Grit Blogs > Travel With Marilyn

Celebrate the Holidays, Galveston-Style

Marilyn JonesIt was a balmy, 75 degrees F in Galveston, Texas, but once I donned the bright blue parka and entered ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas! at Moody Gardens, the thermometer plunged to a brisk nine degrees. In addition to the sudden chill, I was also surrounded by an underwater fantasy of “The North Pole meets the Caribbean” created by master ice carvers from Harbin, China.

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Two million pounds of ice were used to create this imaginative display of fish, turtles, dolphins, eagle rays, and coral reefs.

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The labyrinth of ice sculptures towered above me in bright colors and creative designs. I passed a lighthouse, fishing vessel, and scuba diver, moving toward an ice submarine and schools of fish. Back “above water” was a beach with Adirondack chairs and a surfing Santa that I saw before nearing Shiver’s Ice Bar. Just outside the main display area, guests were also invited to the ice slide for more fun in this chillin’ version of the Caribbean.

But ICE LAND is only the beginning of the holiday fun at Moody Gardens. When the sun set on Galveston, a magical world of Christmas lights enveloped other attractions, including an outdoor ice rink. Moody Gardens Festival of Lights is one of the largest holiday celebrations in the region, with more than one million lights, a hundred animated light displays, and live entertainment.

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I strolled along the mile-long maze of colored lights taking on the personas of toy soldiers, skating teddy bears, and a train station. Giant Christmas trees lined the walkway.

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In addition to all the holiday happenings are Moody Gardens’ year-round attractions, including Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Museum and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.

What a great time of year to visit this Galveston landmark and enjoy the additional offerings of the season!


Ice Land, Festival of Lights, and other holiday attractions are open through January 8. All other attractions are open year-round.