A day with the grandkids in a below-freezing room surrounded by ice sculptures can really warm your heart.
That’s what I experienced during my first-ever visit to ICE!, the signature holiday attraction at the 14th annual Lone Star Christmas at the spectacular Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, just north of D/FW International Airport.
Accompanied by one adult daughter, a 13-year-old granddaughter and an 8-year-old grandson, we drove to Grapevine to experience Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, this year’s theme that features a series of scenes of hand-carved ice sculptures displayed in a huge, 14-000 square-foot walk-through room that is kept at a chilly, correction: freezing, 9 degrees.
Scenes include Santa’s Workshop, the Island of Misfit Toys, How Rudolph Saved Christmas and many others.
Let me warn you right now, it’s cold. And it’s even colder because you want to stop and admire the two million pounds of multi-colored ice sculptures that took nearly one month to be carved by the hands of 35 artisans from Harbin, China.
Although each visitor is handed a free parka before entering the freezer, it’s not enough. You’ll need gloves, a stocking cap, scarf, and protection for your ears in addition to the stocking cap.
Not only will you want to photograph the sculptures from multiple angles, right in the middle of the exhibit organizers have positioned a multi-chuted ice slide which the grandkids want to experience again and again. And again.
It was so cold that my Canon 40D digital camera refused to auto focus. Also, my index finger couldn’t push down the shutter. Meanwhile, hundreds of cell phone cameras somehow worked just fine.
But it’s not so cold that you can’t marvel at the intricacy of the sculptures and stand in awe before the stunning crystal clear ice sculpture scene of the Nativity.
While certainly the main attraction, ICE! is not the only fun thing to see and do at Lone Star Christmas.
Upon exiting ICE! and shedding the parka, you enter a huge airport-like food court, that is so well organized the lines move right along. We shared hot pretzels dipped in caramel washed down with hot chocolate.
The next stop is the 12-lane, two-story tall snow slide, where you can select a single tube or buddy-up in a double tube. It was impossible for me not to revolve around and around in a single tube while trying to race my grandson.
He won every time.
No trip to the Gaylord Texan is complete without walking through the massive hotel’s beautiful atrium, which for Lone Star Christmas features a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree, 2 million holiday lights, a neat miniature train and other holiday-themed sights.
Other grandkid-friendly things to do include: Build-A-Bear Workshop, scavenger hunt, gingerbread decorating corner, Santa’s snow throw and, of course, photos with Santa.
We left Burleson about 10 a.m. and reached the Gaylord in less than one hour. We took I-35W to Texas 121, just like going to D/FW. Stay on Texas 121 as if going to the D/FW north entrance but exit at Texas 26 which is also Texas 114 Business.
Merge onto Texas 114 for 1.2 miles, then left onto Texan Trail, right onto Texas 26 and left onto Gaylord Trail and follow the signs to the parking garage.
If you need an address for your GPS, use Gaylord Texas, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine.
Be sure and take your parking ticket inside to be validated.
ICE! runs through Jan. 1, 2019.
Multiple ticket packages are available at https://tickets.gaylordtexan.com.