*Tickets to the event were provided by the Gaylord National free of charge but all opinions remain my own.*
One of the best parts of the holiday season is getting out and finding fun, festive activities to take part in. There is something about bundling up, and heading out as a family that just feels cheerful! Now that my daughter is a toddler, we are able to do so much more with her and it’s the best! She loves it too. So, I made it my mission to find and do more wintery, Christmas activities this year to make the most of the holiday season. We started our festive fun with a bang when we got to attend one of the opening nights at ICE!™ featuring a Charlie Brown Christmas and we all had a blast!
ICE!™ at Gaylord Hotels
Each holiday season the Gaylord Hotels, which are part of the Marriot family, put on their amazing ICE! exhibits for visitors to enjoy. These indoor winter wonderlands use over 2 million pounds of hand carved ice to create holiday scenes and even have ice slides! In addition to the main ICE! exhibit at each of the hotels, there are also plenty of other fun, holiday themed activities for both children and adults alike to enjoy. From indoor ice skating rinks to gingerbread decorating stations, there is so much holiday fun to be had! We got to visit the Gaylord hotel closest to us, the Gaylord National located at the National Harbor but they also have ICE! at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. the Gaylord Palms in Orlando and the Gaylord Texan in Dallas.
ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas
I was so excited when I heard that they Gaylord National was going to be featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas in their ICE! exhibit this year! Each year they have a new theme. Last year the theme was Rudolph and they featured characters from the original stop-motion classic Christmas film, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, a favorite in this house! When I say that the exhibit “features” these characters, I mean that there are life size (or larger!) ice sculptures colored and cut to look exactly like the iconic holiday classics they are modeled after! Over 40 artisans create these amazing sculptures which keep their shape by being kept at a chilly 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
After suiting up in your lovely blue parka upon your arrival, you will enter a magical ice world like something you have never experienced! You will get to weave in and out of the hand carved ice sculptures and even go through ice tunnels. My daughter’s favorite part was the 2-story slide made entirely out of ice! She also loved seeing all the Peanuts characters and Snoopy with his red dog house! My husband and I loved reliving this favorite Christmas classic as well. It was seriously stunning to see these sculptures up close. It was wild to think about how much planning, preparation and painstaking work that must have gone into the beautiful ice displays. I only wish I could have stayed and admired it a little longer, but I would have freezed my behind off!
Know Before You Go
We truly had a fabulous time visiting the Gaylord National and experiencing ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as everything else the Christmas on the Potomac and the Gaylord National had to offer. It was our first time going, so I didn’t know what to expect, but now that I’ve had a chance to try it out, here are my best tips for making the most out of your experience!
- DRESS WARM! This is my number one piece of advice! Sure, you expect it to be cold, but it is COLD! It is literally like walking into a giant freezer! Large blue parkas will be provided for you to wear over top of whatever you have on (mine fit over my jacket) but I would have still put on a few more layers if I did it again. Also, make sure you bring scarves, hats and don’t forget your gloves!! We somehow managed to leave one of my daughter’s gloves in the car so she had to wear one of mine. My husband then gave me one of his and so he had to go without one glove. Just double check and make sure you have appropriate cold weather gear for everyone!
- Plan ahead! We thankfully were able to go on a Sunday evening when it was not too crowded, but I know it can get very busy during the weekends. Buy your tickets ahead of time (see below for a discount code!) and if you can, consider going during a weekday or “off” hours. It was great that we didn’t have to fight with crowds or feel rushed when we went. We also ended up spending more time there than we thought we would, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy all that the Gaylord had to offer.
- Bring a camera! There are tons of great photo ops!
- Be sure to enjoy all of the holiday fun! A few of the additional holiday offerings that the Gaylord has going on include (but aren’t limited to): indoor ice skating, a holiday train ride, Santa visits, carousel, Build-A-Bear mini workshop, Cirque Unwrapped stage show in the atrium, and so much more! Be sure to check out the schedule ahead of time and you can even buy tickets online for the activities that require them as well. Do keep in mind that many of the above mentioned activities do require tickets for an extra fee.
- Know your child! My daughter is really into snow and ice right now and since we only have her, I knew my husband and I could handle it if she decided to well, act like a toddler! Children 2 and under are free as well. However, it was very cold and if your child is sensitive at all to cold, they may not enjoy themselves, so take that under consideration!
We really had a fabulous time checking out ICE! at the Gaylord National and we hope to go back in years to come! It’s a great way to celebrate the start of winter and make wonderful memories this holiday season with family or friends. I encourage you to check it out for yourself and use the promo code: SNOW18 for $4 off your ticket when purchasing online! You can find out more about the hours and details of the event, which runs until January 1, 2019, here!