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The Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of Galveston Island, Texas... Read more.

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Mary Beth Bassett
Director of Public Relations
Office: (409)797-5121

Clayton Kolavo
Digital Content Strategist
Office: (409)797-5120

Caitlin Carnes
Public Reliations Manager
Office: (409) 797-5121

Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau Press Room
Media Contact
Mary Beth Bassett
Director of Public Relations
Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau
Office: (409)797-5121
Galveston To Host 8 Weeks of Holiday Events
Island’s Holiday Event Calendar Features Gigantic Ice Sculptures, Lighting Festivals, Victorian Celebrations & More
GALVESTON, Texas (September 23, 2016) – Galveston is the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas and this year it will offer visitors a magical experience with eight weeks of holiday events and activities!
While Galveston is widely known as a Texas holiday destination, hosting popular annual events like Festival of Lights and Dickens on the Strand, visitors to the island this year can experience the return of “ICE LAND,” a holiday ice sculpture experience featuring nearly 2 million pounds of ice at Moody Gardens.
Here’s a look at a few of the magical events happening in Galveston this holiday season:
“ICE LAND” at Moody Gardens
Date: Nov. 12 – Jan. 8  
Time: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Where: Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston, TX
Admission: $26.95 adults; $21.95 seniors; $15.95 children
Description: 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.”  ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures Caribbean Christmas will take place at Moody Gardens Nov. 12 through Jan. 8. Professional ice carvers will use 2 million pounds of ice to create this amazing exhibit featuring majestic ice sculptures, slides and even a Shivers Ice Bar serving cool libations for adults.
 Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens
Date: Nov. 12 – Jan. 8
Time: 6 to 10 p.m., nightly
Where: Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston, TX
Admission: $10.95
Description: Brighten up the wintry season at the 15th annual Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens taking place Nov. 12 through Jan. 8. Here, guests can 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 go ice-skating at the Moody Gardens outdoor ice rink or snow tubing on the Arctic Ice Slide.
Hotel Galvez Holiday Lighting Celebration
Date:  Nov. 25
Time: 6 p.m.
Where: Hotel Galvez, 2024 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, TX
Admission: Free
Description: The historic Hotel Galvez & Spa invites guests to celebrate the start of the holidays with the official City of Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration Nov. 25. This free event includes a special appearance by Santa Claus, live holiday entertainment by local performers, including the Galveston Ballet, and the lighting of the hotel’s 35-foot Christmas tree. The hotel will offer a special weekend package as part of the event.
Home for the Holidays Gift Market
Date: Nov. 25-26
Time: 12 to 8 p.m. Nov. 25, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 26
Where: Moody Gardens Convention Center, 7 Hope Blvd., Galveston, TX
Admission: $6
Description: Kick off your holiday shopping over Thanksgiving weekend at the Home for the Holidays Gift Market. The event will feature more than 200 of the region’s most unique gift vendors offering distinctive home décor, candles, craft foods, accessories and more.
Holiday Performances at The Grand
Date: Nov. 13 – Dec. 18
Time: Varies
Where: The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice St., Galveston, TX
Admission: Varies
Description: The Grand 1894 Opera House will kick off the holiday season with a variety of exciting performances, including Elf, the Musical at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 13, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Nov. 19, The Priests at 7 p.m. Nov. 27, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 p.m. Dec. 3, Jerry Jeff Walker at 8 p.m. Dec. 17 and Loretta Lynn at 4 p.m. Dec. 18.
Holiday Splash at Schlitterbahn
Date: Nov. 25 – Dec. 31
Time: 12 - 4 p.m.
Where: Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Indoor Waterpark, 2026 Lockheed Rd., Galveston, TX
Admission: $27.99 adults; $22.99 children and seniors
Description: Visit Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Indoor Waterpark this holiday season for Holiday Splash. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 31 visitors to the water park can float through a giant holiday themed snow globe in the tidal waves of the Torrent River. Guests can enjoy a light display accompanied by Christmas music at the top of the hour from 12 to 4 p.m. Kids have the opportunity to meet Santa and learn to surf at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. through Dec. 23. Kids can also take part in ornament-making contests each day from 12 to 4 p.m. During Holiday Splash, the park is decked with lights and holiday décor and a friendly costumed holiday characters are on hand to greet children.
43rd Annual Dickens on the Strand
Date: Dec. 2 – 4
Time: Varies
Where: Strand St., Historic Downtown Galveston, Galveston, TX
Admission: Before Dec. 2, adults $13, children $7; at the gate, adults $15, children $9.
Description: The first weekend in December, don’t miss Dickens on The Strand. The festival transforms Galveston’s historic Strand Street into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens Dec. 2-4. Enjoy libations at Fezziwig’s Beer Hall on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. On Saturday, festival goers will see 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. Attendees in Victorian costume are admitted for half price.
Sunday Brunch with Santa at Hotel Galvez
Date: Dec. 4, 11, 18
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Hotel Galvez, 2024 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, TX
Admission: Adults $42.99; children $26.99; seniors $37.99
Description: Hotel Galvez’ famous Sunday brunch will be full of cheer this holiday season with visits from Santa Dec. 4, 11, and 18. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and children are invited to visit with Santa to share their Christmas wish list. Advance reservations are recommended. For more information and to make a reservation, call 409-765-7721.
Santa Train at the Galveston Railroad Museum
Date: Dec. 10
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Galveston Railroad Museum, 2602 Santa Fe Place, Galveston, TX
Admission: Free for children under 13; children and adults 13 and over $12; seniors 60 and older $8
Description: Santa is coming to town aboard the Galveston Railroad Museum’s Harborside Express train! The museum’s annual Santa Train event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 10. Bring your wish list to visit with Santa, stroll through the museum’s Garden of Steam and enjoy festive holiday lights, decorations, games and crafts.
Holiday in the Park
Date: Dec. 10
Time: 12 – 6 p.m.
Where: Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand St., Galveston, TX
Admission: Free
Visitors to downtown Galveston can take part in free festivities held at Saengerfest Park this December as part of Holiday in the Park. Santa will make a special appearance from 1-5 p.m. and will take photos with children in front of the downtown Christmas tree. Guests can also listening to festive holiday tunes from area choirs and bands.  
Holiday with the Cranes
Date: Dec. 10-11
Time: Varies
Where: Locations vary
Admission: From $25 to $130
Description: For a unique holiday experience, join the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council for “Holiday with the Cranes.” This annual birding event will be held Dec. 10-11 as outdoor enthusiasts celebrate the arrival of these large, majestic birds of ancient origin. Events include indoor and outdoor nature activities and presentations combined with the arts and ambiance of historical Galveston Island.
Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner and Show
Date: Dec. 16-25
Time: 7:45 p.m.
Where: Moody Gardens Convention Center, 7 Hope Blvd., Galveston, TX
Admission: Prices start at $15 for children and $59 for adults
Experience the magnificent and the impossible at Moody Gardens this holiday season as it hosts Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner and Show. This performance will combine soaring acrobatics, amazing aerialists and gravity-defying feats. The show features a stellar cast of international performers from all over the world and includes mesmerizing illusions, hilarious comedy and more. Tickets to the show include a holiday buffet dinner and admission to Festival of Lights.
Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5K
Date: Dec. 18
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Where: Downtown Historic Galveston
Admission: Varies
Details: Runners will have a “jolly good time” Dec. 18 in Galveston at the fourth annual Santa Hustle! This wacky event will feature thousands of “Santas” along the gorgeous Gulf waters for half marathon and 5K races. All event participants will receive a Santa suit long sleeve t-shirt, a free Santa hat and beard to wear while running, and will be able to stop at cookie and candy stations along their routes.
About Galveston Island
Galveston Island is the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas, featuring more than 50 days of holiday festivities and more than 1,000 holiday events during the winter season. The island is home to the largest holiday lighting event on the Gulf Coast, Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens, as well as the nationally known Victorian Christmas festival Dickens on The Strand among many other attractions. For more information on holiday activities in Galveston, visit
To download Galveston holiday photos, click here.
To download Galveston holiday video footage, click here.

© 2013 Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau
601 Tremont Street | Galveston TX 77550 | (409)797-5145 | (866)505-4456