Today Travis worked from home in the morning and we took the boys to the Ice Exhibit at the Gaylord Hotel when it opened at Noon. It was excellent! Travis had taken Jack to Ice last year when G and I were out of town, so we have literally been talking about it for the past year. We couldn’t wait to go as a family. One thing Trav figured out last year, is that it is best to go on a weekday in order to avoid crowds and have an enjoyable time.
The theme of the exhibit is the Grinch Froze Christmas. It is really well done. Essentially they put a huge bubble on the hotel grounds that includes the exhibit, a small gift shop and an ice rink. Since we went when there were no crowds, we were able to just walk right in. On your way to the Ice entrance, there are a ton of switchbacks and the temporary walls were lined with Dr. Suess artwork. That was really neat. Of course, we were able to quickly look at the art we were interested in and scoot on to the real show. I’m sure the art is much less interesting when you are standing in line for an hour and a half waiting to get in! Once you get near the entrance, they give you these gigantic blue parkas to wear. They have “kid” sized ones too, but really they are for 12 year olds. Garrett’s parka dragged on the floor, he could barely walk in it and actually fell down before we even got started. He was so cute, he just laid on the ground looking up at us completely consumed by blue parka. He looked so adorable we made Jack pose next to him for a picture! Last year Jack’s parka drug on the ground, but this year he is big stuff and did just fine in it!
Once you enter the exhibit, it is really cool. It is basically a large art exhibit made out of ice. The ice sculptures were pretty amazing! Everything is just as the books depict but out of ice. It is crazy when you look at a huge tree and realize it is an ice sculpture. The kids were almost a little overwhelmed at first, but then they settled in and really liked it. They pointed out the different characters and liked looking at everything. Towards the end of the exhibit that have ice slides. These were the hit! G was only allowed to go down one of the slides but he didn’t care. He loved it! Jack raced me and Travis down the rest of the slides several times. Eventually the kids started to get cold, so we moved on to the end. The kids loved when the Grinch’s heart got bigger and then he had the feast all of Whoville. In fact, Jack said his favorite part was when the Grinch cut the roast beast! The last section of the exhibit was an ice sculpture nativity. It was really beautiful!
After the exhibit we hit the gift store for the obligatory tourist Christmas ornament. Then we headed over to the Gaylord to grab hot chocolate. We planned out our return visit to the Gaylord to take in the Christmas lights and “real” snow in the atrium. This was a great family night last Christmas season that we are excited to repeat this year. We had a great mid-day family outing and counted the blessing that Daddy has flexibility to join us on these fun days!
A week or so ago we skipped church on Sunday morning in favor of ice skating. The Capitals has an event where the first 200 people to get a ticket on Sunday morning were able to skate with 4 Caps players at the sculpture garden. We weren’t sure we would make it, but thanks to Daddy running ahead we snagged 4 tickets and got to skate.
The event was great. We got there right at 10:30am when it started. It was pretty cold, so we headed into the rink cafe for snacks and hot chocolate. Prior to the skate at Noon, there were a few skills showcases of kids that take lessons at the sculpture garden and a skate around where former Cap Peter Bondra showed some moves. The boys didn’t have too much interest in the pre-festivities outside. Daddy did drag Jack out to see Peter Bondra. Jack thought it was fine, but Daddy was pretty excited since Bondra is his favorite player! The rest of the time the boys had fun coloring and playing in the warm cafe.
A little before Noon we got everyone’s skates on and ready to hit the ice when it opened. The Caps players didn’t arrive right away, so we had time to skate around. Time for Mommy to get used to her terrible rental skates and for us to break our backs trying to help Garrett “march” around the ice. He so wants to skate, but really he wants you to just skate him around. It is brutal! You hunch over trying to hold him up, all the while he yells “FASTER, go Faster!” Geesh, kid! We are doing our best. Jack is a self-sufficient skater now, so he can just motor around on his own if he thinks we are too slow. Trav and I take turns with G, in hopes that at least one of us will still be able to walk when we are done!
After we skated a while, the Capitals players arrived. Of course, everyone mobbed the entrance trying to get to the players the second they were on the ice. Jack and I were skating together at this point, and we sort of held back so we could see the players. Apparently, Travis and G were across the ice from where the players entered. Backstrom (one of Mommy’s favorite players) skated right over to G, whisked him off the ice, held him up high and asked if he was going to skate today. Garrett didn’t really understand how cool this was, but Daddy was very excited! When Jack and I caught up to Trav and Garrett, Trav told us what happened. Just a second later Backstrom skated up again and posed for a picture with the boys. Again, he took G out of my hands and helped him while Trav snapped the shot. It was really neat. We were able to get a great shot with Carlson too. Jack tried to skate with Alzner and Johansson too, but it was more difficult to get to them. There were several “handlers” for the players. Backstrom and Carlson just ignored the handlers and hung out with the fans. Alzner and Johansson followed their instructions more and didn’t really stop much. It was clear they weren’t used to all the attention or being told what to do. Right before we left I was able to get Backstrom to sign my jersey. This was great because it’s a Backstrom jersey and I’ve been wanting to get him to sign it but it can be difficult to do. I was pretty excited to get it done!
After a while, the boys were getting tired and cold. We called it a day, packed ourselves up and headed back to the car. We had two sleeping boys before we even pulled out of our parking spot. This was by far the best Caps fan/player event we have been to. I’m sure it will never be like this again, so we are thankful that we had the opportunity to skate with the players! Thanks Capitals!!