Ice Castles in Lake Geneva to Finally Open, Thanks to Much Colder Midwest Weather – NBC Chicago

The frigid, Chicago area temperatures may not be pleasant for walking the dog — but they have allowed for a popular winter attraction in Lake Geneva to finally open up to the public.

After having to delay an opening date thanks to a January warmup, Ice Castles in Lake Geneva will finally open for business Saturday, Feb. 4, with organizers on Friday working to put on the icy finishing touches.

“We’re really excited,” said Ice Castles event planner Wally Bullard, adding that while the warm temperatures did allow organizers and artists to create new features, it stalled others.

“We had 20-foot [ice] walls set up in December, and then the warmup hit and everything went away,” Bullard said.

Although those walls have gone away, Bullard described the experience of traversing through the ice caves and castle as “walking through a glacier,” with slides, tunnels, sculptures, thrones and more.

“It’s like a frozen waterfall,” Bullard said.

According to organizers, teams of artisans hand-placed around 10,000 icicles per day to help create the icy winter wonderland. The icicles are then sprayed overnight for as may days as possible, Bullard says, until the best possible result is achieved.

As for the temperatures, the ice castles are expected to remain open through at least Feb. 20, but longer if the cold remains.

“If everything holds on and it’s as cold as it is today, we’re hoping to continue into March,” Bullard said.


General admission tickets for those 12 and older start at $29. Tickets for those aged 4-11 begin at $22. According to organizers, hours and dates vary.

“Tickets MAY be available on-site if Ice Castles is not sold out,” event officials say. “On-site prices are subject to higher rates.”

What to Wear If You Go

According to Bullard, you’re going to want to dress warm — from your head to your toes.

“Boots,” Bullard says, adding that most tennis-shoe-wearing visitors will only be able to last around 15 minutes in the chilling experience.

“Snow pants, snow boots, a nice warm jacket and a pair a gloves,” Bullard said, “and you should be good for the whole day.”

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