Galveston’s massive holiday ice sculpture of cartoon characters from SpongeBob SquarePants has been unveiled at Moody Gardens.

It took 28 carvers, flown in specially from China, six weeks to create the exhibit which will be on show at the Gulf coast attraction until the New Year.

Visitors must don ankle length parka jackets as they venture into Ice Land to keep from freezing in the 9 degree temperatures, cooled to stop the colorful sculptures from melting.

Giant Christmas trees stretching 30 feet high join SpongeBob and his friends as they visit the Krusty Krab and dive into a Chum Bucket.

“SpongeBob has been delighting kids and adults alike with his nautical nonsense for 15 years,” said Gerald Raines, Vice President of Recreation at Nickelodeon in a news release, “Moody Gardens is giving fans of all ages an exciting opportunity to see SpongeBob and his Bikini Bottom friends like never before.”

Moody Gardens had to get special permission from the cable network to put on the holiday show. Nickelodeon approved everything down to the shade of yellow ice used for SpongeBob himself.

Executives at the Galveston resort said the plan was to take their annual Festival of Lights to a new level. That next level is costing $5 million.

The holiday spectacular opens Saturday and will see Santa parachuting in to get the Christmas season rolling.

“The challenges have been numerous, we erected our tent during hurricane season … then of course there’s the issues of humidity and temperature,”said John Zendt, Moody Garden’s President and CEO at the launch of the exhibit in September.

Zendt and his team came up with the idea after visiting the city of Harbin in China, site of the world’s largest ice and snow festival.

The group of ice sculptors brought in from Harbin arrived at the end of September to start their mammoth task; more than 50 sculptures in 45 days all working in the 9 degree tent. That’s balmy though compared to where they come from, where temperatures stick around 40-below during the winter months.

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