Places to Go - Shrek on ICE!! at the Gaylord National and Why Ketchup Is the Worst Restaurant Ever (National Harbor, MD)


Last Monday after school a good friend and I took our kids to see Shrek on ICE!!, Gaylord Hotel's newest below-freezing tribute to excess and visual splendor. This year, they've added a film to the presentation (don't worry, you watch it in a warm room before entering the ice cave), which documents the process of creating two million pounds of sculpture and also details the inspiration for the event - a yearly festival in northern China where (among other things) visitors can tour a life-sized palace of ice. My children have wanted to go to China for awhile now (mainly because our good friends moved there and all toys originate in China) so now that they've learned of the Harbin festival (click here for pics) their minds are set on our next vacation destination.

Eventually, we received HUGE blue parkas and shuffled our way into the freezing cold. As always, everything was nothing short of amazing - huge ice slides, a giant life-sized pink dragon, ogre triplets everywhere you look, a donkey so life-like I felt like I was being watched . . . simply wonderful. Until I looked down at T. The exhibit is free for children 3 and under, probably because THEY HATE IT. T looked like a frozen popsicle of a little boy (despite the two jackets, gloves, and hat). "Why we here Mom?" "WHY?" "It cold here mom." "IT FREEZING." Well, he had a point. I tried to console, then I tried to ignore, but eventually we had to go. Luckily, I bought the Living Social Deal for half-priced tickets (now expired), so I still felt like we got our money's worth.

After we left, I asked "but I thought you loved Shrek?"

"Mom, I love Shrek the movie, where it warm. I don't like cold Shrek." Well-stated for a three year old.

The girls, on the other hand, loved the slides and the sculptures, though even F kept saying it was "way way colder than last time" (in 2010 we saw the Grinch on ICE!).

After the exhibit, we decided to dinner at National Harbor and this is where the night went downhill. We chose Ketchup, mainly because it offered a children's menu (whereas most places did not) and we wanted a sit-down dinner. And hence began the WORSE DINING EXPERIENCE EVER. Upon arrival, the waitress informed us that they were out of almost everything - including hamburgers, juice, crayons (for the menus), and broccoli.Luckily, my kids wanted grilled cheese and I craved fish tacos, so all was not lost. Until, it took about an hour to receive our food (in an uncrowded restaurant), which tasted about three stars below mediocre. Service was non-existent. Eventually I let the kids throw sugar packets at each other with the hope that someone would bring us a check, when this failed we started singing Firework at the top of our lungs. I cannot say enough bad things about Ketchup, other than I hope with all my heart that it closes soon. The bathrooms didn't even have toilet paper (despite initials indicating that cleaning and service occur on the hour). When we finally left, I asked two other woman dining with children (kids made up about 50% of Ketchup's clientele) about their experience and one replied "awful, absolutely awful, in every way."

After Ketchup, we ran over to the Awakening statute (located on the river behind the giant Christmas tree) where the kids climbed, frolicked, and generally had a great time, while I contemplated that with a picnic dinner National Harbor might be a nice place to visit.

We finally returned to our metered parking to find tickets on the windshield. Apparently, the 6:00 standard time-out for meters does not apply in National Harbor, where all street parking costs $3 an hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Street parking also comes with a two hour limit, making it impossible to eat at Ketchup, where it takes at least an hour and a half to receive one's food.

I'm sure I'll get over it, but right now I'm not very impressed with National Harbor. Unless you plan on taking the ferry from Alexandria (click here for past post), which makes for some wonderful time on the water, or eating at Elevation Burger (yum!!) National Harbor just doesn't offer a lot for families of young children. And this makes me sad, considering the National Children's Museum is opening there in mid-December.


*Dear Lacey Terrell, I'm sort of obsessed with you right now. I just thought you should know.

*A HUGE Educational Gift List for Kids (lots of awesomeness).

*A new Miss Moss playlist.

1 comment:

  1. You have a knack for capturing wonderful moments. Sorry to hear it was cold!

    That restaurant has had some of the worst reviews I've ever seen-- almost worse than the ones I've seen for Guy Fieri's new place in Times Square. Lol!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...