Chicago Park District

Programs & Services for Veterans

Chicago Park District & Veterans and Active Military: Serving those who have served.

In the spirit of “serving those who have served,” the Chicago Park District offers new, free sports and arts programs to all U.S. veterans and active military personnel, as well as a series of veteran’s resource fairs, this fall and winter at select citywide fieldhouses.

“We are honored to support our veterans and active military personnel,” said Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. “We encourage them to explore our programs and to offer suggestions on how we can further assist them and their families.”

In addition to the new programs, active military personnel and their family members can choose from the Chicago Park District’s thousands of offerings in sports and fitness plus cultural and environmental programs for all ages. The Chicago Park District waives program fees for active military personnel. In addition, their immediate family members will receive a 10 percent discount on program fees. For more information, click here.

Military personnel must register in person for programs at their local park and show proof of active duty status, or a copy of their DD214. Spouses must also register in person and present their identification.

For more information about Veterans programs, or to provide suggestions or comments, please contact Modie Lavin of the Chicago Park District at 312-745-1958 or

Summer registration

Online registration begins:
Monday, April 7th @ 9am for parks located WEST of California Ave.
Tuesday, April 8th @ 9am for parks located EAST of California Ave.

In-Person registration begins:
Saturday, April 12 for most parks. Some parks begin In-Person registration on Monday April 14.

An account is required to register for Chicago Park District programs.  Create one now.


Veterans programs on Chicago @ Play TV show (Feb. 2014)


Free veterans programs!

Palmer Park
201 E. 111th St., 312.745.1958
Tuesdays 2-4pm, April 1-June 3
Thursdays 6-8pm, April 3-June 5

Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening archery classs at Palmer Park are for veterans and active military interested in learning basic archery skills in marksmanship, safety and various shooting styles. All classes are free of charge; all equipment will be provided for this indoor program. Veterans should bring a copy of their DD214.

Shabbona Park

6935 W. Addison St., 773.685.6205
Wednesdays 2-4pm, April 2-June 4
All classes are free of charge; all equipment will be provided for this indoor program. Veterans should bring a copy of their DD214.

April 2014
Veterans Resource Fair 
Saturday, April 12, 10 am–1pm
Armour Square Park, 3309 S. Shields Ave., 312.745.1958
The Veterans Resource Fair Series aims to connect military veterans and their families to benefits in areas such as disabilities, education, employment, family and children services, housing, legal and mental health services. Veterans should bring a copy of their DD214. 
Download a copy of the resource fair FLYER here.

June 2014
Veterans Fishing Derby
Tuesday, June 10, 9am-2pm
Northerly Island, 1521 S. Linn White Dr., 312.745.2910
Veterans will gather at Northerly Island to compete in a fun filled morning of competition fishing. Hosted and monitored by the Chicago Park District's Fishing Guy Bob Long and his staff, prizes for "Most Caught," "Biggest Fish," and other categories will be awarded.

July 2014
Veterans Family Fest & 16" Softball Tournament
Saturday, July 19, 10am-5pm
McGuane Park, 2901 S. Halsted Ave., 312.747.6497
Veterans will once again compete in the Chicago Park District's 3rd Annual Family Fest & 16" Softball Tournament to win the 1st place trophy, currently held by the Jesse Brown VA. All players and teams in this highly competitive tournament are U.S. Veterans. Additionally, veterans are encouraged to bring family members for the family picnic and activities for children and the entire family, including the sponsoring organization's contribution of a "cook out."

August 2014
Midwest Valor Games & Resource Fair
Wednesday, August 20
Thursday, August 21
Friday, August 22
Locations TBD
Our nation's veterans--especially our wounded warriors--have given so much to all of us. The Valor Games Midwest, presented in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and U.S. Paralympics, gives back to them.

Created in 2011, the Valor Games provides three days of camaraderie and Paralympic sport competition for wounded, ill and injured military veterans. The Valor Games celebrates sport as a means of empowering individuals and strengthening community. This event os amongst the fastest growing and best run competitions of its kind.

Veterans Resource Fair
On opening day of the Valor Games, the Chicago Park District will host a Veterans Resource Fair with approximately 40 to 50 agencies and organizations in attendance to aid in connecting military, veterans and families to benefits, education, employment, housing, legal, disabilities, mental health and family & children's services.