Ice Castles Worthy of Queen Elsa


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Ice castles are now open in six North American locations (Credit:

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:

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.

LED lights make evening visits even more magical (Credit:

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:

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!


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Reading Comprehension (9 questions)

  1. How can fans of Disney's animated movie Frozen, experience Queen Elsa's icy world?
  2. What is the main criteria for choosing a location for the frozen structures?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Why can the Ice Castle creators never have permanent locations for the...


Vocabulary in Context

"Every year, at the onset of winter, the team heads to a select few North American cities, known for their icy winters, to set up drip pipes, a tool used to encourage...

  • anihilator18
    anihilator18Monday, February 11, 2019 at 12:03 pm
    Joanna that can read sounds like Siri.
    • anihilator18
      anihilator18Monday, February 11, 2019 at 11:58 am
      same. my favorite season is summer tho. I really like the snow but in Tucson you don't really get that much snow. BTW Tucson is in Arizona.
      • adam Monday, February 11, 2019 at 11:45 am
        The caves are... amazing!
        • caliseMonday, February 11, 2019 at 11:41 am
          this is super cool i wish i can go there
          • ellieMonday, February 11, 2019 at 11:40 am
            the ice is so so so pretty.
            • star2007
              star2007Monday, February 11, 2019 at 11:32 am
              That’s cold!
              • rebelswakes31Monday, February 11, 2019 at 11:21 am
                i wish i could go to a ice castle
                • rebelswakes31Monday, February 11, 2019 at 11:17 am
                  wow thats so buitiful
                  • CrystalParadiseMonday, February 11, 2019 at 11:14 am
                    Awesome!!! Winter is my favorite season so I like this article. But it might be tricky in the summer.
                    • PersonMonday, February 11, 2019 at 11:13 am
                      Utah is the best!!!!!1
                      • anihilator18
                        anihilator18Monday, February 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm
                        I like the summer in Utah

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