The "Ice!" exhibit will bring its chilly charms to the Gaylord Texan as part of the hotel's Lone Star Christmas celebration. This time around, the theme is "Christmas Around the World." There'll be giant ice sculptures of kids around the world taking part in activities related to holiday fun, such as a piñata and an appearance by the Three Kings in a Mexico scene and a nutcracker and a tree with candles representing Germany, as well as two-story ice slides decorated with world landmarks. Here are five things to know if you go:
All about the ice
"Ice!" is made up of 2 million pounds of the cold stuff, carved into festive scenes by 40 artists from China. There are three types of ice in the exhibit: clear ice (you'll see a lot of that in the Nativity scene at the end); white ice, used to look like snow; and colorful ice in nine hues that is used in the sculptures.
Baby, it's cold inside
Even if you're one of those people who never get cold, you definitely are going to need the parka that's provided as part of the exhibit. It's 9 degrees in there and some standing around is required as part of the process, as well as waiting for the ice slide (much more standing in line will be involved if you go at peak times). Remember that scene in Christmas Vacation when Audrey's eyeballs freeze and she can't see the Christmas tree? It feels a little like that, and you wouldn't want to miss out on seeing the sculptures because you're frozen.
Take a look inside this year's exhibit:
You'll probably slip right down the ice slides, as long as you keep your parka under your backside. But the combo of tininess and poor parka positioning can sometimes cause the littlest sliders to come to a complete stop, so you might want to have a chat with them beforehand. This year's slide area features the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal and more.
There's an ice bar
Excuse my departure from the more family-friendly portions of the proceedings, but the On the Blocks Ice Bar is an optional $15 add-on for those 21 and up at select times. Participants sample Jackson Morgan Southern Cream and Goose Island Beer -- plus a choice of a Maker's Mark or Absolut specialty drink, or Hidden Crush cabernet or chardonnay, served in a souvenir glass.
"Ice!" is far from the only thing to see or do at the Gaylord Texan. If you're looking for things with no additional cost, wander around to check out the 2 million holiday lights, the miniature trains that run on more than 500 feet of tracks, 16-foot-tall Santa boots and other decorations. If you're willing to shell out some extra money, consider the 12-lane snow tubing hill, the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, the Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt and Milk & Cookies with Mrs. Claus.