The holiday season is upon us and there are lots of Houston events to get you in the spirit of the most wonderful time of the year. In addition to a ton of new live shows, the CultureMap events calendar is filled with individual happenings with a holiday theme. There are also a number of ongoing happenings around the city that are sure create a memorable experience — and a great way to entertain out-of-town guests.
As you prepare to "deck the halls" with your family and friends, consider adding some of these ongoing happenings to your holiday "must-visit" list.
Ice on Discovery Green
Discovery Green offers Houstonians a taste of winter by transforming the park's model boat basin into a outdoor ice rink, using renewable energy recycled water from Kinder Lake, all the while being kept at a frigid 22 degrees. The Houston skyline is the perfect backdrop for ice skating now through Super Bowl Sunday on February 5, 2017.
Sugar Land Holiday Lights
The Sugar Land Skeeters present the 3rd Annual Sugar Land Holiday Lights featuring the largest inflatable snow globe in Texas, 2.5 million lights, and over 100 walkthrough displays at Constellation Field. Holiday lights will continue through December 23 with children's activities, movie nights, shopping, food trucks, and Santa Claus each night.
Magical Winter Lights
The 2016 Magical Winter Lights at Gulf Greyhound Park features six fascinating themed sections, including Magical Wonderland, Holiday Market Square, Dinosaur Land, Mystery of the East, Man and Nature, and Landmarks of the World. In addition to these themed areas, guests will be able to experience live entertainment, an interactive dinosaur exhibit, acrobatic performances, and so much more through January 8.
Baybrook Mall Holiday on the Lawn
A host of local vendors offering unique gifts have set up shop on the spacious lawn at the Clear Lake-area mall for the winter wonderland holiday market. The family-friendly event also includes a gift wrapping station, a spot to make children's ID cards, live entertainment, Zumba demonstrations, balloon artists and a bee hive exhibit. The curated market is open Friday-Sundays through December 24 as well December 19 through December 22 for last minute shoppers.
Jingle on the Boardwalk
Round up your family and head to Kemah for Jingle on the Boardwalk, taking place weekends in December. Activities include popular movies like Frozen and Elf, workshops with Santa, and even a snow patch area. The 54th Annual Holiday Boat Parade on December 10 features hundreds of decorated boats cruising the bay from Clear Lake to Kemah.
Like a frigid Blue Norther, Typhoon Texas is draped in a blanket of holiday fun as the waterpark adjacent to Katy Mills Mall is transformed into WinterFest. Among the attractions are an outdoor ice rink, thousands of sparkling lights synchronized to holiday songs, a 4D holiday light show projected over the Typhoon Texas wave pool, Santa’s workshop, train rides, petting zoo with working farm animals, hay rides, pony rides and Reindeer Run, a Texas-sized inflatable slide rising three stories tall. It's open daily, except Christmas Day, through December 31.
Christmas at George Ranch
Celebrate the holiday season with Texas spirit at the historic Fort Bend County ranch. "Campfire Christmas" is an unforgettable evening of hearty food, Texas traditions like singing carols around the campfire, and Christmas cheer that traces the ranch's history in a fun and festive way. (Tour and meal on December 10 and 17; tour only on December 16; children's campfire Christmas on December 15.) "Christmas in the Park," on December 10, 17, 20-23, and 31, features a hay ride (weather-permitting), along with Christmas traditions and decorations of the 1830s through the 1930s, and Treehouse Story Time with Santa.
Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens
Enjoy more than 1 million lights within 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays and nightly live entertainment at the Galveston attraction through January 8. Other holiday activities include an outdoor ice rink, Arctic Slide, photos with Santa, train rides, 3D holiday films, and "Ice Land: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas!," featuring a breathtaking undersea journey made of two million pounds of ice.
Christmas Village at Bayou Bend
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s second annual Christmas Village at Bayou Bend features new activities and enhanced programming as the 14-acre estate is transformed into a Christmas dreamland, with carolers, Santa, a snowball-play area, holiday treats and art-making activities — and on eight nights — real reindeer. The elaborate stained-glass Spiegeltent returns and the garden spaces feature dazzling light displays that evoke springtime blooms, including the charming Butterfly Garden. Inside the mansion, creative director Todd Waite stages a holiday-themed tour featuring live actors, theatrical effects, and Christmas decorations as the exterior of the mansion features 3D video projections.
The Christmas village is open every evening through January 1, except December 24, 25 and 31. Premium nights are December 10, 16–23, and 30.
Houston Zoo's Fifth Annual Zoo Lights
The Houston Zoo is again transformed into a winter wonderland with more than two million lights. Stroll along 15 miles of eco-friendly LED lighting illuminating oak trees and paths, enjoy festive carols, sip hot chocolate, and take in such displays at Holly Berry, a 1958 Cadillac with a lightshow set to music, the Holiday Train, Enchanted Forest, and Candy, the interactive talking zebra. Among the new attractions this year are theaddition of a huge, 33-tall Christmas tree adorned with colorful decorations that will be the perfect backdrop for your holiday selfie.
Zoo Lights can be viewed through January 15 (closed December 24-25).