridge Rd.

Public Works/Services Facility
1150 Half Day Rd.

Highland Park Senior Center
1201 Park Avenue W. 

Items Needed:

  • Nutri-Grain Breakfast Bars (no nuts)
  • Full-size Box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Rice Chex Cereal
  • Single Serve Microwave Oatmeal Packets
  • Tuna Packets
  • Chicken Salad Packets
  • Hormel Microwave Shelf Stable Meals
  • Rice-A-Roni 
  • Full-size Kraft Mac & Cheese Boxes
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Plastic Jar of Pasta Sauce
  • Box of Pasta Noodles

Volunteer at our sorting and packing party!

Mon Nov 14 • 1-6:30pm
West Ridge Center • 636 Ridge Rd.
Multiple time slots available

The Parks Foundation of Highland Park has received a grant from the Highland Park Community Foundation. These funds will support the Park Foundation’s “Foundation For Youth” (FYI) Scholarship Program. FYI offers Highwood residents of lesser financial means the opportunity to participate in recreational programs, including swimming lessons and summer camps.

Though the Highwood families attend the same schools as Highland Park residents, Highwood is not within the tax-body bounds of the Park District of Highland Park, and residents cannot take advantage of the Park District’s resident scholarship program.  Highwood also does not have a park district, and the City of Highwood offers limited recreational programs for residents. 

The Park’s Foundation FYI Scholarship Program was introduced in 2019 and currently funds approximately 100 learn-to-swim lessons for low-income Highwood children. FYI summer camp scholarships were also made available to Highwood residents with financial constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic. For families facing increased financial hardship due to the pandemic, recreational activities are often the first expenses cut out of a household budget. At the same time, outlets for exercise and enrichment are more critical than ever in promoting physical, social, and emotional health. Further, the need for greater equity and inclusiveness motivates a primary organizational goal of the Parks Foundation to boost funding so that more Highwood residents may enjoy access to Park District programs. The FYI Scholarship program reaches low-income preschool and school-aged children, predominantly Latino Highwood residents.

“The Parks Foundation is grateful for the Highland Park Community Foundation’s generous support for our FYI Scholarship program. Highwood is an important part of our community – our children go to school together,” says Rafael Labrador, the Parks Foundation Board of Directors president. “FYI helps level the playing field for Highwood families.”

About the Parks Foundation of Highland Park: The Parks Foundation of Highland Park is an independent, community-led, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2016 to support access to the world-class Park District programs and facilities that enhance community life in Highland Park. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and donations that help keep taxes and program fees in check and bridge the gap between public resources and the funding needed to maintain our vibrant park system. We are committed to providing the resources for everyone in our community to participate in a wide variety of Park District offerings. Scholarship funds raised by the Foundation have allowed Highland Park/Highwood residents of all ages to enjoy athletic and recreational programs and summer camps. In cooperation with government entities, private enterprises, nonprofit partner organizations, and local families, we enrich current and future generations by supporting the open space and recreational programs that bring our community together. For more information and to donate, visit

About Highland Park Community Foundation: The Highland Park Community Foundation was established in 1992 at the request of the City of Highland Park to build and maintain a permanent endowment fund. As the philanthropic heart of the community, the HPCF improves and enriches people’s lives with annual grants to nonprofits that provide educational, human service, and cultural programs for Highland Park and Highwood residents. The Foundation’s avowed purposes are to expand opportunities and address the unmet needs of the community – needs that are not met by governmental or other sources.

The Highland Park Community Foundation annually awards grants though a competitive application and review process. For more information, visit

parks foundation logo

Restoration to the lake bluff at Millard Park has begun with the re-routing of park pathways by Parks crews. New connections will allow visitors to walk in the popular upper park at most times during this project. The first construction phase is anticipated to start in November and continue through the winter and early spring of 2023.

To create a healthier and more stable environment, there will be significant removal of trees not historically found on our lake bluffs. These can contribute to the erosion of the bluff face as they prevent soil-stabilizing plants from growing and tear up soil when they fall during storms.

Restoration will also include grading at the top of the bluff to eliminate current steep drop-offs to establish a more stable 2:1 slope. Grading will not occur in areas where historic trees are protected.

Some temporary paths will become permanent as an adaptive strategy to move walkways away from the bluff’s edge. Some paths close to the edge will now be closed and planted with appropriate native plants to provide a natural buffer to protect these vulnerable areas.

Learn more about the project.

For more information, contact Rebecca Grill, Natural Areas Manager, at

The National Parks & Recreation Association (NRPA) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation have awarded the Park District of Highland Park a $600 pack of supplies to help the Park District establish additional pollinator habitats at The Preserve of Highland Park. The award is part of NRPA & Scotts “Parks for Pollinators” national campaign to raise public awareness of the pollinator crisis and encourage local action through public parks and recreation.

As participants in the campaign, Park District staff and volunteers successfully documented a variety of pollinators throughout September at The Preserve. They demonstrated the significance of the newly created habitat at The Preserve and all of the pollinators it supports.

Findings included:

“This information will help us understand how we can better protect pollinators and other important wildlife in our community,” said Elizabeth Ricketts, Natural Areas Program Volunteer Coordinator. Learn more about The Preserve of Highland Park.

Día De Los Muertos

3,000 years of celebrating life!

Join Us for our First Día de los Muertos Celebration!

Sat., Nov 5 • 1–4pm
West Ridge Center • 636 Ridge Road
(Event was originally located at The Preserve of Highland Park but will be held at West Ridge Center due to weather)

FREE Event! Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Future, and Bridging Our Communities!

And help start a Highland Park – Highwood tradition!

Lots of delicious food from a variety of vendors will be available to purchase. We will have a community ofrenda/altar; if you wish to have a picture on our altar, please bring a photo with you or contact Jessica Reyes at We look forward to celebrating with all of you!

A History of this Unique 3,000-year-old Celebration of Life

The roots of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, go back more than 3,000 years in Europe, Spain, and to the Aztecs who lived in rural, indigenous areas of what is now central Mexico. In Europe, celebrations of the harvest took place in the fall, and the rituals were adopted as part of two Roman Catholic holidays—All Saints Day and All Souls Day—celebrated on the first two days of November. The cycle of life and death are entwined with the annual cycle of crops that grow from the ground where the remnants of the last harvest have been turned under and nurture the soil.
On Día de los Muertos, the border separating the real world from the spirit world dissolves, and the souls of the dead awaken, returning to eat and drink, dance, and play music with their family and friends. The living honor the deceased as guests in the celebrations. They prepare their favorite foods and leave them as offerings on the ofrendas (alters) built in their homes, as well as at gravesites. Ofrendas are decorated with candles to light the path back to the living. Brightly colored marigolds—called cempasuchil—are spread on the alter to guide the souls with their enticing fragrance. You should wish someone a happy day by saying, “Feliz día de los Muertos.”

Seven Things You Should Know About Día de los Muertos

1. El Día de los Muertos is not, as is commonly thought, a Mexican version of Halloween although the holidays do share traditions, including wearing costumes and marching in parades.

2. Calaveras, or skulls, are a unique symbol of Día de los Muertos. Elaborately decorated ceramic and papier-mâché skulls are worn throughout the festivities. Sugar skulls that are decorated with colored icing, (and often feathers and foil) are placed on offrendas. Simple sugar skulls, with just icing, are eaten and enjoyed by children of all ages. The famous La Calavera Cantina (the Elegant Skull) was created as a political statement by Mexican printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada in 1910. Her fancy dress and hat, along with her white makeup, have been an integral part of the holiday ever since.

Día de los Muertos offrenda

3. The ofrenda has always been an important part of the celebration, and today the alter is perhaps the most recognized symbol of Día de los Muertos. It is a way for families to honor their loved ones and provide them what they need on their journey from the spirit world. An ofrenda must include the four elements: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. Bread is used to represent Earth. Wind is represented by traditional paper banners, called Papel picado. Candles light the way and can be placed in the form of a cross, which indicates the cardinal directions. Water is often presented in a pitcher, so the spirits can quench their thirst. if you wish to have a picture on our altar, please bring a photo with you or contact Jessica Reyes at

Día de los Muertos Monarch Butterfly

4. Monarch butterflies play a unique role in celebrations of Día de los Muertos because they hold the spirits of the departed. This lovely thought is tied to the arrival of the first monarchs in Mexico each fall, at the start of the holiday on Nov. 1.

5. The Día de los Muertos celebration spans two days: All Saints Day, Nov. 1, is the day to remember children who have passed. All Soul’s Day, Nov. 2, is the day when we honor adults.

Día de los Muertos Pan de Muertos.

6. Dessert! It’s what so many people look forward to during the celebrations. Pastries and sweets are central to the holiday, and one of the most loved is Pan de Muertos, a sweet, delicious bread, coated in sugar, and decorated to look like a pile of bones.

7. Día de los Muertos is not a somber occasion… it’s a joyous holiday and a celebration of life! It’s bright and colorful, with parties, music, dancing, and decorations everywhere you look. Classic Mexican traditions include calaveritas (short, humorous poems) that are a clever way to talk about, and poke fun at, difficult topics—like the Grim Reaper!

In support of the Highland Park community that has been through so much this past summer, the Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation is underwriting a full day of golf for Highland Park residents at the Sunset Valley Golf Club on Wednesday, October 12.

Includes an 18-hole round and a golf cart (carts are limited and available on a first-come basis).

Book your tee time now.
Click the Wadsworth Golf Outing button.
(Please show your ID at check-in)