Visit the Aurora Ice Sculpture Museum In Alaska

About Visiting The Aurora Ice Museum In Alaska (a.k.a. The Chena Ice Museum & Hot Springs in Alaska)

While a visit to see the Northern Lights is an adventure in and of itself, there is a multitude of activities you should consider adding to your itinerary including a visit to the Alaska ice museum known as the Aurora Ice Museum (a.ka.a the Chena Ice Museum) and taking an Aurora Ice Museum Tour. This Alaska Ice Museum is the largest ice environment in the world that is year-round. The indoor temperature is kept at a cool 25 degrees with geothermal technology. Inside the Alaska ice museum are chandeliers that represent Aurora Borealis. The Chena hot springs ice museum is the largest year-round ice building in the world with the inside interior being made of entirely ice. The museum is home to award-winning ice sculptures, features a two-story observation tower, and a famous ice bar. Not far away to offer your nipped noses and fingertips is the Chena Hot Springs.

One such activity that’s open year-round is the Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska — also known as the Chena ice museum and hot springs or the ice museum in Alaska! Whether you’re fascinated with the art of ice sculpting or need a family-friendly activity for your trip, make sure you don’t miss a visit to the Aurora Ice Museum, a unique ice museum in Alaska — it has fantastic ice sculptures! Before you buy your aurora ice museum tickets read on to learn more about the experience and how to visit the Aurora ice museum in Alaska and take an Aurora Ice Museum Tour.

aurora ice museum in alaska Featured Image by Por Markus Bernet

When & Where Was The Aurora Ice Museum Built?

The Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska (a.ka. the Chena Ice Museum) was built in 2004 in Chena Hot Springs, Alaska. The location is important to people who want to see the northern lights because there is lower light pollution; being outside of the city. To get to the Chena hot springs there is roughly an hour and a quarter drive from Fairbanks; which makes it easy to see the northern lights and to quickly venture back to Fairbanks for other local finds. More importantly, it’s an easy trip from the city to visit the unique Aurora ice museum and take an Aurora Ice Museum Tour!

Who Built The Aurora Ice Museum?

The Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska was made out of ice by Steve and Heather Brice. They likely chose this location because the temperature in the area the Aurora Ice Museum resides is typically around 20ºF all year round. Their fantastic ability to pull life out of blocks of ice is worth witnessing in person. Whether they are carving an ice angel, an ice octopus, a frozen dragon, or an intricate floral design out of ice, the Chena/Aurora ice museum in Alaska is a safe place to store and display their art year-round. In the beginning, the goal was to create an ice hotel, but the aurora ice museum in Alaska ended up as a year-round ice environment and Alaska ice museum — which is still quite an undertaking! And, they opened the Aurora Ice museum to visitors so you can take an Aurora Ice Museum Tour.

Five Facts You Should Know Before Visiting The Aurora Ice Sculpture Museum In Alaska

1. The Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska Has Award-Winning Ice Sculptures

Created by 16-time world champion Steve Brice and his wife, 7-time world champion, Heather Brice, you’ll be amazed by the beauty of these sculptures. The ice museum features furniture, life-size knights on horseback, chandeliers shifting colors to mimic the Northern Lights, and even a bar, all made of ice. Get a preview of the sculptures and Alaska ice museum attractions here.

Heather and Brice have been crafting art together since 1999. While their year-round ice workshop is at the Aurora Ice Museum at the Chena Hot Springs Resort, they also work at events both small and large. Learn more about their art at Brice’s website; which includes details about their ice craft that has been housed at the aurora ice museum in Alaska.

The Aurora Ice Museum is home to the world’s largest year-round ice environment. It was created from more than 1,000 tons of ice and snow, all harvested from the Chena Hot Springs Resort. The Aurora Ice Museum stays a cool 25° Fahrenheit (-7° Celsius) inside. Keeping the Aurora Ice museum icy cold in the heat of summer comes from the patented absorption chiller, the first of its kind in the world used for this purpose! Parkas are available free of charge to use during your Aurora Ice Museum tour.

The Ice Museum uses geothermal technology to keep it at 25 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celcius) all year, despite summers that can reach more than 90 degrees. It took more than 1,000 tons of ice and snow to create the ice museum, which resembles a church.

If you’re interested in getting up close and personal with ice sculpting, the Aurora ice museum offers a 2-hour ice carving workshop, with a maximum class size of 3 people. That’s a great small group activity!

2. The Aurora Ice Museum Features a Two-Story Observation Tower

One feature of the Aurora ice museum in Alaska is a two-story observation tower with a circular staircase. This is a selling point during the Aurora Ice Museum Tour.

From there you can see other sculptures such as life-size jousters on horseback, a polar bear bedroom, a Christmas tree bedroom, a kid’s 2 story fort bedroom, and a Northern Lights room with an ice outhouse made exclusively with Alaska Diamond or Alaska Marble ice. Don’t miss this exclusive trip to an ice museum when you visit Alaska!

Ice bar at the Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska

3. Enjoy A Drink At The Aurora Ice Bar – Inside The Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska

The Aurora ice bar is a half-mooned-shaped bar that is surrounded by a dozen ice stools covered in caribou fur and is completely carved out of ice. Watch your glass being carved out of ice right in front of you! This Aurora ice bar is perfect for an out-of-the-ordinary and exciting new adventure. After touring the Aurora ice museum, enjoy our specialty beverage, an Appletini, in an iced carved martini glass. If you’re worried about being cold, you can enjoy your drink on a caribou fur-covered stool and take in the view or warm your hands by the ice fireplace in Alaska’s only ice museum, the Aurora Ice Museum. The ice museum’s unique bar serves drinks in sculpted ice glasses, the fireplace glows with amber flickers, and 5 chandeliers lit with color-changing fiber optics can be found in the lobby.

4. Make Sure You Dress for the Temperature When You Visit The Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska

Before you visit the Aurora ice museum, prepare for the atmosphere! The ice museum stays at a cool 25° Fahrenheit or -7° Celsius at all times. In order to keep it cool in the heat of summer, they have a patented absorption chiller, the first of its kind in the world used for this purpose. While you can certainly bring your own warm coat, the kind-hearted keepers of The Aurora Ice Museum also offer parkas free of charge during the tour of the ice museum.

5. What Is The Cost Of Admission To The Aurora Ice Sculpture Museum? (Where Can You Get Aurora Ice Museum Tickets?)

If you are looking for Aurora ice museum tickets to take an Aurora Ice Museum tour, then we have information about that. The price of the Aurora Ice Museum (a.k.a. the Chena Ice Museum) is reasonable compared to the “cool” experience you will leave with. While the cost for a tour of the Alaska ice sculpture museum is typically $15 per person, it is included with the Northern Lights trip when you book with Gondwana Ecotours because the Aurora ice museum in Alaska is one of the many Alaskan attractions we visit when Fairbanks.

When is the Aurora Ice Museum open for tours? The Aurora Ice Museum is open every day, 365 days a year! There’s no reason to miss a trip to the Aurora Ice Museum when you visit Alaska.

Video Of The Northern Lights In Alaska (Near The Aurora Ice Sculpture Museum)

You can also catch a glimpse of the experience in this brief video.

Is There A Difference Between The Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska And The Chena Ice Museum in Alaska?

Though the Aurora/Chena ice museum and the Aurora ice museum in Alaska may sound like two different places; they are one and the same. The interesting thing is that, though the year-round climate at the Aurora ice museum tends to be 25ºF, there is a hot spring resort in the area. That’s right! You can relax in the Chena hot springs and visit the Aurora ice museum (or Chena Ice Museum) all in the same day, when you visit the ice museum and Chena Hot Springs!

History of the Chena Hot Springs

People have been going to hot springs like the Chena Hot Springs for centuries; some in search of the eternal fountain of youth and others searching for cures for whatever ails them. The healing water of Chena Hot Springs has been compared to mineral waters found in hot springs in the Czech Republic, formerly known as Bohemia.

The recorded history of the Chena Hot Springs dates to the early 1900’s but there is evidence indigenous people used the water at the Chena Hot Springs as well. The water boasts usage by people throughout Alaska, the Lower 48 and International visitors and dignitaries from every corner of the globe. The waters are timeless but the resort began when weary gold miners discovered that soaking in the “oh-so-warm” waters of the Chena Hot Springs helped their aching bodies.

The geothermal system of the Chena Hot Springs is fed by water which circulates deep underground over a period of thousands of years, picking up the natural heat from the earth, and then ‘short circuits’ back up to the surface through cracks and fractures in the granite rock underneath the Chena hot springs area. Granite rock fractures or breaks very nicely in all directions, as opposed to layered sedimentary rock that just tends to break horizontally. This allows the hot water to quickly find its way to the surface from a great depth (~3000 feet).

The Chena Hot Springs and Ice Museum is best known for its natural hot springs, awesome Ice museum, great aurora viewing, and geothermal-powered facilities. It is the most accessible and developed hot spring resort in Alaska’s Interior. This amazing place was discovered in August 1905 and became famous for curing crippled prospectors of their aches and pains. Fairbanks residents often take the trip to the Chena Hot Springs and Ice Museum to joy the healing waters and soak, and to marvel at the amazing ice sculptures.

The Chena Hot Springs & Aurora Ice Museum Is Both Cool AND Hot!

Can You See The Northern Lights From The Aurora/Chena Ice Museum in Alaska?

Given that the Chena hot springs and Chena ice museum are located in an area away from light pollution, the Chena hot springs are known as one of the best places to see the northern lights. Imagine watching the northern lights from the Aurora ice museum in Alaska. Contact us to learn more about watching the Alaskan Northern Lights at the Chena Hot Springs and visiting the Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska, or visiting the ice museum at the Chena Hot Springs.

Do You Want To See The Aurora Ice Museum or Visit The Chena Hot Springs?

chena hot springs near the aurora ice museumFor as cold as Alaska is, the Aurora Ice Museum is a hot destination. People love the year-round availability to the ice bar at the Aurora Ice Museum, a walk through their variety of elaborately carved ice sculptures, and proximity to the Chena Hot Springs — where their natural hot springs is a great place to watch the aurora borealis. For more information about the Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska, visit their website.

You can plan a trip to the Chena Hot Springs and Aurora Ice Museum in the same day!

How To Get From Fairbanks To The Aurora Ice Museum

If you are wondering how long it takes to get from Fairbanks, AK to the Aurora ice museum (or the Chena Ice Museum), then you can expect to drive for roughly one hour and fifteen minutes. The drive is fairly easy to travel as it is just 61 miles on one road from Fairbanks to the Chena Hot Springs and aurora ice museum in Alaska. See The Route Here.

Did You Know?

Did you know that there is a second, smaller ice museum in Fairbanks Alaska? The Fairbanks Ice Museum is located at 500 2nd AveFairbanks AK,99701 and opens for summer hours in May. Ice sculptor An Zhe showcases his creations at this ice museum, and also teaches ice sculpting classes to visitors during the summer months. The ice museum features an outdoor sculpture park geared toward children, and daily aurora shows for visitors, too.

Discover More About Our Alaskan Ecotour

Our ecotour offers everything you could want when you visit Alaska – including expert Alaska guides, entry to Chena Hot Springs, a curling lesson from local players, a dog-sledding excursion, a visit to an ice museum, and so much more. As part of this vacation, you receive aurora ice museum tickets!

Since sustainability is important to us, we donate a portion of proceeds from Northern Lights Alaskan Adventure trips to the non-profit, Northern Alaska Environmental Center. When you travel with us to see the northern lights, the aurora ice museum, and many other hand-picked activities, you are doing your part in keeping the world as green as it can be!

Learn more about our trip to the Aurora Ice Museum

Travel with us to see the Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska (a.ka. the Chena Ice Museum) near Chena Hot Springs and take an Aurora Ice Museum Tour (and experience other once-in-a-lifetime activities)! We offer same-day trips to the ice museum at Chena Hot Springs.

Download Our Northern Lights Brochure Here.