Ice Castles make a wonderland out of winter


Annie Bai

ICY EXCURSION. The Minnesota Ice Castles attract families from all over North America with its astonishing creations, and unique activities.

Each year since 2011, Ice Castles brings a winter wonderland dream to life for families in five cities across North America. Ice Castles features ice slides, caverns, crawl tunnels, lantern passage, and their Polar Pub with one of the five locations being in New Brighton, MN.

The founder Brent Christensen originally built an ice cave in his front yard to entertain his six children, but as word spread around town kids from all over the neighborhood began to gather at the winter playground, calling it an “ice castle.” What started as a simple icy creation in Christensen’s front yard became a nationwide winter attraction.

General admission from Friday to Sunday is $22 for ages 12 and up and $15 for ages 4 to 11. Weekday pricing is $15 and $11 respectively. Operating hours depend on the location, day and weather but the attraction typically opens at noon and into the evening.

It is recommended to visit the castles after sunset when the sky gets dark as the colorful lights will be more visible.

The entrance to the castles featured a large archway that led to a winding path opening up to a landscape covered in icy castles illuminated by color-changing lights. There were three slides of various sizes each made out of ice; eager visitors lined up for a turn while their families waited with cameras at the bottom.

Visit the castles after sunset when the sky gets dark as the colorful lights will be more visible.

The ice castles themselves looked more like ice mountains and, upon closer inspection, the structures appeared to be formed out of tens of thousands of individual icicles. In between ice tunnels were elaborate ice sculptures of astronauts and animals which were popular photo spots. There was even a bean bag tossing game where the target boards were made out of ice.

Campfires are strategically placed around the area for visitors to warm up after playing in the snow.

It took about an hour to get through all of the main attractions while taking photos but once the ticket is paid for, visitors can stay as long as they want, which makes the price reasonable.

A majority of the visitors were families as the activities were catered more towards children, but the slides and tunnels appeared to be equally as fun for older visitors.

Ice Castles is definitely a unique and visually pleasing experience, especially for those that have never seen such large ice structures.