LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s taken eight long weeks of hard work. On Wednesday, there was still around 15% to go, by Brad Buehlhorn’s estimate. But opening day is impending nonetheless, for Lake George’s Ice Castles attraction, and the towering excitement surrounding it.
On Wednesday, NEWS10 got to take an early tour of Ice Castles’ latest creation, debuting this winter at Charles R. Wood Park. The ground reporters were led through was about 3 feet higher than it will be when visitors can start exploring for themselves on Sunday, Jan. 23. That’s just one of the things left to do.
Tickets go on sale on Wednesday night for the attraction, which will run through the rest of the winter. Warmer-than-average temperatures got a bit in the way, with Lake George being the last of the five Ice Castles locations to open this winter. But a special icicle-growing process comes in when the weather doesn’t fully cooperate, letting the artisans who employ thousands of hours of manpower do their work no matter what the conditions. Icicles are grown up to 3 to 5 feet in length, and then harvested and hand-placed where they need to be.
There’s no bad time to visit the castle, which Buehlhorn estimates will take visitors an average of 45 minutes to explore. There are tunnels to crawl through, an ice throne to sit on, and an ice slide coming off the side wall, that hadn’t yet been put in place as of Wednesday. But more magic happens after dark, when over 2,000 string lights will light the castle up with colorful flair. Buehlhorn recommends aiming to get a timeslot around 4-5 p.m., as close to dusk as possible, to see it all.
And you can see it all until spring. Once the ice starts to melt, employees will help break it up where needed, and let the water run off into nearby Lake George. Having an adjacent water body is crucial when choosing an Ice Castles location.
Lake George is one of five locations across the country where Ice Castles has been building this winter. Others include Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Utah. Every year, castles are popular spots for family photos, wedding proposals, and visits for travelers from miles surrounding the area.
Lake George’s castle is expected to be gone by April. That’s not a long window, but while it’s here, it’ll be up through the entire Lake George Winter Carnival, which runs all through February. Tickets to visit the castle can be purchased online.
It’s taken months of planning and growing icicles to make the castle a reality. See the present and past of Ice Castles Lake George in the gallery below.