Grab your bucket list. Right now, go and grab it. Now, somewhere close to the top-let's say in the #1 spot-add "Explore an ice castle." There, you've added it. Next step-do it...as soon as possible! There's still time this winter even, if you hurry.
With four life-size ice castles to choose from across the United States, I know you'll be able to find one in a destination you've always wanted to go. Here inUtah this year we are having a beautifully warm winter. Unfortunately, spring temperatures in February aren't ideal for keeping an ice castle frozen. Ours this year was only open for 2 short weekends. I guarantee this isn't the case for anyone back east though. The ice castles in Minnesota, New Hampshire, andVermont are still open, still taking visitors, and still enchanting.
To tell you what to expect when you make your ice castle pilgrimage, I want you to close your eyes and picture yourself in the middle of a magical icy fairy tale. Designed to feel like you're in an old European village square, there are ice, water, and fire features around corners in every direction. To the right, slides and tunnels to climb up, crawl through, and amble down. To the left the romance of a double spouting water fountain. Straight ahead slot canyons and narrow passageways to explore and get lost in. It's a child's paradise, for young and old alike.
As a parent taking my four young boys to this winter wonderland, safety was a big concern. Ice, obviously, can be very slippery. I was so impressed that throughout the ice castle, there is staff positioned to quickly and unobtrusively break up the ice as it gets packed down and starts to become slick. Even more than knowing my kids wouldn't fall on the ice, it assured me that I myself wouldn't be taking an embarrassing spill to the ground in front of half the population of the Wasatch Front.
The crowds were thick the night we made our visit, but it was the opening weekend, and as I said, here in Utah the ice castle was only open for two weekends. I've read that the other 3 locations do have heavy traffic on the weekends, but I imagine as it gets later in the season, the crowds are dying down. Even with the crowds, though, we felt comfortable to spread out and let the kids roam a little way away from us without fear of losing them. We got to explore everything we wanted to with only one short line to wait in for one of the slot canyons. If I had anything negative to say, it would be a caution to any non-Frozen lovers: the soundtrack is appropriately playing at full volume for all hear to hear.
I know when I posted before, so many of you said, "I've heard of these and want to do it some day!" I'm telling you, it's something worth doing right now! If you have one within driving distance, why not make it a weekend adventure and spend time exploring in the area. I promise you won't regret it. The castles in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Vermont are scheduled to be open through March 7. If you do plan to go, make sure to check their website for updates, but with all the snow the east has been enjoying, I'm sure they will be open until that day.