by Wildcat Dianne
August 3, 2010
The original Aurora Ice Museum and Hotel was built in 2003 from all ice, but melted away in the summer of 2004. In 2004, a new Aurora Ice Museum was built in a permant building that is kept at 20 degrees F all year around letting tourists enjoy the the beautiful ice sculptures inside.
It costs an adult $15 to get inside the Aurora Ice Museum and $7.50 for kids. If you want an appletini at the ice bar, it's another $15, but Larissa and I passed on the drink and just wanted to tour the ice museum. Upon entering the museum, we had the option to borrow the heavy jackets the museum provides for tourists since the museum is pretty frigid. One guy who was in a cutoff t-shirt, shorts, and shower shoes declined a coat, and I thought he was nuts, but looking at him, he looked like he had a layer of fat to keep him warm during our tour. Our guide, a nice young man who worked at the resort, was our guide and told us the rules and regulations of the place and its history. The sculptures we were about to see were carved by several world championship ice sculptors and had their own little studio in the museum in which to turn the one ton blocks of ice into beautiful works of art.
We first saw an ice sculpture of oh brother, Sarah Palin. Our guide joked, "This is Sarah Palin at the proper temperature!" Many of us chuckled at that joke, and our guide then apologized hoping he wasn't offending anyone, but I told him he wasn't hurting my feelings at all.
My favorite sculptures in the Aurora Ice Museum were the two knights jousting and the Coca Cola Polar Bear, which I had my picture taken in front of since I met him in person at the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta a couple of years ago. Even in ice, the Coke Polar Bear is cute! If you have some extra cash and don't mind sleeping in sub-freezing temps, you can spend the night in the hotel part of the museum. Larissa and I checked out the room, but to be honest with you, I like my mattress a little less firm and warm or cool depending on the season. Plus I don't think I would like sleeping on the fur that lines the ice beds. Oh well, Larissa and I took goofy pictures of us on the bed and checked out the ice commode across the way. Is sitting on an ice toilet the same as sticking your tongue on an icy metal pole on a cold winter's day?! Don't want to find that out personally! The sculptures that aren't rooms are beautifully lit with fiber optic lights that change colors every few seconds, and you could take a picture of the room in blue one minute and purple the next. WOW!
Chena Hot Springs and the Aurora Hot Springs are located on Chena Hot Springs Road about 60 miles from Fairbanks. Tours of the museum are at 11, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. daily. It is well-worth the trip outside of Fairbanks to visit.
From journal The Golden Armpit (I Mean Heart) of Alaska