GALVESTON, Texas – Along the shores of the Gulf coast you’ll find a few peculiar pyramids that are home to all sorts of interesting animals.
During the most wonderful time of year, these grounds in Galveston get transformed to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
Ashley Tompkins took us on a tour of the Festival of Lights and the infamous Iceland at Moody Gardens.
“It’s a really big undertaking to get ready for our holiday season,” Ashley said. “I love the Christmas season. For me, it really is the best time here at Moody Gardens.”
With more than a million lights on display over the mile-long trail of lights, every Christmas theme you can imagine is on display.
“Putting the Festival of Lights together is a lot of work, so it’s thrilling to know that we’re one of the top ones in the state,” Ashley shared. “Especially for our guests, we want to give them something fun to enjoy when they come down for the holiday season.”
But for the real frosty fun, a chilling adventure known as Iceland will really get to your bones.
“It’s about a 28 square foot tent,” Ashley said. “We have to keep it at nine degrees the entire holiday season, because we need to keep that two million pounds of ice frozen.”
“It is just a little chilly, nine degrees in here,” Ashley informed us. “It’s carved completely out of ice. We have lights along the vines of these pyramids like you would see in an actual rainforest pyramid. It kind of shows you what you’re going to see has you walk through. A lot of the plants and animals that you see here inside of Iceland, you would actually see inside a rainforest pyramid as well.”
Everything in the pyramid is carved by professional ice carvers from two million pounds of ice.
“All of the ice came as three hundred pound blocks,” Ashley explained. “It’s either clear or colored. So, that’s how everything starts. They use the chainsaw. They cut it to the size they need, and use the icepicks and drills and create everything that you see in here. So it really is very much a part of this when you look at everything that’s created.”
Each giant piece of ice features details carved freeform by hand. The experience of walking through the pyramid is breathtaking, not only for the chilling temperature, but also for the beauty and artistic ability that is on display in the sculptures.
“It really is amazing to see the detail,” Ashley said. “As they’re taking those blocks, they start transforming them into snakes, into our leaf cutter ants that are your hosts throughout the journey, into frogs. You’ll see some monkeys. You’ll see some sloths and some butterflies as well. So, they really had full artistic reign.”
What would and Iceland be without a massive ice slide? We can say from personal experience that the slide is great fun, but our butts have never been as cold as they were after we went down the giant ice slide.
If you’re not into sliding, you can always throw down in the local watering hole, Shiver’s Ice Bar.
“It is the frostiest place to get an adult beverage here on the island,” Ashley informed us.
In this part of Iceland, you never know what you’ll run into, but one thing we know for sure. It will get you into the Christmas spirit.
So come experience this chilly Christmas stop but be sure to bring something to bundle up in.
“It really is a great way to enjoy the holidays with your family,” Ashley said. “You can make lasting memories here and make it a tradition.”