Put on some warm clothes and head on over to Gaylord Opryland's signature ICE! exhibit.
There are more than 2 million pounds of ice in this frozen wonderland of excitement. ICE! returns to Gaylord Opryland with a whole new theme this year, Frosty the Snowman. ICE! has always been a favorite in my family since it’s inception. It’s an incredible site to see what only 40 artisans — from Harbin, China, who are known for their masterful carving skills — can do with so much ice.
Be sure to dress in warm clothes and gloves — it’s only nine degrees in there! You’ll feel the cold on your face and fingers first. The blue parkas that the exhibit loans out to you provide just the right amount of warmth for your body. I made the mistake of piling my kids up with coats like they were in A Christmas Story. Then we had a hard time putting the blue parka on … my son could barely move his arms. So, I think it’s safe to say just a warm sweater or sweatshirt will suffice (possibly a thin jacket and a hat, too).
When you arrive, you’ll watch a pre-show video before you don your parkas for the exhibit. The video shows you where the artisans come from, the history of such exhibits and clips of the progress of this year’s ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman.
Enter the ice box area and be ready to set your eyes upon some of the most amazing and colorful ice sculptures you’ve ever seen! The sculptures follow Frosty and his friends on their quest to the North Pole. See Frosty, Karen, the mean old magician, the bunny and more! My kids were so excited to see each following sculpture that we sort of went through the exhibit a little fast … not because of the cold. So, since you’re all warm in the parkas, be sure to take your time and enjoy the colors and masterfully created sculptures.
About midway through, take your turn — yes, Mom and Dad, too — on one of the four ice slides! Lean back and make the best use of that parka. It’s slickness helps you zip down the frozen slide. It’s great fun and you can go over and over again! There are staff members at the bottom to help little ones up if you decide to come down the slide after them.
Then, continue on your way and enjoy the rest of the exhibit. Near the end, there’s a scene that’s not part of Frosty the Snowman. It’s a bonus feature of the ICE! exhibit — New York City! Sit in an ice cab and have your picture taken (with your own camera) and see a sculpture of the Statue of Liberty.
The final room is the beloved and yearly addition to the exhibit, the nativity scene. This is a colorless sculpture scene with many ice sculptures. A beautiful ending to an always fabulous exhibit!
Once you’ve exited the ICE! sculpture area and returned your blue parka, you can visit in the gift shop area to warm back up. They’ve got hot chocolate and cupcakes for sale, too, along with lots of fun souvenirs and ornaments to remember your visit.
Hours vary daily. Admission Mon – Fri is $24.99 adults, $17.99 ages 4 – 11; Sat – Sun is $26.99 adults, $19.99 ages 4 – 11. Get tickets at christmasatgaylordopryland.com.