Chicago Polar Plunge Facts

• On March 5, 2023, Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children's Charities will be celebrating the 23rd Anniversary of  the Chicago Polar Plunge! 

• All are welcome to take the Chicago Polar Plunge presented by Jackson!  Register as an individual, join a team, or create your own fearless team to jump in the lake! 

• There is no registration fee to participate, but registered in person plungers need to raise $200 to  receive these “cool” benefits: 

  • Free parking at Lincoln Park Zoo  
  • Free souvenir t-shirt 
  • Free towel 

• The Chicago Polar Plunge has garnered national attention and attracted several celebrities  over the years including Lady Gaga, Jimmy Fallon, Dax Shepard, former Chicago Bears Brian Urlacher and Otis Wilson, the cast of Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, and Al Roker and Craig Melman. We are so thrilled to have these celebrities take the Plunge but we still think Chicago's Special Olympians are the REAL celebrities.  

• The Chicago Polar Plunge attracts people of all ages, demographics, and abilities, just like  the athletes of Special Olympics Chicago. Corporations, longtime supporters, family  members, friends, and public figures “Take the Plunge” each year in support of our  mission.

Check out some “Fast Facts” about our Plungers:  

• In 2022, 3,641 plungers jumped into Lake Michigan for the athletes of Special Olympics Chicago! 

• In the past 3 years, we have had supporters from 30 states, plus Canada, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, D.C. and the Virgin Islands!

• Plungers of all ages participate, with the majority of people between ages 25-34.

Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children's Charities Facts

• Thousands of athletes participate in the programs funded by Special Olympics Chicago/SpecialChildren's Charities. More than 70% of those  athletes and families are at or below the poverty level.  

• Special Olympics Chicago serves athletes in all 50 city wards.  

• The majority of the programs we fund are administered by the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Public Schools. As the  needs of our athletes grow, we continue to grow as an organization and in our programming.

• In addition to our athletic competitions, we offer additional opportunities such as an intramural teams and skill building events and family athletic activities such as fishing, archery and golf.

• We also provide life-enriching events such as cooking, music and art classes as well as an Art and Music Therapy Program in CPS, an After 22 Program in the City Colleges of Chicago and an athlete-produced cable access television show on CAN TV.

• The first international Special Olympics Games were held on July 20, 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago, with 1,000 athletes from the United States and Canada competing. Today, Special Olympics has grown to serve over 5 million athletes in 172 nations. We are very proud that  the Special Olympics movement began here in the city of Chicago.