What if your playground was made of ice? An Qui Feng of Harbin, China cuts away at an ice block while working on a sculpture for this year's Ice Alaska Ice Park in Fairbanks, Alaska (AP photos)
What if your playground was made of ice?
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Workers are building an ice playground in a city in Alaska. It will include a pirate ship slide made from 65 refrigerator-sized blocks of ice, and even mazes.

The work began at the George Horner Ice Park in Fairbanks ahead of the annual world ice sculpture championships, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

A giant ice lens is also planned. Ice championships chairman Dick Brickley said it will be 12 feet in diameter. It will be powerful enough to focus the sun's rays and start a fire, he said.

The ice is so clear, the rays go right through it. One small telescope in the past started a fire on a piece of plywood, Brickley said.

Another new attraction is an experimental sculpture. It will be carved on land, then displayed underwater.

Its kind of a neat new concept, Brickley said. We make it so the public can walk out over the ice and see the carving under the water.

The attractions must be completed by the time the park opens Feb. 23. That's when teams of artists participating in the 2015 BP World Ice Art championships begin making sculptures.

The ice being harvested is crystal-clear aqua blue, Brickley said. This winter has been warmer and there's been less snow than usual. That is actually good for ice formation, he said. Snow can shield ice from cold air.

A new piece of ice art that's scheduled to go up will feature a sculpture of Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.

On Feb. 23, teams of artists begin making their single-block and multi-block sculptures for the competition part of the event. The competitive single-block and multi-block ice carving events will feature artists from 16 countries.

So far, crews have harvested about 188 of the 1,000 ice blocks they need for the park. The ice is 22 inches thick, which is a good depth for ice park construction.

The clear aqua blue ice is a big attraction, though.

"Thats why these artists pay all that money to come in here and carve it, Brickley said.

Critical thinking challenge: CTC: What's so special about the ice being harvested? How is it different from ice in your refrigerator at home?

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COMMENTS (198)
  • Lin03
    1/26/2015 - 12:46 p.m.

    The ice being harvested is probably like "purer" than that of in your freezer or refrigerator at home. It might be easier or harder to sculpt.

    • DiamondW-Lud
      1/27/2015 - 09:50 a.m.

      - Thats Very True , But They Both Have Something Very In Common , They Both Melt . So What As If Your Playing On This Playground Made Of Ice And It Melts ?

  • Cascadeowls
    1/26/2015 - 12:47 p.m.

    This is a really cool thing to do! I would love to be able to go to a playground made of ice. It is amazing that ice is so powerful and clear that it can start a small fire. But, what about in the summer when it is hotter? I wonder if they will take it down.

  • torionastewart123
    1/26/2015 - 01:01 p.m.

    I think that it's really cool to have an ice playground that u can make carvings on and other cool things. It is also cool that you can see an under-ice sculpture under the ice. It is great but it could be a safety hazard. People could possibly slip on the ice or anything. This is a great idea there are more pros than cons!

  • cottoncandyunicorn
    1/26/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    This would be so cool and fun to hangout at well because there umm it's just well you know MADE OF ICE!!!! So that is all that I have to say about it...

  • brandi1018
    1/26/2015 - 01:10 p.m.

    This is really neat and "cool". I think the kids are going to love their new playground. Although the kids might get too cold and decide not to play on as much. An interesting thing about this is that it can with stand the sun rays and you can even bulid a fire around it. Overall this is an awesome project.

  • Scove13
    1/26/2015 - 01:23 p.m.

    That is so cool how the ice is so clear that rays of sun can go right through it! I cant carve ice, i have never even tried, but i can see why people would want carve such clear ice!

  • Bubba7220
    1/26/2015 - 01:46 p.m.

    This idea would be really "cool", kids would "chill" there, and have an "ice" time. I hope kids wont give this place the "cold shoulder", I hope everyone will be "chill" about this!

  • Lincoln-Arm
    1/26/2015 - 01:57 p.m.

    I think this is a great idea! You would have to live in a place that stays cold all year long to keep the ice from melting. One problem they could face though if the kids start breaking ice pieces off the ice sculptures. This would be a great way to attract tourist because it would be a beautiful to see an aqua blue ice park.

  • Lucy-Arm
    1/26/2015 - 01:57 p.m.

    I think this is a great idea, but what if it gets to hot and the ice melts. If that does happen Alaska will have a lot of water in that area, so I wouldn't do it for those two reasons.

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