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.
Blocks Waiting to be Carved
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.
- 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.