A magical kingdom of ice in the middle of Los Angeles? No, it’s not the set of the new live-action sequel to Frozen. It’s something the kids will clamor over even more than Elsa and Anna: The Queen Mary Chill. Until January 9, this winter wonderland of icy activities will live inside the massive, dome-shaped hangar next to the Queen Mary (you’ll remember it as the place that formerly housed the Spruce Goose). And as for that ice, it’s the real thing. Measuring 13,000 square feet, the Queen Mary Chill is made of two million pounds of hand-sculpted ice, and as you step inside with your little ones, you’ll understand how much two million pounds really is. Soaring, sparkling blocks of ice carved into various shapes fill the vast space, drawing awed gasps from young and old as they take it all in. It won’t be long before you notice something else: the cold. You’ll feel a serious chill from the nine-degree temperatures that will make you wish, for the first time in your sun-soaked life, that you actually owned a winter coat. Luckily, there are parkas available for kids and adults to fight off the sudden, unseasonable chill.
For this year’s “Christmas in California” theme, a surfing Santa hanging ten on a 20-foot ice wave welcomes you into a maze of brightly lit ice sculptures, including an ice unicorn, ice castle, and ice Queen Mary, complete with frozen ocean waves off the bow. Set your camera to video and capture your little ones shooting down the ice slide, their laughter echoing throughout the space. The highlight, however, is the glacier glide. Feel the cold air rush by and squeal along with your kids as you whip down the two-story, 100-foot ice slide in an oversized inner tube, enjoying serious winter fun in a decidedly non-wintery city.
Once your cheeks are sufficiently rosy, mosey outside to warm up in the sun and take a spin around the outdoor ice skating rink. With stage shows, crafts, rides, and photo ops with Santa, there’s so much to do and see that you might just want to make a weekend of it. Do just that and book a room aboard the Queen Mary–it functions as a floating hotel now–and stick around for the night, when the magic of technology makes snow flurries appear from the cloudless LA skies. Wake up in the morning to a holiday pajama breakfast aboard the ship with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves every Saturday.
If the holiday season ever makes you feel like you’re missing out on cold-weather fun in more northern climes, Queen Mary Chill will put those feelings to rest — and then some. For holiday fun, Los Angeles knows how to do things right.