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Dubbing Galveston the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas, the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau created an annual marketing campaign in 2014 specifically to promote the island as a holiday destination, and to bring all of Galveston’s holiday offerings under one marketing umbrella. And the effort continues to gain traction with new and improved attractions and events.
The Polar Express train ride is coming to the Galveston Railroad Museum on Nov. 15 through Dec. 29. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests onboard the train will enjoy warm cocoa and cookies while listening and reading along with the magical story. Actors will recreate scenes from the film, and families are encouraged to wear pajamas to the event. Santa will board the Polar Express, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift — their own silver bell.
The Bryan Museum will offer a special event on Dec. 15. Holiday Delights will be a day that will feature purely Texas festivities, music, holiday foods, and of course, Santa. A highlight of the event will be the presence of two actual Texas Longhorns on the front lawn of the museum for visitors to pose with and take photos.
One of the island’s most popular holiday attractions, ICE LAND, will return to Moody Gardens with a new theme: Christmas Around the World. Here, guests will see iconic structures from around the world from the great pyramids of Egypt to the Eiffel Tower — all carved from huge, colorful blocks of ice. ICE LAND is one of the many holiday attractions at Moody Gardens, and the festivities have been rebranded with the name Holiday in the Gardens taking place Nov. 16 through Jan. 12.
Here’s a preview of other happenings on the island throughout the holiday season:
• Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens (Nov. 16 through Jan. 12)
• Holiday Performances at The Grand 1894 Opera House (Nov. 9 through Jan. 12)
• Miracle Pop-Up Bar at Daiquiri Time Out (Nov. 29 through Dec. 25)
• Downtown Shopping in Galveston’s Historic Downtown District (Nov. 29 through Dec. 24)
• Downtown Lanterns & Lights (Nov. 30 through Jan. 1)
• Holiday Delights at The Bryan Museum (Dec. 15)
• Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner Show at Moody Gardens (Dec. 20 through Dec. 30)
• Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez (Nov. 29)
• Home for the Holidays Gift Market at Moody Gardens Convention Center (Nov. 29 and Nov. 30)
• Victorian Holiday Homes Tour (Dec. 6)
• Dickens on The Strand (Dec. 6 through Dec. 8)
• Holiday with the Cranes (Dec. 14 and Dec. 15)
• Sunday Brunch with Santa at Hotel Galvez (Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22)
• Santa Hustle 5K and Half Marathon (Dec. 15)
• Christmas Day Brunch at Hotel Galvez (Dec. 25)
Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St.
Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.