The holiday season on Galveston Island is full of tradition, from its popular Festival of Lights to the renowned Victorian festival Dickens on The Strand. This year, the island’s family friendly festivities will continue with adjustments and new guidelines for social distancing and health safety.
Here’s a preview of what is happening on the island throughout the holiday season:
· Moody Gardens is home to Holiday in the Gardens from Nov. 21 – Jan. 2. Here, visitors can stroll through Festival of Lights, a mile-long trail of illuminated holiday displays, live music, festive food and more. Other attractions include an Arctic Ice Slide, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D experience, Holiday 3D films and train rides. Moody Gardens attractions will operate at limited capacity levels as mandated by the State of Texas. And, masks must be worn while in public spaces. Holiday hotel packages are also available. Visit www.moodygardens.org for details.
· A Railroad Christmas will take place on weekends from Nov. 27 through Dec. 23 at the Galveston Railroad Museum. Visitors will have the opportunity to get a socially distanced photo with Santa as Mr. Claus will stand on a train while families can pose below. On Fridays and Saturdays, guests can enjoy Movies at the Museum in the courtyard. Treats will be available at the Whistlestop Café. Details can be found at www.galvestonrrmuseum.org.
· The Galveston Historical Foundation will bring back its Victorian holiday festival for the 46th year — with some modifications. Dickens on the Strand will be Dickens on the Squares for 2020 and will take place Dec. 5-6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Previous Dickens events have taken place on Strand Street, but this year’s festival will be held at separate locations with limited capacities. The event will offer guests timed, ticketed access to specially crafted Dickens experiences at the following locations: Hendley Green, Old Galveston Square, Saengerfest Park, Galveston Historic Seaport, and Pier 22. Guests in Victorian attire will receive a limited-edition commemorative keepsake. For information, visit www.galvestonhistory.org.
· Galveston is located on a prime bird migration route. Among visitors to the island are the majestic Sandhill Cranes who arrive during the fall and winter seasons. The Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council presents Holiday with the Cranes to give bird lovers a chance to learn about them and see them up close. This year’s event will be held Dec. 12 and will consist of an online morning presentation with Houston Audubon’s Glenn Olsen and will be followed by self-guided field trips on the island’s West End. More information can be found at www.galvestonnaturetourism.org
· Santas, Santas everywhere! The Santa Hustle returns to Galveston for a 5K and marathon on Dec. 20. Participants will receive a Santa hoody, hat, beard and buff, and they’ll enjoy festive snacks along the way. A portion of race registration proceeds will benefit the Galveston County Food Bank. For more information, visit www.santahustle.com.
· Miracle Pop-Up Bar at Daiquiri Time Out (DTO) will return for its third year in November and December. It’s one of only four Texas venues that are part of the worldwide Christmas-themed cocktail pop-up bar. Miracle locations will toast the season with a menu of festive holiday cocktails set amid over-the-top décor. DTO will operate at limited capacity according to state and local mandates. Get the details at www.dtogalveston.com.
· Holiday shopping in Galveston’s Historic Downtown District will be especially festive this year. From November through January, the area will be illuminated by an extensive lighting and décor overhaul that will encompass the main corridors of the charming historic downtown district from Strand to Postoffice Streets, making it the perfect backdrop for a holiday shopping spree.