Event Runs in Baltimore, Maryland, November 18, 2017 - January 01, 2018 (Go Get Tickets Now!)
I spent a couple of hours in 9 degrees Farenheit - that's minus 15 degrees centigrade! And why in my right mind did I do that? No, as much as I am a Titanic movie fan, I did not have any death wish to suffer what Jack Dawson suffered on that plank when he was freezing to death and Rose was singing lullabies!
I was at ICE!® featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Marriott Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. They describe it as a "walk-through winter wonderland carved from more than two million pounds of ice."
The first I ever saw ice sculptures was in Johnny Depp's Edward Scissorhands! The next was at a wedding in summer this year. But a spectacular of this magnitude ... I had not expected to see in this lifetime!
I discovered ICE! last year but half the family was traveling and I wanted to wait until the baby niece was slightly more grown up. She turned 3 in November and I found tickets for the Thanksgiving weekend as a perfect addition to our birthday celebrations. ICE! happens every year as part of the signature holidays celebrations 'Christmas On The Potomac' at Gaylord, and this year's theme was Rudolph! The sculptures are storytelling aides. Adult tickets cost me $32 plus tax on a 'Value Day' that is non-peak hours. My niece was under 4 so she got in free! Other expenses were the $3 per person processing fee for booking, $5 per person for ICE! tax (wonder what that is!?), and a 3 hour parking at Gaylord's own garage for $15.
I would advise, if you don't wish to turn into Jack Dawson's corpse, please look at the YouTube videos of the exhibit and real people talking about how bone chilling cold it is inside! Woollen caps, scarves, gloves, warm shoes, thick socks, layers of clothes, and a tough insulated overcoat are all needed! Cover your face also if you get winter burn on your face because I GOT IT! They give you their signature "Blue Parka" (also a #) when you are entering and it is returnable. I had called the helpline and they said the parkas are sanitized before being handed out to new guests. If you don't wear the parka you don't get to go on the ice slides! So leave your germophobic freak at home! Besides, I was wearing the Blue Parka on my waterproof overcoat so I knew I could always wipe it clean!
It was a spell-binding winter wonderland in there! Every bit you see in the photos including the snow mountains, characters, and walls is made of ice! They were stained dyed in vibrant colors, and also illuminated.
Digital cameras and smartphones will be affected! I had read some blogs prior to going so I knew I had to carry a power backup with me. My iPhone stayed true to me but the Sony digital camera passed out suddenly in about an hour! The Nikon professional digital camera was working fine so all my photos and videos were taken with a DSLR. And I wore gloves that had fingertips exposed --- BIG MISTAKE! --- my fingers became stiff, numb, and very painful and nails went blue at the end of the hour. It is advised to keep cell phone compatible gloves for that reason. I underestimated! So, I started exercising my fists to get blood flowing and after some pins and needles the feeling came back! P.S. I am very angry at Rose Bukater now! She should have seen the Jack Dawson popsicle coming!
The ice slides were the highlight entertainment definitely! Designed separately (according to size) for adults and kids, these slides were the prime attraction and there was a queue (fast moving!). I actually yelped coming down because come on! sliding on ice is crazy fast! And besides, my life's been pretty slow lately and I needed the adrenaline jump. The Blue Parka is a must here because regular clothes stick to the ice and you sort of get stuck on your way down if your jean or trouser is exposed under your bum.
Thing One enjoyed the slide so much! That's the adorable Blue Parka in kiddie size for your little ones! She took two turns! So did Sara! Check out the incredible craft of the ice craftsmen. Each brick is clear ice and to make it clear they use filtered, and treated water. Abbie's Cafe Tip: if you ever want clear ice cubes for your drinks, boil your water before putting it into the ice trays to freeze! That's clear crystal ice for you!
The Yeti has become a personal favorite - mine and Sara's that is! For some reason Sara thinks she looks like it. And she felt that the Blue Parka completed the resemblance! That humongous ice sculpture was one of our favorites. It was still Fall when we visited but that's how we started off the winter countdown. We were immediately in the holiday mood and I, for one, was wishing November a goodbye. Remember my kicking 2017 out the door mission?
The baby niece was getting very agitated by the freezing chill and she kept crying. But she did get to make Rudolph's nose glow though! That was one thing she wanted to keep doing. She wanted more buttons!
Winter holidays are not complete without this controversial red dress old man from the North Pole. Personally, I love him! I wish I was still a kid and could have gotten a photo taken sitting in his lap and asking him for more Harry Potter merchandise! Recently something was published (Sara says) informing us how Rudolph and the other reindeers are actually females because in winters the males shed off their antlers. So, everyone pulling the sleigh is a she-reindeer! Well, I say Santa Claus should also be a lady, considering how the character knows how to do everything right! *winks*
The beautiful Nativity scene was the concluding masterpiece of the exhibit. It was different from the rest because it was crafted from crystal clear ice. Everything appeared to be crystal, glass. The scene depicts the birth of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and the animals and people (saints, angels, Mary (peace be upon her) the mother of the prophet, and others) who were present at the time according to Christian tradition. This exhibit hall had audio storytelling on loop. Every bit felt magical, divine. Muslims have a different tradition about the conception and birth of their Prophet Jesus (Isa) (peace be upon him) but they agree with Mary (Mariam) peace be upon her to be his mother and the presence of Angel Gabriel (Jibr'il) peace be upon him. So, the depiction touched hearts for sure.
I felt the blood rush back to my cheeks and feeling returned to my limbs when we stepped out into the sunlight outside the exhibit on the deck. There was hot chocolate and more fun surprises waiting for us at the Christmas Village outside. But that is another adventure...