The Ice Castles are here! In Eden Prairie, that is. For the second time in Minnesota, Brent Christensen & his crew built an ice castle made of thousands of icicles created by hand.
In 2013, after spending several years building ice castles around the country, California native Brent built one of his creations at the Mall of America. This year he did the same thing at Eden Prairie’s Miller Park, and it’s one of only four in the country (other Ice Castles are located in Utah, Vermont & New Hampshire).
Open now until March, the Ice Castles are a spectacle to see both day and night.
We visited at both times – we got to preview it an evening before it opened, and then came back on Saturday when everything was bustling (and the temperature was a little more bearable).
FIrst things first…this is a photo opportunity like no other so BRING YOUR CAMERA! When we walked in, pictures were being taken everywhere – families posing on the frozen “throne,” kids posing with Olaf the Snowman from Disney’s Frozen, and others snapping photos of beautiful features like waterfalls and tunnels.
Yes, there were tunnels and even a slide that drew quite a line of excited kids with their parents. Our 7-year-old went down twice…and I went down the second time (our 4-year-old chickened out so I motivated him by going down with him!). The slide is actually a tunnel going slightly down…we actually all had to scoot our way down. It was fun for the experience but I felt a little big for it to go down again.
Though Ice Castles are open every day, on select days you’ll also be entertained by both a singing Anna and Elsa (also available for photos!), as well as by a fire performer (fire spinning, hula and even fire breathing!).
Plus, there’s concessions available, provided by Dunn Bros. For as low as $1, you can get hot chocolate, hot cider, or cookies, as well as sandwiches (several dollars more).
At night, it’s a whole different experience. The LED lights inside the ice come on and it’s like a magical world, with different colors glowing from inside the many ice creations.
And of course, Anna and Elsa are right at home in their winter wonderland!
What You’ll Love:
- Plenty of unique picture opportunities, both day and night.
- Being among the many people smiling and posing for pictures and curiously exploring different ice formations and features.
- The kids getting to meet Anna and Elsa, and seeing a talented fire performer.
- Having a good reason to brave the cold for a little while – a unique experience for all.
What You Should Know: (updated)
- There is no place to warm up. There are outdoor benches to sit on when enjoying your concession food, and there are “porta-potties,” but there is no warming house. Lots of people were sitting in their cars warming up, waiting for family members who were in the ice castles.
- The ground is uneven and slippery. It’s full of crushed ice, and all the people traffic helps to pat it mostly down. However, wear good boots and assist children or anyone in your party who may be pregnant, elderly or disabled. You have to walk carefully, and you definitely can’t bring a stroller in here.
Tips for visiting: (update)
- To see all the entertainment (princesses, fire performers), I recommend visiting on a Saturday between 5:00 and 6:00, or whenever you can arrive in the daylight and stay until the lights go on for the full experience. It will be busier at this time (especially if the weather’s nice!), but this is when we went (the first Saturday) and we enjoyed it despite some crowds. Plus, if you arrive late on a Saturday afternoon, you’ll likely see it all, including the singing ice princesses and the fire performer.
- To avoid the crowds (currently they’re reporting waits of over an hour on weekends and holidays), I recommend visiting on a non-holiday weekday. You may not see all the entertainment, but you’ll get in and out quicker.
- If you do go during a busy time, AVOID the intersection of Eden Prairie Road & Arboretum Blvd, particularly going west on Arboretum Blvd. The traffic was insane here. Arrive and leave directly via Hwy 212 south of Miller Park. (So only use the Eden Prairie Road exit.) You may still deal with traffic but it should be better.
- BUNDLE UP. Even with several layers, we were ready to get warmed up in the car after about 40-45 minutes. That’s probably how long you should expect to stay, depending on the temperature.
- Bring your camera – the best camera you have, if possible.
- Get your tickets in advance. The line for buying tickets was long when we arrived, but if you bought your tickets online you can get your hand stamped and go right to the entry point. (Depending on crowds, there may still be a line, but at least you only have to wait on one line instead of two.)
Tickets & Discounts:
- Ticket prices range from $6.95 to $12.95. (There’s also a $25 individual season pass.)
- Cub Foods is offering coupons for $2 off general admission tickets
- Use the code DollarsSense for $2 off general admission when purchased online.
- When buying online, share on social media that you are buying tickets and you can get $2 off per ticket. According to the Ice Castles Facebook page: “The app will request permission to post to your Facebook account and once the post to FB has been made the discount will be applied. You can see this at the bottom of the screen.” (Thanks, Kat, for the tip!)
- I’ll be sharing any new discounts as they become available. Be sure to check back for updates!
For more information, visit the Ice Castles – Eden Prairie website. To learn more about the singing princesses visit TinyDivaPrincessParty.com, and to learn more about the fire performers go to insphyreperformance.com.
Miller Park is located at 17970 East Miller Parkway, Eden Prairie, MN 55347.
(Disclosure: We received complimentary admission to this event. However, all opinions are 100% mine.)