Where Every Family Matters

‘ICE!’ Holiday Attraction Returns to Gaylord Opryland

Families can return to see the tale ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ told through ice sculptures.

Gaylord Opryland Resort invites guests to “freeze the day” this Christmas as the longtime holiday tradition, ICE!, returns to the annual A Country Christmas celebration Nov. 11, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023, after a two-year hiatus.

Using more than 2 million pounds — or 1,000 tons — of ice, the classic 1964 Christmas animated television special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, will be brought to life by a team of 40 ice artisans who carve for thirty days to create the nearly 20,000-square-foot, frozen attraction.

ICE! at Gaylord Opryland | Nashville Guru

Starting with more than 6,200 massive ice blocks created by three different ice manufacturers because of the sheer amount needed — carvers will tally more than 12,000 manhours on the project. The artisans follow a 300-page design book to create the spectacle.

This year, ICE! will include 12 scenes from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, featuring classic characters including Clarice, Bumble, Sam the Snowman, Hermey the Elf and, of course, Rudolph himself. Ice carvings range in size from details as tiny as a coin to soaring scenes more than 20 feet tall.

The environment will be kept frozen by a state-of-the-art chilling system which maintains the temperature at a frosty 9 degrees Fahrenheit. And while the 9-degree temperatures turn ICE! into one of the coldest spots in Nashville, guests experiencing the attraction will be provided Gaylord Opryland’s signature blue parkas to keep them warm and toasty.

Colored ice (created by a chemist who mixes special food colorings to ensure sculptures maintain their bright colors the entire season), clear ice and LED lights are all used to create the display, as the frozen fun follows Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as he guides Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.

“We are thrilled to welcome guests back to experience ICE! and help them create even more holiday memories with their family and friends at Gaylord Opryland. Since debuting here in 2001, ICE! has always been our most popular attraction during A Country Christmas, and we’re excited to welcome this Gaylord Hotels tradition back this year with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” said Tom Petrillo, General Manager and Managing Director of Gaylord Opryland Resort.

In addition to seeing characters from the classic television special, guests can also take rides down four two-story-tall ice slides and traverse through ice tunnels and arches. The ICE! experience concludes in a separate area dedicated to a beautiful Nativity scene, meticulously carved and shaped in a dramatic display of crystal-clear ice.

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There’s Snow Much More!

While ICE! is the signature attraction for the 39th annual A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland, there are plenty more festive activities, events, attractions and decorations throughout the 2,888-room property. The entire resort transforms into a holiday wonderland with more than 4 million lights, elaborately themed Christmas trees displayed throughout the property including a fully adorned 48-foot tree, 15,000 poinsettias,15 miles of green garland and 10 miles of hand-tied ribbon. Christmas shows and activities are presented in the atriums, while guests can also enjoy a variety of exciting experiences at Pinetop, an outdoor Appalachian-esque village.

Here’s a rundown of the events, live entertainment, hands-on activities, holiday meals and exciting attractions taking place this holiday season at Gaylord Opryland:

Unique Holiday Dining Experiences

  • The Oak Ridge Boys “Christmas in Tennessee” Dinner Show – GRAMMY® Award-winning, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry members, The Oak Ridge Boys, are back to spread holiday cheer with a 32 day-show residency at the resort. Keeping the musical tradition alive, the Christmas in Tennessee” dinner show will feature a delicious holiday meal prepared by the resort’s culinary team followed by the legendary band performing Christmas classics, new favorites, and timeless hits.
  • Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Breakfast – Children and adults alike can look forward to a delicious breakfast and interactions with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other characters from the beloved holiday classic.
  • General Jackson Showboat’s Christmas Cruises – Guests can hop aboard Nashville’s famous 300-foot paddlewheel riverboat for the Tennessee Christmas Lunch Cruise or the Music City Christmas Dinner Cruise while enjoying scenic views of the Cumberland River and Nashville Skyline. Guests can look forward to a delightful Southern meal and world-class live musical performances.
  • Frosty’s Pub – The resort’s holiday eatery, Frosty’s Pub, features over the top seasonal décor, festive dishes, and naughty or nice cocktails with a touch of cheer.
  • Holiday Brunch – A celebratory Christmas Day Brunch will be offered at Gaylord Opryland Resort. Thanksgiving Day Brunch will be offered at the resort as well as Gaylord Springs Golf Links.

Outdoor Thrills at Pinetop

  • Snowball Build & Blast – In this brand-new attraction, guests can take their best shot with real snowballs at interactive targets.
  • Ice Skating – Enjoy a yuletide glide, day or night, on the resort’s 9,000 square foot skating rink made with real ice. Guests can also hone-in on their skating skills with ice-skating lessons.
  • Ice Skating Show – Experience an all-new, awe-inspiring live ice-skating show featuring champion skaters, big jumps, fast spins and mesmerizing throws and lifts. Guests can purchase tickets in advance for reserved seating.
  • Ice Tubing – Guests looking for thrills can enjoy all the fun of sledding with the added speed of ice on a 15-foot high, four-lane ice tubing hill.
  • Bumper Cars – Enjoy classic bumper car rides in the great outdoors. Get ready to slide and glide during this action-packed experience.
  • Live Musical Performances – Guests can get into the holiday spirit while enjoying live holiday tunes performed on the Pinetop stage.

More Outdoor Excitement

  • Annual Lighting Ceremony – On November 10, at 5:30pm, the public is invited to attend the 39th Annual Lighting Ceremony on the Magnolia Lawn with live performances, special surprises, and the flipping of the switch to turn on more than 4 million holiday lights and officially start A Country Christmas.
  • Nightly Tree Lighting – Step outside of the resort to watch the resort’s giant trees light up while Dicken’s Carolers serenade guests with favorite Christmas carols.
  • Carriage Rides – Experience a private fairytale horse-drawn carriage ride while marveling at the sparkling Christmas lights.
  • Outdoor Nativity – Step outside of the resort to experience special lighting effects and an audio rendition of the beloved biblical story.

Indoor Adventures

  • Parade of Trees – The Parade of Trees feature some of country music’s biggest names and showcase the artist’s uniquely themed Christmas trees on display in the resort’s garden atriums. While visiting the trees or viewing them online, guests will have the chance to donate to win “Once In a Lifetime VIP Experiences” donated by the artists, to benefit mental health services provided by charitable beneficiary First Responders Children’s Foundation..
  • Photos with Santa by DEI – Meet Jolly Old St. Nick in person and capture the amazing memory with a picture.
  • Delta Riverboat Christmas Cruise – Hop aboard the resort’s Delta riverboat for a festive-themed cruise down the winding quarter mile long Delta River.
  • Gingerbread Decorating Corner – Decorate your dreamhouse or delicious cookie with a variety of sweet treats. Guest can also visit the Gingerbread Bakery for even more tasty treats.
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop® – Guests can bring imagination to life and create their very own furry friend with personalized outfits, accessories, scents, and sounds.
  • Reindeer GamesTM Scavenger Hunt featuring Rudolph and The Misfit Toys – Guests of all ages can embark on a riveting scavenger hunt to find the lost misfit toys around the resort.
  • Christmas Fountain Shows – Watch in awe as the dancing fountains are synchronized to holiday music and bright lights.

Packages and Tickets

For guaranteed access to Gaylord Opryland Resort during the holidays, purchase event tickets or holiday packages including room accommodations, tickets to ICE!and more, on sale now at ChristmasAtGaylordOpryland.com.



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.