To remind residents of the importance of staying safe at our beaches and while boating this summer, the Park Board has proclaimed May 20-29 as Highland Park Beach and Boating Safety Week.

The proclamations coincide and support the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) National Beach Safety Week and the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Safe Boating Week. The Park Board urges all residents using our beaches to enjoy themselves at the beach this year while taking appropriate measures to protect themselves and their children.

Additionally, as boating continues to be a popular recreational activity, the Park Board is bringing attention to critical life-saving tips for recreational boaters so that they can have a safer, more fun experience out on the water throughout the year.

Park District of Highland Park
Beach and Boating Safety Week Proclamation

WHEREAS, the beautiful Lake Michigan waters and public beaches of Highland Park, Illinois represent valued recreational resources; and,

WHEREAS, Highland Park residents and visitors alike are drawn to our boating and beach facilities each year; and,

WHEREAS, drowning is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and the world; most people who drown are good swimmers; and the aquatic environment has dangers to swimmers, particularly rip currents, that can be effectively managed through public awareness and the vigilance of professional lifeguards; and,

WHEREAS, on average, 600 people die each year in boating-related accidents in the U.S.; 79 percent of these are fatalities caused by drowning; and most of these accidents are caused by human error or poor judgment and not by the boat, equipment, or environmental factors; and a significant number of boaters who lose their lives by drowning each year would be alive today had they worn their life jackets.

WHEREAS, for reasons of public safety, an annual reminder of the joys and hazards associated with the aquatic environment are appropriate at the commencement of the busy summer beach season; and,

WHEREAS, Highland Park residents and visitors alike must remember: Only Swim in Designated Swimming Areas; Learn to Swim, Swim Near a Lifeguard, Swim with a Buddy, Check with the Lifeguards, Use Sunscreen and Drink Water, Obey Posted Signs, Keep the Beach and Water Clean, Learn Rip Current Safety, Enter Water Feet First, and Wear a Life Jacket when Boating.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Park Board of Commissioners by virtue of the authority vested in us for the Park District of Highland Park do hereby support the goals of the Safe Boating and Beach Safety Campaigns and proclaim May 20-29, 2023, as Beach and Boating Safety Week in Highland Park.

We urge all residents using our waters and beaches to enjoy themselves this year, while taking appropriate measures to protect themselves and their children.

Learn-to-Swim Lessons at the Rec Center

Practicing and building strong swimming skills are the best ways to stay safe in the water! Lessons begin June 5.

  • Parent & Child Water Readiness (Ages 6 months-3 years)
  • Paddlers (Ages 3-6)
  • Little Swimmers (Ages 6-15)
  • Junior Swim (Ages 6-15)
  • Stroke Development (Ages 6-15)

Spring is the time of year you may notice dandelions popping up in our parks.  You might wonder why the Park District doesn’t do something about all those yellow flowers.  Letting them bloom is one way we keep our parks at their healthiest. Though not a complete source of nutrition for bee pollinators, dandelions also fill in early spring food source gaps.

As part of our best management practices, we aim to avoid spraying lawn chemicals to eliminate what some might deem an unsightly nuisance.   Instead, the yellow blooms can open to their glory across our parks.  Once the grass is long enough, crews will mow the dandelions giving our parks a more uniform “green grass” appearance.  

The Park District of Highland Park was one of the first Park Districts in Illinois to adopt an Environmental Policy which includes maintaining our parks, facilities and natural areas in a manner that enhances and protects the environment by minimizing the adverse impact on air and water quality. This includes “Integrated Pest Management” practices that minimize chemical use in favor of other management efforts such as careful mowing, aeration and–in the case of dandelions–working with nature to provide healthy places to play.

City, Park District partner to host community events and activities from morning to night

Highland Park, Illinois – The City of Highland Park (City) and the Park District of Highland Park (Park District) announce plans for the community to gather on July 4, 2023. The City and Park District are working collaboratively to develop events and activities using a trauma-informed approach with a goal of balancing the diverse needs that have emerged in the wake of the Highland Park shooting. The theme, “We are Highland Park,” focuses on who we are as a community. The day’s events will be flexible and structured to allow community members the opportunity to participate in the way that is most comfortable and meaningful for them.

“The events planned for July 4, 2023, will focus on our community,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “We know that the day will be filled with emotion as we mark the one-year remembrance of the Highland Park shooting. We have carefully planned events and activities that will allow our community the time and space to remember the seven individuals who were taken from us too soon, opportunities to gather and connect, and provide us with the chance to celebrate Independence Day together as we create new traditions and memories.”

The day will begin at 10:00 AM with a remembrance ceremony at City Hall. The ceremony will include a performance by the Highland Park Strings, remarks by Mayor Nancy Rotering and interfaith clergy, and a moment of silence at 10:14 AM, when the first shots were fired on July 4, 2022. Live Spanish and American Sign Language interpretation will be available, and interpretation in other languages, including Russian, will be available upon request. The remembrance ceremony will be live-streamed on the City’s Facebook page and YouTube channel; the recording will be made available on the City’s website after the holiday.

A community walk will begin at 11 AM, following the 2022 parade route. The walk is a reminder of our beloved community tradition and symbolizes the reclaiming of our town as we build resiliency together. The community walk will step off from City Hall (1707 St. Johns Avenue) and progress north on St. Johns Avenue before turning west on Central Avenue, ending at Sunset Woods Park (1801 Sunset Road.) The community walk will not be a parade and will not include floats or performers.  It is intended to be an opportunity for active participation as one Highland Park and does not include viewing.  

Community members will be encouraged to register in advance to participate in the walk. Further details regarding the registration process will be available at later this spring. Individuals who would like to participate in the community walk but who are unable to walk the full route (just under one mile) are invited to contact the City Manager’s Office at 847.926.1000 / The City is exploring transportation options for community members who need assistance, including seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Beginning at 11:30 AM, the Independence Day Community Picnic at Sunset Woods Park will bring together community members of all ages to enjoy live performances, food, and family-friendly games and activities.

“The picnic is an opportunity for families, friends, and neighbors to come together for a relaxing afternoon to enjoy each other’s company and our community, while also keeping the tradition of celebrating our country’s independence. We are pleased to present activities for people of all ages and abilities.” said Terry Grossberg, president of the Park Board.

In the evening, community members will enjoy entertainment at Wolters Field featuring live music and ice cream novelties, closing with a custom drone show. In consideration of concerns regarding the noise of fireworks and the City’s push for more sustainable alternatives, the annual fireworks display will not be held. The Bitter Jester Music Festival, which traditionally culminates with its grand finale concert on the Fourth of July ahead of the fireworks display, will be held as part of the Taste of Highland Park weekend at The Lot in Downtown Highland Park on Sunday, June 25, 2023.

The planning process has been informed by conversations and feedback with victims’ families and individuals who were injured, as well as input from community members, elected officials, and staff, many of whom attended the parade. Cognizant that individuals build resiliency in their own time and in line with guidance from the Department of Justice, community members are encouraged to “opt-in” to the activities that are most comfortable for them. These multiple opportunities for the community to gather will give individuals the option to choose how best to engage; the City and Park District encourage all community members to be understanding of neighbors who may have a different comfort level.

Information regarding July 4, 2023 activities will be shared by both the City and Park District as planning continues. Updates from the City are available at, and updates from the Park District are available at Individuals are welcome to share their feedback via email to the City at


The City and Park District have prepared the below Q&A to address community questions regarding the activities planned for July 4, 2023. An updated Q&A will be available on the City website as more details are finalized and available. If you have a question that is not answered below, please email us at

How will community members participate in the remembrance ceremony?

The remembrance ceremony will include a short program with a moment of silence, remarks, and music. Following this set program, attendees will participate in a community walk along the 2022 planned parade route (north on St. Johns, west on Central to Sunset Woods Park.)

I am interested in planning a large-scale activity, such as a block party, rally, or march, for July 4, 2023. How do I approach this?

In line with prior years, the City and Park District will not be approving special event permits for Tuesday, July 4, 2023, given the number of planned government-sponsored events.

I am not comfortable attending large gatherings. How can I be involved?

The City and Park District understand that not all community members who would like to be part of these activities will feel comfortable attending a large gathering. The remembrance ceremony will be livestreamed on the City’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. After the holiday, the video will be posted to the City’s website. The City and Park District will explore other opportunities for virtual engagement.

May I ride a bike or drive my car in the community walk?

For the safety of all participants, the community walk is intended for pedestrians only. Parents may bring strollers or wagons for small children. Vehicles and bicycles will not be permitted. The City is exploring transportation options for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and others who would like to participate but are not able to walk the full length of the route. To request transportation assistance along the community walk route, please contact the City Manager’s Office at 847.926.1000 or

What performance opportunities are available?

Highland Park is home to many talented artists and musicians. To ensure an equitable approach, the City and Park District have already finalized performers for the events on July 4, 2023.

What support will be provided for individuals in need?

Emotional therapy services will be available during the remembrance ceremony at City Hall. ASL and Spanish translation interpreters will also be available. There will be a limited number of chairs for individuals who cannot stand. Please call the City Manager’s Office at 847.926.1000 to request reservation of a chair.

Why are individuals being asked to register to participate in the community walk?

Registering for the community walk will help the City to plan for anticipated crowd size. Participation in the event is free.  

Will my group or business be able to participate?

All community members, including businesses and nonprofit organizations, are invited to participate in the community walk following the remembrance ceremony. The walk will not include a pre-planned lineup, floats, or performers. No parade is planned for 2023. Viewing only is discouraged.

Will the Children’s Bike and Pet Parade occur?

Families are encouraged to participate in the community walk. Please note that due to the anticipated crowd size, the community walk will be limited to pedestrians (strollers and wagons permitted.) No separate bike and pet parade will take place. 

Will there be opportunities to help plan or volunteer at these events?

Yes, the Park District is seeking volunteers to assist with the Independence Day Community Picnic. Volunteers may help with pre-event planning, event setup/teardown and coordinating, implementing, and supervising games and activities. To volunteer, complete and submit this Volunteer Form.

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.

$11/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

Happy Holidays to you and your family! Be sure to check our holiday and New Years hours at the Park District.

Holiday Hours

FacilityThu, December 22Fri, December 23Sat, December 24Sun, December 25Mon, December 26
Centennial Ice ArenaClosedClosedClosedClosedClosed
Deer Creek Racquet Club6:30am-6pm7-11am7:30am-12:30pmClosed6:30-11:30am
Heller Nature CenterBuilding Open 10:30am-5pm, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to Dusk
Fieldhouse at the Highland Park Golf Learning CenterClosed9am-3pmClosedClosed9am-3pm
Lincoln School (Gymnastics)Closed (Classes cancelled)ClosedClosedClosedClosed
Recreation Center of Highland Park5:30am–6pm; Indoor pool closes at 4pm (no HPAC practice)7am-6pm; Classes canceled for AquaFit, strength and core, and pilates7am-noonClosed7am-4pm
River's Edge Mini GolfClosedClosedClosedClosedClosed
Sunset Valley Golf ClubClosedClosedClosedClosedClosed
West Ridge Center3–6pmClosedClosedClosedClosed

New Years Hours

FacilityFri, December 30Sat, December 31Sun, January 1Mon, January 2
Centennial Ice ArenaClosedClosedClosedClosed
Deer Creek Racquet Club6:30am-noon7:30am-12:30pm8am-noon6:30am-3pm
Heller Nature CenterBuilding Open 10:30am-noon, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to Dusk
Field House at the Highland Park Golf Learning Center9am-3pmClosedClosed9am-3pm
Lincoln School (Gymnastics)ClosedClosedClosedClosed
Recreation Center of Highland Park (Fitness)5:30am–8pm7am-noon7am-noon7am-4pm
River's Edge Mini GolfClosedClosedClosedClosed
Sunset Valley Golf ClubClosedClosedClosedClosed
West Ridge CenterClosedClosedClosedClosed

Winter is Coming!

The Park District endeavors to keep our facilities and programs operating whenever possible. There are times, however, when weather, road conditions, or facility malfunctions dictate that programs and/or services must be cancelled or temporarily postponed or entire facilities closed.

In order to provide employees and patrons with a safe and secure environment in which to work and play, the Park District reserves the right to close a particular facility or cancel a program using the following criteria:

  1. Whenever School District 112 (D112) cancels school due to weather conditions, all Park District activities and programs held at a school site will follow the same procedure the entire day and/or evening. When D112 cancellations take place in the morning (prior to the beginning of school), Park District programs at Park District facilities will also be cancelled through 12pm.
  2. Program cancellation will be consistent district-wide unless there are facility-specific reasons for cancellation.
  3. When programs are cancelled:
    • Affiliate and youth groups will be cancelled.
    • Adult rental groups will be given the option to cancel without penalty so long as they follow the above time period.
    • Private lessons/training staff or clients are given the option to cancel without penalty
    • Drop-in classes and/or programs will be determined by the facility manager
  4. In all situations, the Park District reserves the right to adapt this procedure and make decisions based on extenuating circumstances and/or on the safety of staff, patrons, and/or participants.
  5. Park District facilities themselves will remain open for non-registered and/or drop-in activities (e.g. fitness and tennis club use, public skating, open gym, cross country ski rentals, etc.) unless specifically directed to close due to weather conditions.

Because weather and road conditions can change dramatically as the day progresses, the Park District will monitor weather conditions and announce closing updates throughout the day. Communication regarding any weather-related closings and updates will be posted on the homepage of this website and the Park District Facebook page. Email updates are sent to customers who have subscribed to the Park District email list.

Summer camp is one of the highlights of childhood.  But, for parents, the whole registration process can be stressful and frustrating.  To help make the registration process a breeze, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks. 

New for 2023 Summer Camp

Our 2023 Summer Camps will be available for you to view directly on this website beginning  Fri., Dec 2.

Resident registration begins at 7 am,  Wed., Dec. 7,  giving you time to peruse the camps and coordinate your family schedule.   

Door-to-door bus service is available for Highland Park residents signed up for Crew Camp, providing convenience for you and the highest quality camp experience for your children. Make sure to select the “with bus” option when registering.

Update Your Account Information Before Registration Day

Several days before registration day, make sure you’re able to log in to your household account at

Once you log into your account:

Camp Age Requirements 

Check the age requirements for the summer camp before you add it to your Wishlist or before you register. 

Select the age-appropriate camp that interests your child based on the grade they will be entering in September 2023.

Your Online Wishlist

The best way to de-stress the first day of camp registration is to add your summer camp selections to your Wishlist in advance.  You will be able to “Wishlist” camps starting on Wed., Dec 3.  Log in to your account at

  1. When you find the age-appropriate camp you’re interested in, click the star icon to add the camp to your Wishlist.
  2. On registration day, click the Wishlist link at the top of your screen to view the items you’ve tagged and add them to your cart once registration has opened.

Flexible Payment Options, Discounts, Scholarships 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Before heading to your favorite Park District facility, be sure to check our Thanksgiving hours.

FacilityThursday, November 24Friday, November 25Saturday, November 26
Centennial Ice ArenaClosedClosedClosed
Deer Creek Racquet Club8am-noon6:30am-noon7:30am-6pm
Heller Nature CenterBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Open 9am-3pm, Trails Open 7:30am to Dusk
Highland Park Golf Learning CenterClosedClosedClosed
Lincoln School (Gymnastics)ClosedClosedClosed
Recreation Center of Highland Park (Fitness)7am-noon7am-4pm7am-6pm
River's Edge Mini GolfClosedClosedClosed
Sunset Valley Golf Club8am-4pm (weather permitting)8am-4pm (weather permitting)8am-4pm (weather permitting)
West Ridge CenterClosedClosedClosed

For a full listing of local and national resources for you and your family to access, including news updates, vigil information, donations, volunteering, and reclaiming property, visit Highland Park Strong.

As we all continue to heal and move forward as a community, we would like to share our plans for reopening Park District programs and services.

While we hoped to begin offering all our programs and services this week, we made the difficult decision to cancel summer camps* through Friday, July 8. Summer camps will resume as scheduled on Monday, July 11. We understand that this decision may put your family in a difficult position for childcare. However, after meeting with our summer camp staff today, all of whom were working at the July 4th events, we understand that they need additional time to heal and prepare themselves to return to camp. In addition, the Unplugged Event scheduled for this Saturday, July 9, at The Preserve of Highland Park is canceled.

The following facilities are open tomorrow July 7 for regular hours:

The following programs will begin as scheduled tomorrow July 7:

The following programs scheduled to start this Saturday, July 9 are postponed one week and will begin on Saturday, July 16:

*Golf Camp will resume on Thursday, July 7