The Ice Castles are a national company that builds castles made of ice every winter around the United States. We are lucky enough to have one about 40 minutes away and really enjoyed going to see them this year. It was our first time seeing them and here are some tips if you’re planning on going.
1. Plan Your Visit for Nighttime
We decided that going when the ice castles are dark is the best way to experience them. They light up through the ice and give a beautiful glow to the whole experience. Try to pick a time slot that coincides with sunset. The earlier you can go the better because the later it gets, the more people will be coming in. We spent about an hour at the Ice Castles and had tickets for 5:30 (sun sets around that time). By the time we left at 6:30 it was getting super crowded and hard to move around so we were glad we came earlier.
2. Wear Boots
I didn’t realize what it would be like actually inside the castles. But we were so glad we wore our snow boots! The ground of the ice castles is pebbled ice essentially. As they carve the castles, the scraps of ice just fall down to the ground and that is what you walk on. So sometimes it is slippery, sometimes you can sink, sometimes it’s hard ice chunks and other times it is more like slush. Just make sure you wear boots and maybe even snowpants, especially for kids.
3. No Strollers
The ice castles website strongly suggests NOT bringing your stroller. And we saw at least 3 people with strollers that were not having a good time. Because the entire ground is covered in a few inches of icy slush, strollers are not going to be your friend. We took our daughter in her LilleBaby carrier and she did great. For kids a little bit bigger we suggest bringing a sled to pull them around on the ice. In fact we saw a few families pulling their kids and thought it was a great idea.
4. Wear Phone-Friendly Gloves
You are going to want to be taking lots of pictures and videos while you’re at the ice castles. Make sure that you’re wearing gloves that are friendly with your phone. You can either go with touch screen gloves or fingerless gloves or mittens.
5. Be Prepared for Lines
Because the ice castles are so dependent on weather, people really crowd to see them before they are gone. Along with this, going earlier in the season is often better because they may close earlier than anticipated in the season due to weather.
Once you’re inside the ice castles (which will probably have had a line to even enter!) there are lots of places to explore, photo opportunities and slides to go on. All of these things have lines so just be prepared to wait. And if you have kids, try to prep them by letting them know that they might need to wait in long lines to do some of the activities.
The ice castles are a really fun winter-time activity. They are completely different each year due to locations and weather. Make sure to go earlier in the season to ensure that you get to see them before they melt away. To check out locations and order your tickets, check out the ice castles website here.