Digital Exclusive: Cone Park still open despite frigid temperatures, taking safety precautions for staff, visitors

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – With the cold temperatures Siouxland is currently dealing with, there’s one outdoor fun place in Sioux City that’s still open.

Cone Park is open for business despite the very frigid weather outside, but officials say they are taking safety precautions.

“Obviously, with the really, really cold temperatures that are coming up, we are asking that people take all the precautions necessary if you’re going to come out and recreate in this. So, layer up, spend time inside, make sure you’re staying in some capacity,” said John Byrnes, recreational supervisor.

John Byrnes, recreational supervisor for Sioux City Parks and Rec, said the staff at Cone Park are rotated more frequently from being outside, and they have them stay indoors longer.

This year, Cone Park has seen more people come out to have some winter fun at this time of year, compared to previous years.

“Usually we haven’t that in the past, people have canceled or transfer to a different session, but this year, people are actually braving the cold. We think that’s because, with COVID, nobody has been able to go out to different places,” said Rachael Eskins, specialist.

Rachael Eskins, a specialist at Cone Park, said those are who are braving the cold are encouraged to bundle up in extra layers of winter clothing and wear hats and gloves.

There’s limited space in the facility for people to come in and warm up from being outdoors due to COVID-19, which can hold about 50 people in the lodge.

“The only problem is once the lodge is full, we do ask them to wait outside. With the less numbers that we do have when it is this cold, that does help a little bit but we do try to work with them on that and help them stay warm,” said Eskins.

But for Cone Park, the extremely cold weather creates a perfect opportunity for them to make a lot of snow.

“We get ahead; we make a ton of snow over this period of time, especially when it’s slower, and when we get into March with 40 and 50-degree weather, we have a big base build-up. So, that alone is something that we can really take advantage of to elongate our season into the spring,” said John Byrnes, recreational supervisor.

Byrnes said Cone Park will keep an eye on the weather this weekend to make sure it’s safe for staff and customers to come and be outside at the facility.

“There’s no magic number per se. We’ll follow what a lot of other businesses are doing, and outdoor places, like ourselves, are doing in the surrounding area, so we will continue to monitor that. Our goal is always to stay open and let people come out and have fun safely,” said Byrnes.

For those who have bought tickets but don’t want to be out in the cold, Cone Park allows people to transfer to a different session, or people can be given credit back on their account when the wind chill is at or below zero degrees.

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