In the heat of summer, there’s nothing quite like an icy, tasty treat. Some prefer ice cream, but when it’s really hot outside, you just can’t beat a good old-fashioned snow cone!

Snow cones — also called snow balls in some parts of the United States — are cool treats made with shaved ice and flavored syrups and served in a paper cone or cup. Snow cones are popular treats at amusement parks, sporting events and beaches.

When snow cones were first invented is a bit of a mystery. Some trace the history of the snow cone back to the 1850s when blocks of ice began to be sold. Ice wagons would transport huge blocks of ice from factories to businesses.

Along the way, children would approach the wagons, asking for ice shavings. It wasn’t long before parents began making flavored syrups to add to the ice shavings their children brought home.

Others believe the first snow cones were created in 1919 by Samuel Bert at the State Fair of Texas. Bert is known to have invented an ice-crushing machine in 1920, too.

Still others point to Ernest Hansen from New Orleans, who patented the first block-style ice shaving machine in 1934. It appears, though, that others had already come up with similar ideas years earlier.

At first, hand shavers were used to shave ice for snow cones. By the 1890s, however, many people had developed ideas for electric ice shaving machines.

Hansen’s ice shaver was known for producing ice that had the consistency of snow, unlike other ice shavers that produced rough and crunchy ice. Today, snow cone machines can be purchased in stores and online.

One of the earliest flavors of syrups parents would make was egg custard. Egg custard was easy to make, because it was just made of eggs, vanilla and sugar.

Before long, though, all sorts of flavors became popular. Today, some of the most popular flavors of snow cones include banana, watermelon, pineapple, blue raspberry, lime, grape, blueberry, cherry and coconut. One thing all these flavored syrups tend to have in common is that they come in bright colors!

Pre-made snow cone syrups can be purchased in stores and online, too. However, many people prefer to make their own homemade syrups using Kool-Aid® or fruit juices.

46 Join the Discussion

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  1. This one wonder was very “cool.” I love snow cones, especially with lots of syrup. Thanks to this wonder, I can now make my own for days when it is incredibly hot outside or when I just want a tasty treat. Thanks!!

    • What a WONDERful comment, boyWONDER! Thanks for letting us know you thought today’s Wonder was “cool!” We think snow cones ROCK on warm days, too! They are a SWEET way to beat the heat! :-)

    • That’s a COOL question, Iz! You can make snow cones by using crushed ice from the freezer if you don’t have any snow! They will be a bit more “chunky” than other snow cones, but just as delicious! There are also special snow cone machines you can get that help turn ice cubes into “snow.” We invite you to try some of recipe links found in today’s “Try it out!” section…they all sound WONDERful! :-)

    • We agree, Hank! A snow cone treat on a warm summer day is SO COOL (and SWEET!). Thanks for leaving us this GREAT comment today! :-)

  2. Now I want a snow cone, they sound really good right now.

    Thanks for the wonder xD

    Tomorrow. I think will be about: what is Nyan-Cat? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thank YOU for visiting today’s Wonder and sharing your comment with us, Jocelyn! We think a snow cone sounds like the PERFECT treat for a WONDERful Wonderopolis day! :-)

  3. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Great wonder! You make snow cones by using a snow cone machine with ice and adding special syrup. My grandma makes the best snowcones EVER! I think that tomorrow’s wonder will be about stars.
    Love Always,

    • It’s so GREAT to receive a comment from you today, Paige! We hope you are having a WONDERful week! Thank you for sharing that your grandma makes AWESOME snow cones…we think that’s SUPER! :-)

    • We think any chilly treat that features both shaved ice AND ice cream sounds simply AMAZING, Wonder Lead Jon! We will have to try that SWEET combination! Thank you for sharing about it today! :-)

  4. I enjoyed today’s wonder! I love snow cones! I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about bees or making honey.

    • We don’t know very many Wonder Friends who don’t enjoy snow cones, LKvolleyballGirl! They are WONDERful! Thank you for sharing that you love them, too! We like your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder and can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis in the morning to see if your guess is correct! :-)

  5. Oooooh! I love snow cones, but I never knew how to make them. Thanks for informing me about this topic. I think it was very interesting and I would really want too try it sometime. I love WONDERopolis!Thanks!

    • Your comment ROCKS, Maya! Thank you for sharing that you learned some COOL new facts about snow cones by exploring today’s Wonder of the Day®! We’re glad you like visiting Wonderopolis! :-)

    • We’re really glad you liked today’s Wonder of the Day®, Jessbess! Thanks for letting us know! Your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder is GREAT, too! :-)

    • That’s a really SUPER guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, Logan! We like it a LOT! Thank you for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us again today…we appreciate your comment! :-)

  6. I liked the video about making snow cones. It showed me how to make a delicious snow cone with great steps and a great time to make them! I like to make snow cones at home, but not as healthy as the ones on here!

    • Hi, Sophia! We thought the snow cones in the video for today’s Wonder that used fruit juice syrup looked really yummy, too! We are going to try to make some of those here in Wonderopolis very soon! We hope you have an AMAZING rest of the week! :-)

    • How COOL that you are going to the beach, Julia…have lots of FUN! We hope you get to try a snow cone while you are there! You’re right…they are good treats for the beach! :-)

    • Hello, Renee! Thanks so much for sharing your love of snow cones! It makes us really happy that you visited today’s Wonder and left us this comment…in fact, we think it’s SUPER! :-)

    • WOW! Those are AWESOME snow cone flavors, Carlos! Thanks so much for sharing your favorites with us! We WONDER what a snow cone that had ALL of those yummy flavors in it would taste like? We bet it would be look colorful and taste WONDERful! :-)

    • What a great guess about tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®, Wonder Girl! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis in the morning to see if your guess was correct! Have an AMAZING rest of the week! :-)

    • We like your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, SWAG2401! Thanks so much for sharing it with us and THANKS for letting us know you liked today’s Wonder, too! :-)

    • Hi there, squary11! We think snow cones are a SWEET summertime treat! Please let us know what you think about them when try one, OK? Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis today and leaving us a comment! :-)

    • We think it’s super cool that we have TWO Wonder Friends named, “TJ!” Thanks for visiting this Wonder of the Day® and thanks for sharing that you love your mummy! :-)

    • Great question, Isabella! If the ice is a solid, it might be tough to enjoy the snow cone. But if it’s crushed up, you can eat it a bit easier! That way, your tongue won’t get stuck to the ice cone! :)

  7. That’s easy. You just take a cone and fill it with snow. Why else is it called a Snow Cone?
    OK I’m kidding. :)
    I used to have some some years back. Now I just adore them and drool every time I pass one.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do you make a snow cone?
  • When did snow cones become popular?
  • What are the most popular snow cone flavors?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to make your own snow cones? Even if you don’t have a snow cone machine, you can still make your own homemade snow cones with a few supplies and help from an adult.

Check out the links below for ideas:

Did you create your own unique snow cone flavor? If so, tell all your Wonder Friends about it. Post your story and a picture on Facebook. We can’t wait to see your homemade snow cones!

Still Wondering

Water and salt can make for some great basic chemistry activities. Explore Science NetLinks’ Cool Idea lesson to see what happens to water and ice when a little salt gets thrown into the mix.

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