I’ve visited the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville a few times for conferences in the past years, and I’ve always wanted to bring my children. This year, for Thanksgiving, we booked a four-day stay so that we could experience Nashville, and the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Christmas events. It was the perfect location for our Thanksgiving getaway and we especially enjoyed their fantastic holiday events. This year’s festivities, A Country Christmas, is “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” themed, and is a fantastic experience for a family. It runs from November 11, 2016 through January 1, 2017.
Gaylord Opryland Hotel Christmas Events – A Country Christmas
Decorations at the Gaylord Opryland
Upon walking into the Gaylord Opryland, you are immediately greeted with gorgeous holiday decorations – from music note themed holiday lights in the Garden Conservatory atrium to beautiful hot air balloons in the Delta atrium. While the decorations are there all day, it’s really in the evening when they come alive. We just spent time each day walking through the various atriums and exploring.
In the evenings, the Delta fountain has a holiday-themed show. It runs for about 15 minutes or so, and features lights and water choreographed to music.
ICE! at the Gaylord Opryland
ICE! is the featured event at A Country Christmas, and we took advantage of it on Thanksgiving day. It’s a separate ticketed event, and prices vary on value and peak days (Thanksgiving was a value day, while the rest of the holiday weekend was peak). ICE! is located in the Gaylord Opryland event center, just a short walk from the Magnolia section of the resort. I pre-purchased my tickets before we arrived at the Gaylord, but they can also be purchased from the ticket desk or kiosks in the resort.
After watching a quick video at ICE!, you’ll be handed a big blue poncho so that you can go through the 9 degree (F) exhibit. I recommend bringing along gloves if you can – it can be VERY cold.
We were so impressed with the beautiful ice characters that can be seen throughout the exhibit. The kids especially loved them. It’s so amazing to think that all of these amazing sculptures were made from blocks of ice. There’s also an ice slide area that’s lots of fun. I recommend sliding down on the blue poncho so that you don’t get stuck. The end of the exhibit features a gorgeous nativity scene that is absolutely stunning.
Outside of ICE! is a few other separate ticketed activities – a snowball toss, 5 tubing lanes, and an ice skating rink. You can purchase combo tickets, or an all-day pass which includes a few indoor activities as well. We chose to add on the tubing, and while it wasn’t the same type of tubing that we get at the Northeast ski resorts, it was still a really fun time.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Events
A Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland also includes a show – How the Grinch Stole Christmas – which is playing at the Grand Ole Opry. Tickets are sold separately. There’s also a Breakfast with the Grinch event that seemed to be very popular. I’d recommend booking in advance, because there’s limited capacity. We didn’t experience either of these, however.
Other Christmas Events at the Gaylord Opryland
While the lights inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort are absolutely beautiful, there are also gorgeous lights outside. On our last night, we ventured outside the Magnolia area to check out the nativity scene on the lawn, and look at the resort’s exterior. There are also carriage rides that can be booked. Some of these were already sold out when I arrived, so it’s probably best to reserve those in advance.
There’s so much to do beyond ICE!. From gingerbread house decorating, a small train ride, photos with Santa, a craft and gift show, and holiday-themed Delta cruises, you could easily stay busy within the resort for your entire vacation.
I put together this quick video to showcase some of what we saw on our trip:
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