Nurse Sharks arrive at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid

Moody Gardens welcomes six nurse sharks to the Caribbean exhibit inside the Aquarium Pyramid. The nurse sharks came to Moody Gardens from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington as a result of that facility undergoing renovations on their exhibit and no longer being able to house the sharks. Moody Gardens was able to provide accommodations with a solution that was mutually beneficial to both facilities.

There are six large nurse sharks each weighing around 250 pounds and aged from 30 to 42 years old. The Caribbean exhibit is approximately 20 feet deep and is currently home to a large variety of fish, stingrays, eels, and sharks. “The sharks are doing amazing in the exhibit and we are thrilled to have them,” said Aquarium Curator Diane Olsen. The nurse sharks are loving their new exhibit and are staying very active. The aquarium biologists continue to monitor all of them closely to see how they continue to adapt to their new home.

The team here at Moody Gardens as well as the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium team all played a huge role in transporting the Nurse Sharks. A team was assembled from members of various departments including maintenance, biologists, divers, and vet techs to assist in the move into the exhibit. The move of these sharks was the largest that the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid staff has taken on. Custom equipment was used to transport the large sharks and it took a lot of planning and effort to move these animals. “It was like clockwork and it was amazing how well the team and sharks did,” said Diane Olsen, Curator at the Aquarium.

The role the nurse sharks play here at Moody Gardens is to display the diversity of sharks. Nurse sharks are very easy to identify. They are not grayish in coloration. Instead, they are yellowish-brown. They also have characteristically round heads, barbels that they use to search for prey, and very small eyes. Nurse Sharks are very unique because they have a societal role and form groups that they stay with their entire life.

Visit the nurse sharks and all their fish friends inside the Caribbean exhibit inside the Aquarium Pyramid. The Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the United States. With over 1.5 million gallons of water, the Aquarium Pyramid houses marine life from five distinct environments. Not only does the collection include seals and sea lions, but they also have penguins, stingrays, sharks, and over 200 different species of fish.

 

MOODY GARDENS OFFERS SUMMER FUN WITH BANDS ON THE SAND, DINOSAURS, KIDS CAMPS, GOLF AND MORE

Hotel Packages Make an Island Getaway the Ideal Escape on the Texas Coast

 

It’s never too soon to start planning for a great summer getaway. Moody Gardens has one of the most diverse variety of activities for an enjoyable weekend or extended vacation with an island filled with fun in Galveston. This tropical resort has 242 acres of lush gardens and palm trees and year-round attractions at its Rainforest, Aquarium and Discovery Pyramids; 3D, 4D and Audience Recognition Theaters; Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, Zip Line and Ropes Course. Hotel Packages include attractions tickets, spa options, golf getaways and more. While the fun is year-round, summer season offers its own schedule of special activities for all ages.

 

Beach Appeal:

Palm Beach opens for the summer Memorial Day Weekend on May 28 where guests can sink their toes in white sand, relax under a palm tree or splash along a 650-foot lazy river, wave pool and two 18-foot tower slides. An Aquarium Adventure play area and Splashpad is ideal for smaller children to enjoy.

 

Bands on the Sand features live music at Palm Beach on Saturday evenings throughout the summer and offers fun for all ages. The Shoreline Grill serves up a great menu of summer foodie favorites and a bar that features refreshing options from tropical cocktails to ice cold beer.

 

Dinosaur Invasion:

The Dinos Alive exhibit opens May 28 and features dozens of life-like animatronic dinosaurs, as a full-size Tyrannosaurus Rex takes center stage. Dinos Alive guests become part of a rescue team sent back in time to search for a missing plane and its crew. Along the way, they get have an up-close encounter with some of the most feared and amazing creatures to ever roam the Earth.

 

Dinosaurs of Antarctica premiers May 28 at the MG3D Theater for those who are passionate about the prehistoric. From the Permian through the Jurassic, viewers can journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hundreds of millions of years ago. Roam the primitive forests and thick swamps with bizarre dinosaurs and colossal amphibians. Enter a surreal world of bug-eyed giants and egg-laying mammals—where survival means enduring the sunless, six-month polar winter surrounded by meat-eaters with night vision. Join intrepid Antarctic scientists on a quest to understand the ice continent’s profound transformation and to predict the future as humans drive dramatic change.

 

Dinosaur Birthday Parties or other celebration are brought to an awesome prehistoric level. Leave the planning to Moody Gardens to create a memorable experience that includes time in the Dinos Alive interactive exhibit for groups of 12 to 60 guests. A package includes digital invitations, party favors for all youth attendees and your private party room, party host and games. Moody Gardens offers a variety of other party options themed with its various attraction experiences

 

Wild Marvel Summer Camps

Seaside Safari Camp allows kids grades K – 2nd grade to nurture their curiosity about the natural world as they trek through the Moody Gardens Pyramids. They can work with fellow wildlife engineers to find answers to questions about the world’s oceans and rainforests. Campers can run wild as they create a new habitat, plant or animal straight from their imagination.

 

Night Rangers Camp for grades 3 – 5 allows campers to patrol the wilds of Moody Gardens to discover the processes that help ecosystems tick. Monitor the orders that people place for services and resources provided by nature. Campers put their wildlife engineering skills to the test as they design and build their own sustainable ecosystem protected from natural disasters and human activities.

 

BioQuest Camps allow kids grades 6-8 to go on behind the scenes expeditions with Moody Gardens animal care staff. Get an in-depth look at how Moody Gardens staff ensures the animal ambassadors have the latest and greatest advantages to be designed. Grab a wildlife engineer toolkit to construct models, complete labs (SLIME!), conduct surveys and create plans to help share the Moody Gardens conservation mission with the world.

MOODY GARDENS OFFERS NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS FOR FAMILIES, COUPLES AND EVEN A SPECIAL ROARING 20’S PARTY

Ring in the New Year at Moody Gardens with several different options for celebration. Whether it’s a special date night, couple’s retreat, or a family getaway that includes the kids, there are options for every occasion. Visitors can choose a fun-filled family night and hotel package at New Year’s Palooza, a cruise aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat that ends with a champagne toast at midnight or a night of entertainment and dancing at the Roaring Twenties New Year’s Eve Celebration in Shearn’s Lounge on the 9th floor of the hotel.

 

Family Celebration –

New Year Palooza at the Moody Gardens Hotel will be a night to remember full of games, amazing food and activities for all ages and interests. This is an important night that should be spent with family and from the time that individuals attending this special event arrive, to the time they leave, there will be fun activities lined up for the duration of their stay. Guests will receive text messages throughout the event to alert them of what activities are occurring so that they don’t miss out on any of the excitement. The weekend-long event will begin with light bites and a fun-filled journey through the Moody Gardens attractions, followed by dinner with the spectacular Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show. After the show, guests can explore the Festival of Lights trail and enjoy a wide variety of different games, music and activities inside the Convention Center. After exploring the holiday lights trail, individuals can stop to enjoy hot chocolate and warm cookies as they watch the fireworks light up the night sky. End the night with an early New Year’s Countdown for the kids with a Beach Ball Drop as hundreds of balls cascade from the ceiling to welcome the new year. Sparkling cider and champagne will be provided for the adults. Wake up early on the first day of 2022 and enjoy a spectacular breakfast accompanied by games and activities, including a Mimosa and Bloody Mary Bar for the adults.

 

The New Year Palooza hotel package includes two fun-filled nights of action-packed celebration. Guests will receive two-day passes for Moody Gardens attractions, tickets to Cirque Joyeux Holiday Dinner & Show and tickets to New Year Palooza. There will be plenty of family friendly activities including air hockey, foosball, bounce houses, arcade games, a beach ball drop and fireworks. This package is for two adults and two children. Registration will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, December 31st and snacks will be offered, including a Build-Your-Own Trail Mix Bar. Guests can enjoy the attractions until 3:30 p.m.. The Cirque Joyeux Preshow and dinner buffet opens at 4 p.m. with the show scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. Guests can enjoy Festival of Lights followed by fireworks at 6:45 p.m. The celebration continues at the hotel with games, snacks, desserts, an adult lounge and a live DJ. The New Year’s countdown begins at 9:30 p.m. and the night will come to an end around 10:30 p.m.. The following day, Palooza will open with a breakfast buffet and games starting at 8 a.m. with a full day of fun at the Moody Gardens attractions from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..

 

New Year’s Eve Cruise –

Cruise out of 2021 and celebrate the wonder and possibilities of this brand new year. Guests will have this opportunity aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, with spectacular water views of the Festival of Lights. There will be boat loads of music, dancing and a delightful menu featuring an array of heavy hors d’oeuvres ranging from Chilled Shrimp and Crab Cakes, to BBQ Short Ribs and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese, with two complimentary drink vouchers. Following a Midnight Champagne Toast, guests will return to shore to greet the New Year. Boarding for the New Year’s Eve Cruise will begin at 9 p.m. and the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat will sail at 10 p.m. Tickets for the cruise are $90 per person.

 

Roaring 20’s Party at Shearn’s Lounge at Moody Gardens Hotel –

Get dressed up and party the night away on the 9th floor in the hotel at the Roaring 20’s New Year’s Eve Celebration inside Shearn’s Lounge. Guests will have access to an open bar, live entertainment and plenty of hors d’oeuvres that are sure to satisfy. Live entertainment will be provided by a local favorite, The Slags. The 9th floor of the hotel will be transformed into a 20’s style speakeasy with access to multiple rooms filled with plenty to see and do. Dress in your most elegant flapper attire or top hats and be prepared to drink and dance into the new year. Doors open at 8 a.m. and the party doesn’t stop until 1 a.m.. Pricing starts at $150 for individuals and room packages will be available.

 

Last Chance for Festival of Lights –

The Festival of Lights one-mile walking trail decked with two million lights and filled with sound enhanced lighted and animated displays themed to everyone’s favorite holiday music, will be open regular hours (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, as well as the other holiday attractions at Moody Gardens, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer playing in the 4D Theater, other holiday 3D films, the Arctic Slide and train rides, and fireside s’mores. The year-round attractions will also be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day, ensuring that there will be plenty of fun to be had with the family or as a couple.

 

“With so many options to celebrate the New Year, Moody Gardens has become a place to celebrate for everyone from the little ones and families to that special date night for couple,” stated President & CEO John Zendt, who added, “As we all look forward to the opportunities that the excitement that the New Year brings.”

MOODY GARDENS HOLIDAY IN THE GARDENS CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Santa to Parachute in to Kick Off the Season November 20th.

 

Holiday in the Gardens will brighten the holiday season with more light displays for guests at Moody Gardens Festival of Lights. Holiday sights, sounds and smells will fill the air from November 20 to January 2 as Festival of Lights enters its twentieth year. The countdown has begun. Guests can attend the Opening Day of Holiday in the Gardens on Nov. 20 as Santa Claus parachutes in to illuminate the mile-long light trail, which is one of the largest holiday lighting events on the Gulf Coast.

 

“It’s been an honor to create holiday memories for families for 20 years,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt. “So many families have made this a tradition and we’re pleased to have been able to continue to improve the experience over time.”

 

Guests can enjoy the one-mile trail filled with even more lights than before, over 100 sound enhanced animated light displays themed to their favorite holiday music, hot cocoa, fireside smores, pictures with Santa and much more. Guests can choose from a selection of holiday films in the MG 3D Theater and Rudolph 4D in the 4D Special FX Theater for families to enjoy special effects like snow flurries and the delightful smell of gingerbread.

 

Other holiday attractions include an Arctic Slide, train rides, pictures with Santa, and great food that ranges from a festive dinner buffet to your favorite festive fare and confections along the Festival of Lights trail.

 

Food Drive Thursdays offer the opportunity for guests to help those in need this holiday season while also receiving a two-for-one admission to the Festival of Lights when they bring a non-perishable food item on Thursdays throughout the month of December. The food will be donated to the Galveston County and Houston Food Banks.

 

Experience even more holiday magic this year at the Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center with the Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show, starring a team of acrobats, aerialists, performing cats and more from December 17th through the 30th, and New Year’s Eve Palooza, an exciting New Year’s Celebration that provides entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.

 

A variety of holiday packages at the Moody Gardens Hotel featuring holiday attractions, spa, Breakfast with Santa, Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show and New Year’s Eve Palooza.
Guests looking for bargains and fewer visitors can take advantage of Value Days every Sunday – Thursday between November 28 and December 16. The best deal is a Holiday Pass which includes admission to the Festival of Lights as well as a 3D and 4D movie and the Arctic Slide for $29 on a Value Day and $39 regularly. Festival of Lights pricing is $18 on Value Days and $22 regularly. Holiday attractions open at 4 p.m. nightly and close at 9 p.m. on Value Days at 10 p.m. on all other days. Moody Gardens’ regular attractions open at 10 a.m. daily.

MOODY GARDENS PRESENTS LONE STAR CIRCUS’ ALL-NEW CIRQUE JOYEUX HOLIDAY SHOW

Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show Provides Extraordinary Holiday Entertainment for Families!

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as Moody Gardens announces an all-new, one-of-a-kind holiday show experience and hotel packages for the ideal festive island getaway. Be prepared to be astonished this holiday season with brand new circus performers as Moody Gardens rings in the holidays with Lone Star Circus’ “Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show”.

 

This original one-hour Christmas spectacular is fun for the entire family and features a cast of international circus and variety performers. Witness the inconceivable feats of acrobats, the amazing artistry of aerialists, endearing antics of four-legged performers, the awe-inspiring and incredible strength of hand-to-hand balancers and much more. Be up-close and personal with the action-packed lineup of impressive circus performers.

 

Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show opens December 17 and runs through December 30. With three different show formats, guests can choose whether they would like to attend a Dinner, Matinee or Evening Show. The Dinner Show will be December 17, 18, 24 and 25. The Dinner Shows are sure to provide great family entertainment along with a fabulous dinner. The December 19, 22 and 29 afternoon Matinee Shows offer concessions and free up the evening to enjoy other holiday activities on the Moody Gardens property. Evening Shows on December 20, 21, 23, 27, 28 and 30 and feature the same performance and provides concession options without dinner.

 

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at MoodyChristmasShow.com. The Matinee Show prices range from $39 – $59 for adults, $25 – $45 for children and $0 – $45 for infants. Evening Show prices range from $39 – $59 for adults, $25 – $45 for children and $0 – $45 for infants. Dinner Show prices are $79 – $119 for adults, $49 – $89 for children and $0 – $89 for infants. All tickets include free admission to Moody Gardens Festival of Lights – the Gulf Coast’s largest holiday lighting event including a mile-long trail of holiday lights, music, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa with s’mores and even more lights than before!

 

Admission to the show can also be purchased as a hotel package for couples or families. Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show hotel packages start at $355 and include admission to the Festival of Lights.

MOODY GARDENS HONORED AS REGION’S TOP BLOOD DONATION FACILITY SAVING OVER 2,100 LIVES

The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center Recognizes Moody Gardens with 2020 Group of the Year Award

 Moody Gardens has been recognized with the 2020 Community Group of the Year Award by Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. The award was presented to Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt on Friday, October 15. Due to the pandemic, many Americans worked from home and corporate blood donations and public events were cancelled in 2020 resulting in a regional and national blood shortage. Moody Gardens was closed for approximately two months and reopened in May 2020. After reopening, Moody Gardens was fortunate enough to have a great community of blood donors behind them and a facility available with ample space to setup Blood Drive Events regularly and continue to donate during challenging times. Moody Gardens held 30 blood drives in 2020, donated 708 total units of blood and saved approximately 2,124 lives.

 

The Community Blood Drives have become a priority and a staple at Moody Gardens. Despite the challenging times the tourism industry and nearly all businesses have faced, there was a desire to aid in whatever way possible at Moody Gardens and blood drives were a vital need that the facility was able to provide. Staff, visitors and local residents showed up to support the Community Blood Drives on a regular basis for this important cause. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is one of the largest community blood centers in the United States, serving 26 counties across the Texas Gulf Coast, Brazos Valley and East Texas. They serve more than 170 hospitals and health care institutions. Out of the total 26 counties, Moody Gardens was the top facility for blood donations in 2020. Since there is not a neighborhood donor center on Galveston Island, Moody Gardens is the prime location to donate. Moody Gardens management and staff look forward hosting Blood Drives regularly and giving back to the community.

 

“We kept asking for more blood drives and they kept setting up more dates with us. Moody Gardens President and CEO, John Zendt is a devoted donor and advocate of blood donation in the community,” stated Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center Account Manager Laurie Hartrick.

MOODY GARDENS HONORED WITH AZA QUARTER CENTURY AWARD

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums Recognized Moody Gardens with an Esteemed Award as Staff is Credited for 25 Years of Service and Standards

 

The Rainforest and Aquarium Pyramids at Moody Gardens were recognized with the Quarter Century Award by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums at the AZA Annual 2021 Conference on September 24. Moody Gardens has been AZA accredited continuously since 1996.

 

AZA serves as an accrediting body for zoos and aquariums and ensures that accredited facilities meet the exceptional standards of animal care that exceeds those required by law. The Quarter Century Award is an outstanding and rare achievement only given to facilities that have been AZA-accredited for 25 consecutive years. AZA accreditation is the highest standard of excellence in animal care attainable in the zoo and aquarium industry.

 

Every 5 years, the accreditation process requires participating zoos and aquariums to undergo a rigorous inspection and review to ensure it meets ever-rising industry standards in animal management and care, that includes living environments, social groupings, heath and nutrition. The AZA Accreditation Commission also evaluates an institution’s veterinary program, involvement in conservation and research, education programs, safety procedures, security, physical facilities, guest services and the quality of staff. Fewer than 10 percent of the approximate 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture are AZA-accredited. Only 142 zoos and aquariums in the U.S. have received the AZA Quarter Century Award.

 

“We are honored by this award. Moody Gardens has an outstanding team without whom this achievement would not be possible,” said John Zendt, Moody Gardens President and CEO, who added how fortunate the facility is to have such a seasoned staff of professionals. “Their knowledge, passion and standard for excellence is what has created such a great workplace, home for our animals and a fantastic venue for our visitors for the past 25 years.”

 

A total of 39 employees from numerous departments ranging from Curatorial and Maintenance to Education and more have been employed by Moody Gardens for over 20 years and contributed to this achievement through their areas of expertise.

MOODY GARDENS WELCOMES DUKE TO THE NORTH PACIFIC EXHIBIT

Duke, the California Sea Lion, came to Moody Gardens from the Denver Zoo on May 20th.

 

Moody Gardens welcomes their latest addition to the North Pacific exhibit as Duke the California sea lion settles into his new home with his new aquatic friends. Duke came to Moody Gardens from the Denver Zoo as a result of that facility having to undergo construction on their sea lion exhibit. Moody Gardens was able to provide accommodations with a solution that was mutually beneficial inside of the North Pacific exhibit in the Aquarium Pyramid.

The North Pacific exhibit is approximately 20 feet deep and is currently home to four Harbor seals and one other California sea lion named Sam. California sea lions are typically herd animals by nature and Duke is the perfect size and age to make a great companion for Sam. Introductions have begun in the exhibit between the Harbor seals, Sam and Duke. Although it will take some time for him to get acclimated to his new environment, the Harbor seals and Sam are quite intrigued with their new friend. The aquarium biologists are monitoring them closely to see how their chemistry builds in the coming weeks.

 

Duke recently turned seven years old on June 15th and he is expected to be a social and active addition for the other seals and sea lion in the exhibit. He has proven to perform his animal husbandry behaviors with ease and has been a joy to work with. Blowing raspberries and people watching are a couple of his favorite ways to pass the time, as well as trailing along with his new friends. “Duke will make the perfect companion for Sam, our other California sea lion, and having him here has been a great addition to the North Pacific exhibit,” said Aquarium Curator Diane Olsen.

 

California sea lions are usually found on islands off of Southern California and Baja California in Mexico, up the U.S. West Coast to Vancouver Island, Canada. Their diets consist of primarily fish and squid and they can remain underwater for an average of 20 minutes at a time. Although their population is increasing in the wild and they are currently listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, having California sea lions on exhibit allows Moody Gardens to educate the public about the issues that these marine mammals face in the wild. California sea lions are impacted greatly by human activity including pollution, boat propellers and attacks by domestic animals while pupping along the beaches.
Visit Duke and his exhibit mates inside the North Pacific exhibit inside the Aquarium Pyramid. The Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the United States. With over 1.5 million gallons of water, the Aquarium Pyramid houses marine life from five distinct environments. Not only does the collection include seals and sea lions, but they also have penguins, sting rays, sharks and over 200 different species of fish.

MOODY GARDENS HONORS WORLD OCEANS DAYS WITH DONATION TO PRESERVE GALVESTON’S ENDANGERED COAST PRAIRIES AND WETLANDS

Public and Corporate Donations Can Support Artist Boat’s One in a Million Campaign.

 

Moody Gardens made a generous donation to Galveston’s Artist Boat’s One in a Million Campaign on June 8 in honor of World Ocean’s Day. Moody Gardens mission of conservation and education shares common goals with the One in a Million Campaign and all of the work put forth to preserve Galveston Island’s wetlands and coastal prairies, along with the animals that inhabit the area. All ticket proceeds obtained from An Island Wedding Show at Moody Gardens on May 23, 2021 benefitted the Moody Gardens Conservation Fund and were donated to this campaign.

 

Artist Boat in Galveston Island is trying to raise $10 million in two years with their One in a Million Campaign to protect and finish the purchase of 1,400 acres of precious wetlands and endangered coastal prairies. The goal is to help finish creating a bay-to-beach Coastal Heritage Preserve on West Galveston Island. Conserved and protected habitats on the Gulf and Galveston Island benefits every individual, whether they are from Galveston or somewhere else in the Southwest US. This campaign is sure to make a difference for at least 650 species of birds, otters, coyotes, swamp rabbits, fish, shrimp and even crabs. Today, Artist Boat owns some 700 acres of the Coastal Heritage Preserve, having raised over $11 million to purchase the land parcel by parcel.

 

The public is invited to attend Artist Boat’s World Ocean Day Festival Saturday, June 12 at Stewart Beach from 11am to 4:30pm. This festival is free to attend and provides a unique opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s shared ocean. The world and population rely heavily on a healthy ocean to survive and thrive as the ocean generates most of the oxygen, food and water needed. By helping to protect the ocean, individuals are in turn protecting the climate and future of the planet.

MOODY GARDENS INTRODUCES THE GOLDEN GIRLS OF TEXAS

Starring a Chinstrap Penguin Named Fox and a Few Other Gals – the Oldest in North America.

 

In honor of Penguin Awareness Day, Moody Gardens introduces their Texas Golden Girls, a few of the oldest Chinstrap penguins in captivity in North America. The star of the show being Fox, the second oldest Chinstrap penguin. Fox hatched one day after the first oldest, who resides at SeaWorld San Antonio. Chinstrap penguins in the wild have an average lifespan of about 15 to 20 years, while the oldest penguin at Moody Gardens turned 37 last month.

 

Fox resides in a smaller extension of the South Atlantic exhibit behind the scenes at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid, along with a few other geriatric penguins that aren’t able to get around as well as they used to. Another Golden Girl is Gandalf, she is also a 37 year old Chinstrap penguin at Moody Gardens and she hatched about a week after Fox. There are three other Chinstrap penguins that are 34 years old in their little community, as well as three more that are still on exhibit and can be seen inside of the South Atlantic exhibit or from home on the live penguin webcam at MoodyGardens.org. Most of the penguins inside of the retirement community at Moody Gardens are female and being recognized as the Golden Girls of Texas.

 

Fox was collected as an egg by SeaWorld in 1983 and hatched at SeaWorld San Diego. She was moved to Moody Gardens in 2003 and has been thriving ever since. The biologists who care for her liken her to the local mall walkers as she makes her daily laps around the pool to stay active in her senior years. She does have minor arthritis and a degenerated eye due to a detached retina, but she sure doesn’t let those things keep her from having a good time.

 

Wagner was previously the oldest Chinstrap penguin according to Association of Zoos and Aquariums records and the North American Studbook. He passed away at 34 years old, and called Moody Gardens home; though Fox and the other 37 year old Chinstrap penguins have now surpassed that. This demonstrates the excellent quality of care that the biologists at Moody Gardens take when it comes to their animals. The biologists provide enrichment for the penguins and other animals on a daily basis, enrichment is anything that changes up their environment and makes their life a little different every day.

 

“We tailor animal enrichment to each individual, for the penguins in our retirement home that may not have the best vision or be able to get around like they used to, we typically use auditory or textile enrichment like jingle bells and windchimes or felt and towels for them to hang out on, “ noted Senior Biologist Maggie Reynolds.

 

Having these Chinstrap penguins on exhibit allows Moody Gardens to educate the public about the issues that these birds face in the wild. Chinstrap penguins, which are native to the Sub-Antarctic region of the world, are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. However, wild colonies are slowly decreasing in population due to climate change and overfishing. Limited food resources causes these birds to have to travel further from shore to hunt for fish, and therefore renders them more vulnerable to predation and other natural elements.

 

The Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the United States. In addition to the Chinstrap penguins, five other species including Gentoo, King, Macaroni, 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 1.5 million gallons of water, the Aquarium Pyramid houses marine life from five distinct environments. Not only does the collection include penguins, but they also have sting rays, sharks, seals, sea lions and over 200 different species of fish.

 

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