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Chicago’s Sky-High Skating Experience – John Hancock Observatory kicks off 2011 with ice-skating on the 94th floor
Windy City visitors will soon enjoy the thrill of gliding across a sky-high, indoor skating rink with to-die-for views. Jan. 1-March 31, 2011, the John Hancock Observatory plans to add “the world’s highest skating rink” to its towering 94th-floor observation deck.
The temporary indoor rink will shield guests from Chicago’s harsher winter elements. And, thanks to the addition of bleachers bordering the rink, families and friends will be able to watch skaters against a dramatic backdrop that includes views of Lake Michigan, the city skyline, and windswept clouds.
“Our guests already feel like they’re floating on air, and now they’ll be able to literally glide around the sky,” said Daniel Thomas, John Hancock Observatory general manager. “Chicago has a rich tradition of public skating rinks — we’ve just given that tradition an extraordinary new twist.”
For those noodling the logistics of getting a Zamboni up to the observation level, don’t worry. The “ice” is actually a state-of-the-art synthetic substance called XTRAICE. Unlike frozen, water-based ice rinks, which require regular smoothing and resurfacing, the synthetic ice is designed to be self-healing.
The rink is another cherry atop an already delicious destination. John Hancock Observatory is a tourist beacon, especially for Chicago CityPASS ticket holders. A CityPASS ticket includes FastPass admission to the Observatory, a Multimedia SKY Tour (provided in six different languages) and free coffee (or child’s fluffy drink) at the on-site Lavazza Espression café.
Located inside the John Hancock Center (875 N. Michigan Ave.), John Hancock Observatory is open every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.