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Explore the Magic of Ice Castles in the North

Ice Castles are magical in every way. They evoke scenes of wintery fun and mystery. I guess Christmas cartoons have done this. I also think of winter in the Alps with snow everywhere and mountains as far as the eye can see.

While these images are great they are also hard for the average person to get to. So, ‘Ice Castles’ has made it easier for us non-magical folks to play in their ice castles right here in the United States. How lucky are we?

Ice Castles entrance
Customary entrance picture

Table of Contents

What is Ice Castles anyway?

Ice Castles is a man-made winter wonderland that professional ice sculptures make for us to play in. They use icicles, thousands upon thousands of them to make the structure. They also add LED lights for added fun. You will also find frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains, and other things for you to explore.

According to Ice Castles, their primary goal is:

to make people smile.

The whole concept for ice castles started out as a father’s way to get his kids outside playing in the snow. One year he made an ice cave in their yard and his kids loved it. Not only did his kids play in the ice cave but so did the neighborhood kids. The kids are the ones who came up with the name “ice castles” and it stuck. From that one year the founder, Brent Christensen has now made this wonderful outdoor experience for everyone to enjoy.

Lights at the Ice Castles
The lights are super cool

Some fun facts about Ice Castles:

  • Each ice castle is over 20 million pounds! That’s more than 4 times as heavy as the State of Liberty!
  • 12,000 icicles are grown every day!

Now I hope this has you excited to explore the ice castle location closest to you.

Where are the Ice Castles?

Ice Castles are located in five northern states, New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah. While each location has all the same features the layouts are different for each state. This makes it all the more fun.

New Hampshire’s Ice Castles are in Franconia right off Route 93. This is where we visited and had an absolute blast last winter.

New York’s Ice Castles are in Lake George off of West Brook Road. This location is new this year and I’m sure it will be a huge hit.

The Wisconsin Ice Castles are on Lake Geneva. This is also convenient for those who live around Chicago as it’s only an hour and a half away.

The Ice Castles in Minnesota are located at Long Lake Regional Park, 1500 Old Highway 8, New Brighton. This is only 15 minutes north of Minneapolis.

Utah’s ice castles are in Midway at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, 2002 Olympic Drive, which is just outside of Salt Lake City.

entering the ice castles
Loving the Ice Castles

What to Expect

On their website, ice castles have directions and locations of where to park which makes getting there very easy. We found the directions very easy to follow and parking was a breeze.

The cost of tickets depends on location and day so check your location for availability and pricing. But the average ranges from $11 for under 12 midweek with adults being around $20 midweek. For Friday and Saturday, the tickets increase by approximately $5.00- $7.00.

When buying tickets make sure you know when you want to go. Tickets are for a specific time slot. This is the same as when we went last year. Your time slot is only for 2 hours. Since they are keeping numbers down this year, they might ask people to leave. However, I’ll admit after 2 hours I was getting a little cold.

balcony view at the ice castles
View from the balcony

This year they do have some safety changes due to Covid. Tickets are for a specific time and if you miss your slot you may need to reschedule since they are trying to keep the numbers lower than in previous years.

Workers will wear face masks and guests should do the same. Please keep a 6ft distance between your party and others. There will be hand sanitizer at concession stands, entrances, and exits, and restrooms. Mats for slides will be cleaned frequently. Tunnels, crawl spaces, and slot canyons will all adhere to one-way traffic.

The balcony and inner courtyard

Our Experience

When my family visited last year it was a crazy evening. Like I mentioned the tickets are for a specific time slot. We weren’t sure if we would be able to get in since we arrived late.

So upon arrival, we were greeted by a staff member who was directing the cars where to park. Knowing our ticket time had passed we ‘fibbed’ and said our ticket time was coming up. We parked and went to the ticket booth to explain why we were late. Luckily for us, they were completely understanding and reticketed us for the next time slot. We were so grateful.

Ice Castle fun
Color-changing ice!

If you are anything like my family when you see the ice castle for the first time you will be amazed. Of course, I started taking pictures right away. The structure is constantly changing because of the lights. One minute it is bright and light and the next it is dark and colorful. It is just super fun.

color changing ice
The ice changing colors is super fun

After taking pictures at the entrance we walked through a tall tunnel to the center. Here we saw all sorts of structured and tunnels and fountains. It will take a few minutes for you to actually see everything and decide where to go first.

My kids couldn’t wait to get into the tunnels. Crawling along these tunnels is every kid’s dream fantasy. As an adult just know you may have to slither like a snake since the roof isn’t high at all.

Mom tip: Make sure everyone is wearing snow pants.

Tunnels at the ice castles
Inside a tunnel

We couldn’t believe it when the girls found their way to a balcony above the main courtyard. It was super fun to see all the activities and fun from up above the action.

Slide Fun

I think my kid’s favorite activity here is the ice tunnels. This is where you sit on a mat and slide down a psychedelic tunnel to music and lights flashing. It is a ton of fun and if the line wasn’t long we would have gone again.

I highly recommend going on the slide during your visit. Not only is it great fun but you will have a good laugh as well.

Enjoy the ride

If you like winter, I’m sure you will really like exploring the prettiest winter towns in New England as well. We really love these towns and all their winter activities. There are so many to choose from.

If you are looking for some more adventure in New Hampshire how about a horsedrawn sleigh ride which is very close by at the Omni Resort at Mount Washington.

Pin for Later

Ice Castles
Ice Castles in the North

Final Thoughts on Ice Castles

I don’t think it’s a surprise that my family is in love with Ice Castles. Therefore if we get up to New Hampshire this winter we might have to go again. I know the first area we are going to will be the slides. They are super fun and well worth any wait.
Have you been to any of the Ice Castles? If so let me know which one you visited and what was your favorite part.

This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. Lori

    I’m going to try to get to the one on Wisconsin. I tried in years past and they were sold out. Looks like so much fun.

    1. Leeanne

      It really is super fun. My family had a great time. Let me know if you go and if you and your family enjoy your experience.

  2. Suz @

    Cool! (🙄) I went to an Ice Bar in Amsterdam last spring, which was hilarious…and, of course found some geocaches there, too. 😉

    1. Leeanne

      That’s awesome. My husband and I went to an ice bar in Quebec pre-kids and it was super cool. We sat on deer pelts and drank from ice cups, too.

  3. Travel Bugs World

    this is awesome. i have never been to an ice castle and think it would be so much fun!! Great Post, love all the pics!

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks, it really is super fun and we had a great time. I guess it’s a reason to come to the states in the winter.

  4. kmf

    We enjoyed our visit to Ice Castles! So magical snd surreal!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, absolutely. My girls couldn’t stop smiling and saying, “look here, look here”. They enjoyed it so much.

  5. Lisa Manderino

    I love the Ice Castles. They are so cool! I can’t wait to go this year!

  6. Missy

    This place looks amazing. I would love to visit the ice castles.

    1. Leeanne

      They are super fun, Missy. I’m sure you would really love them.

  7. Stacey Billingsley

    These do look magical! I’d love to check one of the locations out. I wouldn’t mind slithering like a snake in the tunnels. I’ll have to get to one of these one day!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you and your family will love it.

  8. Trisha

    This looks like so much fun! My favorite part would have to be the changing lights. I bet it is incredible to see in person. I wish we had Ice Castles near us as this would make for a great winter activity!

    1. Leeanne

      Ice Castles really is a great place to visit. I agree the changing lights are really fun.

  9. Wendy White

    I’ve never been to an ice castle but it looks like a lot of fun. I’m sure our family would love it.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure they would, Wendy. Ice Castles is really a unique experience.

  10. heather J jandrue

    I want to go here this winter. Hopefully, it will be open and we can get tickets.

    1. Leeanne

      Fingers crossed the weather gets cold enough to keep the ice.

  11. Cindy

    So beautiful! I’d love to visit an ice castle!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you would love them, Cindy. They really are a lot of fun.

  12. Tranquil Trekker

    This is awesome! I’ve got the one in Dillon on my bucket list!

    1. Leeanne

      Definitely go! Ice Castles is super fun.

  13. Cathy

    The ice castles are so beautiful! I especially like the colored ones! Your photos are great! It might be worth a trip, and the cold, to see this! Thanks

    1. Leeanne

      The LED lights are inside the ice and change colors constantly, it’s really fun to see the changing colors. I’m sure if you make the trip to Ice Castles that you would really enjoy them.

  14. Denise

    This looks awesome! I have never heard of ice castles that you can visit! They do look magical!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, these ice castles really are magical.

  15. Alexis Farmer

    Wow, ice castles look super cool! I’m going to have to check out the one in Wisconsin, I think that’s probably the closest one to me.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will love the Wisconsin Ice Castles location. They are all so unique. I’d love to hear about your adventure.

  16. Lee Anne

    I love all the lights! and I would love to try the slide! It looks like so much fun.

    1. Leeanne

      The slide at Ice Castles is super fun. I’m sure you and your kids would love it.

  17. John

    These are really amazing Leeanne. I didn’t realise they were a thing in the US. I’ve never been to anything like them.

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks, John. They really are amazing and definitely worth a visit to.

  18. KENDRA

    I need to make a point of visiting the Ice Castles here in Colorado sometime soon! So beautiful! I love the pictures you shared!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, definitely, Kendra. I’m sure you and your family will love them.

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