Ice “Experts” from Shedd Aquarium and Chicago Blackhawks Showcase Rink 1,000 Feet Up

CHICAGO, IL –On January 1st the highly anticipated “Skating in the Sky” ice rink will open to the public in John Hancock Observatory, but today a handful of Chicago’s resident ice “experts” showcased the synthetic surface to members of the media.  Those “experts” included: penguins from the Shedd Aquarium and Tommy Hawk, mascot for the Stanley Cup World Champion, Chicago Blackhawks. Daniel Thomas, general manager of John Hancock Observatory, introduced the rink partners saying: “If you’re going to open the highest skating rink on the globe, at one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, you’d better be sure your ice holds up to such high standards!  And something this big doesn’t happen with a small team so there are many partners to thank in addition to the Blackhawks and Shedd Aquarium: Sports Surfaces LLC, XTRAICE, Glacier Ice Arena, Best Buy, 93 WXRT, and Chicago Trolley.”

Photos from the event and a time lapse video of the rink’s installation can be seen at or at

Since announcing plans for Skating in the Sky in September, John Hancock Observatory has received an unprecedented demand for tickets and reservations.  In mid-November they launched an online ticketing system at which has already taken hundreds of reservations.  Additionally, the famed Chicago attraction has had scores of requests for private party rentals on the “ice.”

“Everything about this concept is designed to make skating 1,000 feet up in the air fun, easy and unforgettable,” said Thomas.  “Guests can easily book ice time online.  Groups can rent out the space for corporate or family entertainment.  Our synthetic ice is not cold and doesn’t need to be zamboni-ed.  And of course, it’s indoors, so it will never be closed because of weather.  What more could you ask for when Skating in the Sky!

Twenty -five minute skating sessions cost only $5 on top of general admission and are available daily from 9AM-11PM beginning January 1st thru March 31st.  Guests are encouraged to make their reservations online to ensure ice time, but if space is available, reservations can be made on-site as well.  Skates can be rented for just $1 or guests can bring their own.  VIP non-dated and non-timed tickets are available through a few select hotel partners: Chicago’s Essex Inn, Millennium Knickerbocker, the Peninsula and the Sutton Place.

In the wake of hosting the Stanley Cup on the roof of John Hancock Center, John Hancock Observatory and the world-champion Chicago Blackhawks have teamed-up again to offer free skating lessons every Monday afternoon, starting January 3.  “We’re very excited to have the Blackhawks as partners—they are such incredible ambassadors for the city, particularly through their youth hockey programs,” said Thomas.  Observatory admission and skating fees will still apply, but coaches and “special guests” will be on-ice to offer skating tips at no additional charge.


About John Hancock Observatory

Located inside the iconic John Hancock Center, John Hancock Observatory is open every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and, at 875 North Michigan Avenue, stands in the heart of The Magnificent Mile® next to hundreds of shops, restaurants, attractions and entertainment venues. Highlights include spectacular 360° views spanning 80 miles and four states and the city’s only open-air Skywalk, all accessed by the fastest elevators in the country. John Hancock Center and John Hancock Observatory are owned and operated by affiliates of Golub & Company. More information at

Learn the latest from Chicago’s skies by becoming a fan of John Hancock Observatory on Facebook at and following its updates on Twitter, @aThousandFeetUp.



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