Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Let's Visit The Christmas Ice Caverns of Fairfield

I grew up in Morris County, and we had family who lived in Fairfield, so we were frequent visitors of Essex County, too.  And every year without fail, we visited the Christmas Ice Caverns, which were part of Fairfield Home and Garden on Rt. 46 in Fairfield, New Jersey.

The Ice Caverns have been around since 1972, as you can clearly see from this family photo of me (lil' Jersey Momma!) and my sister (lil' Pirate Cupcake!) circa 1976:


The Christmas Ice Caverns still retain their same name, but they are now part of Jody's Silk Florist and Patio, which is in the same location on Rt. 46 in Fairfield.

What Are the Christmas Ice Caverns?

Chances are, if you are not from Northern Jersey, you have never heard of the Ice Caverns. So let me break it down for you. Jody's Florist and Patio Shop is there year round. The Ice Caverns open mid-November and remain open till shortly after Christmas.  Jody's Florist is transformed into a giant Christmas shop, selling every tree, decoration and ornament you can imagine. They truly have one of the largest selections of Christmas decorations I have ever seen. The entrance to the Ice Caverns is inside Jody's store, but it's easy to spot:



As of the publication date of this entry, it will cost you $3.99 per person (which I gladly fork over every year for the mere fact that they are keeping a childhood memory alive), and it's an animated indoor Christmas walk-through display, complete with lights, moving puppetry, music and favorite characters.



Here's the entry way inside from years past:



You wind through the display at your own pace, so how long it takes depends on how slowly you walk or how long you stop to look at each display, but on average I would say it takes about 15 minutes.  They've added a 'can you find...' game (you have to spot some cute little plush elves, reindeer or snowmen in each display- it's different every year) and that was actually a fabulous idea, in my opinion!  This caused The Jersey Momma's Boy to stay a little longer at each display to find the hidden plushies.  They were really well hidden, too, I might add!


We like to walk through it once and then go back through and walk it again.





The Jersey Momma's Boy loves the displays where you can throw pennies into the water and make a wish, so I will often bring along a little bag of pennies just for this reason.


Each year they change the displays or add to them. The collection of photos I have here are from multiple visits and years, so what you see on your visit might be totally different than what you see here!



One of my favorite displays in the ice caverns is the little bridge that has been there since I was a kid.  They take good care of it and repaint it when it needs updating.  It's one of my favorite places to take photos.  The rainbow has since been painted over, but the bridge is still in tact, and I take a photo there every year!



They also added a family brick wall near the entrance, where you can purchase a brick and have your family's name (or an inscription) written on the wall for years to come.  The Jersey Momma is there, of course!  I couldn't resist being a part of such a treasured childhood memory.


For 19.99 you can also have your beloved pet's photo placed on the wall.  I thought about doing this for my sweet Milo, so he could be immortalized forever, but he's never been to the caverns, so, maybe not.



What You Need to Know

*The Christmas Ice Caverns have been around since 1972, and it's a small display that doesn't cost much.  So don't expect Disney quality animatronics, people!

*The Ice Caverns and store are wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly.  

*Even though it's indoors, it is not entirely heated.  We usually keep our coats on for the walk-through. It can be quite cold when the temperature outside drops!

*You can have your picture taken with Santa at the end of the walk-through for an extra cost.  Check their website or Facebook page for more detailed information. I have heard people come from far and wide to have their kids' pictures taken here, so be sure to arrive early!

*There's a lot to do in and around Fairfield, so if you are driving from a distance to see the caverns, you can extend your trip by stopping at one of their many restaurants (there are places to choose from all up and down Rt. 46), or driving about ten minutes eastbound to the Willowbrook Mall.  The famous Calandra's Bakery also has a location in Fairfield within minutes of the Ice Caverns.  It is TOTALLY worth stopping there for fresh, hot bread!!!

*If you know the area, you can even take a drive into West Caldwell (that's what we did the last time we visited).  We had some amazingly good ice cream at West Caldwell Carvel, pizza at Franco's, and stopped for some delicious chocolates at Bromilow's.

*I haven't met a kid yet who doesn't appreciate the ice caverns for what they are, which is unique, festive and fun, plain and simple.  As I always say, you have to ask yourself, 'Will my kid like this?' and not, 'Will I like this?'  (but I have a feeling you're going to like it, too!)

Have you been to the Christmas Ice Caverns?  Feel free to share your stories in the comment section below!

6 comments:

  1. We love the ice caverns! We used to go to the Fountains of Wayne Christmas walk through, but they closed. This place is just as great. My kids love it and it's a family tradition.

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    1. Ah yes! Fountains of Wayne was awesome! I remember waiting on a long line to get in there (all the way up the stairs) when I was little. Such great memories! Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Family tradition here as well! Grew up in West Caldwell and went every year as a kid. Now my sister and I meet each year to take our kids there and have lunch. We are actually going day after Christmas this year since schedule conflicts. My kids are a little disappointed it will be after Christmas but would rather go late then wait until next year.

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    1. Aw, it's still good even if you visit after Christmas. Plus, you can shop the after-Christmas sale in the store! I hope you enjoy the trip this year! Thanks for reading. :)

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  3. I have been going to the Caverns since I was 5 (I'm 46) when it was at Fountains of Wayne. It's amazing! When I go there it's like I'm a kid again and any 'adult' worries are gone for just a little while when I'm there. It's as if you are frozen in time from when you were young. Magical place!

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Fred! I remember visiting Fountains of Wayne, too, and the giant Santa statue that stood outside of it. Thanks for commenting and sharing some great memories!

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