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Winter fun has arrived

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It is officially the holiday season here in the Chicagoland area and this means the start and opening of a plethora of winter activities; however, the majority of these festive past-times are definitely not cost-free.

Surprisingly, only 67% of Morton East students said they would take advantage of free winter activities during the holiday season in the greater Chicagoland area if more were available. As of this moment, we were only able to find 3 family-friendly activities that offer free admission to guests during the Christmas time. Lincoln Park Zoo, found on 2001 N. Clark St., has officially begun its Lincoln Park Zoolights light shows and displays that will go on from December 1st-3rd, 8th-23rd, 26th-31st and January 1st -7th from 4:30pm to 9pm; free admission. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, located in downtown Chicago’s 201 E. Randolph St., is open from 12pm to 8pm on weekdays and 10am to 10pm on weekends; they offer free admission, but it is $12 to rent skates on weekdays and $14 on weekends. An option closer to home is the Bobby Hull skating rink, pinpointed on 3400 S. 53rd Ave., they are open from 10am to 8:45pm and offer free admission to Cicero residents on Wednesdays. While it is true that there aren’t many free holiday activities to take advantage of, it is still believed by some that the youth should take advantage of the few that are.

“I think it’s important for youth to have a space that gives them opportunities and positive outlets, especially for those that are not involved in afterschool activities. This helps keep violence down and help youth in general. When there are free activities, this is very helpful in promoting youth involvement. But it is important to provide things that are of interest to youth,” Corazon Community services worker project manager Ismael Vargas Jr said.

Vargas also believes that free winter activities such as the Bobby Hull skating rink could be more resourceful.

“As far as the Bobby Hull Skating Rink, it is very awesome that there is an opportunity for youth to enjoy something that is rare in communities of color like a skating rink. I do think there is more the community can do to make it accessible to the community like providing transportation for youth. The Rink is located on the South end of Town and there is much need in the north end,” Vargas said.

Besides the Bobby Hull skating rink, another popular free holiday activity is the Lincoln Park Zoolights. A great majority, including Morton East senior Stefania Alcantar, have already gone for a visit.

“My favorite part [of the Zoolights] is the show they have where the lights follow the rhythm of a Christmas song. I feel people should go because it’s a nice experience and you can’t have that experience at home or else your light bill would be extremely high,” Alcantar said.

However, not everyone is intrigued by the idea of holiday festivities, even if they are free.

“[Free holiday activities] don’t call my attention because all in all I hate the winter,” Morton East sophomore Abygail Kurtis said.

Believe it or not, this is somewhat of a common opinion shared among cicero youth. Morton East sophomore Jesus Ballersteros shared a couple of the reasons why he is simply not interested in free winter activities.

“The cold, people, traffic and the cold,” Ballesteros said.

Nonetheless, there are still people, like Morton East sophomore Adriana Arzuaga, who showcase holiday spirit and wish there were more cost-free holiday winter activities available in the area.

“I wish that like ice skating and sledding were free. They might be but like I don’t know of any or they may be too far, and I’m like young and can’t drive so like yeah. I don’t go out often in the winter because it is cold, so I can’t exactly travel on foot to many places, and most places available or not too expensive aren’t near like the community,” Arzuaga said.

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