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Best Tips for Gaylord Texan ICE

Prior to moving to Texas, I heard many great things about Christmas events in Dallas and the surrounding area. One event I heard mentioned time and time again was the Gaylord Texan ICE event. Of course this was one of the first holiday activities in Dallas we wanted to see, so I took the boys to explore. Here is what you need to know about a Gaylord Texan Christmas.

Gaylor Texan ICE tips

Our Best Tips for Visiting Gaylord Texan ICE

What is Gaylord Texas ICE!?

ICE! Is an annual event held at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas. It is part of the resort’s Lone Star Christmas programming where the resort is decked out in its holiday finest.  ICE sculptures are made by over forty master carvers from Harbin, China (home to the largest ice fest in the world) who carve characters from over two million pounds of ice.

Every year is a different theme (this year is Charlie Brown) and visitors can enjoy the carvings (in a chilly 9 degrees) and other fun holiday games and activities. If you’re a Charlie Brown Christmas fan, this is one holiday event everyone will love.

What activities are offered at Gaylord Texan ICE?

Families with young children will find endless games and activities their kids will love. ICE! Is a stand alone exhibit, and the surrounding area has multiple spaces for play. There is a two story snow tubing hill, gingerbread cookie decorating area, stories with Mrs. Claus, and a carousel. Older kids will enjoy the Santa’s Snow Throw and the Holiday Escape Room.

Outside of this, families can enjoy a character breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends and go ice skating at the resort’s outdoor rink. Make sure to spend time exploring the Lone Star Christmas decorations inside the resort. With over two million lights, a 54 foot Christmas tree, miniature trains sets, and giant nutcrackers, Gaylord Texan’s 125 acres are a winter wonderland.

How do I buy Gaylord ICE tickets?

Tickets for Gaylord ICE are available on the ICE website. We highly recommend buying them or advance or you could find yourself waiting in line once you arrive or tickets being sold out. There are several packages available for purchase, and also discount codes available for certain dates. (The code ICE will get you 50% off general admission, but there are black out dates). 

There are different options for buying an ICE Ticket. Tickets are priced individually and in bundles. There are platinum, gold, and silver bundles, and each one includes a variety of activities from snow tubing to ice skating. When you bundle, you can save up to 30% on tickets.

Originally, I priced out a Gold Bundle (to save 20% off), but the price was about $200 for four of us. I used the coupon code to save 50% off general admission and then purchased three Santa’s Snow Throw tickets, and that came in just under $100.

Is food available at ICE?

There are several food and drink kiosks set up throughout the ICE exhibit space. There’s everything from donuts, to pretzels, to hot dogs, and drinks. There are several sit down restaurants and quick serve spots inside the resort if you want something more substantial. Every place accepts cash or credit.

Also, for the 21 and over crowd, you can experience “On the Blocks” ice bar, a bar made completely of ice. Tickets can be purchased before entering the ICE show. The ice bar is not very big, but it does make for some good photo ops.

Food drink at Gaylord Texan
There are food stations throughout the exhibit, and each one offers different food and drink.

What should I wear to Gaylord Texan ICE?

Inside the ICE! exhibit it is a chilly 9 degrees. Everyone receives a giant blue parka before entering, but know that the parka does not cover your hands or face. If you get cold easily, bring some gloves. Definitely bring hats and mittens for young children. My kids had on jeans and a hoodie under their parka, and no one complained of the cold. Also, strollers are not allowed inside ICE.

blue parka at Gaylord Texas ICE

How long does ICE take?

It takes about 10-20 minutes to walk through the Gaylord ICE sculptures, depending on how many times you stop, the crowds, whether or not you stop in the ice bar, and how many times you go down the ice slide (a two story slide included in your ticket). It is a self guided tour. Plan on spending another 1 to 2 hours enjoying the other activities.

Where do you park for ICE?

As you pull into the driveway of the Gaylord Texan, there are signs that say “ICE Parking”, follow these to the parking garage adjacent to the Convention Center. The exhibit is in the Convention Center. Parking in the garage is just over $16, but rumor has it parking in the garage can be validated with purchase of food or beverage in the hotel. There is also valet parking through the resort. Other options include taking an Uber or Lyft.

When is the best time to visit ICE?

If you have young children, I would highly recommend going when the older ones are at school or right after school with older children. Weeknights tend to be less crowded (we went on a Tuesday night and it was pretty empty), than the weekends. Also, go early in the season because the closer it gets to Christmas, the larger crowds are inevitable. Another idea is to go after Christmas because ICE is open until January 5, 2020.

What’s the best age for ICE?

I would say children under 4 or 5 might complain of the cold inside the ICE exhibit but will love all of these other activities. It’s perfect for school-age children. My kids are 12, 15, and 17, and the older two thought they were too old for the extra activities, but they did enjoy the ICE! sculptures and holiday decorations at the Gaylord Texan.