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Moody Gardens
Festival of Lights
News Release
Thursday, November 12, 2009



Galveston, Texas – Festive sights and sounds will once again fill the air at Moody Gardens during the Festival of Lights November 14 through January 2. As one of the largest holiday celebrations on the Gulf Coast, the annual event receives over 85,000 visitors, many of whom have made the festival their own holiday tradition. This mile long trail features over one hundred lighted scenes themed to holiday music with an outdoor ice rink and live entertainment nightly.

Moody Gardens invites families and groups of all ages in the spirit of tradition and togetherness, to a fun-filled day of events, live music and holiday surprises on Saturday, November 14th to launch the eighth annual Festival of Lights. Santa Claus will kick off the festivities by parachuting in to switch on a mile-long trail of more than one million lights. The grand opening celebration will begin at 4 p.m. and include several holiday performances. The entertainment schedule is as follows:

  • 4:05 p.m. Galveston Ballet

  • 4:25 p.m. Sugar Land First United Methodist Church Choir

  • 4:40 Amy’s Dance Studio

  • 4:55 Countdown to Santa begins

  • 5:00 Santa parachutes in

  • 5:10 Southern Side Steppers

  • 5:25 Gift of Christmas Live! Performers

  • 5:35 Leah White and The Magic Mirrors

  • 6:00 Santa turns on the lights

The festival will be celebrated Thursdays through Saturdays between Nov. 20 and Dec. 16 and daily starting Dec. 17 through Jan. 2, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

In addition to over 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays and nightly live entertainment, visitors can strap on a pair of skates and glide across the ice at the area’s only Outdoor Ice Skating Rink. Indoors, visitors can take pictures with Santa or enjoy a variety of holiday-themed films at the IMAX® 3D Theater, Ridefilm Theater and 4D Special FX Theater. In the spirit of tradition, Polar Express 4D will return with interactive special effects like snow, wind and the smell of hot chocolate to engage all the viewers’ senses. 

As a new holiday celebration the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are coming to Moody Gardens. An IMAX® 3D experience, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, premieres Friday, Nov. 6 and will be shown daily through Jan. 8, on the biggest screen in the Houston area. Starring Jim Carrey and  directed by Academy Award® winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, the holiday film captures the fantastical essence of the classic Dickens tale in a groundbreaking 3D motion picture event.

Friends, family or colleagues can enjoy each other’s company over the annual Holiday Dinner Buffet at the Garden Restaurant or at the Gift of Christmas Live Show and Dinner which combines a fine dining experience with a festive performance by Texas’ brightest talents. The Gift of Christmas Live Show and Dinner is scheduled for Dec. 17 through Dec. 27, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. daily. Tickets to this holiday event will be $43 for adults and $25 for children. The Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinner and Shows begin at 4:40 p.m. with caroling. A new Children’s Matinee Show on Dec. 16, 17 and 18 at 1 p.m. will open the season. Tickets for the Children’s Matinee are $15 for adults and $10 for children. There are also hotel packages available that include tickets to the Festival of Lights and Gift of Christmas Live dinner show. For more information on these packages, please call 888-388-8484.

Admission to the Festival of Lights is $5.95, and tickets to additional attractions including the Aquarium Pyramid®, holiday IMAX® 3D film, holiday Ridefilm, Discovery Museum and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, can be purchased for $5 each with a Festival of Lights ticket.

There are several other events occurring at Moody Gardens this holiday season. The full schedule is as follows:

  • November 6: Disney's A Christmas Carol in IMAX® 3D Opens

  • November 9 - January 2: Tiny Tim Food Drive. Every Monday - Thursday through January 2nd, bring a non-perishable food item and receive $2.00 Off admission to Disney's A Christmas Carol in IMAX® 3D

  • November 14 (4 – 6 p.m.): Festival of Lights Opening Ceremonies with KPRC's Frank Billingsley featuring live entertainment. Santa parachutes in at 5 p.m. Gates open and the lights go up at 6 p.m.

  • November 14 (5 p.m.): World's Largest Bah Humbug!

  • November 14 (6- 10 p.m.): Festival of Lights Grand Opening

  • November 21 (12 p.m.): Opening of the new exhibit Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island featuring a special presentation by Exhibit Curator Suzanne Seriff PhD

  • November 22 (3 p.m.): Houston Civic Symphony Concert at the Moody Gardens Hotel Ballroom with a special presentation by Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island Exhibit Curator Suzanne Seriff PhD

  • November 26: Thanksgiving Dinner Buffets at the Moody Gardens Hotel Ballroom and the Garden Restaurant

  • December 5 and 6: Dickens on the Strand weekend. Come to Moody Gardens in your Dickens costume and receive $1.00 Off admission to the Festival of Lights

  • December 16 - 18: Gift of Christmas Live! Children's Matinee shows

  • December 17 - 27: The Gift of Christmas Live! Dinner and Show at the Moody Gardens Convention Center

  • December 19: Judging of A Christmas Carol Art Contest

  • December 26: Moody Gardens Facebook Best Scrooge Contest Judging

  • January 2 (2 p.m.): Fruit Cake Launch and Christmas Tree Chunk 

For more information, please call 800-582-4673 or visit 

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