“Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.” ~ Werner Herzog
The Ice Castles
Nestled in the White Mountains, in a little town called Woodstock, is a frozen tundra of fairy tale goodness that pops up every January and lasts until it begins to get warm. It brings some much needed wintery cheer after the holiday blues begin to set in. In fact the castles would even put Elsa to shame!
The Ice castles, which are located through out the United States in four different locations, began as a father trying to entertain his children on snowy days and get them outside the house. What began as an ice cave soon morphed into more elaborate creations that the whole neighborhood, and eventually town, could enjoy.
Wanting to bring that cheer to others, in 2011 The Ice Castles were founded, and you can now visit them in Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin, and my home state of New Hampshire.
Our Visit To The Ice Castles
I visited last year, in a snow storm, the first time I had gone since it first opened. It is about an hour or so from my hometown, driving through the stunning, and at the time, VERY snowy White Mountains. Tickets do have an entry time, but we arrived with plenty of time and made our way through.
The moment you get their even before going through admissions you are struck with awe by the monstrous size and beauty of the Ice Castles and the lights glowing and changing color. It is incredible to think it is all made by hand and lots and lots of patience!
Once you go through the archway, you arrive in a courtyard and much like a real castle, you can go anywhere your heart desires. The castle had multiple levels, which was both cool and a little scary, as you are literally walking on a bridge of ice. There are chairs and even an “Iron Chair” made of ice for Game of Thrones lovers, which of course I needed a picture on!
They had a couple small slides which were perfect for kiddos my niece’s age, but were fun to go down even as an adult. And then they had a bigger slide, with a long line which did move fairly quickly. My brother and nephews did that one while my niece and I watched and they actually raced, thought being the good aunt I am, I could not determine a winner, but my nephews definitely won!
After exploring for a couple hours, we decided to get some hot chocolate and (for the kiddos) cookies, before we snapped some more pics, did a few more runs on the smaller slide, we said Good-bye to the castles and headed home. It was such a fun activity and it definitely gives you something to look forward to in the chilly dreary cold winter months after the holidays!
What You Need to Know when Visiting
Each castle is comprised of 20 million pounds of ice, with 12,000 pounds of icicles grown every SINGLE day. LED lights are strewn through out creating a cool light show as you walk through. Every year they change the design slightly and while I haven’t been this year, I have been told that they are following STRICT COVID procedures, which you can also read up on their website.
While you can purchase tickets on site, if they are not sold out, I highly recommend purchasing online, as they are usually cheaper and you are guaranteed a ticket. There is a different price for adults and children and tickets are more expensive on the weekends and holidays. I highly recommend going at dusk, so you have a chance to see the frozen creations in both the day and the night.
They do have some light snacks on site, as well as activities from slides, to water fountains, and even have a photographer to take your picture. I recommend dressing warmly and if you want to slide or crawl through the caves and tunnels I highly recommend snow pants and water proof clothing. I was actually quite warm. The Ice Castles also over ALL the photo ops you can want. Definitely many “Do it for the Gram moments!
Have you been to the Ice Castles? Have you ever been to anything like this?