Moody Gardens kicks off holiday festivities

Santa Claus will parachute down for the grand lighting of the Festival of Lights trail

GALVESTON, Texas  – Today, Nov. 20, Moody Gardens kicks off several holiday festivities. Guests will have the chance to watch Santa Claus parachute down from the North Pole to Moody Gardens. Santa is coming to help prepare the property for the grand lighting of the Festival of Lights trail, one of the largest holiday lighting events on the Gulf Coast.

The Opening Day festivities of Holiday in the Gardens is open to the public. The event offers live entertainment from 4 to 6 p.m. Santa will parachute at 5 p.m. He plans to mix and mingle before flipping the switch to begin the holiday season at 6 p.m. As the lights go up, the gates will officially open for the season. Guests can explore the 20th annual Festival of Lights trail, which is filled with even more lights than before. There are over 100 sound enhanced and animated light displays themed to holiday music favorites. Other features include hot cocoa, fireside smores, pictures with Santa and much more.

Following the Opening Day, attendees can check out the Festival of Lights buffet located in the Garden Restaurant. The menu features house-made soup, salads, cranberry-sage chicken, portobello ravioli with charred corn and mushroom sauce, chef’s desserts of the night and more. A variety of festive fare and confections are set along the Festival of Lights trail.

Other holiday attractions include:

  • a selection of holiday films in the MG 3D Theater,
  • Rudolph 4D in the 4D Special FX Theater,
  • an Arctic Slide
  • and train rides.

“It’s wonderful to see the joy on children’s faces as Santa parachutes on opening day,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt. “It’s been an honor to bring the tradition of the holiday season to families for 20 years. From marriage proposals to a baby’s first Christmas, the variety of memories created here at Moody Gardens are very special and we are looking forward to creating more new memories this year.”

If you are looking to experience all of Moody Garden’s holiday attractions on Opening Day, you can purchase a Holiday Pass. The Holiday Pass includes admission to the Festival Lights as well as a 3D and 4D movies. You can also purchase the Arctic Slide for $39 with a discount of $29 on Value Days.

Festival of Lights admission tickets are $22. Holiday attractions open at 6 p.m. and closet at 10 p.m. on regular days. They close at 9 p.m. on Value Days. Moody Gardens’ year-round daytime attractions will open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Value Days are every Sunday through Thursday between Nov. 28 and Dec. 16. Hotel packages with attraction tickets, Breaks with Santa and discounts are also available.

You can find more information, including ticket and hotel package options by visiting