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Galveston Monthly


Dec 06, 2019 11:36AM
What is inside that huge, white tent at Moody Gardens? Visions of Christmas Around the World,
carved entirely from ice. Grab your gloves this holiday season and set off on a chilly journey around the world without ever leaving Galveston Island. Moody Gardens’ Ice Land exhibit returns with an all-new theme for its sixth year - this frosty phenomenon has become a favorite of visitors and locals who have made it part of their annual holiday traditions.

It all began when 6,000 blocks of ice each weighing 300 pounds dyed in an array of colors arrived from College Station. If those ice blocks were lined up, they would stretch 4.46 miles. Then a team of 25 ice carvers from Harbin, China carved over 100 sculptures in just 45 days, completing over 1,080 hours of work in a tent kept at a bone-chilling nine degrees.

“The craftsmanship and artistry of these carvers is truly spectacular. The precision is quite remarkable as you consider this work is done free-hand with just chainsaws and ice picks,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt.

“For example, the Statue of Liberty, just one of the massive landmarks being featured this year is itself over 20 feet tall.” Guests will don full-length blue parkas before entering the 17,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Ice Land tent. Once inside, they will “travel” along a path between famous sites from around the world, including Russian nesting dolls, Egyptian pyramids, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, and more, with some sculptures towering 35 feet
in the air. Santa is there, too, in a variety of renditions and festive styles unique to various regions around the globe. Visitors who want to linger can “chill out” with refreshments in the log cabin style Shiver’s Ice Bar, a watering hole made completely of ice. But don’t take off your mittens! Even the flames in the fireplace are carved from the frozen stuff. 

Guests can also climb the stairs to reach nutcrackers standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower, then glide down a 30-foot ice slide to land at the Arc de Triomphe. One thing is for sure: it is undoubtedly the coolest thing to do all season. Ice Land will be on display through January 12. Admission is $28.95 for adults and $23.95 for children and seniors. Super Value Days start at $8.95 for Festival of Lights and $19.95 for Ice Land with an additional $5 off for seniors and
children at Ice Land. Super Value Days are December 2, 9, and 16; and January 5-12.

For a calendar of daily hours and special discount offers call 409.744.4673 or visit