Dallas: Embrace The Holidays at Gaylord Texan’s ‘ICE!’

ICE!® features Christmas Around the World for 2015.
ICE!® features Christmas Around the World for 2015.

Photo Credit: Marriot Gaylord Texan Resort

Every year the Gaylord Texan Resort’s annual ICE! exhibit delights and awes residents of North Texas with 14,000 square feet of ice sculptures to wander through. This year the theme is Christmas Around the World created from two million pounds of hand carved ice. There are also one-and-a-half million twinkling lights, 12,000 ornaments, a  life sized gingerbread house, and a 52-foot-tall rotating Christmas tree.

It takes 40 master artisans from Harbin, China 30 days inside the ice tent to carve the exhibit. They use three kinds of ice to create the vignettes. The clear ice is used in places like the giant Nativity scene. The white ice looks like snow while the colored ice is used to give the sculptures color and dimension.

If you’ve never been it is something everyone should see at least once. To get to the exhibit you’ll travel through the Gaylord’s inside “Riverwalk” patterned after the famous waterway in San Antonio. At the entrance of the exhibit everyone gets giant parkas to wear. Don’t turn the very unfashionable garments down because it is literally freezing once you enter the exhibit and that’s not something we’re used to — the temperature is kept at nine degrees. Yes. Nine. Bring gloves, you’ll want them desperately about five minutes into your adventure.

The sculptures are awe inspiring -- everything is made of ice.
The sculptures are awe inspiring — everything is made of ice.

Photo Credit: Marriot Gaylord Texan

Christmas Around the World is exactly what it sounds like. The display consists of giant ice sculptures of how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world. In the Mexico scene you’ll see a pinata and the Three Kings. Germany has a nutcracker and a candlelit tree, and so on.

You’ll travel through the exhibit at your own pace, strolling along, and taking as much time as you want to. The sculptures tower around you and many are interactive and allow the kids to climb, sit, and otherwise totally enjoy themselves. They’ll love climbing to the top of a two story mountain and flying down the ice slide. We preferred to stand at the bottom and take pictures as our loved ones risked frostbite on their nether regions but there were many adults that slid down as well. If you do brave the slide it’s important to keep your parka beneath you or you may not slip down as smoothly as you’d like. The Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and the Taj Mahal are some of the structures in the ice slide area this  year. Keep in mind everything you see is made from ice.

ICE! featuring Christmas Around the World isn’t the only Christmas activity to explore at the Gaylord Texan. There are numerous things for the kids to do and, if you bring the nanny along, you can spend some quality time with Absolut and a souvenir glass  in the On the Blocks Ice Bar. ICE!® will run through January 3, 2016.