It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Moody Gardens as this year's holiday attractions are officially underway. Among the favorites is ICE LAND, a course of ice sculptures that has become the premier holiday destination in the Southwest.
This year, prepare for a spectacular journey through the wonders of rainforests from around the world as Moody Gardens debuts ICE LAND: Rainforest Holiday. Experience monkeys, birds, butterflies, orchids and more – all hand-carved out of ice by 25 master ice carvers. The award-winning carving team traveled 6,633 miles from Harbin, China and worked diligently for 45 days to create the mesmerizing masterpieces.
First things first: you will definitely need to bundle up for your journey through the chilly exhibit, which is kept at a frigid nine degrees Fahrenheit. Parkas are provided to guests, but wearing closed-toed shoes, pants and gloves is highly recommended. As guests are transported to rainforests from around the world, one of the first sculptures you see is a clear-ice Rainforest Pyramid, illuminated green from the inside, just like the real Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid. The sculpture sets the scene for this year's rainforest holiday theme and provides the perfect holiday photo op for friends and family.
Then transition through a giant magnifying glass and watch leaf-cutter ants and many other animal sculptures become larger than life. Using special chainsaws and ice picks, members of the CAA Ruijing Ice Carving Team also created animals including a porcupine, turtles, giant river otters, an ocelot, birds and fish.
Other unique aspects of the exhibit include a beautiful tunnel illuminated with Christmas lights. Peek through the slits in the wall to see bats and snakes galore. Also check out Shivers Ice Bar, returning with a Mayan Ruins theme this season, and the Giant Ruins Ice Slide, a 36-foot slide that allows guests to soar from the treetops to the rainforest floor.
As an exhibit finale, ICE LAND offers visitors an exclusive sneak peek at next year's theme, but you'll have to go in person to find out what it is.
Ice Land at Moody Gardens is open from November 11 – January 7 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For tickets and more information about all the wonderful Moody Gardens holiday attractions, visit the Moody Gardens website.
Some more ICE LAND Fun Facts
- Two-million pounds of ice were used this year to create the rainforest-themed sculptures.
- Sculptures in the exhibit reach heights of 35-feet tall.
- It took 30 truckloads to transport the 6,000 ice blocks from College Station to Moody Gardens in Galveston.
- Preparation for this year's exhibit began in February 2017 when the first block of ice was frozen.
- It has been 118 years since the last time the temperature was recorded near nine degrees in Galveston.
- If you lined up the blocks of ice it took to create ICE LAND end to end, it will stretch 4.46 miles. If you stacked the blocks vertically, it would be taller than 24 Eiffel Towers!
- It took nearly 1,080 hours for the ice carvers, working in 17-degree temperature, to complete the sculptures of ICE LAND.