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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
Public Relations Director
Office: (409)797-5121

Clayton Kolavo
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Office: (409)797-5120

Caitlin Carnes
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Office: (409) 797-5121

Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau Press Room
Media Contact
Ivette Wilhelm
Public Relations Manager
Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau
Office: (409)797-5124

Galveston Holiday Special Event Lineup to Include New "Ice Land" at Moody Gardens, Dickens on The Strand and More

GALVESTON, Texas (Sept. 1, 2014) – Galveston is the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas and this year it will offer visitors a magical experience with 50 days of holiday events and activities!

While Galveston is widely known as a Texas holiday destination, hosting popular annual events like Dickens on the Strand, visitors to the island this year can experience “Ice Land,” a new holiday ice sculpture experience featuring nearly 2 million pounds of ice at Moody Gardens.

Here’s a look at just a few of the magical events happening in Galveston this holiday season:

Moody Gardens “Ice Land” (New!)
This holiday season, Moody Gardens will be home to the coolest new experience on the gulf coast where visitors can explore a 25,000-square-foot “Ice Land.” A skilled team of professional ice carvers will transform 6,000 300-pound ice blocks into majestic displays ranging from holiday sculptures 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 from 12 to 10 p.m. Nov. 15 through January 4, 2015 at Moody Gardens. Visit for details.

Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens
Brighten up the wintry season at the 13th annual Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. Open Nov. 15 through Jan. 3, 2015, 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. Festival of Lights will be open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m.  Visit

Hotel Galvez Holiday Lighting Celebration
The historic Hotel Galvez & Spa invites guests to celebrate the start of the holidays with the official City of Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration Nov. 28. Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. and include 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. Visit

Home for the Holidays Gift Market
Kick off your holiday shopping over Thanksgiving weekend at the Home for the Holidays Gift Market. Taking place Nov. 28 and 29 at the Moody Gardens Convention Center, the gift market will feature more than 150 of the region’s most unique gift vendors offering distinctive home décor, candles, craft foods, accessories and more. For details, visit

Holiday Performances at The Grand
The Grand 1894 Opera House will kick off the holiday season with a variety of exciting performances, including The Phantom of the Opera (1925) silent film Nov. 1, Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo Nov. 15, An Irish Christmas Nov. 22, Maid Marian in a Stolen Car starring Jaston Williams Nov. 28 and 29, and The Irish Tenors Nov. 30. Throughout December, the historic theatre will offer a variety of shows to put you in the holiday spirit, including: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Dec. 5, Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Christmas Dec. 16, Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee Dec. 20, a holiday performance by the Houston Children’s Chorus Dec. 21, Jerry Jeff Walker Dec. 27 and The Manhattan Transfer Christmas Show Dec. 28. For details, visit

Surf with Santa at Schlitterbahn
Visit Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Indoor Waterpark this holiday season to hang ten with Santa! Guests at the park will have the unique opportunity to see and surf with Santa on the ocean-like waves of the Boogie Bahn ride. Surf with Santa will be offered several times daily Nov. 28 through Dec. 23. In addition to Surf with Santa, this year Schlitterbahn will feature other holiday festivities including ornament-making contests, artificial snow and a chance to meet and greet holiday-themed costume characters on operating days Nov. 28 through Jan 4. For details, visit

41st Annual Dickens on the Strand
The first weekend in December, don’t miss Dickens on The Strand. The festival transforms Galveston historic Strand Street into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens Dec. 5-7. 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

Sunday Brunch with Santa at Hotel Galvez
Hotel Galvez’ famous Sunday brunch will be full of cheer this holiday season with visits from Santa from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7, 14, and 21. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and children are invited to visit with Santa to share their Christmas list. Advance reservations are recommended. For more information and to make a reservation, call 409-765-7721.

Santa Train at the Galveston Railroad Museum
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. 13. 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. For details, visit

Breakfast with the Sandhill Cranes
For a unique holiday experience, join the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council for Breakfast with the Sandhill Cranes. This annual birding event will be held Dec. 13-14 as outdoor enthusiasts await the arrival of these large, majestic birds of ancient origin. Enjoy breakfast and hear educational lectures by expert birders. See the birds for yourself during a convoy by car to island crane hot spots after the presentation. For more information, visit

Holiday Lights and Magic in the Park
Visitors to downtown Galveston can take part in a plethora of free festivities held at Saengerfest Park this December as part of the annual Holiday Lights & Magic in the Park. Santa will make special appearances from 1-5 p.m. on Dec. 13, 14 and 20 and will take photos with children in front of the downtown Christmas tree. Guests can also enjoy a weekend filled with festive holiday tunes from area choirs and bands from 12-6 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14. Saengerfest Park is located at the corner of 23rd and Strand streets. For details, visit

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 by singers and musicians. Shows will be held Dec. 18-27. For details, visit

Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5K
Runners will have a “jolly good time” Dec. 21 in Galveston at the third annual Santa Hustle! This wacky event will feature thousands of “Santas” running through the streets of downtown Galveston and 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. For details, visit

About Galveston Island
Galveston Island is the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas, featuring 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