A few weeks ago, my dad and his wife offered to take our family to see ICE! at the Gaylord National Hotel. I honestly had no idea what it was but I said, “Sure! An ice show sounds great!”
I tweeted about it and thankfully found several people who had been the previous year or had been to other locations and assured me it was pretty cool and worth going. Since I wasn’t paying, that made it especially appealing.
I did my research. I watched the videos. I learned that there is a whole artisan craft devoted to ice sculpture. And I don’t mean the guys that make a pretty sculpture for the captain’s buffet at the end of a cruise. That’s an ice sculpture but not on the scale of what I saw at the Gaylord.
They literally import Chinese ice sculptors who live in Northern China and contribute to the Ice Lantern Festival every year (the pictures I’ve seen are stunning).
But this is Maryland we’re talking about. Not the frigid Arctic Circle or anything.
When we arrived we were informed that in order to the keep the ice sculptures from melting, the exhibit area was at a mere 5 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s cool. I like it chilly. I had my stylish down coat on. And they were providing us parkas.
We entered and were immediately amazed. Everything was made of ice. Clear ice, colored ice. It was truly a winter wonderland.
Even with all the beauty, my four year old was less than cooperative. He was tired from waiting. He was hungry. He was hot with his coat on. He was cold in the exhibit. There was no pleasing him. Until we got to the best part of the exhibit. The ice slide!
We all took turns taking a slide down. It wasn’t until I was about halfway down the slide that I realized leaning back on the parka would make me zip down. I ended up in a full on belly laugh as I skidded onto the astroturf at the end. I’m pretty sure my husband was having a good time too. (Can you see the boyish grin on his face?)
My pouty-faced little boy was so excited he wanted to go again. So he and Daddy ventured back to the top of the slide while I waited at the bottom to capture this moment. Watch the right-hand slide and you’ll see my little Evan coming down the slide in a very unique manner. My husband follow right behind him.
We finished looking at all the ice sculptures and ended up looking at (gasp) a nativity scene made of ice! I was shocked that we would allow any such religious overtones to be present for religious holiday but I was pretty impressed.
At this point, it didn’t matter how holy the scene was. I was pretty freaking cold. I lived in Cleveland for many years. I remember the day that the high temperature was -20 degrees and with the wind chill it was -40. It was cold. But it’s been years since I was that bundled up girl.
Even though I looked chic in my faux-fur lined hood and not-so-chic with my ugly blue parka, by the end of the exhibit, I was ready to be done. It turns out 5 degrees is pretty cold after all.