When he's not too busy eerily gorging on cookies resembling his own silhouette and teaching forest creatures to defy gravity, the big man up north is a man of action. This year, he's outdone himself by granting every child's number-one wish: two million pounds of ice. Today's deal gets you one adult admission ticket for $12 (normally $20–$24.50), valid January 4–10. That's even cheaper than a regularly priced children's admission ($13, ages 4–12), so it'll cost you less than a kid to be a kid. Unless you are actually a kid. In which case, congrats on your superior reading level, and remember to change the quantity field to 50 before using mommy and daddy's credit card.
Santa put this two-million-pound pile of ice into good gloves, relying upon the folks at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center to transform this cryogenian amount of frozen H20 into the aptly titled ICE!, part of the annual Christmas on the Potomac celebration.
ICE! is 15,000 square feet of glistening family fun made entirely out of ice and patience. There are 10 elaborate holiday displays, including an epic penguin village and a life-sized Santa's workshop. Even this preview video is carved from a glacier. Feast your eyes on the glittering winter wonderland before zooming down the gigantic ice slide, over two stories tall. Invisible toboggan included.
The eye candy is the work of 40 international artisans who have perfected their craft at China's annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Not fluent in Chinese? Allow us to translate. These aren't the guys making wimpy 122-foot-tall snow people. They are the Michelangelos of Antarctica, working to turn frozen precipitation into chiseled masterpieces and frozen water into architectural wonders. The creation and the exhibition both take place inside the convention center. But remember, the thermostat and the water are locked solid at 9 degrees Fahrenheit, so be sure to bundle up.
These are walk-up tickets, meaning you must exchange your Groupon for admission in person, not online. They're good any time between January 4 and January 10, 2010, but please note they are based on availability, so it's first come first served. Your best bet is a weekday, as weekends will get crowded.
This is the first time ICE! is coming to the Gaylord, so there aren't reviews yet, but Yelpers give the venue 3.5 stars:
- I was very impressed at the sheer size of this place. It's a huge hotel and convention center that sits right by the Potomac River. The atrium area with the glass roof was amazing especially on a beautiful sunny day. – Marian B.
Blogger R. Todd King paints a picture of what to expect from the icy displays based on his experiences at the Harbin festival:
- Every couple of years, despite memories of bitter cold, I get the urge to return to Harbin to see its three big winter festival events - particularly the huge Harbin Ice and Snow World. 2009 celebrates the event’s tenth year, and it just keeps getting better and better. Goodness, look at that ice castle! – R. Todd King