Every Holiday season, Moody Gardens in Galveston presents its annual Festival of Lights when this massive amusement park converts into winter wonderland.
This 7-week long celebration is the largest of its kind in the entire Gulf Coast, boasting over 100 light displays containing more than 1 million twinkling lights. Add to that an outdoor ice skating rink, live entertainment, holiday-themed films and photo ops with Santa himself, and you have every reason to make the trip. Moody Gardens is located just under 50 miles from downtown Houston making it the perfect mini-getaway for the holidays.
Where to Go
Moody Gardens is located on One Hope Boulevard in Galveston, Texas. Parking is available near the grounds. If you don't want to walk, opt a free shuttle service that will drop you off at the park's main entrance. You can also park elsewhere in Galveston and opt to take the island's trolley.
When to Go
Festival of Lights runs from the second weekend in November to the second weekend in January, and is typically open from 6 to 11 p.m., with some lower-traffic days closing at 9 p.m.
$15.95 for all ages, and discounts are available for combo tickets and select days. Skates can be rented for $8.
Arctic Slide tickets can be purchased for $8 for one slide, $20 for 10 slides and $25 for the whole day.
What to Expect
- Roughly 100 sound-enhanced light displays
- Pictures with Santa
- Ice skating
- Train Ride
- Holiday films
- Arctic Slide (for an additional cost)
Ice Land is another great holiday season feature at Moody Gardens. Make your way through two million pounds of intricately carved ice, carefully crafted around a specific theme. The dates run the same as the Festival of Lights, though ticket prices are slightly higher. Child ticket prices start at $21.95 for those ages 4 to 12, depending on the day. Adult ticket prices start at $26.95. Discount prices are offered for seniors 65 and older, as well as Sundays through Thursdays from mid-November to mid-December — with the exception of Thanksgiving Day.
For those interested in augmenting their Festival of Lights experience, they can also attend the Holiday dinner and show. On select days in December, enjoy a dinner buffet as well as a highly engaging theater performance. Song, dance and aerial acrobatics will all be incorporated in this family-friendly production. Tickets for this activity include one dinner buffet, admission to the Festival of Lights, tax and gratuity, and parking.
Don't want to stop the fun? You can also gain access to other Moody Gardens attractions, such as the 4D Special FX Theater, Aquarium Pyramid and Discovery Museum, for just $7 to $9 each with your Festival of Lights ticket after 4:00 p.m.
Food Drive Thursdays
Enjoy the Festival of Lights and feel great about doing so by participating in Food Drive Thursdays. On these days, bring in a canned good or other nonperishable food item and get two festival regular admissions for the price of one. These items will be donated to the Galveston County and Houston Food Banks.