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ICE! at Gaylord National 2016

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and my family was hosted by Gaylord National to facilitate this review.

One of our family traditions here in the DC area is to celebrate Christmas on the Potomac at the Gaylord National. It was a beautiful warm day at National Harbor this Saturday, so it felt strange to pack hats and gloves to go see ICE!, but it's always worth it. We went in the morning this time around and spent half the day there–there is so much to do! If you head over in the evening, be sure to stop by the Atrium for the water fountain lights show, the Starlight Tree show, and the snow. Those are free and a lot of fun for kids of all ages. Look for details below about discount tickets to ICE!

ICE at Gaylord National 2016 - DC family holiday tradition

ICE! This Year

This year's theme is Christmas Around the World, so the ice sculptures reflect traditions from many cultures. You also walk through the North Pole and end up in Santa's Workshop, where we were blown away by the toy sculptures. I especially liked that there were more interactive elements this year–lots of places for kids to climb under and into, vehicles to sit in, etc. As always, my kids love the two-story ice slides, and we all love watching the artisans carving right there in the Frostbite Factory.

ICE at Gaylord National 2016 - DC family holiday tradition

Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends

Enjoy an amazing breakfast buffet while the Peanuts characters visit your table and take pictures with your kids (or yourself!).


Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt

After your huge feast, get some exercise by doing this fun scavenger hunt that takes you up and down the escalator and stairs in search of clues. Once the kids have finished their hunt, they can claim a prize back down in the ___ Village.

ICE at Gaylord National 2016 - DC family holiday tradition

Christmas Village

Inside the hotel's Christmas Village, you'll find more rides for kids (and adults who get dragged onto the carousel by their kids–ahem). You'll also find the Gingerbread Decorating Corner and this year–a Build a Bear Workshop filled with holiday-themed friends and accessories.

ICE at Gaylord National 2016 - DC family holiday tradition

Save on Your Tickets!

You'll find discount ticket deals at Groupon, where you can purchase dated tickets that are good for a particular day. There are also Military and Girl Scout discounts; get details.

If you're not in the DC area, try to catch ICE! at one of the Gaylord Resorts near you: Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, or Gaylord Texan in Grapevine.