VERNON HILLS -- Hundreds of children, teens, and adults are enjoying ice skating seven days a week at the new Skate Room in Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, the first and only permanent synthetic ice skating rink inside a mall in the U.S.
Open just five months, Skate Room's popularity has recently enabled owner Kevin Jotkus to expand the 1,299 square-foot ice skating rink he built just across from the Hawthorn Mall food court, to 2,253 square feet. The ice skating rink is being used for public skating, private and group lessons, birthday parties, fund raisers, and other events.
Skaters glide on synthetic ice panels using regular ice skates available at Skate Room. Because the skating rink is indoors and not made of real ice, skaters do no need to wear coats or gloves. Skate Room's 54-foot by 42-foot ice skating rink is open year 'round.
Visitors learn how to skate, improve their skating skills, or just skate for pleasure, fun or an effective workout, said Jotkus. There is no need to schedule a class as even during open skate instructors are available to assist beginners and teach them the basics of ice skating.
Jotkus, who came up with the idea for Skate Room, said the benefits of ice skating include better balance, improvement of joint flexibility, cardio, and endurance.
The balance and grace ice skaters achieve is enhancing the overall learning experience of students, he said. One such group is from the Vernon Hills Montessori Academy who, once a week, are learning to ice skate at Skate Room.
Over half its students are enjoying the benefits of ice skating, another experience that helps them become independent, competent, and confident individuals, according to Margarita Shvets, owner and director of Vernon Hills Montessori Academy. The ice skating lessons supplement the twice-a-week gym class taken by the students.
Vernon Hills Montessori Academy's experience at Skate Room has prompted it to incorporate ice skating lessons in its already ambitious Rhythm of Learning Summer Camp 2018. Beginning June 11, the 10-week camp program that runs through August 17 includes music, skating, dance, tennis, robotics, arts and crafts, and more.
Such popularity has enabled Jotkus to open in late April a second, larger ice skating rink inside Stratford Square Mall in Bloomingdale. Its surface will be 2,575 square feet, or 58 feet by 44 feet.
Skate Room is located at 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills. For more information, please visit https://www.skateroom.net, or call (847) 918-1600.