Island Holiday: Head to the Coast for Galveston’s Victorian Charm and Family Friendly Holiday Festivals
GALVESTON, Texas (October 7, 2015) – Galveston hasn’t been dubbed the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas without reason. Although tropical and unconventional as one might think for a holiday escape, Galveston is surprisingly full of tradition.
From Victorian Christmas celebrations to the largest holiday lighting festival on the Gulf Coast, Galveston offers all the cheer the winter season brings. Plus, the island’s newest holiday attraction, ICE LAND, will return for its second year in 2015.
Here’s a preview of what to expect in Galveston this holiday season:
“ICE LAND” Returns to Moody Gardens for 2nd Year
This holiday season, Moody Gardens will be home to the coolest experience on the Gulf coast where visitors can explore a 28,000-square-foot “ICE LAND.” A skilled team of professional ice carvers will transform 2 million pounds of ice into majestic displays ranging from 100-foot ice slides to undersea characters from SpongeBob SquarePants. Some of these sculptures will stand up to 30 feet tall! Chilled and held at a temperature of nine degrees, guests can witness these works of art daily Nov. 14 through Jan. 10 at Moody Gardens. Visit www.moodygardens.org for details.
Festival of Lights, Ice Skating & Snow Tubing
Brighten up the wintry season at the 14th annual Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. Open Nov. 14 through Jan. 10, guests will enjoy the largest holiday lighting event on the Gulf Coast, featuring a mile-long trail of more than 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays. Visitors to the festival can also take photos with Santa, go ice-skating at the Moody Gardens outdoor ice rink or snow tubing on the Arctic Ice Slide. Santa will parachute in on opening day to kick off festivities. Visit www.moodygardens.org for details.
Victorian Christmas Attractions
With one of the largest collections of Victorian architecture in the country, Galveston offers the charm of a traditional Christmas with the benefit of island weather. Visitors to Galveston will be amazed by the beauty of the 1895 Moody Mansion, which will be decked in elaborate holiday décor Thanksgiving weekend through Jan. 1 and open daily for tours. Visit www.moodymansion.org for details. On Dec. 4, the island’s East End Historical District hosts its annual Victorian Holiday Homes Tour featuring a variety of private historic homes.
Dickens on The Strand
The first weekend in December, don’t miss the 42nd annual Dickens on The Strand. The festival will transform Galveston’s historic Strand Street into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens Dec. 4-6. Characters from Dickens novels walk the streets and costumed vendors peddle their wares from street stalls and rolling carts laden with holiday food and drink, Victorian-inspired crafts, clothing, jewelry, holiday decorations and gifts. Strolling carolers and roving musicians will fill the area with enchanting sounds from another era as “steam punks” entertain the crowds. Visit www.dickensonthestrand.org.
On Galveston Island, Santa doesn’t just travel by sleigh! At Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, you can go surfing with Santa Nov. 27 – Dec. 23 as part of the park's many holiday festivities. Santa will surf several times a day at the indoor park, which is open throughout the winter. On Nov. 27, visitors can see Santa at the annual Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez and throughout December at the award-winning Hotel Galvez Sunday Brunch. Or, they can take pictures with Santa at Santa on The Strand Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 in downtown Galveston. On Dec. 12, kids can also take a train ride with Santa on the “Santa Train” at the Galveston Railroad Museum. On Dec. 19-20, kids can have “Breakfast with Santa” at Rainforest Café. On Dec. 20, 4,000 “Santas” will race along Galveston’s beachfront in the Santa Hustle Half Marathon and 5K. For a full list of Santa sightings, visit www.galveston.com/holidaymagic.
Holiday Shows at The Grand 1894 Opera House
The Grand 1894 Opera House has an exciting lineup of holiday shows and events this season. Choose from a world of holiday entertainment Nov. 17 – Jan. 9, including performances by Asleep at the Wheel, Tony Bennett and Jerry Jeff Walker as well as classic shows like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Musical; The Nutcracker Ballet and more. For details, visit www.thegrand.com.
A Magical Christmas Dinner & Show Starring Curt Miller
Experience the magic at Moody Gardens this holiday season as it hosts A Magical Christmas Dinner and Show starring Master Illusionist Curt Miller and Friends. This performance will combine dazzling magic, family comedy, music and dance to celebrate the wonderment of Christmas. Witness people floating and vanishing right before your eyes, and enjoy many of your favorite Christmas songs performed live. Shows will be held Dec. 17-27. Visit www.moodychristmasshow.com for details.
For more information on holiday experiences in Galveston, visit www.galveston.com/holidaymagic.