Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Whoo hoo! It’s December, and that means that winter is in full swing. During this season, there’s nothing I love more than curling up with hot tea and a good book on a cold night. Just knowing that outside my breath will materialize into steam within seconds makes everything seem so much cozier. Unfortunately, frosty nights are few and far between in Texas. I’m not kidding—we hit 70 degrees three days in a row this past weekend, and the week before it was 80. Is this what Texans consider winter weather?* Call me crazy, but in December when it’s warmer outside of my house than inside of it, there is a problem. I mean, it just feels wrong to walk around looking at neighborhood Christmas lights while wearing a tank top, ya know? It also feels weird to see flowers and palm trees bedazzled with Christmas lights, but that’s another story.
When my friends and I found out about the Gaylord Texan’s ICE! exhibit, we were quick to schedule a visit. Finally we could experience a little winter weather amid all this summer heat. And why not look at some cool ice sculptures, too?! (Did you catch the pun in that last sentence? Sneaky, I know.) Anyway, here’s what happened.
*In my mind, I see someone who looks like Big Tex talking with a southern twang and saying, “Well, it was below 90 yesterday so I grabbed my parka and turned on my heater. Made a fire in fireplace, too, to warm things up. Take care not to freeze now, ya hear?”
One Man’s Coat is Another Man’s Coat
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from stalking friends’ social media posts about their visits to ice establishments, it’s this: guests are always supplied with giant coats. In dressing for my visit to ICE!, I assumed the same policy would hold true, and for some reason this made me really excited. (I really don’t know why…it’s rather unhygienic if you think about it, but I suppose I just really wanted to check "Wear a Massive, Shapeless, Community-Worn, Down Coat" off of my bucket list.) I opted to wear a thin t-shirt and decided against bringing gloves or hat or anything, because surely my massive, shapeless, community-worn down coat would keep me warm. And, how cold could this thing be? I assumed 25 degrees at the coldest, because that just seemed humane to visitors and ice-sculptures alike. Oh, how wrong I was.
Please Don’t Lick the Sculptures…
Approaching the exhibit’s entry after donning my oh-so-fashionable coat, I asked the kindly attendant how cold the rooms we were about to enter would be.
“Oh, we keep them at a healthy six degrees Fahrenheit. Wouldn't want our dear friend Frosty to melt!”
Surely I must have heard wrong. I’d signed on for some holiday fun, but hadn’t planned for a visit to the Artic tundra. My brain was suddenly flooded with scenarios that always ended with either my ears, nose, or fingers falling-off from frostbite.
Three steps from the door, I frantically searched for any extra fabric that could function as a ski mask or make-shift mitten. There was nothing. Well, I’d wanted cold weather and I was about to get cold weather (no wonder they say "be careful what you wish for"). Resigned to a fate that I assumed could only be like that of Leonardo DiCaprio at the end of Titanic, into the frozen world I went.
Magic in a Time of Glaciers
Aside from losing feeling in all extremities within three minutes and icicles forming on my inner nose within just one, the exhibit was awesome. Giant Frosty the Snowmans carved meticulously out of ice were everywhere—it was like Madame Tussaud’s but for magical snow creatures. There was also a giant ice slide that you could go down; all you had to do was sit on your parka because guess what—that fantastic, shapeless piece of fabric was WATERPROOF, too! (I really should just invest in one of those things.) A glittering, life-size ice nativity was also a central feature of the exhibit, and let me tell ya, there is nothing better than an ice-sheep; it really puts you in the holiday mood and makes you feel the true meaning of Christmas.
After about five minutes in the exhibit, my phone got too cold to work, so my Snapchat game—which had, until the five-minute mark, been too legit to quit—had to quit. And after 10 minutes, we all felt as though our lungs would never defrost nor our body temperatures return to normal, so we scurried out into the gloriously normal, room-temperature lobby.
Now That I’ve Thawed
This was a such a fun—albeit freezing—experience, and I’m totally in the holiday spirit now! And, I’ve gained perspective. I don’t even care that Texas has warm winters anymore, because if I have to encounter temperatures that cold ever again, I might simply just keel over and die. On that note, happy holidays!
Chelsea is a Level 5 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!