A winter fairyland in ice is under construction in five northern U.S. cities, including Lake Geneva in neighboring Wisconsin
Brush up on your songs from “Frozen,” keep your fingers crossed for continued cold temperatures in Wisconsin, and get poised to snag your tickets for Lake Geneva’s Ice Castles. This eagerly awaited attraction is scheduled to open on January 22, 2022.
Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction, built annually using hundreds of thousands of hand-placed icicles to create a massive set of ice structures weighing more than 20 million pounds. Each castle includes LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and more — the Wisconsin location will also offer horse-drawn sleigh rides along the golf course at the Geneva National Resort and Club.
The founder of Ice Castles — Brent Christensen — says he first built an ice cave in his own Utah yard in order to get his six kids out of the house. Since 2011, the mission at Ice Castles has remained the same: “to create happiness, laughter, and unforgettable winter memories.”
If you’re wondering how our extremely warm December temperatures affected this year’s build, it looks like the Wisconsin location has experienced some delays. Lake Geneva will be among the last of the five nationwide Ice Castles to be constructed.
Tickets and logistics
Prices: Note that tickets are more expensive on weekends (Friday-Sunday) than on weekdays (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday). Tickets for Presidents Day (Feb. 21) sell at the weekend rate.
- General Admission (ages 12 and up): $21 weekday, $27 weekend
- Child Admission (ages 4-11): $16 weekday, $22 weekend
- Children under 4 admitted free
Buy in advance: Tickets may be available on-site if Ice Castles is not sold out. On-site prices are subject to higher rates. For guaranteed entry and the lowest price, buy tickets online.
Overnight: The host to Ice Castles is the Geneva National Resort, which offers spiffy overnight accommodations and package deals of all kinds for your family, tied in to Ice Castles as well as to other winter activities, weather permitting (snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding). They’ve got igloos for dining too! If you’re feeling spendy, make a weekend of it here.
Info if you go
Food/beverage info is still TBA for 2022 in Lake Geneva. In the meantime, here is some helpful information summarized from the Ice Castles website.
BEST TIME TO VISIT? Tickets come with an entry time. A daytime visit gives you beautiful blue in your photos and lets you see lots of detail, while night visits give you a chance to see everything lit up. If you time your visit around sunset, you can get the complete viewing experience! Be aware that re-entry to Ice Castles is not permitted (except to use portapotties outside the entrance).
WHAT TO WEAR? Dress for cold-weather outdoor activity. The walking surface is crushed ice/snow but hopefully not too slippery. Boots are best; ice cleats are permitted but not required.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ICE SLIDES? Definitely wear snow pants if you want to go on an ice slide. Those who try a larger slide will be provided with a mat to use. No sleds or tubes are allowed on the ice slides.
WHAT ABOUT STROLLERS OR SLEDS? There are no wheeled vehicles permitted so leave strollers at home. Sleds are allowed only for pulling small children through the castle (not for going down hills).
WHAT ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY? Those who would have difficulty walking on a sandy/gravelly beach — or through slush — will have trouble navigating Ice Castles. A guest needing mobility support may be pulled (by members of their own party) through the installation in an ice sled that they provide themselves.
HOW TO AVOID CROWDS? Visit on a weekday (except Tuesdays when it’s closed) and come later at night in order to avoid the most crowded times. The pricier privacy option is to shell out $450+ to reserve access for one hour to the VIP Arctic Alcove!
If you can’t get enough winter, the city of Lake Geneva puts on an annual Winterfest, now in its 27th year. In 2022 it is scheduled for Feb. 2-6 and includes a downtown ice sculpture tour, igloos and bonfires on the beach, live entertainment, and even the multi-day National Snow Sculpting Championship. Learn more about Lake Geneva tourism here.
Has your family visited Ice Castles in Lake Geneva? Email us and let us know how you liked it!
Find everything related to winter in Champaign-Urbana:
- Winter Fun in Chicago: Free Days at the Best Museums
- Winter Road Trip: Visiting Ice Castles at Lake Geneva, Wis.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Indianapolis: Free Museums, Zoo and More
- Where to Ice Skate in Central Illinois and Beyond (Indoor and Outdoor)
- Have the Ultimate Outdoor Winter in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Best Sledding in Champaign-Urbana
- Slide on your Snowshoes and Hit Trails Near You Around Central Illinois