NAVY PIER — Navy Pier announced Wednesday it will open an outdoor ice rink Friday so Chicagoans and tourists can enjoy the winter sport all summer.
Billed as part of the landmark's 100th anniversary celebration, the summer ice skating rink will be a temporary installation in the pier's new Polk Brothers Park, the recently redeveloped 13 acres of green space outside the west entrance.
The rink is 82 feet long and 66 feet wide, and assembly was under construction Wednesday, though it won't open to the public until noon Friday. The rink will use real ice, is underneath a tent and connects to a "chiller" that will keep it frozen even in high temperatures.
David Matthews on the latest addition to the re-vamped Navy Pier.
“We are excited to offer Navy Pier guests the unique opportunity to skate in Chicago’s warm summer breezes. It is both thrilling and fitting to offer this memorable experience in Polk Bros Park, whose namesake family built a summer rink for Chicagoans to enjoy more than half a century ago,” Marilynn Gardner, president and CEO for Navy Pier Inc., the nonprofit organization that operates Navy Pier, said in a news release.
Oscar Aojeda of Valencia, Spain, was visiting the pier with family Wednesday. His hometown also has an outdoor summer rink, and he said he might have skated on Navy Pier's if his trip to Chicago had been longer.
Colleen and Rich MacBlane of Old Town also liked the idea.
"Ice skating in the summer in Chicago, why not?" Colleen asked. "Sometimes you can do that in the summer anyway," Rich joked.
"Skate by the Lake" will be open from noon to 10 p.m. daily throughout the summer. Tickets to the rink cost $10 for guests with their own skates and $15 with skate rental included.
The rink is the latest addition to the pier, which is undergoing a major transformation for its centennial. The pier already has added a new Ferris wheel and restaurants, and is building a new park by its front entrance.
The pier will also add a hotel and expand its Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the coming years.
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