Normally I avoid thinking about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but this year I am determined to try ALL the things!
I haven't been to ICE in about 10 years, and my husband and girls have never been. So we did a bit of research and headed up to Grapevine to experience the wonder!
The making of ICE is actually incredible. Thirty-six truckloads of ice are delivered to the Gaylord over a period of three weeks- this is how fast the ice factory can produce it! Then 40 artists from Harbin, China (where it stays below freezing for half the year!), carve 2 million pounds of ice into the fantastic wonder you get to experience. How cool is that?!
(Learn more here: The making of ICE)
We picked an off-peak day to go because we know lines get long during the holiday season. Wait times can be several hours long, so factor this into your decision about when to attend!
Once you are lined up and ready to go, you will receive a long blue parka. Rookie mistake on my end: do NOT think the parka itself will keep you warm enough to enjoy ICE for long! It is 9 degrees inside ice. Nine. Degrees. Bring a hat and gloves. Wear boots- or at least socks. I do NOT recommend ankle-length pants and ballet flats (not that I wore those or anything...) Do not think that you won't need your own winter jacket underneath the parka. Seriously... If you're not sweating while you wait you probably aren't dressed warmly enough!
Once you enter, the display is truly a wonderland. The story of Rudolph is brought to life in blocks of ice larger than my children. The color is stunning. There are blocks throughout where you can re-read the story of the holiday's most beloved reindeer. My girls loved seeing the larger-than-life Abominable Snowman make an appearance. There is an On The Blocks Ice Bar inside ICE where you can have an adult beverage to warm you up. I wish I wouldn't have skipped that part...
Toward the end of your time in ICE, you will stumble upon the ice slides. My kids could have run up and slid down for days if my feet weren't so cold! They are a fun way to end your time at ICE.
When you exit you will be given the opportunity to purchase the pictures you took before you went in, and you will also turn in your parka. You will be greeted with a snow tubing hill and Build A Bear Workshop. There is also an entire gift shop complete with ornaments, t-shirts and the like.
Allow about 30 minutes to enjoy walking through ICE (aside from the wait you will experience to get in).
Know before you go:
1. You must pay to park at the Gaylord. Parking cost us about $20.
2. Lonestar Chirstmas is running concurrently with ICE and has lots of awesome activities. However, all activities are a la carte. Keep that in mind when purchasing ICE tickets. You can buy combo tickets that include snow tubing. Snow tubing, purchased onsite, is $20 per person.
3. Dress warmly. Bring a coat. Bring a hat and gloves. Wear boots or socks and sneakers.
4. Leave some time afterward to wander around the Gaylord and see all of the (free) decorations they have out for the holidays! My girls loved the Gingerbread House so large my 5-year-old could have fit in it!
5. Enjoy! Aren't the holidays magical?
*Please note, we were given 4 complimentary tickets to ICE in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*