FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Before the holidays are officially over, you may want to bundle up and head to the Gaylord Texan Resort for a real taste of winter in the last days of the Gaylord’s annual Lone Star Christmas event.READ MORE: Arlington Police Officer Shoots, Kills Suspect Who Allegedly 'Drove Directly Towards Officer'
Since it first opened its doors in 2004, the Gaylord Texan has been enchanting not only its guests, but the hundreds of thousands of people who flock to the massive resort just to see its enormous and elaborate Christmas displays. There’s a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree, miniature train sets, and two million holiday lights.
But perhaps the biggest draw is the Texas-sized winter wonderland made almost entirely of ice.
Two million pounds of ice– made here locally– and then painstakingly carved by a team of 40 master ice-carvers who are brought in all the way from the famous “ice city” of Harbin, China. They spend one month creating the intricate displays, in what visitors soon realize are bitterly cold temperatures.
“It’s a wintery NINE degrees inside,” says Martha Neibling, Director of Marketing for the Gaylord Texan. “It has to stay really cold to keep all the ice intact. So, we do provide complimentary parkas for all the adults and kids, but we also say dress for cold weather, wear your closed-toed shoes, your mittens and your hats.”
The ICE! exhibit features a 12-lane snow tubing hill, cookies and milk with Mrs. Claus, an ice-carving station, and five two-story slides made entirely of ice.
And for those who think they’ve seen it all before…think again.READ MORE: Small Plane Overturns At Dallas Executive Airport
“We started noticing early on that families were starting to make it a tradition to come see ICE!, and to come see the holiday decorations every year,” says Neibling, “and then we decided to make it different and have a theme change every year.”
This year’s theme is “Christmas around the World,” and it shows how various countries celebrate the holiday season.
A full-time special events team works year-round to not only create the ICE! concepts, but to also build all of the decorations on display at the hotel.
“We have a secret warehouse where our elves do Christmas every year,” says Neibling. “That’s all they work on, and we get a lot of questions from people here asking, ‘Where can I buy that? Where do you get that?’, and it’s nice to be able to say this is unique. This is handmade. Just for us, and just for you.
“Everyone at Gaylord, all the teams here, have a real passion for this season, and we just get so much satisfaction out of seeing families come– not only from the Dallas area– but from states across the country to enjoy this holiday event. And it’s always nice to see families spending time together and enjoying the holidays,” says Neibling.
And it’s not too late to take in the magic.
You can enjoy Gaylord’s Lone Star Christmas through Sunday, January 3.MORE NEWS: Domestic Violence Incident Involving Gunfire Led To Dallas Apartment Gas Explosion, Court Documents Show
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