Watt – The Tough Penguin at Moody Gardens

May 29th, 2013

The toughest penguin at Moody Gardens is growing into a big guy just like his namesake.

Watt, a King Penguin named after Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, has already grown to around 3-feet tall and 30 pounds in just 2 ½ months.

Watt absolutely loves fish, which has helped him grow so big in such a short about of time. He is a curious little guy, but his dad still watches over him. He’s definitely not ready for his son to be exploring on his own.

Watt suffered a cut on his back 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. Now he is on exhibit joining the nearly 100 penguins housed in the Aquarium Pyramid

J.J. Watt is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most popular athletes in Houston.

Come see Watt and the other penguins at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid. The Aquarium is currently open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Happy World Turtle Day: Meet the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

May 23rd, 2013

Happy World Turtle Day! Here are some facts about the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, one of the species we help out here at Moody Gardens

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We’re Going BLUE for World Oceans Day!

April 30th, 2013
One World One Ocean Foundation Display outside of MG 3D Theater

One World One Ocean Foundation Display outside of MG 3D Theater

We’ll be celebrating World Ocean Day on June 8 with ocean-themed activities across the property to raise awareness about ocean conservation.   Guests can dive into aquatic movies, a special presentation at the MG 3D Theater, keeper activities at the Aquarium Pyramid®, special discounts and live concerts.

Like Moody Gardens, the One World One Ocean Foundation hopes to inspire generations to help protect the ocean.

“Earth Day is the ideal day to make an announcement about World Oceans Day activities,” said Moody Gardens President John Zendt. “The ocean plays a vital role in our conservation efforts.”

In partnership with the Foundation, Moody Gardens created an elaborate exhibit at the MG 3D Theater exit and donated $1,000 to the Foundation. The exhibit highlights the importance of ocean conservation with staggering statistics and beautiful imagery.

Beginning at 10 a.m., visitors can join Marine Biologist Sarah Bedolfe via Skype at the MG 3D Theater. Bedolfe, who works with film producers MacGillvray Freeman, will highlight the importance of conservation. Families can learn about whale sharks, sea turtles, coconut octopus and other exotic animals featured in upcoming films.

Audiences ages 12 to 18 can get involved by producing a video telling judges what the ocean means to them. Grand prize winners will receive $100 and a Go Pro HD HERO3 camera. For more information, visit www.worldoceansday.org.

Visitors can also help support ocean conservation when Bands on the Sand kicks off at Palm Beach with the popular beach group, the Intercoastal Pirates. Visitors can donate to the One World One Ocean Foundation, with Cadillac matching the donation up to $1,000. The summer concert series is sponsored by Cadillac with fireworks.

Guests can also watch a diverse range of ocean-themed movies throughout the day or visit the Aquarium Pyramid for presentations. A special World Oceans Day combo will be offered, featuring admission to the Aquarium Pyramid and MG 3D Theater for $24.95.

About World Oceans Day

Coordinated by The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network, World Oceans Day was recognized by the United Nations in 2008, encouraging people around the world to celebrate how water connects the globe and impacts all life forms. 

Earth Day Weekend Schedule & Savings

April 17th, 2013

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EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES:

Start your Earth Day in our Herb Garden with the Galveston County Master Gardeners, as they teach easy gardening tips on Texas butterfly gardens. Children can also enjoy plenty of activities including make-and-take recycled pots and other crafts.

  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Oleander Festival in the Visitor Center
  • 10:30 a.m. Seal Presentations at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 11 a.m. Penguin Feedings at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 11 a.m. Butterfly Release at Rainforest Pyramid*
  • 11 a.m. Free Master Gardener Presentations at Discovery Pyramid (Saturday only)
  • 11:30 a.m. Sky King Falconry Bird Presentation at Herb Garden (Saturday only)
  • 11:30 a.m. South Pacific Exhibit Dive at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Arts and Crafts by the Discovery Pyramid
  • 1 p.m. Ocelot Presentation at Rainforest Pyramid*
  • 1 p.m. Free Master Gardener Presentations at Discovery Pyramid
  • 1:30 p.m. Sky King Falconry Bird Presentation at Herb Garden (Saturday only)
  • 2 p.m. Caribbean Tank Dive at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 2:15 p.m. Seal Presentations at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 3 p.m. Penguin Feedings at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 3 p.m. Butterfly Release at Rainforest Pyramid*
  • 3 p.m. Free Master Gardener Presentations at Discovery Pyramid
  • 3:00 p.m. Sky King Falconry Bird Presentation at Herb Garden (Saturday only)

*Pyramid admission not included

EARTH DAY WEEKEND SAVINGS

Save big this Earth Day weekend with our Special Combo Pass to the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids for just $24.95 ($43.90 value). Click here to purchase online (valid only April 20-21).

 

Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation and research.

 

Notes from Birding 101: April 13, 2013

April 15th, 2013

Brown-Pelican

by Greg Whittaker, Animal Husbandry Manager at Moody Gardens

Excellent weather – walked around Aquarium Pyramid and retention ditch to Colonel Paddlewheeler dock.  Then walked the path around Palm Beach and to the Lake Madeline channel. We went back past the Learning Place and ended at the hotel near the pool.

By my count we saw 33 species listed here in taxonomic order (not the order we saw them):

Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Common Loon, Brown Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Peregrine Falcon, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, Dunlin, Laughing Gull, Forster’s Tern, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, White-winged Dove, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Scarlet Tanager, Great-tailed Grackle and House Sparrow.

Birding 201 is next Saturday, April 20 and there is a limit to the number of people we can take.  We will leave Moody Gardens in a van and spend about 2-3 hours out in the field.  Please respond and let me know if you are interested in going so we can reserve a seat.  To reserve a spot, please call 409-683-4101 no later than Wednesday, April 17.

Get out and see the birds this week, there are lots of them here on the island and lots of other birders to help you identify things.  I just tallied what I’ve seen since Thursday when Featherfest started and have 103 species.

GREEN ACTIVITIES FOR EARTH DAY

April 10th, 2013

MainPic-Gree

In celebration of its mission of conservation, Moody Gardens will feature free presentations, activities and fun, as well as special discounts this Earth Day weekend, April 20 and 21.

Join the Galveston County Master Gardeners in the Herb Garden by the Discovery Pyramid® to learn about easy gardening tips on Texas butterfly gardens. Guests can also pick up a homemade pot and learn how to make one of their own with materials found around the house. Children can enjoy plenty of activities including make-and-take butterfly crafts and recycled seed starters. In the Visitors Center, the Oleander Festival will feature more than 60 varieties of oleander flowers.

At the Aquarium Pyramid, Moody Gardens biologists will be holding special keeper presentations throughout both days. Visitors will be amazed by the massive seals as they are rewarded with fish for completing training exercises at 10:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Biologists will begin penguin feedings at 11:00 a.m. and 3 p.m., so families can adore and spot the newest King penguin, Watt. In the South Pacific exhibit, biologists will suit up and dive in at 11:30 a.m. to feed sting rays, sharks and more than 200 species of fish.  In the one million-gallon Caribbean tank, guests can watch divers feed the tropical fish, sharks and barracudas at 2 p.m.

As guests tour the Rainforest Pyramid, the Society for the Advancement of Volunteer Youth group (SAVY) will have educational carts out to teach visitors about the importance of conservation and preservation. At 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., biologists will release beautiful butterflies in their netted exhibit on the top canopy of the Rainforest Pyramid. Guests can also take pictures of the newborn Prehensile Tailed Porcupine, before heading over to the Ocelot’s exhibit for a keeper presentation at 1 p.m.

The Earth Day activities and Oleander Festival are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 20 and 21, and admission is free to the public. A special $24.95 combo pass to the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids will be available during the festival. For more information, call Moody Gardens at 800-582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org and www.oleander.org.

Meet Watt: Our Newest & Toughest Penguin Chick

March 26th, 2013

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!

March 22nd, 2013

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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

March 14th, 2013

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

March 11th, 2013

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!