Icy attractions still open, but not for much longer

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Three popular winter ice attractions in Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin are still open for visitors, but just for a few more days.

The weather is expected to turn warmer – reaching the 30s and 40s by Friday and staying that way through much of next week. And that will likely mean a slushy end to them. So if you want to take a look, you'd be wise to plan a visit in the next day or two.

The ice caves on Lake Superior

The Lake Superior ice caves near Bayfield, Wis., will reopen Thursday for visitors after they were closed for a couple of days due to a winter storm.

 (Photo: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore)

(Photo: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore)

Officials with the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore said the caves will open at 7 a.m. Thursday. On the park's Facebook page, they caution visitors to be prepared for the two-mile round trip hike to the caves and back over frozen Lake Superior.

"Fresh snow covers most of the bare ice, but there are still slippery conditions, slushy areas, and areas where the footing is rough and unsteady. Wear sturdy waterproof boots with ice cleats on the bottom to prevent slipping. Conditions will be very cold Thursday morning with wind chills of -30 degrees. Bundle up."

But after Thursday the weather is expected to warm up significantly, so there may only be a few days left to see the caves before access over the ice is cut off again.

Around 12,000 people have visited the ice caves along the south shore of Lake Superior since they opened last weekend, according to the Associated Press.

You can check the park's Facebook page or website for more details. The most up-to-date information is available by calling the 24-hour "Apostle Islands Ice Line" at 715-779-3397, Ext. 3.

There is a $5 fee for visitors age 16 and older.

The ice sculpture in Superior, Wis.

The large ice sculpture on Barker's Island in Superior is standing tall at just over 50 feet high. It's 49 feet wide and weighs an estimated 5 million pounds.

 (Photo: Facebook)

(Photo: Facebook)

Despite an unplanned and unwelcome collapse of the first sculpture on Feb. 3 (which was caught on video; see it here), the city and the creator, Roger "the Iceman" Hanson decided to try again.

Hanson's original goal was to reach 66 feet in height, but the final product is still quite impressive.

The huge iceberg was the highlight of a big winter celebration last weekend which included a light show and fireworks.

Hanson notes on Facebook that his "adventure here is hastily coming to an end. Soon this piece of art will be gone forever."

The sculpture will remain standing through Sunday and visitors can still come by to see it. There is no charge. His contract with the city requires the sculpture to be dismantled by March 15.

The ice castle in Eden Prairie

This ice project had a delayed opening because of warmer than normal temperatures in December. It opened on Jan. 9.

 (Photo: Ice Castles MN)

(Photo: Ice Castles MN)

The ice castle is located in Miller Park in the southwest metro suburb of Eden Prairie. It features archways, tunnels, caverns, an ice slide, glacial waterfall and even a frozen throne, and is lit up at night.

The castle is tentatively scheduled to close as of Saturday, according to its website. It would be wise to check first before heading there, in case of any changes. Tickets must be purchased to enter the castle.

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