Moody Gardens Ice Land and Holiday Festivities Kick Off November 17

Trek from the South to the North Poles While Encountering Polar Bears, Penguins, Reindeer and More

Ring in the holiday season in an ultra-cool way



ICE LAND: Pole-to-Pole, complete with a 30-foot Glacier Ice Slide, at Moody Gardens will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17. This accompanies a day filled with holiday fun with the opening ceremony and free live entertainment for Festival of Lights from 4 to 6 p.m. Santa parachutes in to officially kick off the holiday season and flip the giant switch to turn on a mile-long trail with over a million lights with scenes themed to holiday music.

Guests are provided with a complimentary blue parka and will encounter several species of penguins, polar bears, seals, reindeer – and of course Santa Claus inside this frosty attraction that is maintained at a cool nine degrees.

Everything, including the favorite hangout Shivers Ice Bar with its transformation into a Northwest Trading Post this year, is sculpted from two million pounds of ice by members of the internationally-acclaimed CAA Ruijing Ice Carving Team from Harbin, China using just chainsaws and ice picks.


Moody Gardens is introducing a new signature theme as ICE LAND: Pole-to-Pole is revealed to the public in its fifth year. Upon entry, guests are greeted by a familiar Moody Gardens sight – with an iconic pyramid carved entirely of ice, as well as animals from the region around the South Pole.

Next is the Rocky Shore featuring many of the same species of penguin found in the South Atlantic Exhibit in Moody Garden’s Aquarium Pyramid, along with petrels, albatross, leopard seals, southern fur seals and elephant seals.

A journey through an ice tunnel features the food chains of the animals native to these regions as a glide down the Glacier Ice Slide awaits. In all, guests will take in more than 100 towering ice sculptures in their breathtaking adventure through ICE LAND.

A very cool break is found inside Shivers Ice Bar, offering frosty adult beverages this holiday season. Sip on festive holiday spirits while sitting on a stool carved from ice at a bar completely made of ice.


The inspiration from ICE LAND comes from the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival in China, where more than 3,000 of the world’s top artisans create a 100-acre walk-through Ice Park featuring thousands of immense ice sculptures.

The team that creates ICE LAND is led by chief ice and snow carving artist Mr. Qiu Guanghui, who has received top honors in numerous international tournaments including the Harbin International Ice and Snow Carving and the Chinese National Ice Carving Competition.

Although ICE LAND is on a smaller scale, the artistry work presents its own unique challenges on Galveston Island, including keeping a 28,000 square-foot insulated tent structure at a chilly 9 degrees in order to keep two million pounds of ice frozen. ICE LAND: Pole-to-Pole offers a rare opportunity for Moody Garden’s guests to enjoy a large-scale ice sculpture experience in the U.S.


ICE LAND, along with Festival of Lights, the ice rink, Arctic Slide, holiday 3D films, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D,” and more will offer a unique holiday experience Nov. 17-Jan. 6, 2019 as Galveston makes its transition into the Winter Wonder Island.


Value Days discounts will allow guests to save $5 per person Sunday-Thursday, Nov. 25-Dec. 20.

Guests can also participate in this season of giving with Food Drive Thursdays every Thursday night through Jan. 3. which offers 2-for-1 admission to the Festival of Lights with the donation of a non-perishable food item. All donations will benefit the Galveston County and Houston Food Banks.

For more information call 409-744-4673 or visit

photos: Moody Gardens