FRIO! McAllen to open Wednesday, run through Jan. 6 at convention center

For the first time, starting Wednesday, the McAllen Convention Center will be hosting the closest thing the city will experience this season to a traditional winter: FRIO!

Attendees will be able to take part in many seasonal activities, including building snowmen and throwing snowballs at Santa’s Snowball Toss; sledding down Pingüino Plunge, an eight-lane,100-foot high, snow-covered hill; and ice skating in a 5,400-square-foot indoor ice rink, which will be surrounded by penguins, icebergs and igloos.

A scarf, hat, eyes and carrot will be provided for every snowman.

All this will take place at the oval park and inside the events center located at 700 Convention Center Blvd. in McAllen, and will be open every day from Nov. 27 until Jan. 6, 2020.

“FRIO! is a family focused event, and is not like anything the Rio Grande Valley has ever seen before,” Stepanie Ramirez, the city of McAllen special events supervisor, said. “You can build a snowman with your family, race friends and family in our Pingüino Plunge, or go inside a large, life-sized gingerbread house and decorate your own gingerbread house.

“And it’s all 100% real snow.”

Other attractions include an escape room based off of the holiday movie, “A Christmas Carol,” which will open on Dec. 3, and a 4-D virtual reality experience. Here, challengers will face the undertaking of saving Rudolph the reindeer in a “journey to the South Pole of Texas and help Santa rescue his best friend.”

There will be 12 attractions inside the center, while the park outside will be adorned in seasonal lights and lanterns. A giant Santa Castle will be on display for photo opportunities, along the 64-foot christmas tree.

“The oval park, the whole area, will be transformed into an illuminated park,” Ramirez said.

All outdoor-attractions are free, while admission tickets –– which do not include any paid activities –– are $4.95 each. A 3-Pack Polar Pass is also available, which includes admission and three attractions: unlimited rides on the Pingüino Plunge Ice Mountain, admission to Santa’s Snowball Toss, and a ride on either the Christmas Carousel or Rodolfo the Buckin’ Burro.

Additional deals, and the times of FRIO! are available on Tickets can also be purchased on the website.

“We want this to be a community event that focuses on being jolly, and remembers the reason for the season,” Ramirez said. “Through FRIO!, we want the community to come together and enjoy the season at a new level –– in a way they have not seen before.”


The winter fiesta will include real snow, ice skating, gingerbread decorating and more.
WHEN Nov. 27 to Jan. 6; times vary
WHERE McAllen Convention Center, 700 Convention Center Blvd., McAllen
COST Admission prices start at $4.95 with additional cost for attractions; packages available at