Brookfield Zoo opens up new ice rink

Dani Almase, Reporter

When Erin Purcell ‘20 heard that Brookfield Zoo was opening up a new rink made of ‘glice’ instead of regular ice, she knew she would have to experience it herself. She has always loved skating, and this rink was something she could not miss out on.

“The new rink was very different and cool,” Purcell said. “I would definitely go back again because it was a good bonding moment with my family.”

The zoo opened the rink opened on Nov. 3 in East Mall area, and it will close on Jan. 27, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Chicago Zoological Society Leah Rippe said. People are able to skate daily from noon to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $7 and to rent skates is an extra $5. The Chicago Wolves hockey program sponsored the rink because it was a easy way for families to get outdoors and have fun together.

“It’s an honor to team up with Brookfield Zoo to give people the chance to enjoy something new for the holidays,” Wolves President Mike Gordon said on the news release. “We hope the opening of the Chicago Wolves Skating Rink marks the start of another must-do tradition for families throughout the Chicago area.”

The rink itself is 40 by 80 feet large and made up of a synthetic material called ‘glice,’ which does not require any water or electricity to be operated, Rippe said. It is made of a material composed of heat pressed layers of polymers. They used this synthetic material because the Chicago Zoological Society is a conservation organization, and they wanted to find a rink that would align with their mission to use fewer resources than a normal ice rink. Furthermore, ‘glice’ gives the skater a different feeling where it feels slower to skate. It is a good way for beginners to learn to skate. Brookfield Zoo is one of the only three zoos in the country to install a ‘glice’ rink.

“Watching the guests has been impactful to me,” Rippe said. “There are groups of kids, couples, grandparents on the rink. The rink has created new memories for everyone.”