Wander Minnesota: Winter Carnival Ice Sculptures

Polar vortex or no polar vortex, the St. Paul Winter Carnival is in full spring, and with it, one of my favorite winter spectacles: the ice sculpture contest in Rice Park. This year’s competitors had to deal with some wildly varying weather conditions, including last Sunday’s near-blizzard. But that didn’t stop them from delivering some beautiful pieces.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Some are small, carved from a single block of ice, and incredibly detailed, such as this lovely little fish.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

While larger-scale pieces, carved from multiple blocks, take the theme of the life aquatic and run with it.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

A tip of the hat to the season at hand: ice fishing in — well — ice.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Other animals from other climates are represented, as in this scene from Africa.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Or animals no longer roaming the earth, like this dinosaur.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

As for unicorns, well … you can believe it if you like, or just enjoy its appearance in Rice Park.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

I think I can safely speak for everyone who was at Rice Park on a cold day — we wish Mama Julie’s had been open!

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Part of Minnesota’s Native American history, carved in ice.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

A kind of fairy tale forest, with a wise old owl looking from his ice tree branch over his fantastic garden.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

And, finally, a ship in a bottle — that must have been especially complicated to plan and construct.

Congratulations to all the artists who participated, in spite of the weather! Plan to visit soon — the Winter Carnival ends Feb. 2, and if it ever warms up, those sculptures will disappear quickly.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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