I got Locked in an Ice Museum

Thursday I drove to Chena Hot Springs (east of Fairbanks).  The last time I visited Chena was in the 1980s with my parents and sister.  The biggest change since then was the addition of a year-round ice museum.  The ice museum is kept at a chilly 20 degrees Fahrenheit by the use of an absorption chiller which is powered by the geothermal energy of the hot springs.

Chena Hot Springs offers several 30 minute tours a day.  It was interesting to see, but the guide didn’t give us any details during the tour.  Everything I learned was by reading the menu (yep…really) at their restaurant.

During the tour, the guide got caught up talking to other guests and apparently lost track of everyone.  I saw them head for the doors, so I shouted to no avail.  They got through the interior door as I ran towards them.  It took a while for me to figure out how the first door’s latch worked all the while I continued to bang on the door and yell at them.  Once I got through the interior door, I heard the padlock click.  I pounded on the external door and continued yelling.  Finally I heard one of the guests say “I think there is a kid inside”.  The guide unlocked the door and had the nerve to ask “Were you in one of the rooms?”  I told him “No.” and then he asked me if anyone else was inside.  I told him “I have no idea.  I was too worried about getting myself out.”

I was shocked by his carelessness.  Luckily I was on the 3:00 pm tour, so I would have only been trapped until 5:00 pm, but I can’t help thinking “what if I was on the last tour of the day”.  Good grief.  Obviously I reported it to management.  He really needed to be more careful.


Exterior BuildingIce Museum External Building

Work Area

Ice Museum Work Area

Ice Museum Martini Glasses

Blocks Waiting to be Carved

Ice Museum Blocks of Ice Reading for Carving

Wedding Alter

Ice Museum Wedding Alter


Ice Museum Bar


Ice Museum Igloo


Ice Museum Hall

Ice Museum Room

Ice Museum Room

Other Photos

Ice Museum Joisting

Ice Museum Rose

Ice Museum Interior

Ice Museum Interior

 Ice Museum Christmas Tree

Other Information

Ice museum services:

  • Tours for $15.
  • Appletini in an ice glass.
  • Marriage ceremonies.
  • Overnight stays.  There are four rooms available.  They provide the sleeping gear and also a room in the lodge in case it gets too cold.  The cost is $500+ per night.
  • Ice carving classes for $1,800 to $2,100.

Interesting facts:

  • The museum is in an enclosure that stays at a constant temperature.
  • It’s cooled using geothermal power.
  • Their ice carvers are on staff and carve year-round.
  • The ice comes from a local pond.  In April they cut enough blocks of ice to last through the summer.
  • Check out their site for more information.

More about My Trip

To see all posts about my Alaska/Canada Road Trip click here.

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