GALVESTON, Texas, Nov. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Santa Claus opened the 2016 holiday season with tradition at Moody Gardens®, flipping the giant electrical switch to turn on more than one million lights at the 15 th annual Festival of Lights.
A festive crowd of over 5,000 people saw Santa and two of his elves make his grand entrance by parachuting out of an airplane to officially turn on the largest holiday lighting display on the Gulf Coast. The festivities featured the Salvation Army's Harbor Lights Choir, Galveston ISD's local children's choir, and a trio of Caribbean dances as a tribute to the new 2016 Caribbean Christmas theme at ICE LAND. Guests were able to celebrate the holiday season Caribbean style with the Galaxy Band featuring the music of Trinidad, Jamaica, Tobago, St Lucia, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Antigua and the US Virgin Islands. Dances included styles of Samba, Reggae, and Soca. The mile-long Festival of Lights trail is one of the eight holiday attractions on property that features over 100 lighted scenes themed to holiday music complete with an outdoor ice skating rink. Other attractions include the Arctic Slide, train rides, Cirque Joyeux Noel dinner and show, new holiday films in the MG 3D Theater and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D at the 4D Special FX Theater, ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas and more. Guests that are looking to stay overnight or an extended stay to enjoy the holiday attractions are encouraged to look at the family-friendly Moody Gardens Hotel that offers spectacular views of the destination's iconic pyramids dressed in holiday lights. "Festival of Lights has become a holiday tradition for families throughout the region," Moody Gardens president and CEO John Zendt said. "It is always such a special treat to see the kid's faces light up when Santa arrives. It's wonderful to know this event provides great memories that the whole family can appreciate." The Festival of Lights will continue to shine throughout the holiday season nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Moody Gardens attractions are open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission to the Festival of Lights is $10.95, this also includes use of the outdoor skating rink that sits on the trail. Ice skates are available to rent for $7 or guests can bring their own. While experiencing the Festival of Lights, guests can also enjoy the Texas-sized Arctic Slide. It is $7 for one slide, $20 for 10, and $25 for all day slides. In addition to the regular Festival of Light tickets, there are combination tickets available letting guests make the most of their visit. The Holiday Pass ticket is available for $34.95 per person and allows guests entrance into Festival of Lights, ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas, and an attraction of their choosing. 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 the Festival (excluding Thanksgiving) and 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, please call 800-582-4673 or visit moodygardens.org.