Over the weekend, my kids and I had the opportunity to check out ICE! at the Gaylord National Resort just outside Washington, DC. It was our second year to see ICE! as part of the annual Christmas on the Potomac celebration, and for the second year in a row, the amazing spectacle did not disappoint.
More than two million pounds of ice have been expertly carved by Chinese artisans into a delightful display with a “Twas the Night Before Christmas” theme. We donned heavy coats provided by the folks at ICE! (thank goodness since it was near 60 degrees outside the day we paid a visit) to go room to room, each of which is kept at a cool nine degrees to keep the ice sculptures from melting.
Each room is done up to match a four line passage of the popular children’s poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. So, the first room had ice sculptures of little mice snoozing in teacups (…not a creature was stirring…not even a mouse). Another room had the stockings hung by the chimney, with care. Yet another room had Santa guiding the sleigh with his eight tiny reindeer.
Toward the end of ICE!, there is a bonus room that depicts Christmas in New York City. The kids loved sitting in the yellow taxi cab made out of ice and posing for a picture in front of the “Big Apple.” The Statue of Liberty was there too as was a Times Square-style billboard.
No visit to ICE! is complete, however, without a slide or two down the ice slides. It was extra cold in that room, so I had to cap the slides at about three per child. I needed to move on to warm up my hands so I could take more pictures of the displays!
Once we finished our walk through ICE!, we took the kids to make a Gingerbread House inside the Gaylord National Resort. The kids had a lot of fun with this hand-on activity and even got to have their pictures taken with Gingy from the Shrek movies (the Gingerbread House Kit is a separate $49.95 fee). Puss in Boots, as well as Shrek himself, were also on hand in the atrium for photos.
If you have little ones, check out the PEEPS Potomac Express train on the ground floor of the hotel ($3 per ride), and don’t forget about the fountain show that takes place every night at 7 pm and 9 pm. It even snows in the lobby at 6 pm and 8 pm.
ICE! is $34 per adult (ages $12 and up) on peak days (generally Friday through Sunday) and $27 on non-peak days. Children ages three to 11 are $27 on peak days and $19 on non-peak days. Marriott Rewards Members can save 20% on non-peak days by using promo code MRICE13. ICE! runs through January 5 and it’s best to reserve your tickets online.
If you live near other Gaylord properties, like Gaylord Opryland in Nashville or the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, you’ll find that each of these resorts also have their own ICE! experiences that are worth checking out this holiday season.
Disclaimer: I was provided with free passes to enjoy ICE! with my family, as well as free coupons for the Gingerbread House Kit and train rides. This post also contains an affiliate link. However, the views and opinions expressed here are my own.