At Krush Skatepark, skateboarders of all ages fly over steeply sloped ramps and glide over rails in a large, hangar-style building designed by lifelong skateboarders. Visitors on inline skates, bikes, and scooters can also challenge the course, and guests can take group and individual lessons from experienced skaters on weekends. Kick-flipping visitors report to the onsite pro shop that teems with street apparel and safety gear, such as kneepads and altitude meters for early-model hoverboards.
The Joliet Park District sprawls across more than 1,000 acres, engaging visitors with everything from sports to nature. Guests can wander through the foliaged paths of the Pilcher Park Nature Center and the organic community garden, or treat their senses to the floral colors and aromas that fill the bird-haven greenhouse. The 10,000-seat Joliet Memorial Stadium hosts high-school and college sporting events, while a dozen athletic fields fill with recreational players hitting baseballs, catching softballs, and spiking soccer balls when the referee isn't looking. During the summer, inner tubes transport patrons down Joliet Splash Station's high-speed water slides and 865-foot lazy river, and the glittery strands of Fourth of July fireworks color the skies above the stadium.
Shining wood floors dance beneath the swirling colors of ceiling-mounted lights, bathing skaters in multihued phosphorescence. During open-skate sessions, DJs pipe in music to accompany spectator-wowing tricks. Between skates, guests can recharge by chowing down on hot dogs and nachos from the snack counters. The rink welcomes groups of all sizes, from individual skaters to birthday parties.
Canlan Ice Sports maintains three separate ice rinks for public play, sports programs, and special events. Public skate programs encourage local residents to take to the ice and practice hockey fundamentals during stick-and-puck sessions or get some exercise during unstructured adult rat hockey. Its youth-hockey program teaches beginners to skate and shoot. Figure-skating training camps for aspiring athletes and basic sessions for children teach skaters how to be more graceful so they can make grocery shopping more interesting for their neighbors by spinning and leaping down the aisles. Canlan Ice Sports also hosts local hockey teams including the Huskies Hockey Club, the Chicago Junior Bulldogs, and the Rampage Women’s Hockey Club.
At Rich City Skate, enthusiastic staffers emphasize the athletic benefits and sheer fun of skating. Kaleidoscopic washes of red, yellow, and blue sheathe the voluminous facility, which houses a sprawling hardwood arena. Skaters soar in circles while mustering the courage to hold their sweetheart’s hand or knock the fez off a nemesis' head. Clacking billiard balls pair with the bleeps and bloops of arcade games in the food court, which serves all-beef hot dogs and fizzy sodas. Skating lessons are also available, instructing beginners on the proper posture, basic technique, and how the rise of roller skates came to render horses obsolete.
Parent-chaperoned youngsters take their first, wobbling steps on ice skates while the hockey stars they may one day become whiz around the rink, perfecting their technique. Skaters of all skill levels practice side by side during open skates at Rocket Ice Arena. Their nonskating supporters can look on from the Lake Placid Lodge, sipping drinks from the onsite café and using the lodge’s free Wi-Fi to check an app that tells them whether their glass is half empty or half full.
Home to the Sabres Youth Hockey Club, the rink also offers instruction in icebound sports. Their hockey instructors can introduce novices to the sport or train more experienced skaters how to compete on high-resistance synthetic ice. A separate team of instructors specializes in figure skating and synchronized skating, which is the art of synchronizing your feet to go in a single direction. Youngsters can also explore the rink during skate parties, which come with an on-ice instructor, decorations, and balloons.