Windy City Rollers

Windy City Rollerswebsite  

As much as I love the zoo and children’s museums, I love to shake it up a little sometimes and try something new with the kids. I’ve had a bit of a fascination with roller derby for a while (who doesn’t love the idea of getting a little aggression out while on roller skates?), so when I heard that the Windy City Rollers put on a great show and that’s it’s family friendly, I was all over it. I shot them an email about the blog and they were kind enough to invite us to a bout.
CTA buses (#7) stop at Harrison, west of Racine. The UIC pavilion is also near the CTA Blue Line.
Phone: UIC Pavilion – 312-413-5740
Dates and times: The next home bout is the championships on June 18 at 6:00 pm. Travel season begins in July. Bouts are on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays at 6:00 pm. A complete schedule is available online.
Admission: $20/adult, $15/student or senior, $10/child (under12), plus a $2 facility fee and taxes. VIP seating (track side) is available for $35/adult, $30/student or senior, $15/child. There is a discount of 25% for groups of 15 or more. Season tickets (regular and VIP) are also available. Tickets are available for purchase online.
Parking: $13/car and $15/bus at the UIC parking garage. Bike racks are available near the parking garage.
Bathrooms: There are public bathrooms with changing tables.
Nursing area: There is no designated nursing area.
Handicapped/stroller accessibility: The UIC pavilion is handicapped accessible. Elevators are available, and wheelchairs can be rented free of charge with an ID. Wheelchair and companion seating is available.
I would not suggest bringing a stroller.
Charity: The Windy City Rollers support charities by featuring a different charity for each bout at home. You’ll find a table with information and have a chance to donate. For Bout 6 (the one we attended), The Avon 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, which four current and former skaters are participating in, was the featured charity. In the past, they’ve also featured Live to Support Chicago, the Chicago Youth Boxing Club, the Red Door Animal Shelter. When they’re not skating, the Windy City Rollers can be found walking, swimming, or pushing shopping carts for charities, including The American Cancer Society, The Special Olympics, the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation. View all their charity involvement on the website.
Merchandise: Programs, t-shirts for adults and children, patches, and other Windy City Rollers gear is available for purchase. Merchandise can also be purchased online at Broken Cherry. (Check out the romper & sport jersey – they’re super cute!)

Other features: The Windy City Rollers are on a mission to advance the sport of roller derby (& show their fans a good time, of course), so they do a lot to help their fans understand the game. On the website, you can find about how to watch the game, which explains the players and how the game is played. They also have a demonstration before the game starts when they explain the game. There is a table where you can buy programs and sign up for their mailing list, and players throughout the pavilion selling programs and talking to fans. They even have a special section where you can sit with players so they can help you understand the game!

Kids were invited onto the floor before the game started so they could give high fives to the skaters as the teams skated out for introductions.

At halftime, BOOM CRACK! dance company performed and they were great. Cooper and Dexter thoroughly enjoyed it and danced along in the stands.

Food: The UIC Pavilion does not allow outside food to be brought in. Concessions are available throughout the Pavilion. You’ll find hamburgers, hot dogs, Polish sausage, bratwurst, chicken sandwiches and nuggets, fries, candy, popcorn, and nachos, as well as beer, pop, and even frozen cocktails. Prices are what you’d expect to pay at a concert or event; we paid $3 for a bag of Twizzlers and $4 for a soft pretzel. There are water fountains we used to refill sippy cups. (The faucets in the bathroom are automatic and the water is warm.)

Special events: The Windy City Rollers sometimes have parties and events to raise money for the roller derby. Although there are no events scheduled currently, you can watch the Fan section of their website, like them on Facebook, join their mailing list, or follow them on Twitter to learn about upcoming events as well as contests.
We paid: $20. I received complementary tickets for my family. $13 for parking, $3 for Twizzlers, & $4 for a soft pretzel.
Our experience: 
The tickets are general admission, so you can sit where you want. There was a large crowd, but plenty of room for us to find great seats and move around a bit during the bout. The sections near the end (further from the action) were nearly empty, so that gave us some freedom to let the boys move around a bit.

I loved that they invited the kids up to high five the skaters; Mobile Chernobyl noticed Cooper was a little nervous so she took his hand and led him to the line, and then stayed with him and helped him out the whole time!

Dexter was probably a bit young for this, particularly because he is a really active kid. Cooper seemed to enjoy himself, although he did get a little antsy at times. We spent a lot of time walking around the pavilion and that seemed be a nice break for them. There were a lot of other kids in the audience; kids a little older than Cooper seemed to be having a great time and there were some kids Dexter’s age and younger that seemed content. I’d probably say it would be best for kids over 4 though.

We left three-quarters of the way through the bout. John and I would have liked to stay, but it was past bedtime and the kids were definitely ready to go. I would definitely return, but it may be for a girls’ night out or date night without kids so I can enjoy the action a little more. I think once the boys are a little older I’d love to bring them back too.

I received 4 complementary tickets to the Windy City Rollers. The opinions expressed are my own.

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