Last night the Twin Cities Kids Club crew attended a media preview night at the Ice Castles at Miller Park in Eden Prairie. I had never been to the Ice Castles display, so I had no idea what to expect the experience to be like. I thought we would spend our time simply walking around and observing the lighted ice formations while trying to keep our kiddos close by. However, I was pleasantly surprised when my kids found an exciting adventure all on their own. And, honestly, the whole experience made me fall in love with Minnesota winters all over again.
Ice Castles in Eden Prairie opens today to the public, and the event runs through March 5th. While I typically avoid bringing my littles to outdoor events in the winter, I am so glad that I decided to be adventurous and bundle up the Farley crew for this special event last night. The acre-sized Ice Castle at Miller Park features glacial waterfalls, ice slides, caverns, tunnels, archways, and a beautiful light show. My husband and I enjoyed observing the cool ice formations, and the littles had a blast sliding down the ice slides and exploring all of the tunnels. Our family spent a few minutes watching the fire performers show off their mesmerizing tricks, and we even ran into Anna and Kristoff in one of the ice caves. Kristoff claimed that he built the amazing frozen castle, but my daughter was pretty certain that it was Elsa’s doing.
Lisa visited the Ice Castles last year with her family, so I was really glad that she offered me some good tips for making sure my family was dressed properly for the event. A few things to note are that you must dress for the elements, and be prepared to trudge through a few inches of snow and ice chunks during your visit. I saw a few people walking around with ski poles to keep their balance, which is a great idea! There is also no warming house on the grounds, but Taste of Love Bakery does have a concession stand open every day (except Tuesdays), and you can purchase a yummy treat or drink to help you warm up.
I could go on and try to describe how beautiful the Ice Castle was and how the experience of exploring the lighted ice tunnels and caves was pretty magical for my kiddos, but it truly is something you have to see and experience for yourself. To make sure you get the most out of your winter adventure at the Ice Castle, I’ve put together a few helpful tips for families:
1. Dress warm. You can spend as much time in the Ice Castle as you would like, so make sure you put on all of your winter gear. We spent almost an hour inside the castle, and even though the kiddos’ cheeks were rosy, they wanted to stay longer. You will want your kids to wear snow pants because there are tunnels they can crawl through and ice slides to zip down on.
2. Wear boots. The ground is all snow and ice chunks, so you will not enjoy walking around the castle unless you are wearing your winter boots. Some people even used ski poles to keep their balance!
3. Do not bring a stroller. I would not recommend bringing a stroller for the littles unless you have one that is suitable for bumpy terrains. We used our Ergobaby carrier for our three-month-old and covered her up with our 7 AM Enfant baby carrier cover. Baby stayed warm, she kept me warm, and my hands were free to help my 4-year-old trek through the snow. The Ice Castles website also has a great FAQ page that you can check out if you have questions about bringing someone in a wheelchair or towing your children in a sled.
4. Bring cash. There are concessions onsite, and if your kids are anything like mine, they will beg you for a cookie or some hot chocolate. I made the mistake of leaving my purse in the car so I didn’t have any cash on me.
5. Take pictures. The Ice Castle is a paradise for Instagram lovers! Bring a camera or snap some pictures with your phone because the sites are truly beautiful. Plus, you might even run into some Enchanted Frozen Sisters, and your kiddos will definitely want a picture with them!
6. Don’t forget about potty breaks! Before I leave the house with my kids, I always make sure they take a potty break. No parent wants to be stranded somewhere with a child who suddenly has to go with no bathroom in sight. I didn’t even think to see if the Ice Castles had a bathroom on the grounds. But even if there was a porta potty onsite, I’m sure most of you would agree that you’d rather have the kiddos go at home anyway.
7. Enjoy the sites. Take a moment of silence to hold your loved one’s or kiddo’s hand and just enjoy the beauty of the display. Winter in Minnesota can be harsh, but oh my, it is also so enchanting.
8. Plan your visit. Be sure to visit the Ice Castles website before you plan your visit to learn more about when the fire performers and the Enchanted Frozen Sisters of Tiny Diva Princess Party will be making appearances. There will also be special Winter Star Watch Parties with Mike Lynch at the Ice Castles on a couple of evenings.
This morning when my son woke up, the first thing he mentioned was how much fun he had at the Ice Castles last night. We looked at some of the pictures I took on my phone and talked about how exciting the slides were and how awesome it was that we got to meet Anna and Kristoff. We really enjoyed our evening together as a family, and even my engineer husband was impressed with the display.
There is an admission fee to attend the Ice Castles in Eden Prairie, but Twin Cities Kids Club is so excited to share our special deal with you so you and your family can enjoy this beautiful display! With our deal, you get $2.00 off each ticket price when you purchase your tickets online. Check out our site here for all of the details. Children ages 0-3 are FREE!
-Aimee Farley, twincities.webtrisdigital.com and WhyILeftMyJob.com