Let’s Pretend We Have Winter in L.A.

Skating, sledding, ice sculptures, and more at Chill at the Queen Mary

Winters in L.A. hardly deserve the seasonal title. We don’t have bone-chilling frosty weather, don’t need to accessorize with wool mittens, and wouldn’t know how to form a snowball if our lives depended on it. Down in L.A. County’s equivalent of the South Pole—i.e., Long Beach—the folks behind a permanently stationary ocean liner have created a wonderland for both kids and adults. I couldn’t find any spiked eggnog but there was plenty of eye-candy in the form of colorful twinkling lights, massive ice sculptures, and roving entertainers. Where was I? At Chill at the Queen Mary, which I visited with my wife and two kids.

At the entrance, the alpine village is dotted with giant peppermints and lollipops that kids probably wish were real. The temptation must have been too great because my kids stormed the ad hoc gingerbread houses, trampling half the sweets. Thank you, security, for not tossing them in Santa jail.

We headed for The Ice Kingdom, where two million pounds of ice have been sculpted into snowflakes, holiday scenes, and even a replica of the Queen Mary itself. We were given parkas to stave off the nine degree chill, which must be how the event earned its name. Bundle up. The exhibit is amazing, but we raced through it in a few teeth-rattling minutes.

We passed on riding the butt-numbing slides and headed to the ice rink instead. With the exception of my wife, none of us have ever skated before. She immediately grips the rail like it owes her money. I’m no Tonya Harding, but I hold my own with the help of a plastic sled shaped like a seal. I’m not too proud to admit that I’m taking turns with the kids. At least I’m not alone. Plenty of patrons stumble and eat shaved ice. In my mind I’m doing backflips, triple axles, and camel spins. In reality, my feet lack the motivation to follow my delusional lead. Several revolutions later, we’ve had our fill and stop by the Queen Mary before heading home.

In the car, my son insists, “Tomorrow, we’ll go a second time.” When hell freezes over, I say (only in my mind). We had a blast, but daddy needs a better coordination and a pair of warm underwear.