Moody Gardens predicts winner of Super Bowl LIV with help of harbor seal

With seemingly everyone predicted which team will be victorious in the Super Bowl, Moody Gardens has had the help of long-time resident harbor seal, Porter, to decide this year’s winner.

 

Porter was given the choice between two balls, a yellow one representing the San Francisco 49ers, and a red one representing the Kansas City Chiefs and was given direction by his keeper to retrieve the balls. Both balls were thrown out three times with Porter sent to retrieve them each time.

 

Porter has lived in the North Pacific Exhibit of the Aquarium Pyramid since 2001. He was found stranded off the coast of Maine with an injury to his eye that ultimately led to the removal of that eye to prevent the spread of infection. He was initially taken to Marine Animal Lifeline, a rescue and rehabilitation center for marine wildlife. When it came time to determine if Porter was well enough to be released back into the wild he was given live fish to see how he would respond to having to catch his own food. Instead of eating the fish he would instead just play with them so it was determined he would need to find a forever home, which is what Moody Gardens has become.

 

Click here to see who Porter picked to win the big game.

BLOG: Save MORE and Give Back This Holiday Season at Moody Gardens!

Guests can save more this season – and give back – while enjoying eight holiday attractions all at Moody Gardens, the coolest holiday destination in the southwest.

Get ready for the return of ICE LAND with an all new signature theme: Christmas Around The World. Festival of Lights also returns to Moody Gardens this holiday season for its 18th year brighter than ever before, offering families an enchanted place to gather together and make long-lasting memories.

Regular adult admission to the Festival of Lights is $18.95 and $28.95 for ICE LAND. Super Value Days and Value Days, which are select days Sunday through Thursday, offer guests the opportunity to enjoy the Festival of Lights and ICE LAND while getting increased savings per person. View our crowd forecast calendar here for more value days information.

With the Festival of Lights’ return comes Food Drive Thursdays, held each Thursday through Jan. 9, 2020, giving guests a chance to enjoy Festival of Lights at a special two-for-one admission discount. Guests only need to bring a non-perishable food item to receive the discount. All donations will benefit Galveston County and Houston Food Banks. Moody Gardens is once again partnering with the Salvation Army to host the Red Kettle Campaign. This Festival of Lights tradition allows guests to donate directly to the Salvation Army nightly.

“The joyful and luminous Festival of Lights trail is something families look forward to each year at Moody Gardens,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt. “Bringing back Food Drive Thursdays every year not only gives guests great savings, but also helps us give back to our neighbors during the holiday season when some need it the most.”

There are also combo packages available letting guests make the most of their visit. The Holiday Pass allows guests entrance into Festival of Lights, ICE LAND: Christmas Around the World, and an attraction of their choosing after 3 p.m.

Guests can also take advantage of the Evening Pass, valid daily after 3 p.m. Visitors can enjoy all that Moody Gardens has to offer including ICE LAND: Christmas Around The World, Festival of Lights, Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Museum, Arctic Slide, Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, MG 3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater, 20,000 Leagues Interactive Adventure, Ropes Course and Zip Line. Evening Passes are $45.95 for adults and $40.95 for children ages 4-12 and seniors.

Don’t forget that guests can always try and buy it! Any ticket purchase can be applied towards an annual membership, which gives the wonder of Moody Gardens all year!

The Galveston trolley is another option for those want to save some gas money. The trolley has stops along the island including Moody Gardens, Downtown and The Strand.

And as always at Moody Gardens, parking is free.

Other holiday attractions include Cirque Joyeux, Rudolph 4D, holiday 3D films, ice skating, an Arctic Slide, New Year’s Eve Palooza and train rides, plus live entertainment and great food.

For a complete list of ticketing prices, visit click here.

GIVING THANKS: NEW AND ADOPTED BABY PENGUINS HATCH AT MOODY GARDENS

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, and we’re offering a very warm welcome for several healthy Macaroni penguin chicks, which includes the hatching of the six eggs recently brought from Sea World San Diego and the very significant bonus of two others being the first successful hatching of the Macaroni penguin species from pairs already calling the South Atlantic exhibit home.

 

The six eggs from Sea World San Diego made quite a journey traveling on a commercial flight following a streamlined process initiated by their keepers in California. Once arriving at Moody Gardens they were placed in an incubator and cared for by staff until it was time for them to make their debut. These eggs seemingly couldn’t wait to join the Moody Gardens family as their anticipated hatch dates were set for Nov. 25-28 but the hatching started on Nov. 22 and continued through the weekend so that all six eggs have already hatched out.

 

“We are extremely grateful and excited for these new chicks to join the exhibit here at Moody Gardens,” said Assistant Curator Diane Olsen. “They received excellent care from the staff at Sea World San Diego and we are ready to continue that care as these chicks continue to grow and mature.”

 

In addition to these “adopted” penguin babies joining the South Atlantic Penguin Exhibit, two other native Macaroni penguin pairs are celebrating Thanksgiving with babies of their own.

 

The first native chick hatched on Nov. 17. The proud penguin parents are Bleu, a male who came to Moody Gardens from the Biodome in Montreal, Canada in 2007, and Gorgonzola, a female hatched at Sea World San Diego who arrived at Moody Gardens in 2017.

 

A few days later on Nov. 21, the second native chick made its debut. Its parents are Munster, a male also from the Biodome who came to Moody Gardens in 2007 and Gouda, a female from Newport Aquarium who moved into the South Atlantic exhibit in 2015.

 

Munster, Bleu, Gorgonzola and Gouda are just four of the Macaroni penguins calling Moody Gardens’ home. Their friends in the exhibit have names like Brie, Pepper Jack, Colby and more, in keeping with the whimsical tradition instituted by their biologists. Since these new chicks are the first in a second generation of Macaroni penguins at Moody Gardens their keepers have decided to name them after pastas to go along with the existing theme of cheeses for a little more biologist fun.

 

“Biologists like their puns and having animals like the Macaroni penguins gives us a great opportunity to show off our fun side,” Olsen said.

 

Stay tuned to Moody Gardens’ social media as we continue to share more exciting updates about the newest additions to our penguin family.

MOODY GARDENS NEWEST INTERACTIVE ADVENTURE GOES 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA

A new adventure has surfaced. Moody Gardens’ guests can visit spectacular destinations and meet an all new cast of characters in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure in the Discovery Pyramid.

 

Moody Gardens has once again partnered with Super 78, the attraction design and production company who previously helped bring the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure to life, to create this innovative attraction.

 

This brand-new adventure will take guests through all the stages of a submarine voyage, complete with unusual sea life. They will help get to be part of the crew led by Deep, a robotically-enhanced pufferfish. Along with Deep’s helper robots, Echo and Torque, they will help operate the ship, choose the direction it travels, activate the on-board camera and interact with the fascinating sea creatures The Nautilus encounters as it journeys to a spectacular coral reef, ice caves in the Antarctic, an ancient lost city, undersea volcanoes, and more. Be prepared to see a sting ray, an anglerfish, a leatherback sea turtle, a killer whale, and even a colossal squid.

 

Guests will be immersed in the action as 3D images on the screen transform from digital to real time through exciting 4D sensory elements.

 

Behind the scenes is Super 78’s groundbreaking technology, the Gepetto Animation Control System. This system allows a performer behind the scenes to control all aspects of the full-sensory experience on screen in front of audiences. The performer’s voice becomes an on-screen character, and he has an unlimited palette of animation options which brings the character to life. The performer also runs the lights, sounds, bubbles, and scents with the push of a button.

 

“We are thrilled to be debuting this new interactive adventure in our Audience Recognition Theater at Moody Gardens,” said John Zendt, Moody Gardens President and CEO. “It is always a treat to be able to see the reactions of the audience to things happening in the show, especially when they have a role in how the story plays out.”

 

20,000 Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure is a non-stop whirlwind of surprises that is fun for the whole family only at Moody Gardens. Admission is $14.95 for adults and $12.95 for seniors and children. It is also included in a Moody Gardens Value Pass. To plan your visit, click here.

MACARONI PENGUINS GET CHANCE AT FOREVER HOME AT MOODY GARDENS

                                                            National Adoption Month Brings a Texas Homecoming for Six Penguin Eggs  

 

Moody Gardens is celebrating National Adoption Month with the highly-anticipated addition of six Macaroni penguin eggs to its collection.

 

These six eggs, came from Sea World San Diego, and are being cared for in an incubator by our staff biologists following a streamlined process that allowed this precious cargo to fly on a commercial flight last week inside a warm, insulated cooler that slid securely under the seat under the watchful eye of an attentive staff biologist and penguin mother-to-be, Maggie Reynolds. The anticipated hatch dates are Nov. 25-28, just in time for Thanksgiving.

 

The successful hatching of new chicks will allow for a more diverse penguin collection as they join the 10 other Macaroni penguins currently on exhibit in the Aquarium Pyramid. Four of these penguins came to Moody Gardens from Sea World San Antonio, while the other six were from the Detroit Zoo.

 

Each successful hatch adds to the Moody Gardens mission of education and conservation. Assistant Curator Diane Olsen notes that as is true in nature, there is not a guarantee that each egg will hatch. “As with every egg that is laid either at Moody Gardens, another facility or in the wild, whether it hatches or not is all up to nature and several circumstances. While we will do everything in our power to give these eggs the best chance at survival, sometimes no chick is hatched at the end of the process,” she said.

 

Olsen also explained the significance of adding Macaroni penguin eggs to the Moody Gardens’ collection. “Increasing the number of Macaroni penguins in the Moody Gardens’ collection helps to increase our breeding success and genetic diversity in the future. It also benefits the population of penguins kept at facilities accredited by AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), like Moody Gardens.”

 

Having Macaroni penguins on exhibit allows the public to learn about the plight these birds face in the wild. Macaroni penguins are currently listed as Threatened in the wild and numbers of populations are decreasing due to the climate change as well as overfishing.

 

The anticipated arrival of fuzzy penguin chicks also begs the question of whether a Moody Gardens tradition will continue to name Macaroni penguins after cheeses to join Brie, Jack, Colby and others.

 

Our Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the U.S. In addition to the Macaroni penguins, five other species including Gentoo, Chinstrap, King, and Rockhopper penguins also call the South Atlantic Exhibit home. The warm-climate Humboldt penguins live in an exhibit right next door to their chilly-aired friends. With over one million gallons of water, the building also houses colorful marine life from all around the world including sting rays, sharks, seals and sea lions, and hundreds of species of fish.

Parachuting Santa, Choirs and a Tribute to the Victorian Age Kicked Off Moody Gardens’ Holiday in the Gardens

A skydiving Santa and his merry elves have kicked off the fun-filled holiday season as Moody Gardens 18th annual Festival of Lights opened Nov. 16. One of the Gulf Coast’s largest holiday lighting events offers Christmas tradition infused with some steampunk flair making this a holiday tradition the whole family can enjoy.

 

The opening ceremony began at 4 p.m. with talented Texas locals providing holiday-themed entertainment. This year even featured a sci-fi twist to the entertainment pairing with Moody Gardens’ newest attraction, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure. Guests were treated to performances by Lee’s Golden Dragon lion dancers, Jill Rauscher School of Dance, the Houston Show Choir, and much more as the entertainment followed the Christmas Around the World theme with its steampunk twist.

 

Families joyfully welcomed Santa at 5 p.m. when he parachuted down from the North Pole to help prepare Moody Gardens for the grand lighting of the Festival of Lights trail. After mixing, mingling and few dazzling performances to put everyone in the holiday mood, Santa flipped the switch at 6 p.m. to turn on the two million twinkling lights that make up Festival of Lights, officially kicking off the holiday season on Galveston Island.

 

Festival of Lights will continue to shine throughout the holiday season nightly through Jan. 12. Hours run from 6-11 p.m. Moody Gardens’ other holiday and year-round attractions, including ICE LAND, holiday 3D films, Rudolph 4D, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure, Aquarium Pyramid and more are open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. This year’s ICE LAND: Christmas Around the World will take guests on a frosty journey from Russia and Egypt to China and beyond featuring famous sights like the Statue of Liberty, the Alamo, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, and more.

 

Regular admission to the Festival of Lights is $18.95. Guests can take advantage of significant discounts with the new Super Value Days and Value Days. Super Value Days start at $8.95 for Festival of Lights. For more information, click here.

Moody Gardens Says Thank You to Galveston Island on Oct. 20th

MOODY GARDENS SAYS THANK YOU TO GALVESTON ISLAND ON OCT. 20

Journey beneath the waves inside the Aquarium Pyramid, trek through the rainforests of the world. And learn all about the bones of the body – plus so much more – at this year’s Galveston Appreciation Day.

 

Galveston residents and workers will be treated to a one-of-a-kind experience at one of the top tourist destinations in the region when Moody Gardens hosts this annual event on Oct. 20 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Guests who live or work on Galveston Island – along with their immediate family – will receive free admission to the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Museum, MG 3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater and the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.

 

“Galveston Island has a great community spirit, and it is our residents and employees who work here who make it so special,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt. “Being able to give the Galveston community a day to enjoy Moody Gardens on us allows us to truly express our gratitude.”

 

Guests must show proof of island residency or employment with a driver’s license or state identification card, utility bill, paycheck stub or work identification badge to be eligible for the Galveston Appreciation Day offer.

 

Moody Gardens will give away more than 2,000 Oleanders and Palm Trees to island residents as part of a beautification project. Click here to receive a voucher for the Oleander or Palm Tree. It can be redeemed at the front of the Visitor Center on Galveston Appreciation Day 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Skeletown!

LEARN ALL ABOUT BONES WITH A VISIT TO SKELETOWN

 

The hip bone is connected to the…thigh bone. There are 206 bones that compile the human skeletal system and Skeletown, now open in the Discovery Pyramid, explores them all.

 

Skeletown provides guests the opportunity to see authentic bones from both animal and human specimens. The exhibit examines bone biology, bone health and the part that bones play in cultures all around the world.

 

The exhibit gets its name from the various areas within it that resemble what would be found in a small town. It features a Health Center to teach about the repair of broken bones, a pond to explore the skeletal system of various animals like frogs, and food a food truck to explore how healthy eating and exercising helps keep bones healthy.

 

Also in the exhibit is a cultural central designed to educate and enlighten guests about the various roles that bones play in everyday life around the world. This includes cultures that have made toys from bones, those that have altered their bodies for beauty throughout history and the myths that shroud unidentified bones.

 

“We are excited to welcome guests to explore Skeletown,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt. “The exhibit provides a great scientific message in a fun, interactive way and we hope we can educate and inspire visitors to live healthier lives and understand the role bones play in cultures all around the world.”

 

To plan your visit, click here.

Moody Gardens Welcomes Ice Carvers to create Festival Global Journey

 

MOODY GARDENS WELCOMES MASTER ICE CARVERS TO CREATE FESTIVAL GLOBAL JOURNEY

 

After traveling halfway around the world, the internationally-acclaimed CAA Harbin Ruijing Carving Team has returned to Moody Gardens to chart the course for a festive and amazingly cool journey around the world from two million pounds of ice.

 

The team of 25 master carvers will spend the next six weeks sculpting ordinary 300-pound blocks of colored ice into works of art and more as they create ICE LAND: Christmas Around the World, opening Nov. 16.

This year’s ICE LAND theme takes guests on a journey around the world. The carving team will even create a giant ice slide that will take guests from the top of the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe. Guests will travel from Russia and Egypt to China and beyond and see how other cultures celebrate the season. Landmarks from all around the world will be featured including the Alamo, Big Ben, Sydney Opera House, the Great Wall of China, and more – all hand-carved out of two million pounds of ice inside a 28,000 square foot insulated tent structure chilled and maintained at nine degrees. The popular Shiver’s Ice Bar also returns to ICE LAND this year as guests enjoy ultra-cool holiday spirits as they enter this bar made completely of ice creatively transformed into a cozy cabin to fit the Christmas Around the World theme.

 

The team is led by chief ice and snow carving artist Mr. Qui Guanghui, who has received top honors in numerous international tournaments including the Harbin International Ice and Snow Carving and Chinese National Ice Carving Competition.

 

“The ice carving team creates a unique and breathtaking spectacle every year,” said John Zendt, Moody Gardens President and CEO. “Guests will be amazed at the amazing talent and dedication of all the work that goes into creating ICE LAND.”

 

ICE LAND: Christmas Around the World, the only ice sculpture exhibition on the Gulf Coast, is open Nov. 16, 2019-Jan. 12, 2020.

 

Other holiday attractions include Festival of Lights, Cirque Joyeux Dinner & Show, Rudolph 4D, 3D films, ice skating, an Arctic Slide and train rides, plus live entertainment and great food. For more information about these attractions, and discounted ticket options, click here.

Ice Land: Christmas Around the World 2019

MOODY GARDENS REVEALS ICE LAND: CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD FOR 2019

 

The world’s most famous landmarks will become cooler than ever as Moody Gardens introduces ICE LAND: Christmas Around the World with a brand new theme, exciting guest experiences, and bigger discounts on Nov. 16. The award-winning CAA Harbin Ruijing Carving Team of master ice carvers from Harbin, China will return to Moody Gardens to chart the course for this festive journey around the world.

 

Guests will travel from Russia and Egypt to China and beyond and see how other cultures celebrate the season. Featured will be landmarks from all around the world including the Alamo, Big Ben, Sydney Opera House, the Great Wall of China and more – all hand-carved out of two million pounds of ice. There’s even a giant ice slide that will take guests from the top of the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe. There is even an option to stop by Shivers Ice Bar, featuring ultra-cool holiday spirits as this frozen watering hole is made completely of ice.

 

Now in its sixth year, ICE LAND has cemented its position as the region’s coolest holiday attraction. It will offer a more colorful range of sculptures than ever in the 28,000 square foot insulated tent structure chilled and maintained at nine degrees.

 

“In our sixth year, we are very excited to showcase another signature theme for ICE LAND this year,” said John Zendt, Moody Gardens President and CEO, who added that it is nice to see families throughout the region return each year to make Holiday in the Gardens part of their annual traditions.

 

In addition to ICE LAND, Moody Gardens will feature seven other attractions as part of Holiday in the Gardens including Cirque Joyeux Dinner & Show, Festival of Lights, an outdoor ice rink, train rides, Arctic Slide, Rudolph 4D, and 3D holiday films.

 

ICE LAND will offer a unique holiday experience for the entire family and will be open November 16 through January 12, as Galveston makes its transition into the Winter Wonder Island. Admission for adults is $28.95 and $23.95 for children and seniors. There are also many ways for guests to save on their experience. The new Super Value Days start at $8.95 for Festival of Lights and $19.95 for ICE LAND with an additional $5 off for seniors and children at ICE LAND. A discounted Evening Pass allows admission to all attractions with a variety of other discounts and packages at the Moody Gardens Hotel.

 

For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here.

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