Meet Watt: Our Newest & Toughest Penguin Chick

The toughest new addition to the Moody Gardens penguin exhibit has been named after the toughest athlete in the Houston area – Texans defensive star J.J. Watt.

Watt, a baby King Penguin who hatched earlier this month, suffered an injury shortly after breaking out of his shell. Under the care of Moody Gardens biologists, Watt proved he was one tough chick and made a quick recovery. He is back on exhibit, joining the nearly 100 penguins housed in the Aquarium Pyramid.

“The little chick braved through it all,” said Moody Gardens assistant curator Diane Olsen. “It was an injury we had to keep an eye on, and our staff did a good job taking care of it.”

Olsen said she’s not completely sure how Watt suffered the injury, a cut on his back, but said it was likely caused by a squabble between the parent and another penguin. Penguins are extremely protective of their young and will fight those that appear to be a threat to their chick.

Galveston veterinarian Dr. Richard Henderson closed the wound after Watt was injured. From there, Moody Gardens Vet Tech Karen Holcroft and the rest of the penguin biologists treated him until the injury was healed.

“You always have to be worried about infection and stuff,” Olsen said. “We cleaned the wound and weighed him twice a day. We watched it very carefully.”

J.J. Watt is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most popular athletes in Houston. He was drafted by the Texans in 2011 out of Wisconsin, and quickly became known as one of the toughest players in the franchise’s history.

Olsen said that like all other chicks, the new King penguin will only be on exhibit with its parents for a limited time. Although adult penguins are expert swimmers, babies must be kept safely away from the exhibit waters until they become water savvy.

The gender of the young chick is still unknown because penguins are not sexually dimorphic, meaning it is impossible to tell male and female penguins apart based solely on looks. While away from the exhibit, blood tests will be done to determine the sex of the hatchling.

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE ON WATT

MOODY GARDENS KING PENGUIN HISTORY

King Penguins originally arrived in Galveston in 1998, when a group of staff members from the Aquarium at Moody Gardens joined biologists and other professionals from Chile, France and the United States on an expedition to South Georgia Island in the Antarctic to collect eggs. The eggs were gathered during the fall breeding season and then transported to Galveston and hatched prior to the opening of the Aquarium Pyramid in May 1999.

Moody Gardens has a successful breeding program, with 15 King Penguin chicks hatched since 2003. There has been a total six chicks hatched overall among the King, Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins this breeding season. This is the first King to hatch this year.

 

Summer Job Fair: Moody Gardens Wants You!

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Looking for a fun place to work this summer? If you are committed to providing excellent customer service and want to gain valuable experience at a fun place, then Moody Gardens is the place for you. Our Summer Job Fair will be held Saturday, April 13 from 10am-1pm at the Pompano Room located downstairs at the Aquarium Pyramid. We are looking for friendly, outgoing employees for our Hotel and Attractions in the following areas:

  • Concession Attendants/Servers/Wait Staff/Cooks
  • Scanners/Ticketing Cashiers
  • Bartender/Hostess/Attendants
  • Palm Beach Greeters/Gift Shop/Operations
  • Life guards/Cabana Attendants
  • Housekeeping

Must be 16 years of age to apply (bring photo ID and Social Security Card). Attendees will receive complimentary admission to the Aquarium Pyramid with their completed application. In addition to these seasonal positions, we also have regular full-time and part-time positions available at http://bit.ly/MGJOBS

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Spring Break Keeper Presentations

Here at Moody Gardens we have an amazing  curatorial staff that take great care of our animals on a daily basis. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes from feedings to training to medical care and much more! You can get a sneak peek into some of those interactions by checking out any of our Keeper Presentations during Spring Break. Just show up at the time listed in front of the corresponding exhibit and you’ll be able to see how our staff works directly with some of  our animals.

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DAILY SCHEDULE
(through March 16)

10:30 a.m. Aquarium Caribbean

10:30 a.m. Seal Exhibit

11:00 a.m. Penguin Exhibit

11:00 a.m. Otter Training

11:30 a.m. South Pacific

11:30 a.m. Butterfly Exhibit

1:00 p.m. Otter Training

1:30 p.m. Butterfly Exhibit

2:00 p.m. Aquarium Caribbean

2:00 p.m. Seal Exhibit

2:30 p.m. South Pacific

3:00 p.m. Penguin Exhibit

Upcoming Events at Moody Gardens Golf Course

Golf Course sunset smallerSpring is approaching and the golf course is calling! Come swing your clubs on the tropical golf course during any of our upcoming events and take advantage of our current specials.

Due to Daylight Savings Time, twilight will now be starting at 1 p.m. on March 11, 2013 (today). Be sure to book your reservations early because twilight rates are always in high demand.  The rates are:

  • $23.00 plus cart fee for current full-time city residents
  • $26.00 plus cart fee for county/non-full-time city residents
  • $30.00 plus cart fee for non-residents, hotel guest, and visitors

The Moody Gardens Golf Course is offering Cash Games on March 15, March 21, and March 28 this month:

  • $20 for Green and Cart Fee
  • $25 Cash for Prizes
  • Random Pairings
  • Net and Individual Pay Outs

Be sure to call 409.683.1204 by 10:30 a.m. the day of to sign up.

Every Monday we offer Senior Shuffle for players 55 and older:

  • 9:30 a.m. Shotgun Start
  • 18 Holes
  • Sign up by 8:30 a.m.

Current Specials (Must call for tee times)

Five after 5 p.m.: Five holes after 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday for only $10 including cart

Senior (65 and older) Rise and Shine Special: Play before 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for only $20 including cart.

9 holes for $9: Between 8 and 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday, play for only $9 including cart.

Ladies’ Day: Any Wednesday in March, ladies play for only $20 including cart.

We are also offering a limited time offer in March for a free cart and bucket of range balls, any day of the week except Saturday, with the purchase of a round of golf. For more information on this offer click here.

To book your tee time at Moody Gardens Golf Course click here.

 

Stay at the Moody Gardens Hotel the next time you visit Galveston for your golf vacation!

Moody Gardens Hotel Renovations- Part One

L Shape Building Exte

The Moody Gardens Hotel is dedicated to remaining a first-class hotel destination. They believe in providing the best experience for all of their guests, and this includes top-notch accommodations. They are soon to be embarking on the most extensive and expensive renovation since the hotel first opened in 1999.

Over the next three years the Moody Gardens Hotel will be undergoing a $20 million renovation to make it even better for their valued guests. All upgrades have been carefully planned with the comfort and satisfaction of guests in mind.

If you’ve stayed with them recently you may have already noticed a difference in the bedding. The new bedding includes new Sealy plush Euro-Top mattresses, crisp white duvets, and fresh fluffy pillows. However, with the new renovations all guest rooms will be getting a complete makeover.  Rooms will be designed with a modern design palette that incorporates new colors, luxe fabrics, and natural stone and wood furniture accents. Bathrooms will feature custom granite vanities, new tile, and new fixtures. Suites will be designed with each one featuring their own unique theme.

The Spa at Moody Gardens will also be receiving a complete makeover with new colors and seating in the waiting area. The treatment rooms will receive new artwork, seating, flooring, and fixtures. The Spa’s Couple Suite will have new decorative wall coverings, freshly upholstered furniture, and a freestanding water feature.

These renovations are just a few of the areas that Moody Gardens will be upgrading! There will also be renovations in the banquet rooms, restaurants, and hotel public spaces! Check back to our blog to learn more about our exciting renovations. These new renovations are just one of the reasons Moody Gardens Hotel remains one of the best places to stay in Galveston! Our resort is not only luxurious; it is also one of the most family friendly hotels in Texas.

Upcoming Events in March

March is a busy month here at Moody Gardens! On top of our Spring Break and Easter activities, we have a variety of other events and activities going on.

Still - Monarch on flower - FOB - SK FilmsFlight of the Butterflies 3D opens March 9

Follow monarch butterflies on their journey in one of those most incredible migrations on Earth. Not only will you be joining the butterflies, but also scientist Fred Urquhart, who spent forty years trying to discover the mysteries of monarch butterflies and where exactly they go during the winter season. The documentary is a story of perseverance across thousands of miles and many generations.

Why is it important? Each spring, millions of monarchs begin a journey north into Texas and onto a 1,500-mile quest to across North America. As they travel, the butterflies breed and lay eggs on milkweed plants in Texas. Over several generations, the monarchs complete their migration and return to Mexico for the winter, making their trip one of the longest migrations on Earth. However, because of extreme drought conditions, Texas’ milkweed population has declined in recent years, severely impacting the flight. More than 20 percent of the migration has decreased. The loss of milkweed and habitat, coupled with intense heat, contribute to the diminishing migration numbers over the past decade. As part of conservation efforts, Moody Gardens is launching a public awareness campaign in an effort to save the shrinking monarch migration. A portion of the sales from the new film, Flight of the Butterflies 3D, will be donated to the leading conservation organization in Mexico, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza.

Click here to watch trailer and for showtimes

Birding 101 and 201

Presented by Moody Gardens® and Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, Birding 101 & 201 is a series of classes designed to educate and excite people about the tremendous variety of bird life routinely seen around Galveston Island.

Click here for more information

Golf Junior Spring Break Camps

These camps are designed for boys and girls, ages 6-14, wanting to learn golf basics or brush up on their skills. Cost is $99 per student. Choose from one of these two-day sessions:

March 11 – 12, 2013 (9am-12pm) OR
March 14 – 15, 2013 (9am-12pm)

Registration form here: http://bit.ly/GolfJrCamps

IMG_7800Easter in the Gardens 

Annual Easter Egg Hunts are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and children 12 years old and younger are invited to run around the Oleander Bowl filled with colorful eggs. Other activities include a variety of games for prizes. In addition to all of the fun and excitement outdoors, Easter Buffet feasts will be available at both the Garden Restaurant and the Moody Gardens Hotel on Easter Sunday. Beginning at 11 a.m. and lasting till 3 p.m., this event is free to the public.

Join us at Moody Gardens for family-friendly events and attractions such as the Aquarium Pyramid and Rainforest Pyramid. We look forward to spending time with you in March!

Springtime at the Spa at Moody Gardens

Spa Final

The warm weather is upon us and spring is just around the corner! It’s time to start shedding layers and donning lighter clothes for the higher temperatures. Get your mind and body ready for the spring with a visit to the Spa at Moody Gardens.

We currently have a few Spring specials going on at the spa! Save on services such as the Spring Clean Facial, Sweet Feet and Palm Springs Manicure and Pedicure, or the To the Rescue Body Wrap.

Spring Clean: Get your spring glow with a nourishing facial paired with a paraffin dip for your hands. Revive dry winter skin and get ready for spring. 1 hour | $110

Sweet Feet and Palm Springs: Show off your nails this spring with a manicure and pedicure that features the sweet smell of Honeysuckle & Pink Grapefruit. Also includes a paraffin dip for your feet to help you get sandal ready. 2 hours | $90

Calming Passion Flower: Pure passion hydrotherapy bath pairedwith a 25 minute green tea Swedish massage is sure to wash your worries away. 1 hour | $100

Click here for more information

Call 409-683-4440 to schedule your next appointment.

Take advantage of our special spa services and deals while staying at the Moody Gardens Hotel for your spring break. Our hotel is one of the best places to stay in Galveston, and the spa is just as luxurious.

Spring Break Family Fun at Moody Gardens

spring break family funSpring Break is quickly approaching, and there is no better place to spend it than at Moody Gardens! We create a total vacation for you right here at the Moody Gardens Hotel and our popular attractions. The weather is warming up as well, so visiting the beaches of Galveston is a must.

Moody Gardens “Spring Break Family Fun” gives you and your family the opportunity to break away from your daily responsibilities and enjoy the island. Moody Gardens puts together spring break activities for your entire family. When you are staying at the Moody Gardens Hotel, you will start off each day with a character breakfast. Our resident King of Cool, Sunny the Penguin, will be joining you while you fuel up on eggs and bacon!

Kid’s Crew is the perfect way to enhance your family’s spring break vacation. When you check into the Moody Gardens Hotel, your children will receive a Kid’s Crew Fun Pack. All the activities offered are free to hotel guests and include arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, pool coin dives, a bounce house, kite flying, karaoke, Wii competitions, clown face painting, movie nights, and s’mores! Kids can also participate in a game of giant chess or explore the outdoor playground.

The Spa at Moody Gardens is the perfect place for parents to find some time to relax and enjoy their vacation. Indulge in a couple’s massage or take a dip in our hydrotherapy tub.

Moody Gardens Hotel is currently offering a special Spring Break Family Fun hotel package! Book your vacation between March 7th and 19th and enjoy the following prices:

Sun – Thurs from $229/night + tax

Fri & Sat from $249/night + tax

When you book two nights, you will get the third night half off! The Moody Gardens Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Galveston and the perfect vacation destination for you and your family. Not only do we have great deals, but you can also explore the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, and all the other popular attractions on our grounds.

Monarch Madness: Not Just a Pretty Face

Source: http://www.flightofthebutterflies.com/the-butterfly/

We’re celebrating #MonarchMadness here at Moody Gardens® in anticipation of the grand opening of Flight of the Butterflies 3D  on March 9 at the MG 3D Theater. First things first…let’s learn the basics about this amazing little creature with a little crash course on Monarchs, starting with a brief biology lesson!

A Monarch butterfly isn’t just your average pretty face, they are complex migratory insects with powerful body parts that help them navigate and migrate long distances. In other words, they were born to travel! This is quite impressive considering they weigh less than a paper clip (or less than half a gram).

MALE vs FEMALE

Your typical Monarch is made up of four wings and have six jointed legs. Not all Monarchs are created equal though. There are some very visible differences between the males and females, starting with their wings. Females have a bit of a darker color and their veins are wider. In contrast, the males are smaller and have two distinct black spots near the bottom of each wing. Males might have been shortchanged when it comes to their body size but they make up for it with an added level of charm–special glands that release pheromones to attract the females.

 

VISION 

One of the Monarch’s most impressive feature is their vision. What might look like one eye is actually called a compound eye and it’s made up of thousands of tiny circles called ommatidia. Its purpose is to gather light and process visual information. Butterflies can perceive ultraviolet and polarized light or  light waves that move in only one direction and the Monarchs have the ability to sense that direction. Imagine how useful that would be if your main purpose was to migrate! 

SENSES

Another impressive feature is their senses. Chemoreceptors are spread out all over them and gives them the ability to taste and smell using their entire bodies, including their antennae and wings. They like to use this ability to smell nectar and pheromones (in the case of the female).  The females are equipped with extra Chemoreceptors on their legs which aides them in the search of milkweed plants, the home of their newborn eggs. Another way they sense is through hairs that cover the majority of their bodies. These hairs let them “touch” and give them important information about movement such as wind, gravity and the position of their other body parts. Being hairy is a good thing in the butterfly world since this is extremely important information to have when in flight.

Next time you see a Monarch, see if you can spot some of these features. And remember, these delicate looking insects are more powerful than they appear. We’re not saying they’re super heroes or anything but we’re also not saying they’re not…

Tune in tomorrow to learn about the Monarch Butterfly Life!

 

Spring Break and Easter Hotel Packages

skd273461sdcThe Moody Gardens Hotel is a 428-room luxury destination nestled in a lush and tropical landscape and is the premiere vacation destination for Spring Break and Easter this season. If you plan on joining us, we have a couple of great hotel packages to make your trip more fun and memorable.

Spring Break Family Fun Package

From March 7th to March 19th, you can enjoy our Family Fun package to make your Spring Break the best vacation it can be. Not only will you be able to wake up to a character breakfast with the King of Cool, Sunny the Penguin, but once you book two nights for your family, you will get the third night for half off! Participate in Kid’s Crew activities, dine in the Terrace Restaurant, and relax in the Spa at Moody Gardens! Book now for the following prices:

Sun – Thurs from $229/night + tax

Fri & Sat from $249/night + tax

Easter Weekend in the Gardens Package

Looking to get away this holiday weekend? Moody Gardens has the perfect Easter Weekend getaway waiting for you and your family. On the weekend of March 29th-31st, when you book your stay with us you will enjoy a luxurious guest room for one night, fruit, wine, and cheese as well as Easter Baskets for your children. Valet parking is included. When you book two nights, the third night is half off! Book now for the following price:

From $179/night + tax

While you’re spending spring break or Easter weekend with us be sure to check out our special promotions going on at Moody Gardens. At the Spa at Moody Gardens when you buy one Swedish massage, you get the second one free, and at the Moody Gardens Golf Course, you can enjoy a free golf cart and bucket of range balls with your purchase of a round of golf. We look forward to seeing you this spring!