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.
The bar, however, is fully functional, even if they only serve one drink – an appletini in a hand-carved ice glass.
(I loved my ice glass – if I’d had a way to transport it home, I would have definitely taken it with me!)
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.
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.
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!