Holiday Season is Off to a Grand Start with Twentieth Annual Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens

11/21/2021, 4:13 AM (Source: GlobeNewswire)

Galveston, Texas, Nov. 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The holidays have begun at Moody Gardens with the 20th Annual Festival of Lights and beautiful weather for thousands of guests who came to enjoy the Opening Ceremony and a variety of holiday attractions. Santa Claus opened the 2021 holiday season with a returning tradition at Moody Gardens by flipping the giant electrical switch to turn on the Festival of Lights one-mile long trail decked with two million lights and filled with sound enhanced lighted and animated displays themed to everyone’s favorite holiday music. The Festival of Lights will continue to shine throughout the holiday season everyday through January 2.

Opening day was kicked off with a spectacularly festive ballet, tap, and jazz performance by Jill Rauscher’s School of Dance based out of Webster Texas, which featured everyone’s favorite Christmas grouch - the Grinch, as well as Santa’s reindeer and a few tiny ragdolls straight from Santa’s workshop. After their performance, a festive crowd witnessed Santa and his elves make their grand entrance by parachuting out of an airplane to officially flip the light switch and open the largest holiday lighting display on the Gulf Coast. The celebration also featured a Houston favorite, Velvet Punch, who performed holiday classics with a twist and then some.

Popular displays along the Festival of Lights include the Nutcrackers, a toy factory, 12 Days of Christmas display, a narrated nativity scene, and Star: The Dancing Tree of Light - a four-story digital Christmas tree. The Festival of Lights trail has improved vastly over the years. When the trail first opened 20 years ago, it was a quarter of a mile long with holiday music with the music technology of the day being CD players. Now, the trail is a one-mile long trail with a state of the art audio system, animated lights, digital trees and more that has become a tradition for many families and has now started a second generation with parents who visited as children. Guests that are looking to stay overnight or for an extended stay are encouraged to look at the family-friendly Moody Gardens Hotel which offers spectacular views of the destination’s iconic pyramids dressed in holiday lights.

In addition to the Festival of Lights, some of the other holiday attractions include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer playing in the 4D Theater, other holiday 3D films, the Arctic Slide and train rides, fireside s’mores, evening cruises aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat and plenty of dining and hotel options, including Breakfast with Santa.

“Festival of Lights has become a wonderful tradition for families over the years,” said John Zendt, Moody Gardens President and CEO. “It is always a treat to watch children’s faces light up when Santa arrives. It’s incredible to see how it all has evolved over the years.”

Guests looking for bargains and fewer visitors can take advantage of Value Days every Sunday – Thursday between November 28 and December 16. The best deal is a Holiday Pass which includes admission to the Festival of Lights as well as a 3D and 4D movie and the Arctic Slide for $29 on a Value Day and $39 regularly. Festival of Lights pricing is $18 on Value Days and $22 regularly. Holiday attractions open at 4 p.m. nightly and close at 9 p.m. on Value Days at 10 p.m. on all other days. Moody Gardens’ yea-round attractions open at 10 a.m. daily. 

Food Drive Thursdays will also offer guests the opportunity to enjoy the Festival at a special discount in recognition of helping those in need this holiday season. Guests can bring a non-perishable food item every Thursday throughout December to receive a two-for-one admission into Festival of Lights. The food will be donated to the Galveston County and Houston Food Banks.

For more information, including ticket and hotel package options, please visit

Moody Gardens recognizes the following 2021 Festival of Lights sponsors: Pepsi, KPRC, KSBJ, Gilbane, Marek Bros, Forward Energy Group, Letsos Company, Baker Concrete, KenMor Electric, Schindler, Chuoke Plumbing, Kelso Concrete, Forman Equipment, Milam Painting and Broome Welding.

Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.


Opening Day of Holiday in the Gardens B-Roll


Marissa Guest
Moody Gardens, Inc. 
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