doitinnorth shop/share gallery
Long Lake Regional Park
Long Lake Regional Park
Each year, Ice Castles brings fairy tales to life for hundreds of thousands of families across North America. Our goal is to make people smile.
Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction. The experience is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and much more.
Ice Castles bring fairy tales to life this winter at Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton, Minnesota. Let your imagination run wild as you explore caverns and tunnels made entirely from ice. Race down an ice-carved slide and squeeze through crawl spaces and slot canyons to discover new experiences around every corner. With fountains, thrones, wishing wells, and more, you’ll be mesmerized by this unique, and family-friendly attraction. Don’t miss your chance to experience the magic!
Long Lake Regional Park, 1500 Old Highway 8, New Brighton, MN 55112
Parking at Long Lake Regional Park is limited. During the peak hours listed below a complimentary shuttle will run from The Exchange Food and Drink and Adagios Pizza Factory to Ice Castles. Peak hours with shuttle service available:
Friday 5:45 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Saturday 11:45 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Sunday 11:45 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction located in six cities across North America. The experience is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and much more.
Less than a week before the grand opening, the brothers and their friends were frantically working to cover the giant whale with tarps to try to protect it from the rain. But the 40-degree temps did damage too, turning the hard pack to fluff and giving the guys another day of work rebuilding the whale.
Guests visiting on Saturday were none the wiser to the brothers’ behind-the-scenes struggles.
“It’s just amazing what they do,” said Andy Tretter of Woodbury. His daughter Samantha, 11, had softball practice nearby, so they decided to finally come see the snow sculptures they’d been hearing about.
The brothers, who began gathering snow shortly after Thanksgiving, keep their fans updated with regular posts and videos on Facebook and even sell Bartz Bros. merchandise. This year they are partnering with One Day’s Wages to raise $50,000 toward creating access to clean water for 1,350 people in the remote districts of Niger and Uganda.
Donations can be made online or on-site; $25 gets a guest a photo with the whale’s blow-hole spouting what looks like steam from the top of its head. The effect is made with a smoke machine and operated remotely by Dick Bartz, the brothers’ self-proclaimed “crazy uncle.” On Saturday he was dressed in a tall red and white striped hat engaging guests like a street hawker, pointing them to the donation box.
“Last year they made $10,000 more than they expected to,” he said, laughing. The 2019 sea snail brought in $30,824. “That’s because their crazy uncle was down here working the crowds.”
Fans on Facebook following the 900 plus hours of labor put into building the whale got an education in snow sculpting.
Once the snow is collected, the guys piled most of it into a tall wooden frame which was later removed once the snow settled. For detail work, such as the rectangular baleen for the whale’s mouth, they haul snow into their garage which is heated to about 80 degrees. This turns the icy snow into packable snow which is then put into handmade forms to create shapes.
In addition to the whale, they built a walled path fit with lights and signs touting information about whales. They even created their own tools out of wood and chicken wire to smooth out the whale’s exterior. The tools were on display for the curious.
The sculptures, which started with a puffer fish in 2012, were inspired by a trip to Florida. All of them, which include a walrus, shark, turtle, octopus, fish and lobster, have been creatures of the sea.
Crowds to the free event have increased over the years, and the brothers believe the Ice Castles event, which opens Sunday at 1500 Old Highway 8 and draws about 75,000 visitors, may bring even more this year.
Walvis will be available for public viewing through Feb. 6 at 2777 16th St. N.W. in New Brighton.