Galveston To Host 8 Weeks of Holiday Events
Island’s Holiday Event Calendar Features Gigantic Ice Sculptures, Lighting Festivals, Victorian Celebrations & More
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 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” 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 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 14 through Jan. 9 at Moody Gardens. Admission is $26.95 for adults and $21.95 for children and seniors. www.moodygardens.com/iceland
Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens
Brighten up the wintry season at the 14th annual Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens taking place Nov. 14. through Jan. 10. 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. Festival of Lights will be open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission is $10.95 and includes admission to the ice rink. www.moodygardens.com/festivaloflights
Home for the Holidays Gift Market
Kick off your holiday shopping over Thanksgiving weekend at the Home for the Holidays Gift Market. The event will take place from 12 to 8 p.m. Nov. 27 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Moody Gardens Convention Center. The gift market will feature more than 200 of the region’s most unique gift vendors offering distinctive home décor, candles, craft foods, accessories and more. Admission is free. For details, visit homefortheholidaysgiftmarket.com.
Holiday Performances at The Grand
The Grand 1894 Opera House will kick off the holiday season with a variety of exciting performances, including John Pinero in Vince: The Life and Times of Vince Lombardi at 8 p.m. Nov. 21, An Olde English Christmas with Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone at 8 p.m. Nov. 28, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at 8 p.m. Dec. 4, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 19, Tony Bennett at 7 p.m. Dec. 20, Merry Texas Christmas Y’all – Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel at 8 p.m. Dec. 22, Jerry Jeff Walker at 8 p.m. Jan. 2, and Olympia Dukakis in Rose at 8 p.m. Jan. 9. Ticket prices vary. For details, visit www.thegrand.com.
Holiday Splash at Schlitterbahn
Visit Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Indoor Waterpark this holiday season for Holiday Splash. From Nov. 27 through Jan. 3 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. General admission for ages 12-54 is $29.99 plus tax. Admission for children and seniors, ages three to 11 and 55 and older, is $24.99 plus tax. A special Holiday Grill & Thrill package is available for an additional $2 per person. For details, visit www.schlitterbahn.com/gal.
42nd Annual Dickens on the Strand
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. 4-6. 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. Tickets purchased before Dec. 4 are $13 for adults and $7 for youth ages 7-12. Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults and $9 for youth. Attendees in Victorian costume are admitted for $8. Visit www.dickensonthestrand.org.
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. 12. 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. Admission is $10 for ages 13 and over, $8 for seniors ages 60 and up, $5 for children ages four to 12, and free for children three and under. For details, visit www.galvestonrrmuseum.com.
Holiday with the Cranes
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. 12-13 as outdoor enthusiasts await 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. Event ticket prices range from $25 to $130. For more information, visit www.galvestonnaturetourism.org.
Holiday in the Park at Saengerfest Park
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 special appearances from 12-5 p.m. on Dec. 12- 13 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. This event is free. For details, visit galvestonholidayinthepark.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 by singers and musicians. Tickets start at $59 for adults and $15 for children. Shows will be held at 7:45 p.m. Dec. 17-27. For details, visit www.moodychristmasshow.com.
Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5K
Runners will have a "jolly good time” Dec. 20 in Galveston at the fourth 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. The half marathon begins at 8:00 a.m. and registration is $45 until Oct. 31 and $50 beginning Nov. 1 through Dec. 18. The 5K race begins at 8:30 a.m. and registration is $60 until Oct. 31 and $65 beginning Nov. 1 through Dec. 18. For details, visit www.santahustle.com.
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 www.galveston.com/holidaymagic.