Ice Castles Worthy of Queen Elsa

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Ice castles are now open in six North American locations (Credit: Icecastles.com)

Always wanted to experience the magical winter wonderland that Queen Elsa created in Disney's animated movie Frozen? Then you are in luck. Thanks to Utah-based company “Ice Castles,” acre-sized frozen fortresses are now a reality in six of North America's coldest regions: Dillon, CO, Excelsior, MN, Lake Geneva, WI, North Woodstock, New Hampshire, Midway, UT and Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

Ice castles are all-natural structures, built entirely from icicles (Credit: Icecastles.com)

The seasonal attractions, usually open from January to early March each year, are the brainchild of Brent Christensen. In 2011, the father of six, who had just relocated from sunny California to snowy Utah, was looking for a way to entertain the kids during a particularly harsh winter day. The ice fort he constructed in his backyard was a hit, not just with his own kids but youngsters from all across town. The smiles and joy his simple idea brought to the children's faces made Christensen realize that his winter invention could do the same for families across the country, and "Ice Castles" was born.

Every year, at the onset of winter, the Ice Castles team heads to a select few North American cities, known for their frigid winters, to set up drip pipes, a tool used to encourage the formation of long icicles. Once enough ice has been formed to support a stable structure, a group of 20 to 40 artists descend upon the region and painstakingly hand carve the icicles into archways, caves, tunnels, and even fun slides. The creations are coated with a layer of water which, once frozen, acts like cement and binds the castle together. On average, each castle comprises about 25 million pounds of ice and takes two months to carve. Once ready, the structures are fitted with thousands of colorful LED lights, further enhancing their magical appearance, especially during the evenings. On predetermined dates, visitors can also enjoy spectacular fire shows and take photos with the resident "snow princess."

The ice castles can change dramatically depending on the weather (Credit: Icecastles.com)

What makes the structures fascinating is their potential to change on an almost daily basis depending on the weather. A colder winter means more icicles to carve making visits later in the season especially rewarding. An unusually warm spell could render the magnificent structures unstable for visitors – or even worse, transform them into a messy puddle – cutting the already short season further. Visitors are therefore advised to check the company's website before heading over to the whimsical kingdoms. Also recommended is warm and waterproof clothing, given that, even in the coldest conditions, the icicles frequently drip. Most importantly, however, buy your tickets in advance, for entrance to these gorgeous structures, which attract thousands of visitors annually, are often sold-out months in advance!

Resources: Smithsonianmag.com, icecastles.com,atlasobscura.com.

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1112 Comments
  • samantha124
    samantha124Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 12:49 pm
    Same want to go
    • moonwatcher800
      moonwatcher800Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 9:02 am
      Thats SO cool I wanna go there
      • sushimaster
        sushimasterThursday, May 6, 2021 at 2:56 pm
        same I go every winter for a week
        • rosepinklegend3
          rosepinklegend3Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 7:27 am
          I've been here many times before and its AMAZING! It's so beautiful + Realistic and because I live in Utah we go here like every year and it just keeps getting more awesome than the year before!
          • kittylover111
            kittylover111Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 7:32 am
            omg wow. That's sooo crazy! It almost looks like Elsa's castle. Just more edgy and not on a big moutain. But that would be cool to live in!
            • nightcolony442
              nightcolony442Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:39 pm
              I know, when I saw the article I immediately had to check it out. also, if anyone loves any of the frozen movies, follow me?
            • yumgirly10
              yumgirly10Monday, March 1, 2021 at 1:45 pm
              wow... SO COOL!!!! I wanna go there
              • queensland881
                queensland881Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 5:22 pm
                I'm crazy about frozen 2
                • lenikhvadagiani
                  lenikhvadagianiTuesday, November 3, 2020 at 6:13 am
                  OMG... TAKE ME THERE RIGHT NOW!!!!
                  • heyheygirl
                    heyheygirlThursday, December 3, 2020 at 1:26 pm
                    Me too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                  • dragonhearted
                    dragonheartedTuesday, November 3, 2020 at 6:11 am
                    I've been there a couple of times in fact. that girl you see in the first picture? That's my SISTER.
                  • ya_boy_0_0
                    ya_boy_0_0Monday, October 19, 2020 at 8:41 am
                    I think it is so cool that the whey water freezes from a luiqet to a solid in cool shapes