If you live in a winter climate near one of the six Ice Castles locations, chances are you’ve seen some colorful winter wonderland photos come across your social media feed. These magical twinkling castles built of ice were imagined and created by Brent Christensen. He started out by building miniature versions of today’s castles in his backyard for his daughter. These breathtaking creations are straight out of a fairy tale. So what is there to know about visiting Ice Castles? Read on for our essential guide to visiting Ice Castles.
Where in the World are these Ice Castles?
The first large Ice Castle was built in 2009 and since then Christensen has built Ice Castles in a handful of locations around the United States and Canada each winter. In 2018 these magical Ice Castles can be found in six locations — Midway, Utah; Dillon, Colorado; Stillwater, Minnesota; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Lincoln, New Hampshire; and Edmonton, Alberta. Every Ice Castle is different and the locations do change from year to year.
The date that each Ice Castle location opens each winter is weather dependent. The Castles remain open as long as the weather is cold enough, typically until mid-February to early March. Please check the Ice Castles website for updates.
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The Dillon Ice Castle opened the end of December 2018 for your explorations on Mondays and Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 12 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 8 p.m.
More about the Dillon Ice Castles
The Dillon Ice Castle happens to be located about an hour drive from our Colorado home, and fairly accessible from most Colorado family-friendly ski resorts. We made the trek over in a snowstorm and thoroughly enjoyed exploring ice caves, whizzing down ice slides while taking in the magical colors and ambiance of the Ice Castle. You may even discover an ice cave with thousands of glistening icicles forming a ceiling or a colorful fountain set in ice. Here’s what to expect and tips for visiting Ice Castles to make the most of the experience.
How are the Ice Castles Built?
Though the Ice Castles seem like something that Elsa may have magically conjured, they are actually built from icicles on approximately one acre of space outdoors in cold climates. Crews “grow” and then “harvest” the icicles. The icicles are placed throughout the Ice Castle and eventually become a part of the one structure. The castle has a blue glow, except where shimmering lights change the color.
3 Tips for Visiting Ice Castles
1. Plan and purchase tickets early.
The longevity of the Ice Castles is weather dependent. Thus planning your visit and purchasing tickets early is important. Tickets are for a half hour time slot. You need to arrive during this time slot and stay as long as you like. Though there is no re-entry once you leave. We spent about an hour of fun at the Dillon Ice Castle before calling it a night.
We decided on a 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. time slot to catch the sunset and the shimmery ice lights as day turned to dusk. It also was a bit warmer. But on the weekends there are shows such as fire performances during later time frames. And, surely the Ice Castle is less busy during the week.
2. Dress warmly.
The more warmly you dress, the longer you will be able to enjoy the Ice Castle. Once you enter you can stay until close. But realistically your visit will probably be around an hour or so. Wear snow pants, gloves, hat, warm coat, scarf or neck gator, warm socks and snow boots with good grip. You will be walking or running on snow, or sliding ice for the duration of your visit. For more ideas on proper dress see our ski packing guide
3. Bring a camera.
A cell phone with a good camera works fine though a better camera may capture the magical light. You will want to capture the wintry beauty of the Ice Castles. But don’t forget to have fun while you are busy capturing the moment on camera. Our kids barely slowed down enough to snap a photo.
For more ice castle tips read Fitness TravelingMom’s 6 Tips for Visiting the Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Have you visited one of the Ice Castles or experienced anything similar? Please share your experience with us below!