It will strike most toddler parents as a miracle that we have successfully managed to avoid the movie Frozen. Based on what I know, Ice Castles feels like a fairy-tale magical world created by Elsa. The pale blue towers of icicles were breathtaking, even for someone who had already seen tons of pictures online. If you are looking for a great way to get outside and enjoy the winter cold with your toddlers, this is it! There are crevasses, tunnels, slides, princesses, and twists and turns in a stunning environment like I’ve never seen before. You might just forget that it is bellow freezing and gets dark at 4:30!
We skipped the luge-like side because there was a long line, Benton was too short to ride and couldn’t ride in my lap. Not to worry, there was a kid sized slide that we went down, after a brief incident of Benton getting stuck on a slippery patch in the tunnel on the walk up and crying until I was able to come assist. Climbing up the tunnels to get to the slide was tricky for me and might be impossible if you are much bigger than my 5’2″ (on a good day). We had to work through some tears at the top, but boy oh boy, that ice slide was awesome and Benton was ready to go again as soon as we flew off the bottom.
I just love this last picture with Wyatt’s little ears in the corner
While there were a lot of people, it never felt crowded. If getting that family photo is your thing, there were plenty of spots to snap next year’s Christmas card with out teams of strangers in the background.
Here are our hot tips on how to make the best of this cool place:
Make sure you buy your tickets in advance. There were attendants at the entrance asking if we had tickets and were turning away cars that hadn’t already purchased them. Be sure to show up during your half hour time slot window too. It would be such a bummer to get there late and not be let in.
Dress warmly and wear boots. I don’t think my husband took me seriously when I said “wear your snowboard gear” and wore sneakers. It was 25° and even though we were all bundled, we lasted just over an hour (some of that was related to toddler nap time). The ground is covered with a few inches of a snowy ice chip mixture that feels like you’re walking in sand and your toes will thank you for wearing boots.
Bring a thermos of your own hot chocolate or coffee. There is a cute hut that sells hot chocolate, but $4 for a teeny cup doesn’t feel worth it, unless of course you are freezing and there are no other options.
Bring a sled on a rope. We saw a ton of toddler parents pulling their charges on sleds and I definitely understand why. The snow can be hard to walk in, there is a lot of space to explore, and it is way easier than carrying your flailing toddler when they start breaking down.
Show up ready to play! Always the most important part of any good adventure. This place is so beautiful and we had so much fun exploring, meeting princesses, looking for polar bears and hiding from dragons.
It is definitely a long day of driving if you’re coming from the Lowell/Boston area and making the visit in a day trip. If I were to do it again, I would make a weekend out of visiting the White Mountains and include a trip to the Ice Castles. We only drove through the local town on our way in and out but it looks like a perfect New England mountain town that would make a great winter weekend getaway. Now we have over a year to plan our full weekend stay next year!
Tickets were provided by Ice Castles but all thoughts and opinions are my own.