What happens when you visit a twisting, turning, half-mile labyrinth built of more than a million pounds of ice that’s awash in color?
Welcome to The Minnesota Ice Maze, a dazzling, puzzling (it is a maze, after all) display of winter fun. It’s no secret that Minnesotans are known for making the most of our cold winters and this creative display is a great example of how hearty souls embrace the season.
What Is The Minnesota Ice Maze?
Located at Viking Lakes in Eagan, a southeastern suburb of the Twin Cities, The Minnesota Ice Maze offers a unique experience of walking through a maze made of ice, fully lit with colorful lights, and ready to be explored.
From the website: “Our fully lit maze is perfect for families and kids of all ages. Ice thrones, weekend theme nights, scavenger hunts, fire pits, and inflatables are sure to keep you entertained, along with hot chocolate, s’mores, an ice bar, and much more.” See the calendar of events for trivia nights, live music, and more.
Tickets are required for admission, and you purchase a one-hour block of time to explore the maze. Purchase them online or on-site at one of the ticket windows.
What Makes It Unique?
You’ve likely heard of ice castles, but an ice maze is unique. We could choose from two directions as we entered the maze and we met our share of dead ends before we got to the exit. There’s a tall tower with lights and music in the middle of the maze. The night we went was windy, but although the maze is open, it was markedly warmer than outside it.
Outside the maze, there are fire pits, chairs and benches, ice sculptures, numerous photo and selfie ops, and even a fire tower that roars to life every 10 minutes or so.
How To Make The Most Of It
Get tickets online to check availability and avoid/minimize lines. Standard ticket pricing:
- Adult tickets (age 15+) are $24.99 plus a $1.15 ticket fee
- Child tickets (age 5-14) are $12.99 plus a $1.15 ticket fee
- Children, aged 4 and under, free
Active duty, retired, and military veterans, their spouses, and children under age 18 get a 10 percent discount with code “ThankYou23” at online checkout, or ask for the discount if you get tickets on-site, and present your military ID at the maze entrance.
- It is winter in Minnesota and this is largely an outdoor attraction, so dress in layers, including a warm jacket, gloves, a hat, thick socks, and winter boots. The path in the maze (and the area) is crushed ice and hard pack snow, so wearing the right footwear is key.
- The footing is uneven, so watch your step as you explore. You will need to sign a waiver, which you can review online and print, or sign one at the point of entry.
- Organizers suggest you arrive 15-30 minutes early, because even with a reserved time slot, there can be a wait to enter the ice maze. We went on a Thursday night and didn’t have to wait.
- Parking is free. Check the map so you park in designated areas and avoid interfering with nearby hotel and restaurant parking.
See the FAQ for additional info.
Bonus: Other Winter SKOLstice Activities
The Minnesota Ice Maze is just one part of the activities going on at the Winter “SKOLstice.” The name is a nod to the Norwegian heritage of Minnesota. According to MSN, “Skol is a derivative of the Swedish/Danish/Norwegian word skål. A skål is a bowl that fits beverages that were shared between people. Over the years, it evolved to essentially mean ‘cheers.’ “
Depending on date and timing, you can (or enjoy watching others) play pond hockey, take advantage of the USA curling experience, and ice skate on two different rink options. Or maybe the Warming Haus with (rather expensive) food, beverages, and music is more your speed. Check the website for details and times.
We walked through the maze twice (choosing a different direction each time), hung out to see the fire tower roar, checked out the Warming Haus, and headed out about half an hour later. We saw cleared ice for hockey and other outdoor experiences, but there was no activity on the ice while we were there. The maze was curious because we had never done anything like this, but frankly, it seemed a bit expensive for what it was.
If you’re looking for an unusual activity to make the most of winter, you might want to check out The Minnesota Ice Maze. It’s open daily Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., now through Sunday, February 19 (weather permitting).