Several years ago I traveled around Asia, and one of my most memorable events was the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in northern China. As one of the world’s four largest ice and snow festivals, the Harbin festival has captivated visitors from all over with its colorful, illuminating ice buildings and sculptures. When I heard that The Queen Mary was bringing the art of snow carving into its Winter theme event, CHILL, I immediately purchased a ticket with Golda and Holly from The Social Bug.
Held right outside The Queen Mary, CHILL offers more than just ice carvings. As you enter, you find yourself immersed in Santa’s holiday village complete with Santa’s sled and falling snow. Tickets are $24.95, but we managed to grab discounted tickets off of Groupon for $19, which are now sold out. The ticket to CHILL does include free admission to The Queen Mary for the same day even though we did not have time to visit the renowned ship. For an additional $12.95, you can also go ice skating or ice tubing. If you’re hungry, you will find many stalls offering pizza and other fair foods.
The main attraction is of course the ice sculptures located inside the Ice Kingdom. Since we did not book our time slot ahead of time, we had to wait at least 45 minutes to enter. However, we were kept entertained by the joyful Christmas carolers. We were given parkas at the entrance to wear because entering the Ice Kingdom was like entering a freezer!! While the Ice Kingdom is smaller than the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, there are plenty of rooms filled with ice carvings for you to look at and take pictures if you can stand the cold! We only stayed for 45 minutes before we decided to warm up outside. In contrast to the Eastern style that’s prominent in the Harbin festival, the Ice Kingdom does cater more to a Western crowd with sculptures of castles, swans, princesses, churches, elves, whales, and even a miniature version of The Queen Mary that you can slide off of, provided that you are wearing your parka!
With sculptors hired directly from Harbin to guarantee authenticity, The Queen Mary Presents CHILL is a more affordable way for people to experience the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival without having to fly to China. This is the last weekend for CHILL so make sure to go!!! Since admission to the Ice Kingdom includes free entry to The Queen Mary, I recommend people to show up early during the day if they wish to visit The Queen Mary as well. It is cold inside the Ice Kingdom even when you’re wearing their parka so make sure to bring layers of long-sleeve clothing and a warm jacket. Rather than park at The Queen Mary for $20, you can save money by paying for metered parking with some spare change in Downtown Long Beach and take the free Passport shuttle to The Queen Mary on Pine Ave and 1st St. Make sure to check out our Facebook page for more photos and our Phereo page for some 3D photos! You can also follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA for updates on future events!
Until next time,