We didn't know such a thing existed and stumbled upon information about the ice castle near us. It is the icy substance of fairy tales in real life. The castle is carefully constructed. A thin structure of what look like rods are constructed and then they "plant" individual icicles - by hand - 15,000 per day in the beginning. Then they hose the initial icicles with water which freezes, and then more hosing --- over and over until the icicles are thick and big and magnificent. There are "rooms" within the castle, passageways, nooks and crannies for posing and hiding, slides, a massive ice chair fit for an ice queen, lights, fountains, a maze, etc. The colored lights change with the music. When the music is heavy and mysterious, the lights tend to be darker and more intense, but when the music is sweeter, the lights are lighter colors. Mostly the ice is blue, though, as you can see in the photos.
There are ice castles around the country (USA) and more being planned. The one we visited is in Midway, Utah. Here is the link for their website, and you can check to see if there is a castle near you on the site. You can buy tickets online, or you can purchase them at the door, but if you wait to buy them at the door, you may have to wait as tickets are purchased for particular entrance times. You can stay as long as you like, until the end of the evening, but the staggered start times mean that there is less of a pile up at the entrance. There is food available (hot cocoa is appropriate) and a gift shop for souvenirs. Be sure to dress warmly and do not wear heels. The ground is icy -- you'd think that would be obvious, but it really is slippery. For younger children, you can bring a sled and pull them on that instead of a stroller. We chose to go on a Friday night because it is one of the nights that the fire dancers perform - awesome show (see our previous blog.)
We spent two hours at the castle and did not get bored. Temps were in the upper 20s and we remained plenty warm while there. It was a cloudy night without wind. If you are looking for an outdoor winter activity, this could be just what you are looking for. The nine year old with us was disappointed when we said it was time to leave, but he was tuckered out and quiet on the ride home.
If you've been to an ice castle, we would LOVE to hear your story and see your photos! As a photographer, I wish that I could have brought my tripod and had the place to myself, but with that said, I took almost 400 photos. With the lights changing and the people moving, it was difficult to compose shots. I would wait and wait for a particular color but it seemed to know I was waiting and refused to show itself until I put the camera down.
Enjoy the slide show!