When the holidays and the beginning of winter coincide at the end of every year, we often find ourselves blessed, or, depending on how you look at it, besieged, by the gathering of family members and relatives, many of whom reside out of town.
When this happens, we can either look at each other with slack-jawed awe and astonishment once the requisite pleasantries and gifts have been exchanged, or we can pass the time in style by exploring the wonderful world of Southern California.One optimal option is the “CHILL” exhibit at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif., which, for some years running now, has warmed the hearts of many a citizen despite literally freezing temperatures.
The “CHILL” setup, situated directly across the Queen Mary ship, is a fun-ground of just about anything you can imagine. There are stands teeming with candy apples, churros, chocolate-covered Christmas trees, kettle corn, among other delicious items for purchase. Of course, that’s not even close to the best of what’s offered unless you are a fanatical foodie (and hey, if so, there’s no shame there).
The main attractions, however, are the Ice Kingdom, ice-tubing slide, swinging sleigh ride and, for an additional charge, ice-skating.
The Ice Kingdom, housed in the Igloo, is as grand and cold as it sounds. It is a chilly, 7 degrees, in fact, which necessitates that anyone who enters it wear a lavishly blue parka. Attendees then walk through a beautiful ice-sculpture-designed narrative about the classic “Christmas Carol” of Scrooge and his ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future. The ice-carved eye candy can be seen in all shapes, in their original clear transparency, and even in multicolored form.
The ice-tubing slide involves plopping down on a tube at the height of an apex before a wonderfully free-falling descent into ecstasy. The acceleration of speed in which one will feel within nanoseconds of time is also a fun lesson in the physics of velocity!
Moreover, the swinging sleigh ride is glorious in the way it has one weaving — forward, tilted, and to the side — through a chilly, but welcoming, air. Lights and colors go by in an instant and one’s surroundings take on a gorgeous halo-like kaleidoscope of wonderment.
Lastly, the chance to ice-skate may be well worth the time and money given that it’s only an additional $15 per person for 45 minutes. A zamboni on site ensures that the ice will be leveled, luminescent, and pretty for all who ice-skate or try to. For those who opt out, though, there may be an opportunity to spectate young adult professional ice-skaters dazzle the rink with their acrobatics.
Not to mention, inclusive of all general admission ticket packages is the Queen Mary itself for viewing and exploration, in addition to a 15-minute, 4D viewing experience of “The Polar Express.”
The “CHILL” exhibit runs through January 10th.
For more information, visit queenmary.com/events/chill/