Health &

Park District of Highland Park strives to provide safe parks, recreation programs, events, and facilities which balance the need to minimize risk to its participants and yet preserve the fun of the recreation experience.

Emergency Closing Information

We endeavor 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 canceled 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 canceled through 12pm.
  2. Program cancellation will be consistent district-wide unless there are facility-specific reasons for cancellation.
  3. When programs are canceled:
    • Affiliate and youth groups will be canceled.
    • 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, the Park District Facebook page, and the Chicago Emergency Closing Center.  Emails will be sent to customers who have subscribed to the Park District email program.

Strike Guard Lightning Detection System

Please note: As of March 29, 2024, the strike guard siren units at Sunset Woods Park, Danny Cunniff Soccer Field, Olson Park and The Preserve of Highland Park are shut down for maintenance repairs. Check back for updates.

Strike Guard is a lightning detection system designed to track actual lightning strikes and will sound when lightning is detected within a 10-mile radius. Participants using outdoor facilities should take appropriate shelter when the warning signals are activated. If the weather is threatening but no warning signal is heard or seen, use good judgment and clear the area. Do not wait for the warning signal to activate.

Warning Signal to Suspend Activities and Seek Shelter: the system will sound a siren that can be heard from 2,400 feet away followed by a continuous strobe light. When this siren is heard or the strobe light is seen, park users and program participants should clear the area and seek immediate shelter.

Signal that Outdoor Activities May Resume: once the system has detected that dangerous weather has cleared, 3 short blasts will sound signaling to patrons that it is safe to resume outdoor activities.

Strike Guard systems are solar-powered and are operated year-round between 7am-10pm. Strike Guard sensors are located at Sunset Valley Golf Club (two sensors installed), Hidden Creek AquaPark, Deer Creek/Larry Fink Memorial Park (two sensors installed), West Ridge Park, Park Avenue Boating Facility, Centennial Ice Arena/Danny Cunniff Park (two sensors installed), Sunset Woods Park, the Recreation Center of Highland Park, and Olson Park.

Water Safety

Lifeguards need your help too!

Parents and all adult patrons play a key role in helping us to ensure a safe and fun experience at our pools and swimming beach.

Policies & On-going Procedures for Safe Programs

It is Park District policy to provide safe and rewarding programs and facilities for our participants.  In keeping with our mission and vision to enrich the quality of life for our community, it is a top priority to provide safe and welcoming recreational opportunities where bullying is not tolerated.  Our Board approved Behavior Management Policy and Conduct Ordinance 2013; procedures; and ongoing staff training promotes good sportsmanship and positive attitudes in all of our programs.


If you or someone you may know has been impacted by the Highland Park shooting that occurred in July of 2022, the City of Highland Park Resiliency Division can assist you in accessing resources such as specialized mental health providers, as well as connect you with further resources.