Skates the Chicago Wolves Mascot

I have a bad habit of overusing exclamation points, but today, I simply HAD to put one in our title! Because, one week from today, the area’s only Open-Air Skating Rink will be opening for business in South Barrington. They’re busy setting it up at the South Barrington Arboretum and there are two big events tied to the outdoor “Skating Plaza’s” grand opening next weekend. The first is an appearance by “Skates”, the Chicago Wolves Mascot.

Skates the Chicago Wolves Mascot

The Wolves Mascot will officially “break the ice” at the new Skating Plaza when it opens one week from today, on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Skates will be taking the rink right at Noon on Friday.  On Saturday, November 27th, the Skating Plaza will open at 10AM, Santa Claus will arrive by horse drawn sleigh at 11AM and will be available for taking pictures until 3PM. But one of the biggest highlights of the rink’s opening festivities will be a rare acoustic performance by William Beckett on Saturday at 5PM. He’s the lead singer of the hot pop music band, “The Academy is…”

William Beckett of The Academy is...

The Skating Plaza is one of only three synthetic ice rinks in the Chicagoland area using this type of technology. It’s the same technology they use for the rink outside the John Hancock building in Chicago. I’m told that the coolest thing about synthetic ice is that you can skate on it at any time, even during the milder winter days. The rink opens next weekend and will stay open for business through the end of January.  They’ll be offering recreational skating hours as well as skating lessons.

There are special “Grand Opening” hours for the rink next weekend. It’ll be open on Friday, November 26th, from Noon to 8PM and Saturday, November 27th, from 10AM until 8PM. After that, the Skating Plaza will be open Wednesdays through Fridays from 2PM through 8PM, on Saturday from Noon until 8PM and on Sunday from Noon to 6PM. Admission costs $5 and includes complimentary skate rental. Children under 6 years-old are admitted for free. You can also rent the outdoor skating rink for private parties at $200 per hour. For more information, call the Arboretum of South Barrington at 847-426-6200.

You’ll find the rink by the Chico’s and Coldwater Creek shops at The Arboretum of South Barrington which is at 100 W. Higgins Road in South Barrington. Alexian Brothers Hospital Network is the lead sponsor for the new South Barrington skating rink and I’m told they donated very generously to make it happen. Thank you, Alexian Brothers, for this great new thing to do in Barrington!

*For Photo Sources, Click HERE and HERE


  1. I’m new to the area and just found your website. I’m sooo excited as my family and I will only be living in the Chicago area for a year. We want to experience all we can, while we are here. I just saw your post from last year about the Open Air Skating Rink at the Arboretum. Do you have any info on the events happening this year? Are they going to open it up again? I tried to go to their website, but wasn’t able to find anything. Let me know if you know of anything.

    Thanks, Emily

    • Hi Emily,
      I’m so happy you found our website! The Arboretum is not hosting the open air skating arena again this year. Instead, they’re hosting Santa Clause at the iPic theater every Saturday and Sunday from 1-4pm, starting tomorrow, 11/19 through Sunday, December 18th. If you have any questions about Barrington, please feel free to email me any time at I live and work here and am happy to help.
      Have a great weekend,

  2. I’m sorry to hear that the ice arena will not be open this year. I was just looking at the 365 things to do in chicago – north suburbs on Living Social and saw that the rink is opening this weekend. I live 10 min from the Arboretum and never knew this existed and was looking forward to checking it out and am wondering why it’s being mentioned on LS and yet you’re stating that it’s not. May I ask why it’s not?

    • Hi Sherry, I asked the Arboretum’s Marketing Manager that same question yesterday. She says setting up the rink with that special open-air ice is cost prohibitive. At this time, they don’t have plans to open it again. This year, they’re hosting Santa visits in the iPic theater lobby. Sounds like the rink is something people will miss and I’ll pass that along. You can also reach the mall office at 847-426-6200. I’m not sure why you found outdated information on a current post elsewhere. Maybe they need to double check their information! Thanks for writing and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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