Every once in awhile I have an adventure that feels a little bit like discovering oil in my backyard. (Maybe that's too much of a 'Texas' analogy for some of you to appreciate?). Anyway, I have heard people mention the Gaylord Hotel before, but I don't know why they haven't EMPHASIZED how very cool it is on it's own, and with the addition of the annual ICE exhibit it's an outstanding holiday event! Who knew? And it's so close! The Gaylord is located a little over 30 minutes from where I live, and it's a HUGE resort (hotel is too meek of word, and the picture doesn't do it justice). It reminded me of Vegas-minus the smoke and slot machines...and heat. There is an ENORMOUS atrium inside that was decorated to the max with Christmas decorations (and photo ops for those of you with little ones) and trains running every which way. There were also tons of shopping chances, and eating chances. Each section has a theme-I was able to identify the Alamo, with the 'riverwalk' running through it. Not only could families visit Santa, take pictures with a real reindeer and Mrs. Clause, walk through a life size gingerbread house, visit western saloons, walk along the 'river' and chase trains, and 'light look'....the last few years the hotel has been bringing in an exhibit called "Ice." There are some ice sculptures they fly in from China to work for a full month creating an ice land. They then keep the room at a chilly (and windy) 9 degrees, and they provide coats for all the guest (and blankets for the babies)....along with a row of tissues once you exit (you really do have a runny nose from that chill!). The one draw back is the cost, but it was worth seeing and experiencing! I can't even begin to describe all the things we saw in the interactive world of ice, or include all the pictures, but you could climb on ice, life size carriages, trains, and bears, and slide down an ice slide. Everything you see is made of ice, though some is painted once it is sculpted.