Tennessee Christmas Attractions are NOT Just for Kids
Christmas is in two weeks and the celebrations are in full swing with concerts, ballets and television specials. Small towns are trimmed with garland and bows and city lights twinkle a bit brighter with a warm, cheerful glow only Christmas can bring. As the countdown to the most wonderful time of the year winds down, there’s still time to experience the joyful, seasonal outings. I’ve been all-too-happy to event-hop recently. Now, I bring my enthusiastic recommendations so you can make new ho-ho-holiday memories.
I saw ICE! at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Resort two years ago with my friends. It was one of the best Christmas memories I took away that year and I felt the real spirit of Christmas after I saw that exhibit. Maybe there was something about how the light danced on the colored ice or how realistic the characters from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” appeared. They looked like they stepped right out of the television screen and into the ICE! exhibit. So when I had the opportunity to visit again and see “ICE! featuring DreamWorks’ Shrek the Halls” this time, you could say I was a little excited. Okay, so maybe I was more ecstatic than the tweens and teenagers in line behind me.
The tour began with an informational video describing the remarkable transformation of large blocks of ice to bigger-than-life, Dreamworks characters.
Ice sculptors travel thousands of miles each year from China to Nashville, Tenn. and Gaylord Opryland and carve two million pounds of ice into works of art. After the video, my friend Ashley and I buttoned up our blue parkas provided by Gaylord for all ICE! visitors and headed into the 9 degree Fahrenheit, 15,000-square-foot attraction. We were greeted by Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and their many friends and followed the “Shrek The Halls” story as Shrek learns the true meaning of Christmas. The exhibit also features two thrilling 20-foot ice slides. Irresistable!
At the end of the exhibit, blocks and blocks of crystal clear, sculpted ice create the Nativity scene. An angel, shepherds, animals and wise men complete the look with the retelling of Jesus’ birth.
Once you’ve made it through the exhibit and your nose is Rudolph-red, grab a cup of hot chocolate to warm you back up as you browse through the extensive gift shop with Christmas figurines and beautiful ornaments. You can also roast marshmallows by a fire pit located outside. Tickets for ICE! range from $22.99 – $29.99 for adults and $15.99 – $22.99 for children 12 years old and younger.
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville is currently having their “Holiday at Cheekwood” through Dec. 30. An extensive array of holiday events is happening throughout the Christmas season including concerts, magic shows and wreath and gingerbread workshops. Enjoy arts and crafts, cookie decorating and storytelling throughout the day. Santa will take a break from checking his naughty and nice lists 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday until Dec. 22 and will be available for pictures. Photo packages begin at $10. Meet some of his magical reindeer, too. The Museum of Art, located in the restored neo-Gregorian style mansion, features themed Christmas trees like “Polar Express”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman”.
“Cinderella” at the Nashville Public Library
Take your children to see a loveable classic, Wishing Chair Productions’ “Cinderella” through Dec. 22 at the Nashville Public Library. It’s a magical, musical retelling of Cinderella’s story as she transforms from pauper to princess, and features the marionettes of legendary puppeteer Tom Tichenor. Performances begin at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The event is free and lasts 35 minutes.
What are some of your favorite events to attend during Christmas? Let me know in the comments below!