As part of Christmas on the Potomac, the Gaylord National Resort’s ICE! is a special holiday event in the Washington, D.C. area you won't want to miss. This one-of-a-kind event involves massive ice sculptures that are carved to tell timeless Christmastime stories, located in the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland.
This holiday season, the popular holiday attraction returns with a brand-new theme for 2019, Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." ICE! is open daily beginning November 15, 2019, and closes for the season on December 30, 2019.
The resort will offer a variety of immersive activities in the hotel’s exhibit hall. Upon entrance, guests will discover a decorated Christmas town square, complete with holiday merchandise, a hot chocolate stand, Santa’s sleigh, and a carousel ride.
What Is Gaylord National’s ICE!?
At the Gaylord National Resort, visitors step inside a winter wonderland created entirely of 5,000 blocks off ice weighing more than 2 million pounds, hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans and kept at a chilling nine degrees F. Produced exclusively for Gaylord Hotels, the attraction is fully interactive, allowing guests to roam inside, around, and on top of holiday scenes.
The indoor, walk-through attraction is housed in an enormous 15,000 square feet structure that is specially constructed and thickly insulated to help maintain its internal temperature of nine degrees. To stay comfortable inside, guests are loaned oversized winter coats to wear. It gets pretty chilly, so be sure to bring a hat and a pair of gloves.
History and Artistry
The master artisans who created Gaylord National’s ICE! are from Harbin, China, a city in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province that is world-famous for its annual Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival. Every winter, more than 2,000 sculpture artists carve a massive, 100-acre walk-through Ice Park and a full-size Ice City from blocks of ice taken from the nearby Songhua River. Gaylord National Resort brought 40 of Harbin's most talented master artisans to the U.S. to showcase their amazing talents in creating this one-of-a-kind attraction. They arrive in mid-October, staying onsite for more than 30 days, to build and hand-carve the attraction in time for its debut.
Admission is required to enter the exhibit, and you can purchase them in advance online or at the door. ICE! fills up quickly on many days, especially weekends, so buying tickets online is encouraged.
The prices depend on the day you visit, with the most expensive days on weekends and the days right around Christmas. Tickets start at $33 for adults and $25 for children. Kids under 4 years enter free, and there are also discounts for active and retired military members.
Christmas Decor and Free Nightly Entertainment at the Gaylord
The Starlight Christmas Tree will be the star of the hotel’s nightly holiday fountain show, "Sounds of the Season." The tree is comprised of 50 five-point stars, inspired by Washington, D.C. Americana and representative of the 50 states of America. The tree topper displays one large star—signifying the Capital—and a small cluster of stars to pay homage to the deco liberty coin. The holiday fountain is on display all season long, and the Sounds of the Season concert series has a show every Monday night from November 25, 2019, through December 16, 2019.
Additional Seasonal Activities
- Cirque Dreams Unwrapped is performed within the hotel's stunning 19-story atrium. The entire family can enjoy this uniquely inspired 25-minute Christmas fable performed on then atrium stage and in the air with spectacular costumes and soaring imagination.
- Enjoy an Ice Skating experience in the resort’s ornate Christmas Village. Ice Skating costs $16.99 for all ages.
- The Christmas Village is home to a variety of family-friendly entertainment including Cookies with Mrs. Claus, a carousel, miniature train ride, photos with Santa, and Gingerbread Decorating Corner
- A new family breakfast experience features the Grinch himself. Offered on select days, you can start your morning with a Who-ville themed buffet while characters visit your table.