Sunday, January 18, 2015

Eden Prairie's Newest Natural Wonder

Most of us just want to avoid ice in the winter, but Brent Christensen makes tons of it on purpose. It started when he moved from California to Utah. Being unfamiliar with the cold and how to adapt, he decided to make the most of it by building an ice rink in his backyard. What started out as a small rink turned into sky high towers of ice. While this may sounds like a do-it-yourself project gone wrong, it actually spawned a new career for Brent. 

Brent now spends his winters building Ice Castles throughout the country, including this one at Miller Park in Eden Prairie. 

It's safe to say that most Minnesotans wouldn't be impressed by an igloo. However, if you build us an ice castle, we'll come running. I say this because it was packed. Close to 200 people were there waiting to marvel at the beauty of Brent's creations. Every inch is so intricate in detail you almost wouldn't believe it's man-made, but rather something out of a fantasy story. It is incredible. 

When I visited the Ice Castles this weekend, it was close to 40 degrees. With temperatures above freezing, I was slightly worried about the possibility of the castle being half melted by the time I arrived. However, I soon discovered that sprinkler systems surround the structure and continuously sprayed streams of water that quickly freeze into ice sickles. It's a continuous work in progress.

This is a life-sized structure. Inside there are caves and tunnels that you can crawl, walk, and slide your way through. After experiencing it, I would recommend the last option. I couldn't count the number of times I came close to wiping out in front of crowds of people. Whether that's because I'm clumsy or it was actually extremely icy, is up for debate.

At night the Ice Castles transform into an entirely new viewing experience. It's like a natural light display as shades of green and blue glow throughout the structure. 

See for yourself! If you're interested in visiting the Ice Castles at Miller Park in Eden Prairie, the exhibit will be open until March 7th

Learn more about Brent, the Ice Castles, and hours of operation here

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