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Alaska’s Aurora Ice Museum

Alaska’s Aurora Ice Museum

Sixty miles down remote roads from Fairbanks, Alaska, by warmth of Cheana Hot Springs, is the largest year-round ice exhibit in the world. Built with over 1000 tons of ice, the Aurora Ice Museum is kept at a permanent 25F (-7c).

Some people still talk about this place as the Ice Hotel, and you can see signs inside of that original purpose. The first, more ambitious version of the Aurora melted when the cost of keeping it chilled in the summer proved unrealistic. Then there were problems meeting hotel safety codes. When the Aurora was reborn as the Ice Museum, the outer walls were made of a special insulating material instead of ice, and the rooms are for viewing, not sleeping in.

 

Aurora Ice Museum

 

 

Aurora Ice Museum

 

The bar, however, is fully functional, even if they only serve one drink – an appletini in a hand-carved ice glass.

 

Aurora Ice Museum

 

(I loved my ice glass – if I’d had a way to transport it home, I would have definitely taken it with me!)

Aurora Ice Museum

True to it’s name, most of the sculptures in the main room of the Aurora are lit with colored lights that cycle through the pinks, blues, and greens of the Northern Lights. The displays include life-sized knights on horseback, a giant chandelier, and delicately frozen roses that made this place seem like the setting for an Alaskan version of a Disney fairytale.

Aurora Ice Museum

 

Aurora Ice Museum

 

Details:

You can only go inside on a tour, held daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm & 7pm.

Cost: $15 adult, $10 children. $15 for the ice-bar appletini.

Cheana Hot Springs Website

 

Note: While we’re talking about ice, I’m hosting a round of the Travel Photo Roulette competition, so if you have any pictures that fit the theme ‘Frozen’ come add them here!

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21 Comments

  1. That’s beautiful! I visited the ice hotel in Sweden and yes, they have to reconstruct it every year since it melts in summer. There was also a bar like in the Aurora museum… I wanted to take the glasses home too :)
    Laia | colibrist recently posted…Travel cost: LaosMy Profile

    Reply
    • I really want to visit the ice hotel! I kind of like that they have to rebuild it every year, even if it’s not very practical. :D

      Reply
    • Definitely! In case you were in danger of thinking your drink wasn’t cold enough – while you were sitting on your ice-chair, at the ice bar, in the below-freezing temperature of the ice museum. :P

      Reply
  2. I’ve sometimes wondered what happened to all the ice hotels you used to read about. Now I know. This looks like a great place to visit. We are headed to Alaska for the first time this year – it’s a bit of a trek from Australia. I don’t think we’ll make it to Fairbanks but you never know.
    Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields recently posted…Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, New ZealandMy Profile

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    • I’d never really thought about the trouble of trying to keep an ice hotel intact during the summer – much less bringing it up to code with the fire department!

      Reply
    • They really would be the perfect souvenir, if only you could get one home. Maybe next time I’ll bring a cooler . . .

      Reply
  3. This place looks awesome!! I’d be all about those appletinis in a hand carved ice glass, but only if I were wearing gloves :)
    Courtney recently posted…Escape to MálagaMy Profile

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    • They keep the museum quite cold, so my gloves stayed on at all times. Getting frostbite would probably ruin the appletini experience!

      Reply
    • The puns are kind of irresistible here, aren’t they?

      Reply
    • Ha, yeah, but I guess they know people aren’t there for the drink selection.

      Reply
    • I think an ice bar is always worth it. I mean, not if you evaluate it as a ‘bar’ – but interactive ice sculptures are their own reward.

      Reply
    • And it’s a nice way to experience the ‘cold land’ of Alaska even if you’re there in the summer!

      Reply
  4. Well, I never managed to visit this museum yet, but judging after the images I really want to go there as quick as possible.
    I hope I can go there this year along with some friends.

    Reply
    • Oh, you should definitely see the geothermal energy setup they have there – they’re making pretty much all of their own power now.

      Reply
  5. Ahhh, these exhibits are so beautiful! The pink flowers in the huge ice cube is my favourite. I would like to see it for myself one day, especially how they use their geothermal energy!
    Rachel recently posted…Saving To Travel: It’s All About Attitude!My Profile

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