Polar Plunge: Join us for the 18th annual Polar Plunge!

Event Information

Make the #PolarPromise and prepare to #MakeASplash for Special Olympics Chicago! 

Think you’re fun? Take the test and jump in the lake for Special Olympics Chicago! Whether you go knee high, waist high or take the full plunge, all are welcome to join us! No registration fee! Free round trip bus for groups of 20 or more so recruit your friends. All are invited to post event “Melt Down Party” (11am-2pm) which takes place inside the boat house. Music, food, cash bar and more. Registration NOW Open!

Click here to reserve your spot today at North Ave Beach on March 4th!

Save the Date for 2018: Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Time: 10:00am- Kick off and first wave of plungers.
Plungers continue in 10:30, 11:00, 11:30 waves.

Location: Castaways, North Ave. Beach 1603 N. Lakeshore Dr. 60614

On behalf of our 7,000+ athletes and their families, thank you for making a lasting difference!  We appreciate your support and the generosity of your donors in helping to create a community of acceptance and inclusion for all.


2018 Registration NOW Open!

Think you're fun? Take the test and jump in the lake for Special Olympics Chicago! Whether you go knee high, waist high or take the full plunge, all are welcome to join us! No registration fee and all Plungers receive a souvenir t-shirt and towel. Free round trip bus for groups of 20 or more so recruit your friends. All are invited to to post event "Melt Down Party" (11am-2pm) which takes place inside the boat house. Music, food, cash bar and more! Registration NOW Open!

Register as an individual!


Register a team!

Register a Team

Donate to your favorite plunger!


Our Sponsors

Start something special today. Connect your product or service with thousands of plungers and spectators!

Learn more about sponsorship opportunities

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do I park?

    Through a generous partnership with the Lincoln Park Zoo, Free parking is available by entering off of Fullerton. The zoo’s parking lot entrance is located at Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive (2400 North Cannon Drive, Chicago IL 60614). Keep in mind that if you have a team of 20 or more, a free bus may be available to you.

  • What do I bring?

    We encourage you to bring all the necessary things to keep you warm and dry after you take the plunge. Ideally you should bring a bag that has a warm change of clothing, shoes, any items you may need personally and an extra towel if you would like. Bags are available for purchase at registration prior to the plunge, and are ideal for keeping your items dry and safe as you plunge. As for what to bring in order to take the plunge, we invite you to bring your costume, friends, family and fun spirit! You must wear shoes of some sort! Flip flops are not acceptable shoes.

  • Are drones allowed?

    Due to the safety of our participants and spectators, drones are not allowed at this event.

  • What do I do with checks/cash?

    If you have generous donations made to you in either cash or check form, and if they are made out to SCC or Special Olympics Chicago, you can mail them to 541 N. Fairbanks Ct. 4th Floor Chicago IL 60611. If the checks are made out to you personally, we encourage you to collect the checks and write a check from your own account in the same amount made out to SCC and to mail it in as well. If for some reason you are unable to mail in your donations, we do hold registration at North Ave Beach in the days leading up to the plunge so that you can drop off any offline donations, collect your shirt and plunge time wristband.

  • How can I get a bus for my group?

    We are happy to provide a bus for teams of 20 people or more. In order to qualify for the bus a team must have 20 people who have raised the minimum of $200 each in order to plunge. To reserve your bus simply email nathalie.hill@sochicago.org with your pick up location and time, the time you would like to be picked up from the beach and the location you would like to be returned to. Also be sure to include the contact person and best cell phone to reach them at.

  • What happens once I line up?

    When you’re close to your plunge time, it will be time to line up in the warming corrals located in the tent closest to the beach. With your corresponding wristband visible to the volunteers, line up in the warming tent corrals and prepare to take the plunge! Be sure to take your bag with warm dry clothes with you as you will have a place to put those before you plunge.

  • Where do I put my bag of dry clothes?

    Bring your bag of clothes and warm items with you as you enter the warming corrals and prepare to take the plunge. Please have your bags packed and ready to go upon entering into the Warming Corrals. Once you get to the top of the shoot and are minutes away from entering the water, our volunteers will direct you to leave your bag on a tarp directly in front of the shoot into the water. When you come out of the water, freshly plunged, you will run up the opposite side of where you ran out of the shoot and be able to grab your bag, which will be waiting right where you left it on the dry tarp.

  • What address should offline donation be sent to?

    Offline donations can be made out to SCC/Special Olympics Chicago or SCC or Special Olympics Chicago and can be mailed to 541 N. Fairbanks Court, 4th Floor, Chicago IL 60611. Once your donation has been received it will be credited to your page. You are also able to enter your offline donations yourself, by logging into your first giving page and clicking on the “enter offline donations” link. Whether you enter them yourself or have us enter them, be sure to mail them to the above address.

  • Can we bring checks the day of?

    All checks, cash and off line donations can be brought to registration the three days leading up to the plunge.

  • Can a team member still participate if they do not raise the $200 dollars?

    If a teammate doesn’t meet the $200 fundraising minimum they won’t be able to plunge, however; if the team as a whole raises $200 per person, the whole team will be able to plunge. For example, if a team of 10 people raises $2000 from 4 people, the other 6 would be able to plunge since they raised $200 per person on their team.

  • Where can I find what wave time my team signed up for?

    The best way to find out what time your wave is, is to contact nathalie.hill@sochicago.org and request the wave time for your group. Be sure to include your name and team name as well.

  • Where can I find all of this information?

    We encourage all of our plungers to log onto sochicago.org for questions. Also, the best way to keep in touch pre and post plunge is by liking our Facebook pages. Facebook.com/specialolympicschiago and Facebook.com/chicagopolarplunge.

  • Coming for the weekend? Need a hotel?

    We have a hotel block at the following hotel- The Westin Michigan Ave.
    Address- 909 N. Michigan Ave.
    Phone Number- 312-943-7200
    Distance from North Ave Beach- 1.1 miles
    Reservations- To make reservations please call the toll free reservations line at 1-888-627-8385 and reference Polar Plunge Room Block.

  • Can I pick up my wristband and Plunge goodies before the event on March 6th?

    Yes, we will have pre-registration on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at North Ave Beach.
    Thursday March 1st- 3-7pm
    Friday March 2nd- 11-2pm
    Saturday March 3rd 11-2pm
    Pre-registration will allow you to pick up your wristband, goodies and turn in any offline donations.

Grab Some Gear!

Visit our store to pick up some merchandise.

Show your plunger pride by picking up these one of a kind plunge items to show your support of SOC all year long!

Shop Now!


Special Olympics Chicago would not exist today without the time, energy, dedication and commitment of hundreds of volunteers throughout the city. Special Olympics relies on its dedicated volunteers.

Please contact us for more information:

Special Children's Charities
Susan Nicholl, Executive Director
c/o Special Olympics Chicago

541 North Fairbanks
Chicago, IL 60611

Phone: (312) 527-3743
Fax: (312) 347-0235

Email: scc@sochicago.org