‘Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Gaylord National Resort

Family-friendly Christmas on the Potomac Photo: ICE/ Gaylord National Resort

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., November 21, 2013 — It’s not everyday you gaze down at the faces of children in a crowd and see nothing but wide-eyed wonder.  But at ICE! at Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor that’s exactly what will see from now until January 5.

The resort is celebrating the sixth annual Christmas on the Potomac, which features a 15,000-square-foot interactive indoor attraction created entirely of ice.

This year’s theme is ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Colorful life-size sculptures bring the poem to life in vibrant colors.  It took more than two million pounds of ice and three months to create.  The sculptures were carved by 34 artisans from Harbin, which is the capital city of China’s northernmost province, Heilongjiang.

Visitors bundle up in special parkas provided by the Gaylord Resort before entering the temperature-controlled tent (kept at a frisky nine-degrees Fahrenheit).  Here, families stroll through rooms created entirely from ice.  Inside each room, scenes from the poem come.  In one room, two children are tucked into bed, the girl snuggling a doll, the boy, a teddy bear.  In the next, Santa and his eight reindeer land atop the roof.

Brave kids – who are bundled up — can also climb to the top of a pair of 20-foot slides and make their ways down the ice feet first.

The artistic team added a bonus scene this year depicting “Christmas in New York City” that brings to life the Big Apple.  This is a fun interactive room, where kids can sit in a life-sized taxi made of ice and can check out their image in the  “Times Square” JumboTron mounted above them.

Inside the Gaylord Resort’s grand atrium that overlooks the Potomac River, it’s a veritable winter wonderland with snow falling (inside), more than a foot of “snow” nestled among along the walkways, a choo-choo train ride flanked by massive presents, a 60-foot-tall glass Christmas tree hanging overhead, and more than 12 miles of lights and garlands.

Wander the lush atrium with its dancing fountains, holiday music and twinkling lights, where you’re sure to bump into characters from DreamWorks’ Animation’s Shrek and Madagascar, fun encounters that make for great photo ops.

Families can make a day — or even a weekend — of their visit to the resort.  Kids can sign up for lessons in gingerbread decorating with “Gingy,” a six-foot gingerbread mascot and for brunch with Santa Claus.

Tickets start at $27 for ages 12 and up and $19 for kids 3 to 11.  Children two and under enter for free.  Overnight packages that include access to ICE! and a $100 resort credit begin at $269.



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Andrea Poe

Andrea Poe is a veteran journalist, whose work has appeared in thousands of publications, including Town & Country, Marie Claire and Entrepreneur.  She is the author of several books and her work has appeared in many others, including anthologies and college textbooks. 

Andrea serves as editor of the Travel & Food section at The Washington Times Communities.  Her love of travel has led her to cover everything from remote villages in the Andes to her hometown of New York, from Paris to Pittsburgh, from Beijing to the Bahamas.  No matter where she travels, she likes to uncover the unusual and share with readers those often-overlooked aspects of a place and its people.  She dubs her column Raven’s Eye as a nod to her illustrious (and, yes, infamous) relative, Edgar Allan Poe, a writer who knew more than a little something about the quirky and unique.  

Andrea is also mother to Maxine, who was adopted from Vietnam in 2006, and is the inspiration for The Red Thread column on adoption at The Washington Times Communities.   Andrea is currently at work on a book on international adoption.

In addition to her work as mother, writer and traveler, she is the founder and president of Media Branding International, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations craft and promote their image in media outlets around the globe.

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