Officials at Lake Geneva’s ice castle have announced that the lakefront attraction will close for the season on March 9.
With a new burst of arctic air settling into the region, there is a chance the ice castle will be extended.
Ice Castles LLC spokesman Ryan Davis said the outdoor winter funhouse has enjoyed strong success, but that officials are anticipating the seasonal arrival of spring.
“Winter is coming to an end, and so must our season,” Davis said.
The ice castle, which is open six days a week, began its run on Lake Geneva’s Riviera Beach on Jan. 23, following a difficult early winter of unseasonably warm temperatures and rain.
But since the opening, sellout crowds have flocked to Lake Geneva to experience the ice castle’s interactive slides, tunnels and fountains — giving the region’s winter tourism season a healthy jolt.
Although no attendance estimates have been released yet, Davis said the frozen funhouse has attracted “tens of thousands of people.”
The company has reported that the 20,000-square-foot attraction has been sold out several days since it opened.
Bridget Leech, executive director for the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District, said she estimates that the ice has drawn crowds of about 1,000 people per weekday and 3,000 per weekend.
“We do not have final numbers yet, as the season is still open,” Leech said. “But I can you that our pedestrian counter numbers have shown a vast increase in attendance in January and February.”
Jesse Stone, site manager for the ice castle, said that if temperatures continue to remain cold and if there is enough demand, the ice structure could remain open awhile longer past March 9.
“Nothing is definite,” Stone said. “Maybe if Mother Nature says we need to stay open a little longer or if we get enough people wanting it to be open longer, we might have to re-assess.”
Davis said an extended opening is unlikely, as several ice castle employees have to prepare for summer jobs.
Stone said people can still purchase tickets to tour the ice structure during its final days, if they are available.
The company’s ice castle structures in other communities also are set to close in early March. The ice castle in Midway, Utah, already has closed for the season, according to the company’s website.
For tickets or other information before the March 9 closure, go to www.icecastles.com