The Explorer: Winter wonderlands in China, Quebec and Williamsburg

The Explorer: Winter wonderlands in China, Quebec and Williamsburg

Three winter wonderland getaways on this edition of the Explorer:

The 49th annual Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is something you have to see. Harbin is located in Northeast China where blasts of cold wind from Siberia keep the average temperature at a bone chilling 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The month-long event is among the largest ice and snow festivals in the world.

Even though ice sculptures are sprinkled throughout the city, two main exhibition areas are created. You’ll find enormous snow sculptures at Sun Island and a separate "Ice and Snow World" that opens each night.

The Ice and Snow World illuminates full size buildings made from blocks of crystal clear ice taken directly from the Songhua River.  

From the ice city to the city where winter carnivals began: Quebec. Quebec is the oldest city in North America and Canada's top tourist destination. This is largely because of the Winter Carnival, which started in 1894 with the building of the first ice castle.

The festival includes a winter amusement park, with attractions like skiing, snow rafting, snow slides and of course, ice sculptures. Naturally you can also dine on world class French food while there.

From the Arctic chill we head to the holiday cool of Christmas Town. Christmas Town is a Busch Gardens Williamsburg celebration that marries the festive feelings of the holidays with the happy joy of a Busch Gardens’ world famous amusement park.

It's got all the Christmas traditions including Santa's workshop, a 50-foot tall light-animated Christmas tree and millions of twinkling lights. Best of all, you can indulge in their signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate.

Gas up the sleigh, it's time to get away on The Explorer.

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