Located in the Dunning community(the eastern border is two blocks east of Oak Park Avenue, and the northern border abuts Addison Street), Shabbona Park sits on approximately 18.83 acres of land.
The fieldhouse is equipped with an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, gymnasium, gymnastics center, woodcraft room, and clubroom available for rental. Outside, there are four baseball fields, a softball field, a combination football-soccer field, five tennis courts, two horseshoe pits, a playground and spray pool, as well as a nearly one-mile walking trail available for cross-country skiing.
For recreation, patrons can enjoy working out at the fitness center, as well as such sports as badminton, basketball, dodgeball, floor hockey, seasonal sports, softball, and volleyball.In the summer, youth can attend the popular and affordable six-week day camp. Tots and preschoolers can increase their socialization skills in programs such as Fun & Games, Preschool, Moms Pops & Tots Interaction, Twinkle Star Gymnastics, and, of course, several aquatics programs.
Shabbona park is also noted for its special recreation programs & facilities for people with disabilities—including training for Special Olympics.
In addition to seasonal programs, Shabbona Park hosts fun special events for the whole family, such as a Halloween Party, Build Your Own Chocolate Holiday House, and an outdoor Movie in the Park.
Shabbona Park is among the four parks established by the Old Portage Park District, one of 22 independent park commissions consolidated into the Chicago Park District in 1934. Created in 1912, the Old Portage Park District aimed to improve property values and provide substantial recreational facilities for the middle class Portage Park community. Nearby Portage Park, begun in 1913, met with such success, that residents of the adjacent Dunning neighborhood sought to expand the district's borders into their community. This annexation was completed in 1925 and, early the following year, the Old Portage Park District began acquiring an 18.7-acre property identified by the Dunning Park Improvement Association. Before long, the new park had winding walkways, spacious lawns, flower beds, and a sunken garden, as well as baseball and football fields and a large playground. In 1928, the park district built a Georgian-style brick fieldhouse with a 300-seat assembly hall, a kitchen, and various club, game, and shower rooms. The structure is identical to the Chopin and Wilson Park fieldhouses. After Shabbona Park's 1934 transfer to the Chicago Park District, the unified agency installed softball fields and a new baseball diamond. By 1946, the park district had developed plans for gymnasium and swimming pool additions to the heavily-used fieldhouse. However, the gymnasium was not constructed until 1959, and a natatorium came slightly more than a decade after that. During the 1990s, the park district rehabilitated many of Shabbona Park's major features. Shabbona Park takes its name from the Potawatomi chief Shabbona (ca. 1775-1859). Shabbona and his people continued to live in northeastern Illinois well after the establishment of Chicago's Fort Dearborn in 1803. In the early 1830s, Shabbona warned white settlers of the Sac chief Black Hawk's intentions to take back his ancestral lands in western Illinois. Though Shabbona's warnings saved many lives, his people were nevertheless removed to a reservation west of the Mississippi in 1837. The people of Ottawa, Illinois warmly welcomed Shabbona when he returned in 1854. Shabbona died there five years later.