By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There’s a new attraction in Stillwater. The Ice Palace Maze outside the Zephyr Theatre opened Friday afternoon to visitors.

Crews worked to complete the massive ice structure on Friday, being touted as the largest ice maze in the nation this year.

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“The original goal to make a fun maze with something that looks really impressive with a lot of ice, it turned out to be that way,” Calyssa Hall said.

Calyssa Hall and her dad Franz work at the Zephyr Theatre in Stillwater. With it shut down most of the last year, they looked for a way to keep the non-profit going.

“We had to come up with some sort of a solution to provide entertainment in an outdoor atmosphere that would be able to make money and sustain the theatre,” Franz Hall said.

So Franz, an architect, got to work, researching ice mazes all over the world. He came up with the design, and after some coordination, it took two weeks for builders to construct the Ice Palace Maze outside the Theatre.

“It’s pretty amazing. I’m somewhat surprised we actually were able to pull it off,” Franz Hall said.

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And get this: there’s 1,500 plus blocks of ice, each weighing 350 pounds. So the ice maze is made of roughly 500,000 pounds of ice.

“We have ice sculptures, ice thrones for photo ops. Of course the ice slides at the end will be super fun,” Calyssa Hall said.

They hope this is successful for the theatre, and provides families with an entertaining outlet, that’s outside.

“Whether you come in during the day and see the sun shining through the ice blocks or at night and see the lights shining up through it you can’t really help but smile seeing this much ice,” Calyssa Hall said.

There’s hot chocolate, s’mores and an ice bar. The Ice Palace Maze is open through the end of February.

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Tickets are available online here, or walk-up, if there’s availability.

Jennifer Mayerle