About Visiting The Aurora Ice Museum In Alaska (a.k.a. The Chena Ice Museum & Hot Springs)
While a visit to see the Northern Lights is an adventure in and of itself, there are a multitude of activities you should consider adding to your itinerary.
One such activity that’s open year-round is the Aurora Ice Museum — also known as the Chena ice museum! 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 this museum — it has fantastic ice sculptures!
When & Where Was The Aurora Ice Museum Built?
The Aurora 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.
Who Built The Aurora Ice Museum?
This building 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 ice museum 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 ended up as a year-round ice environment — which is still quite an undertaking!
Five Facts You Should Know Before Visiting The Aurora Ice Sculpture Museum In Alaska
1. The Aurora Ice Museum 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. Get a preview of the sculptures and 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.
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 is a two-story observation tower with a circular staircase.
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.
3. Enjoy A Drink At The Aurora Ice Bar – Inside The Aurora Ice Museum
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.
4. Make Sure You Dress for the Temperature When You Visit The Aurora Ice Museum
Before you visit, prepare for the atmosphere! The 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.
5. What Is The Cost Of Admission To The Aurora Ice Sculpture Museum?
The price of the Aurora Ice Museum is reasonable compared to the “cool” experience you will leave with. While the cost for a tour in the ice sculpture museum is typically $15 per person, it is included with the Northern Lights trip when you book with Gondwana Ecotours because the ice museum is one of the many Alaskan attractions we visit when Fairbanks.
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 And The Chena Ice Museum?
Though the chena ice museum and the aurora ice museum may sound like two different places; they are one and the same. The interesting thing is that, though the year-round climate where this ice museum is tends to be 25ºF, there is a hot spring resort in the area. That’s right! You can visit the aurora ice museum and relax in a hot spring all in the same day!
Can You See The Northern Lights From The Chena Ice Museum?
Given that the chena hot springs are located in an area away from light pollution, the chena hot springs is known as one of the best places to see the northern lights. Imagine watching the northern lights from the aurora ice museum. Contact us to learn more about watching the Alaskan Northern Lights or to visit the Aurora Ice Museum.
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, 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 aurora ice museum. See The Route Here.
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, and so much more.
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 Northern Lights Adventure or click below for the full brochure.