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Gaylord National's ICE! brings 'Merry Madagascar' to life


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Courtesy photo. Slip and slide down one of the chilly, ice slides at Gaylord Nationa's ICE! through Jan. 8.

Courtesy photo. Slip and slide down one of the chilly, ice slides at Gaylord Nationa's ICE! through Jan. 8.

Published on: Wednesday, November 23, 2011

By Linda Blachly

By Linda Blachly

Special to The Sentinel

This is my third year covering the ICE! attraction at the Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor, and I have to say  my excitement level for this annual exhibit never wanes.

Courtesy photo. "Madagascar" characters come to life in this icy wonderland at National Harbor.

Courtesy photo. "Madagascar" characters come to life in this icy wonderland at National Harbor.

Every year, ICE!, which is part of National Harbor’s Christmas on the Potomac, gets better and better. National Harbor is quickly becoming an annual holiday tradition for many families in the area.

Last year, ICE! featured the Dr. Seuss holiday classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

This year, Gaylord National Resort teamed up with DreamWorks Animation to present the lovable characters of “Merry Madagascar,” who help Santa save Christmas. Visitors to ICE! will walk through jaw-dropping scenes — plus five two-story slides — carved entirely of ice.

The storyline of this holiday adventure comes to life as visitors stroll through scenes such as Santa and his reindeer crash-landing on the island of Madagascar and Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman and the wacky penguins saving Christmas by delivering all the presents themselves. Even the mischievous lemur King Julien learns the true meaning of the holiday and manages to get himself off the “naughty list” once and for all.

The indoor attraction is housed in a 15,000-square-foot structure specially created and thickly insulated to maintain its internal temperature of nine degrees Fahrenheit. To stay comfortable inside, guests are given oversized hooded parkas to wear over your own coat — make sure to wear gloves and hats — to be returned afterward.

ICE! was created by 40 artisans from Harbin, China, who crafted this icy wonderland out of nearly two million pounds of ice. Some of the sculptures feature colored ice blocks, yielding brilliant tones and deep hues for highlights and accents. Others are illuminated internally by some of the exhibit’s 1,400 specially-designed LED tube lights.

Visitors can also enjoy other activities throughout the season including ice skating, Gingy’s gingerbread decorating, and riding on the miniature train, Potomac Express.

ICE! is open daily through Jan. 8. For information and ticket prices, visit www.christmasonthepotomac.com.

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