8 tips to have the most winter-ful time at Moody Gardens

Winter in the U.S. is marked by dazzling displays and festive events that bring out the holiday spirit in everyone. For Texans, there's no better way to experience the holidays than at Moody Gardens.

The amusement park's Festival of Lights is a favorite holiday attraction of the Lone Star state, and their new Ice Land: A Caribbean Christmas will provide kids and adults with even more frozen fun.

With so much to do at Moody Gardens, make sure you follow these tips to get the most out of your winter-ful experience.

Make sure to see the staff's favorite light displays and attractions

Moody Gardens

Nobody is going to know as much about Moody Gardens as someone who works there. While all of the dazzling light displays are a visual treat, employees have cited the Polar Express-themed train station and the 12 Days of Christmas displays as some of their favorites. The staff also noted that more trees will be wrapped in lights along the trail than in previous years.

Moody Gardens employees also recommend taking a ride on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat also gives visitors a beautiful, nighttime look at the lights from the water. The boat ride isn't included with admission, but it's worth it. ($10.95 for adults, $8.95 for children and seniors, free for children under three.)

Consider visiting on a weekday

Any day is a good day to check out Moody Gardens, but if you're concerned about crowds, park officials says it's usually not as busy on weekdays as it is on the weekends. The park is also open on the holidays, and they offer a 2-for-1 ticket special on Thursdays for anyone who brings a canned food item.

Pick your activities based on who you're with

Moody Gardens

Festival of Lights has a s'mores pit where kids are given sticks and marshmallows to cook delicious, outdoor treat. The ice rink also sometimes has a DJ on the weekends, where kids can show off their best chilly dance moves.

At Ice Land, adults can enjoy the brand new Shivers Ice Bar, which will be serving up cool holiday-themed cocktails. If you're visiting with a senior citizen or disabled person, there is also a cart at Festival of Lights that can transport them through the trail.

Regardless of age, everyone can appreciate Ice Land's thrilling ice slide, where visitors use their parkas to race down to the bottom.

Stretch your legs for ice skating

One of the favorite attractions at the Festival of Lights is the ice skating rink near the back of the trail. The rink is outdoors and is actually made up of real ice (and even a real Zamboni to help maintain it). Ice skate rentals are available but you can also bring your own skates from home.

Be sure to look for the nativity scene and Santa's Workshop near the rink, after you're done skating for the day.

Dress warm before going to ICE LAND: A Caribbean Christmas

Ice Land does provide large parkas to keep visitors warm when wandering through the stunning winter wonderland, crafted with over 2 million pounds by professional carvers over 45 days. But it's still recommended you wear long pants, gloves, and maybe even a hat just to keep warm when walking through the 28,000-square-foot attraction.

Even though Ice Land is Caribbean-themed, with ice-crafted, "spectacular schools of beautiful tropical fish, eagle rays, turtles, dolphins, hammerhead sharks" and more, its best you leave your flip flops at home so your toes don't get too chilly.

Save space for the delicious winter treats

No Festival of Lights experience is complete without an Otter Tail, the park's delicious, churro treat that's coated in cinnamon. Kettle corn is also one of visitor's favorite snacks you can feast on along the trail.

Check out the dining menus at Moody Gardens' several restaurants to start crafting up an appetite before you visit. Visitors are also allowed to bring their own food into the park.

Save time to catch a holiday movie

Moody Gardens will be playing holiday-themed movies all throughout the winter months at their MG 3-D Theater, the largest of its kind in Texas. And you'll be able to ride along aside Santa in as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer comes to life on their 4D Special FX Theater. Seats rumble back and forth and snow even falls on the audience as you follow Rudolph along his journey.

Take your time

Moody Gardens

With over a million lights across a one-mile-long trail and elaborate ice sculptures and art to see, there's no reason to rush your experience at the park. If you need to take a break, feel free to relax on a bench for a few moments to take in the winter festive cheer.

There isn't a limit or a rush to get everything done at once, so make sure you take as much time as necessary to fully appreciate everything that Festival of Lights and Ice Land: A Caribbean Christmas has to offer.

Visit MoodyGardens.com to learn more about Festival of Lights, Ice Land: A Caribbean Christmas and the park's other attractions. Follow Moody Gardens' Facebook and Twitter pages to follow the winter fun.
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