Looking for something fun to do this winter? Or just obsessed with the movie Frozen? Drop by your nearest frozen Ice Castle location to experience winter at its finest; with 25 million pounds of hand placed icicles in the form of a gigantic castle/maze. Check out our video of our incredible Edmonton Ice Castles experience below. Or keep scrolling for more information.
The Edmonton Ice Castles Experience
Who doesn’t love ice castles? When we found out that someone had actually taken the time to sculpt and create a gigantic ice castle in William Hawreluk Park in Edmonton, we had to make the 3 hour drive to go see it.
Update: this is now the third year we’ve been to visit the Edmonton Ice Castles, so it’s become a bit of a pilgrimage. It never gets old!
Not from Alberta? There are now 5 different locations open across North America:
- Midway, Utah
- Dillon, Colorado
- Stillwater, Minnesota
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Lincoln, New Hampshire
- Edmonton, Alberta
Formed from around 12,000 hand placed icicles, this incredible attraction took between 8 and 10 weeks to put together. The builders are constantly working against the elements to put this castle together, and you can certainly see how much work has gone into it.
Each year the ice castles get more and more advanced; this year they boast projected light displays, firepits and inbuilt lighting.
The Edmonton lead artist and architect, Brent Christensen, has designed the castles intricately – they include tunnels, caves, walkways, ice slides, and even an area with a bonfire to warm your hands up! We kept walking and walking once we got inside… these ice castles are huge!
The experience is always a mixture of extreme wonder and extreme pain. We always seem to visit on the coldest weekend of the year, when temperatures are pushing -30C (-22F). We last as long as we can, but the extreme cold can make things tricky! It doesn’t matter what you wear, the cold will get to you eventually when it’s that cold!
Read on to find out our tips for staying warm and making your visit last as long as possible!
Tickets can be booked at the Ice Castle official website.
Most of all, HAVE FUN! This is one of the coolest (haha) winter experiences in Alberta.
Visit www.icecastles.com/Edmonton for more info
Looking for more things to do in Winter in Alberta? Why not check these Winter posts out!
How long should I expect to spend at the Ice Castles?
Every time we visit, the longest we last is about 45 minutes. That’s plenty of time to explore and experience the entire castle, but I guarantee you won’t last that long unless you’re prepared fully for the cold.
If it’s a little milder, you’ll probably be fine exploring for longer periods (1-2 hours). The site has a couple of slides this year (2020), and those, along with the throne, tend to get extremely busy. Long lines might extend your visit substantially, so expect to be standing around if you have small kids that are loving the activities!
If you expect that you or your kids will want to go on the slides, I would recommend taking an earlier time slot to give you enough time to line up. If you take the 8.30-8pm time slot, you probably won’t have enough time unless you’re lucky!
How to get to the Edmonton Ice Castles
Currently, several of the roads in central Edmonton are under construction, so it’s a little bit of a squiggly mess.
Thankfully, since we originally wrote this the Ice Castles have been put into Google Maps and you can now easily plug “Edmonton Ice Castles” into your GPS and get there safely.
Failing that, if you’re an old school map reader, you can just head to Hawrelak Park. The Ice castles are fairly obvious once you’re inside.
What should I wear to the Edmonton Ice Castles?
- Gloves (we’re talking ski gloves), nothing less will do
- Ski pants (jeans are not wind proof), especially if you intend to go down any slides, sit on the throne etc
- Multiple layers and a windbreaker (although the wind isn’t too bad once you’re inside the castle) – Finally this year I brought a thick winter jacket and it made such a huge difference.
- Grippy boots and ice cleats (I’d recommend bringing winter boots rated for extreme negative temperatures)
- Hand and toe warmers – This could make the difference between an awesome or miserable experience
- Scarf or Balaclava to cover your nose if it’s super cold
- Camera + multiple spare batteries – the extreme cold can kill camera batteries in minutes. Also bear in mind that holding a cold metal camera will freeze your fingers 10x faster.
Other tips for making the most out of your Ice Castles visit
- At night the ice castles come alive with thousands of LED lights but it’s still DARK inside. Make sure your camera can handle low light (my iphone and other smartphones certainly couldn’t) or have it on a night mode setting.
- The e-tickets might give you the address “9330 Groat Road” but if you put this into your smartphone it will take you to the wrong place. Type in “William Hawreluk Park” instead.
- There is a HUGE parking lot and turnover is obviously quite quick so there’s no need to look for parking on the street.
- The line-up could potentially be very long when you arrive but don’t be discouraged because we got let in within a matter of minutes.
- Check Groupon for ticket deals which pop up occasionally.
When is are the Edmonton Ice Castles Open
Opening times vary from day to day, depending on conditions and temperature. The Ice castles may actually close if the weather is too cold, as was the case this week when the temperatures were regularly below -25C.
It’s actually more likely to close due to warm weather!
Generally these are the Ice Castle opening hours:
Monday-Thursday (4pm-9pm) | Friday: (4pm-10pm)
Saturday: (11am-10pm) | Sunday: (12pm-8pm)
(Closed Tuesday’s) – Except during The Silver Skate Festival
Visit during your booking window
Each ticket holder is given a 30 minute window to enter the Ice Castles. You choose this when you book your tickets online. Bring your eticket to scan when you arrive.
You must scan your ticket and enter during that window, but you can stay as long as you like once you’re inside.
Bring your phone charged with plenty of battery and don’t bring it out until the last second when you’re about to scan it. The cold and phones are not friends; especially Iphones.
When to Visit the Edmonton Ice Castles 2020
This year the Edmonton Ice Castles are bookable until February 17th, 2020 with the ice castle season generally running from December or January, through to March; weather permitting.
Edmonton Ice Castles Ticket Prices
|Tickets||Weekdays (Mon-Thurs)||Weekends (Fri-Sun)|
|General (12 and up)||$13.99||$17.99|
You can book your ice castle tickets here.