It’s that time of year when everything is cold, days are short, and the excitement of Christmas has passed. What can you do with your family other than hide inside and fantasize about spring?
My suggestion? Bundle up and experience a little magic at Ice Castles in Eden Prairie!
Ice Castles is back in Eden Prairie (yay!), and Friday night I had the fun experience of attending of media preview with my kids.
Last year my family and I visited Ice Castles in Eden Prairie for a breathtaking and unique experience we’ll never forget, and we were so excited to return this year!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Ice Castles is an acre-sized, all-ice castle in Eden Prairie, MN. It’s one of four Ice Castles in America, and is located at 17970 East Miller Parkway, Eden Prairie, MN 55347.
Last year I wrote a full review with tips, and basically updated it for this year’s review.
What’s new this year?
The ice features are definitely different. There are a couple of slides. One is longer that you can only access by crawling through a 3 or 4-foot ice tunnel, where then you can stand up with a mat that they provide to access the slide. My kids went down the slide but complained that it hurt their backside to go down. I think the long length of it contributed to that – since they had to push themselves down a bit. Thankfully there is also a shorter slide that’s out in the open.
Other cool new features (no pun intended) include some lighted effects inside ice creations, like this round feature which I’ll call a “bowl” since inside is water and underwater lights that illuminate it. It was so pretty! My kids were fascinated with the water inside. It was tucked away in an ice “room,” and I thought it was the best place to take a photo.
And of course, there’s Olaf!
The best features from last year are back – the Enchanted Frozen Sisters (and Kristoff!), the fire performers, the concessions.
I LOVED listening to the majestic music they had playing in the background while watching the fire performers.
You can take pictures with the frozen characters, and there was an assistant to help take pictures for you with your camera.
The concessions include some neat items – winter-themed cookies, cake pops (I HAD to have a vanilla one – you can also get chocolate), hot chocolate, Caribou coffee, and hot apple cider. The kids each picked out their own cookie and shared a hot chocolate with me.
Here’s a view of the menu for an idea of the prices.
When is it open?
Ice Castles is open now (opening day was Jan 23rd) through March. Hours are:
M – Th: 3pm to 9pm
Friday: 3pm to 10pm
Sat: Noon to 10pm
Sunday: noon – 8pm
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. Kids and families squeezing, squishing, sliding, stomping and crawling through parts of the stunning, Narnia-like display.
- Amazing ice features including archways, tunnels, slot canyons, ice slide, caverns, glacial waterfalls and a frozen throne.
- Natural frozen ice tones during the day; colorful LED-lit ice set to music at night.
- The kids getting to meet the Enchanted Frozen Sisters from Tiny Diva Princess Party, and seeing a talented fire performer from Insphyre Performance.
- Having a good reason to brave the cold for a little while – a unique experience for all.
What You Should Know:
- 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 warm up in their cars, waiting for family members who are 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.
- In the evening, the lights go on and off and change color inside the ice, so if you’re planning to take pictures, you may have to wait until the lights cycle to a brighter intensity. I had to wait a few times through some darker moments.
Tips for visiting:
- To see all the entertainment (princesses, fire performers), I recommend visiting on a Saturday afternoon, 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 last year (the first Saturday) and we enjoyed it despite some crowds. The Enchanted Frozen Sisters are scheduled to be at the Ice Castles on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 – 5pm, and the Fire Performers on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 – 8:30pm.
- To avoid the crowds (last year there were 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 last year. 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.
- Bring cash for the concessions. You’ll probably at least want something warm to drink, and the cookies and cake pops are SO tempting! Note the menu above for prices.
- Get your tickets in advance. The line for buying tickets was long when we visited last year, 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 when purchased online, and $10 – 18 for standby admission.
- Save $2 off general admission with the code TCKidsClub from Twin Cities Kids Club when purchased online.
- Save 15% with code USFamily online.
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.
Read also Aimee’s review on the Twin Cities Kids Club blog!
To see what Ice Castles looks like during the day, see my review from last year.
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.)