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Dec. 13, 2018
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Cool times ahead at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands this winter

By Pamela A. Keene
 
From the decades-long tradition of Magical Nights of Lights – with plenty of new twists – to the giant “longest, steepest, fastest” snow-tubing ride in North America, Margaritaville at Lanier Islands is kicking the holidays up more than a couple of notches. 
 
On a recent preview tour of License to Chill Snow Island for journalists, Safe Harbor Chief Operations Office John Lush painted a vivid picture of winter chills and thrills at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, which began in mid-November. Starting at Landshark Landing, which will now be open year-round, and heading up Paradise Beach toward the park’s famed wave pool, Margaritaville will be fully decked out with snow, holiday decorations, Christmas trees, sparkling lights, carnival rides and a covered ice-skating rink. 
 
Along the way, visitors can partake of hot chocolate and make their own s’mores over 10 open fire pits. Warming stations will be strategically located throughout Snow Island to take the chill off.
 
The Cat4 slide has been modified and covered with snow for a thrilling ride, and on the other side of the bridge above the wave pool, dozens of trees have been removed, the hill has been regraded, and scaffolding has been added to create the giant snow tubing hill. 
 
The snow tubing ride has six 6-foot wide lanes and participants come down the hill on specially made tubes. As riders approach the area of the wave pool, white carpet helps slow their ride. “We cleared the hill in 30 days and graded the side of the mountain to create the snow tubing experience,” Lush said. “We’ve also added a magic carpet moving conveyor belt along the side that will bring people back to the top after their ride.” 
 
On Nov. 1, the day of the media tour, six powerful snow machines were already at work to create a base of snow, not only for snow tubing, but also at several other locations. “We’ll be running snow every night and – as you can see,” as he showed off a large 3-foot snow-filled area about one-fourth the size of a football field, “this was made more than three days ago, and it’s still frozen,” he said. “If we have a warmer than normal winter with several days in the 60s and 70s, our snow should still hold up just fine. Rain can hurt us, but we’re prepared.” 
 
Magical Nights of Lights has been expanded and updated to include tropical- and Margaritaville-themed displays.
 
For ticket prices, dates and activities at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands and License to Chill Snow Island, visit www.lanierislands.com.


Posted online 11/30/18
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