Chinese Lanterns

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In its 13th year, the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights continues to add spectacular displays for its guests. This year, visitors can enjoy truly unique displays – Chinese lanterns.

In honor of the Chinese Lantern Festival, Moody Gardens has lantern displays of pandas, jelly fish and trees. The lanterns are lined along the new ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants tent for all guests to admire and take pictures with.

The Lantern Festival has been part of Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty of Chinese Empire (206 BC- 221 AD). The people of the Han Dynasty believed that fire contained mystical properties that would ward off evil and prevent natural disasters as well as bring blessings such as a bountiful harvest to the people. The first lantern festivals were inspired by these beliefs.

Usually held on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, the lantern festival marks the end of New Year festivities.

The lantern festival has evolved over the centuries. Today, the modern lanterns come in all shapes and sizes and are featured in elaborate sets of vibrant color, dazzling light and eye-catching design.

Come enjoy these displays and all of the other beautiful displays at the Festival of Lights, open daily until Jan. 3.

Here’s Your 2014 Holiday Itinerary:

PLAN YOUR GETAWAY AT THE COOLEST HOLIDAY DESTINATION IN THE SOUTHWEST

With the opening of ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants and the return of the annual Festival of Lights, Moody Gardens has officially become the coolest holiday destination in the Southwest.

With so many attractions to enjoy, the Moody Gardens Value Passes have been a popular choice among guests. For just $59.95, visitors get entry into ICE LAND, Festival of Lights, Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Museum, MG 3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. Those wanting to make a weekend visit can also purchase a Two-Day Value Pass for $79.95 and get unlimited entry to everything Moody Gardens has to offer.

So what’s the best schedule if you are planning a vacation to Moody Gardens? Here is a sample itinerary to make sure you don’t miss a thing:

DAY 1

» 9-9:45 a.m. Breakfast at Moody Brews
Located in the main lobby of the hotel, Moody Brews offers a full line of Starbucks beverages, grab-and-go menu items, retail products, free WiFi, laptop work stations and comfortable seating.

» 10-11 a.m. Rainforest Pyramid
Take a tour of the 10-story glass pyramid that is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. You will experience rainforest life from around the world and encounter free-roaming animals, like the cotton-top tamarins and saki monkeys.

» 11:05-11:35 a.m. Discover the Ice Age
Travel back in time to discover a frigid world, covered in ice and occupied by mammoths, saber-toothed cats, cave people and more. The exhibit features life-sized animatronic animals and real fossils within the Discovery Pyramid.

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» 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch at Café in the Park at the Moody Gardens Hotel

» 1:30-2 p.m. ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants
Enjoy the coolest new attraction to date when you visit ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants. Being the only holiday ice exhibition on the Gulf Coast, this is a vast and amazing display of 900 tons of towering SpongeBob SquarePants-themed ice creations.

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» 2:15-4:30 p.m. Deep Tissue Massage at the Spa and 9 Holes at the Moody Gardens Golf Course
Send the little ones to a Kid’s Crew activity provided throughout the weekend by the Moody Gardens Hotel and relax at The Spa or play a round of golf at the Moody Gardens Golf Course.

» 5-6 p.m. Festival of Lights Buffet at the Garden Restaurant for Dinner

» 6-6:15 p.m. Pictures with Santa
Be sure to stop by Santa’s Village in the Visitor’s Center lobby and get your picture with Santa Claus!

» 6:15-6:45 p.m. Gingerbread Gardens
Build your own Gingerbread House with the family inside the Visitor’s Center lobby.

» 7-8 p.m. Festival of Lights
Enjoy the mile-long trail of over one million lights and 100 animated displays that winds through the beautiful Moody Gardens property. This is a holiday tradition you won’t want to miss!

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» 8-8:30 p.m. Ice Rink
Grab some rental skates and enjoy the area’s only outdoor ice skating rink.

Day 2

» 8:45-9:45 a.m. Breakfast at Café in the Park

» 10-10:50 a.m. Aquarium Pyramid
Visit four distinct ocean environments in the largest Moody Gardens Pyramid that includes seals, sea lions, sharks, thousands of fish and more than 90 penguins.

» 11-11:45 a.m. Penguin Encounter
Get up close and personal with a penguin during this 45-minute program that takes guests behind the scenes.

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» 12-12:45 p.m. Lunch at the Aquarium Pyramid Food Court

» 1-2 p.m. Colonel Paddlewheel Boat
Take a cruise around Offatts Bayou on this 1800s-style paddlewheel boat.

» 2:30-3 p.m. 4D Special FX Theater
Engage your senses in this theater as you encounter a 20-minute adaptation of Rio 4D or Polar Express 4D.

» 3:15-3:45 p.m. Arctic Ice Slide
Take a slide down this Texas-sized ice slide located outside the Visitor’s Center.

» 4-4:45 p.m. Sky Trail® Explorer Ropes Course
Challenge your agility, balance and strength as you encounter the new five-tier Ropes Course. Children 48 inches and under can also take on an adventure of a smaller scale on the Sky Tykes™ Ropes Course.

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» 4:45-5 p.m. Moody Gardens Zip Line
Snap into the harness, step to the edge of the zip line platform and glide over Palm Beach and the Lazy River 60 feet in the air for a bird’s eye view of the Moody Gardens Pyramids and tropical gardens.

» 5:15-6:15 p.m. Dinner at Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks

» 6:40-8 p.m. MG 3D Theater
Finish out the day watching some holiday favorites, such as Light Before Christmas 3D and Santa vs. Snowman 3D, in the newly enhanced MG 3D Theater featuring the world’s first giant screen 6p laser projector and the largest screen in Texas.

Creating ICE LAND Ice Sculptures: The Ice

One of the first challenges when creating ICE LAND was where to find 900 tons of ice. That’s not exactly something you can make in your refrigerator using an ice cube tray.

To create the ice, Moody Gardens enlisted the services of Flying Penguin Ice in Bryan, Texas.
To create the ice, Moody Gardens enlisted the services of Flying Penguin Ice in Bryan, Texas.
Creating the ice wasn’t a simple process. First the colors had to be mixed in some of the biggest ice cube trays you will ever see.
Creating the ice wasn’t a simple process. First the colors had to be mixed in some of the biggest ice cube trays you will ever see.
After several of days freezing, the ice was removed…
After several of days freezing, the ice was removed…
The color was tested…
The color was tested…
Clear block of ice
Clear block of ice
And it was shaved to the proper size.
Blocks were shaved to the proper size.
They made it as smooth as possible
They made it as smooth as possible
One of the many trucks ready to take ice to storage area
One of the many trucks ready to take ice to storage area
It took several days and 42 truck loads to bring all 6,000 blocks of ice to Galveston.
It took several days and 42 truck loads to bring all 6,000 blocks of ice to Galveston.
Moody Gardens staff unloaded the ice
Moody Gardens staff unloaded the ice
The giant tent was quickly filled with pallet upon pallet of ice.
The giant tent was quickly filled with pallet upon pallet of ice.
By the end, some of the ice was stacked up as high as five levels.
By the end, some of the ice was stacked up as high as five levels.

Stay tuned for our next Creating ICE LAND Ice Sculptures blog series! We’ll be taking a look at how a 28,000 square foot tent is built from the ground up.

ICE LAND will be a frosty new addition to the Festival of Lights and other holiday attractions this year as Galveston makes its holiday transition into a Winter Wonder Island. Admission to the exhibit is $26.95 for adults, $21.95 for seniors and $15.95 for children, and will also be included in a Moody Gardens Value Pass that includes admission to the various Moody Gardens attractions and Festival of Lights for $59.95. A two-day pass is available for $79.95. Courtesy parkas will also be distributed to each guest. Visit moodygardens.org/iceland for more information and to purchase tickets. 

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, July 19!

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Galveston is the Winter Wonder Island of Texas, and this season the island will offer visitors more than 1,000 magical holiday events! This summer, be sure to visit with Santa at a variety of events throughout the island. You’ll also have the chance to win some cool prizes by participating in Galveston’s Photo Contest.

GALVESTON ISLAND PHOTO CONTEST, 2 – 6 PM:

It’s Christmas Around the World as Santa travels from the North Pacific to South Pacific in the Aquarium Pyramid to Asia, Africa and the Americas in the Rainforest Pyramid and Palm Beach. Free Santa Hats are available as supplies last. Get your picture and go to Galveston.com/holiday to register for prizes! Stop by the Garden Lobby with the kids and enjoy some free Arts & Crafts activities from 2 – 4 p.m. as well.

snowmanlSNOWMAN SAND CASTLE COMPETITION, 2 – 4 PM:

A few slots remain, so register now to participate in our Snowman Sand Castle Competition on July 19 at Palm Beach. Participants will receive a Snowman Sand Castle Building Kit, then will have until 3:45 p.m. to build their very best snowman. Judging will begin at 3:45 p.m. and winner will be announced at 4 p.m. The winner will receive a Penguin Encounter Certificate for 4 people and tickets to all Moody Gardens Attractions (Including ICE LAND Ice Sculptures, Festival of Lights and Arctic Ice Slide) for 4 people.

CLICK HERE for complete rules and to register for the competition (limited spots available)

GET SOCIAL & WIN PRIZES WITH #CHRISTMASINJULY:

Celebrate Christmas in July by connecting with us through Social Media and you’ll get the chance to win a Holiday Four-Pack to Moody Gardens, which includes tickets to all attractions as well as the ICE LAND Ice Sculptures opening November 15, 2014.

TO PARTICIPATE: Visit our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram each week in July and participate in our Christmas in July trivia questions by using the handle @moodygardens and the hashtag #ChristmasInJuly. If you answer correctly you will be entered into our weekly drawing. Remember to use our handle and hashtag!

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Inc., Twitter, Inc. or Instagram, Inc. Must be 18 years or older to win.

IMG_9984JOIN US THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

ICE LAND Ice Sculptures makes its debut November 15 – January 4 for the first time in South Texas. Marvel at the artistry of the internationally acclaimed VGA Ice Carving Team from Harbin, China, as they bring their extraordinary talent to sculpt 900 tons of ice into a vast and amazing display of towering ice sculptures held at a cool and constant 9 degrees as Galveston makes its transformation into the Winter Wonder Island. There is more than ever for your family to enjoy! Be among the first to experience the ICE LAND Ice Sculptures attraction, Festival of Lights, Arctic Ice Slide, Ice Skating, holiday films and much more!

 

Festival of Lights Grand Opening Day!

See Santa Parachute in, Plus Dance and Musical Performances and a Special Sister City Celebration. 

FOLSantaParachuting2As the largest holiday lighting events on the Gulf Coast flips the switch on Saturday, Moody Gardens will also kick off the 50th anniversary celebration of Galveston-Niigata Sister City relationship. Festivities begin with Santa parachuting in for this free event, the Festival of Lights packs the night with over 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays, live entertainment and more.

As a special treat, students across Galveston Independent School District will illuminate the Festival of Lights with 25 hand-made Japanese folk art known as the Taiguruma, pull-cart paper lanterns in the shape of a Bream fish, and perform songs to go along with the Japanese celebration. Through Jan. 4, you can enjoy more than one million lights, a Texas-sized Arctic Ice Slide, and the area’s only outdoor ice skating rink. Tickets are $6.95. Additional tickets to any of the other Moody Gardens Attractions are just $6.00 each with your festival ticket.

CLICK HERE for schedule and tickets

OPENING DAY CEREMONIES 4PM – 6PM: 

  • 4:00 – 4:05 PM: Steve Smith and KPRC hosts take the stage
  • 4:05 – 4:30 PM: Galveston Ballet performs
  • 4:30 – 4:40 PM: Master Illusionist Curt Miller musical performance
  • 4:40 – 4:55 PM: Army Band performs
  • 4:55 PM: Countdown to Parachuting Santa begins
  • 5:00 – 5:10 PM: Santa Parachutes in from the North Pole
  • 5:10 – 5:25 PM: Amy Blake’s Dance Academy performs
  • 5:25 – 5:40 PM: Vibe Dance Company performs
  • 5:40 – 5:59 PM: GISD Choir Performs as the Taigurama Japanese Lantern Parade begins
  • 6:00 PM: Santa flips the giant light switch to turn on over 1 million lights. The Festival of Lights gates officially open for the season.

FolEblastBannerThe Festival will continue to shine throughout the holiday season Thursdays through Saturdays from Nov. 22 to Dec. 7, before open nightly from Dec. 12 to Jan. 4, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hours run from 6 to 10 p.m.

Admission to the Festival of Lights is $6.95. With the purchase of a Festival of Lights ticket, tickets to the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Pyramid, holiday MG 3D film, holiday 4D Film, Ridefilm and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat can be purchased for only $6 each.  Guests can also enjoy the Texas-sized Arctic slide and the classic outdoor skating rink. Ice skates are available for rent or guests can bring their own.

Moody Gardens recognizes Houston Area Cadillac Dealers, KPRC TV 2, Houston Community Newspapers, Houston Family Magazine, Pepsi, Gilbane Builders, Morris Architects, Broome Welding & Machine Co., Forman Equipment and Contracting, Chuoke Plumbing, Kelso Concrete, KenMor Electric, American Marble, Baker Concrete, CHP and Associates, WORKtm and Schindler Elevator Corp., Glazier Foods and Forward Energy Group as sponsors of the 2013 Festival of Lights.

 

Festival of Lights “Find the Duck” Contest

QUACK! There’s a loose duck at Moody Gardens and we need you to help us find him!  The duck will be hiding on the Festival of Lights trail, posing as a lighted display. Keep your eyes open, and if you happen to spot the duck, take a picture and submit it to us with the date of your visit in one of these ways:

The duck will move daily around the trail, so make sure you visit our Facebook/Twitter for hints on his location. Every time you submit a picture of the duck in his hiding place, you will be entered into our weekly drawings. Prizes for the winners of the weekly drawings include four (4) tickets to either the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid or the Discovery Museum.

We will accept photo submissions up until the end of the day on Jan. 6, 2013. We will also do a grand prize drawing on Jan. 7, 2013 from all of the submissions. Winners of the Grand Prize drawing will include a family four pack to all of the attractions.

Watch the video above to see what the duck looks like and happy duck finding!

Terms & Conditions: 

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Inc. or Twitter, Inc. Any photos or videos that are inappropriate, offensive, spam or commercial in nature or copyrighted photos that do not belong to the participant will be deleted by the page administrator. Must be 18 years or older to win.

By submitting photograph(s) and video(s) to Moody Gardens®, the participant hereby agrees that all photograph(s) and video(s) submitted become property of Moody Gardens®. Moody Gardens® reserves the non-exclusive right to use any photograph(s) and video(s) in publications or for promotional purposes. By submitting photos and videos, the participant also acknowledges that any persons appearing in submitted photograph(s) and video(s) have given the participant and Moody Gardens® consent for reproduction and promotional use. Participants must be 18 or older to enter. If participant is under 18 and wishes to participate, they may have a parent or guardian submit on their behalf. Only participants that have followed the outlined rules and regulations will be considered.