UPDATE: A newer version of this post, including details from the opening weekend and up-to-date visiting information, can be seen by clicking here.
A favorite winter attraction is returning to Minnesota – an ice castle up to 40 feet tall will be under construction in the Twin Cities metro area starting Monday.
Instead of using blocks to create his ice castles, creator Brent Christensen uses icicles and water to make a towering, glacier-like structure with a series of walls, tunnels and archways.
He also embeds thousands of colored LED lights into the ice.
Crews have spent the past few weeks preparing Miller Park for construction of the one-acre castle, after city officials gave final approval to the plan in October.
“It’s going to be a really cool spot,” Christensen told the Eden Prairie News, noting that this is the first time one of his castles will be in a spot with trees around it.
The Mall of America location wasn't an option because the mall's expansion is under construction, according to Eden Prairie officials.
The more natural setting allows for more interactive elements such as slides and water features, according to Christensen.
Eden Prairie officials expect from 50,000 to 70,000 visitors to the castle, and hope those folks will also stick around and spend a little money in town at local shops and restaurants.
The Eden Prairie ice castle is expected to be open to the public Dec. 26 through March 2015, weather permitting. Tickets will be available through the Ice Castles website.
Here's a photo gallery from MPR News of the ice castle outside the Mall of America, which opened on New Year's Eve 2012.