I’ll be totally honest: winter is definitely not my favorite time of the year in terms of the weather. I get super jealous of those of you who live in places where it’s warmer in the winter and always wish I could just hop on a plane and visit for a weekend and soak up some vitamin D. I didn’t include ‘sunshine’ as part of my blog’s name for nothing! *wink* That being said, there are some things about winter that I do enjoy because there isn’t any other time of year to experience it (at least not where I live). One of these things are the Ice Castles in Midway, UT.
Ice castles. Doesn’t that sound like something directly out of Frozen? Even if you’re not a fan of the movie, I promise that these ice castles are breathtakingly beautiful and almost seem otherworldly. The castles are formed using icicles that have been grown by a crew and are slowly added to the structure and replaced throughout the event. By the time the structure is complete, the walls are 10 feet thick and about 20 feet high in some places!
The guy who created the Ice Castles concept is actually from my home town so most years they have an event here in Utah. However, they’ve slowly expanded over the years and are currently in Midway, UT; Lincoln, NH; Stillwater, MN; Wisconsin Dells, WI and Edmonton, AB (Canada). So if you live near any of these places, be sure to visit because this is truly an amazing and fun family experience you will not want to miss!
My family and I visited the Ice Castles last year in Midway and our kids loved it! We knew we wanted to go again this year so I signed up for their email list so I could get notices about when it would be open. When it did, we got tickets right away because they tend to sell out quick! We decided to go this last weekend as a family and invited my brother-in-law, his wife and their two kids to come with us. My kids love spending time with their cousins!
When you first walk into the Ice Castles through a somewhat narrow (but tall) tunnel, it literally makes you stop and just take a look around. It is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. The walls are so high and the ice is a beautiful blue color. If you look up through any of the tunnels, you will see hundreds of icicles above you. (Don’t worry, they won’t fall!) We went in the middle of the day. The sun was shining and it was surprisingly warm, which was great because then our kids could enjoy the time there. But they are also open until later on at night and if you go then, they have brightly colored lights that are inside the ice walls!
My kids’ favorite areas were the fountains, kid-sized ice slides and the ice benches. They also have an ice slide for bigger kids and adults, but be aware that they don’t allow lap riders or doubles. My brother-in-law’s family went down the slide but our kids were too little. It looked like so much fun and everyone who rode it had a smile on their face.
As far as what to wear and bring, I definitely recommend dressing your kids in snow pants, boots and gloves at the very least. The ground is uneven due to the ice and snow and came up to my ankles in some places. You won’t want to bring any strollers or wheelchairs because of this. I saw some families with small children bring sleds to pull their kids around on which I thought was a great idea. Also make sure to bring a camera because the opportunities for pictures are plentiful. There are so many little alcoves and tunnels and towers to take pictures of and in front of that you’ll be sorry if you miss it. I’d be cautious about bringing any super nice cameras though (refer to the comment about uneven ground).
If you’ve wanted to visit the Ice Castles, but haven’t been sure it’s worth the drive, take my word for it that you and your family will love it. You can check out ticket prices, hours, directions and more on their official website by clicking HERE.
Also, I’m super excited to be able to do a giveaway for 4 tickets to visit the Midway Ice Castles courtesy of the Ice Castles! These tickets will cover the entire cost of 4 tickets no matter the price, day or time you go. Please note that this giveaway is for the Ice Castles in Midway, Utah so please enter only if you are able to use them at this location.
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The giveaway will be open from today, January 4, 2017 to Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 12am MST. The winner will be announced on Facebook on Wednesday, January 11. Good luck!