It is so fun to meet up with my fellow family travel bloggers when they visit Utah! When I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by Shannon from 100 Routes Across America and Bethaney from Flashpacker Family about visiting the Ice Castles together in Midway, Utah, I was all in. The Midway Ice Castles were already on my short list.
As it turned out, my 11-year-old daughter and I were the only representatives from my family that night, but the five kids in our whole blogger group ranged from toddlers to teens. None of us had ever seen the ice castles in any of the four locations: Midway, Utah; Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Lincoln, New Hampshire; and Edmonton, Alberta.
What we found was astonishing. The Midway Ice Castles are big! They are literally all ice and snow that has been fashioned into beautiful shapes and features. There are several rooms, tunnels and other fun areas to explore, all surrounding a spacious courtyard with an ice fountain. It was big enough that it took us all at least an hour to explore it all on a less-crowded evening. It was small enough that we trusted the two 11-year-old girls to explore on their own and not worry about losing them for long.
Inside the ice castles, we found two ice slides, one for big kids and adults and another for little kids, which were a favorite of the girls. I was wowed by the Dome Room where gorgeous and dramatic icicles hung overhead. Narrow tunnels and a Slot Canyon were fun ways to explore.
The ice castles were colorfully lighted and a Frozen-esque soundtrack played over loudspeakers. Cocoa and cookies were available for sale inside. Outside, a professional photographer was available to take family and group photos. At some locations, Elsa from Disney’s Frozen makes appearances on select dates and times!
Having a great experience at the ice castles takes a little planning. Here’s what you need to know:
Buy tickets in advance
Buying your tickets online is less expensive and is the only way to guarantee that you’ll get in on a crowded day. To buy your tickets, go to www.icecastles.com and choose your location. Then scroll down to the calendar and choose your date and time. Your reservation time is a 30 minute arrival window. Don’t cut it close because the ice castles do not guarantee entry if you arrive late.
I purchased our tickets on the same day as our visit. However, popular dates and times may sell out days, or even weeks in advance in some locations. Prime Saturday evening times are already gone for the season at the Midway Ice Castles.
Go on a weekday
We visited the Midway Ice Castles on a Wednesday night, and if it had been any more crowded, it might have been less fun. Lines for entry, narrow passages, the Dome Room, Slot Canyon and little kids’ slide ebbed and flowed – sometimes long and sometimes no line at all. The line for the big ice slide was consistently about 10-15 minutes during our visit.
It is also less expensive to visit the Midway Ice Castles on a weekday. The online weekday price is nearly half the weekend standby price. The savings can be significant when you multiply them by every member of your family.
Go at night
The best time to see the ice castles is after dark. Colorful choreographed lighting decorates all the fascinating frozen features, and it wouldn’t be the same in daylight. However, if bed time, travel time and crowds will make it difficult to go at night, I would rather see the ice castles during the day rather than not at all.
Dress for the weather
This is an outdoor activity, purposely set up in cold, wintry places, so be sure to wear warm coats, gloves, hats, boots, socks, etc. My daughter and I also used air-activated hand warmers. You’ll have a lot more fun if your family is dressed for outdoor winter fun.
Wear snow boots
The walking surface inside the Midway Ice Castles is loose snow and ice chunks. Throughout our visit, I noticed employees digging and chunking at the ground with tools to make it safer for walking. However, it will still be uneven, wet and cold. My daughter and I wore sturdy shoes, but not snow boots and our shoes filled with snow quickly. Not wearing snow boots was the one thing I wish we’d done differently.
Disclosure: My family was hosted by Midway Ice Castles for the purpose of review. As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Good to Know
- Midway, Utah
- Eden Prairie, Minnesota
- Lincoln, New Hampshire
- Edmonton, Alberta
When: About Mid-January through early March, depending on weather. In 2016, the ice castles are closed on Sunday in Midway, Utah. Elsewhere, they are open on Sunday, but closed on Tuesday.
How Much: Prices start at US$6.95 for children and US$9.95 for adults. Advance online tickets are less expensive than standby tickets. Weekday tickets are less expensive than weekend tickets. Children ages 0-3 are FREE.
How Long: 1-2 hours
Amenities: refreshments, porta-potties, free parking, photo service, gift shop
Planning a winter trip to Midway, Utah?
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- Snow Tubing at Soldier Hollow
- The Homestead Crater
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- Resort Review: Zermatt Resort
- Our Utah destination page
- Our Utah for Families Pinterest board