We recently went on a family ski trip to Park City, and I’ll be sharing more details and planning tips on that soon. While we were in Utah, since my parents don’t ski anymore, I wanted to take the family somewhere we could all enjoy = Ice Castles.
We had visited the Ice Castles 2 years prior, also during a January ski trip. That time, we literally drove through a white-out snowstorm. Our car almost got stuck in a ditch requiring the assistance of kind strangers to push us out and my poor mom panicked in the backseat urging us to “turn back turn back”. But once we arrived, despite the snow and sleet coming down on us and below freezing temps – we had an amazing time. So, naturally, everyone was up for it again!
There were several unique areas to explore within the Ice Castle. The kids and adults all had so much fun discovering little nooks and suprises throughout the Ice Castles.
The slides were a huge hit!
This time, we lucked out both with timing and weather. The construction of the Ice Castles is a weather dependent process. If it is warm, it slows the building process. Typically, it seems like they try to open towards the end of December, but this year they had to push back the opening date for several locations. This year, the Midway location opened on Saturday January 5th, just one day prior to our return home (and they are closed Sunday).
To learn more about the Ice Castles, you can click here. Some basic facts:
- Ice Castles started in 2011
- There are currently 6 locations: 1) Midway, Utah; 2) Dillon, Colorado; 3) Edmonton, Alberta; 4) Excelsior, Minnesota; 5) Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; 6) Lincoln NH.
- Each castle is over 20 million pounds
- 12,000 icicles are grown everyday
Here are some tips for enjoying the Ice Castles:
- When to visit: Visiting during the daytime and evening are both spectacular. At night, there are many colorful lights that enhance the structures. To get the best of both worlds, I recommend arriving about 1 hour prior to sunset, so that you can experience the Ice Castles in daylight, dusk and darkness. We arrived at 4:30pm
- How to dress: Dress warm and appropriate for snow/ ice. The walking area inside the Ice Castles is made of crushed ice, so we boots are recommended. If you want to enjoy the slides, snowpants will help keep you drive.
- Taking Photos: Photos are encouraged but they ask that you leave photography equipment such as tripods and lights at home. Try to use a camera with good low light capabilities (we used our Fuji X70) or the Iphone camera works decently.
- Strollers: If you have children who are still in strollers, they recommend bringing a small sled to pull children instead of a stroller.
- Night visits with children: If you visit during the nighttime / in the dark, consider bringing glow sticks/ glow necklaces for your kids to wear, so that you can easily see them if they run ahead. There are a lot of people at the Ice Castles and even though it is lit at night, it is still quite dark in some areas. It didn’t occur to me to bring them this time, but I would bring them next time.
I hope you are able to visit the Ice Castles! If you do, please share your experience below!