Author: Moody Gardens (page 1 of 33)

Palm Beach Opens With a Splash!

The gates opened at Moody Gardens Palm Beach June 5 as guests were invited to stick their toes in the white sand, relax on the lazy river or take part in one of the many other ways they can rediscover their Happy Place. For many families, this was their first outing as COVID-19 capacity restrictions continue to lessen in Texas. The attraction will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We are excited to be able to welcome guests back to Palm Beach for a refreshing diversion,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt, who added capacity restrictions will significantly limit access and planning ahead will provide a better guest experience. “We strongly recommend that guests plan ahead and arrive early as entry will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.”

During the weeks that Moody Gardens was closed a comprehensive Health and Safety Program with extensive sanitization and training was implemented for the well-being of all staff and guests. The Pyramid Promise also offers guests an experience that is clean, safe and fun.

Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets online. This approach minimizes personal contact through cash handling and ticket disbursement at cashier windows. Moody Gardens has also moved to a cashless digital payment policy property wide and is only accepting credit/debit cards to reduce contact transactions.

Admission to Palm Beach is $26 for adults and $20 for children ages 4-12 and seniors.

For more information please visit www.moodygardens.org or call 409-744-4673.

PALM BEACH OPENS WITH A SPLASH!

The gates opened at Moody Gardens Palm Beach June 5 as guests were invited to stick their toes in the white sand, relax on the lazy river or take part in one of the many other ways they can rediscover their Happy Place. For many families, this was their first outing as COVID-19 capacity restrictions continue to lessen in Texas. The attraction will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We are excited to be able to welcome guests back to Palm Beach for a refreshing diversion,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt, who added capacity restrictions will significantly limit access and planning ahead will provide a better guest experience. “We strongly recommend that guests plan ahead and arrive early as entry will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.”

During the weeks that Moody Gardens was closed a comprehensive Health and Safety Program with extensive sanitization and training was implemented for the well-being of all staff and guests. The Pyramid Promise also offers guests an experience that is clean, safe and fun.

Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets online. This approach minimizes personal contact through cash handling and ticket disbursement at cashier windows. Moody Gardens has also moved to a cashless digital payment policy property wide and is only accepting credit/debit cards to reduce contact transactions.

Admission to Palm Beach is $26 for adults and $20 for children ages 4-12 and seniors.

For more information please visit www.moodygardens.org or call 409-744-4673.

MOODY GARDENS GOLF COURSE TO REOPEN MAY 4

Top-ranked, scenic course opens in prime condition with COVID-19 guidelines in place

Golfers yearning to hit the links following a COVID-19 extended stay at home will discover greens in peak condition when the Moody Gardens Golf Course reopens May 4. COVID-19 protocols are in place to provide golfers with a clean, safe and enjoyable experience. While the course was closed, seasonal aerification and other maintenance was addressed to allow ample time for the greens to heal and be ready for play.

“The course is looking absolutely spectacular,” said Moody Gardens Golf Course Superintendent Steve Yarotsky, who added that the aerification is usually scheduled for a little later in the season and offers less than ideal conditions for golfers. “It’s nice that we were able to get this maintenance completed to allow golfers maximum time on the course and the best of conditions as they have been patiently waiting for their next tee time.”

COVID-19 protocols at the course range from increased cleaning practices and staff training to eliminating contact with a variety of tools and surfaces that offer the potential of direct and indirect contact. Policies that limit one player per golf cart, no rakes in the bunkers or sand bottles on carts and other protocols are all implemented with the health and safety of guests and staff in mind. Seating at the course’s Pelican Grille will also be limited to 25 percent capacity in accordance with state guidelines for restaurants.

Moody Gardens Golf Course was rated the No. 6 course in the Lone Star State, according to a recent ranking by Golf Advisor. The annual Golf Advisor state Golfers’ Choice lists are compiled by analyzing the ratings and reviews submitted by members of their review community throughout the year. Out of 352 reviewed Texas golf courses in 2019, the Moody Gardens Golf Course took the No. 6 spot.

With its stunning island views and beautiful greens, the course has become one of the most popular public golf courses in the state. The par-72 course is a Jacobsen Hardy design and measures 6,900 yards from the farthest back tees. Raised elevations, new irrigation and drainage systems were added. As the first course in the continental United States to use the salt-tolerant grass paspalum, it also uses effluent water from the City of Galveston to water the grounds as a part of Moody Gardens conservation mission.

The premier public golf course has earned rave reviews from TripAdvisor, GolfNow and Golf Advisor since those improvements, including being named to Golf Advisor’s Best Of and Top 50 U.S. courses list.

For information or to book a tee time, call 409-683-4653 or visit www.moodygardensgolf.com.

Spring Bird Migration – Halfway Report

By: Animal Husbandry Manager Greg Whittaker

 

As we hit the halfway point for April, I finally caught up on entering eBird lists and tallying the species I’ve encountered here at Moody Gardens. It feels a bit like my 2018 experience as I bird my way through my day. Binoculars and camera as permanent accessories while I deliver paperwork across property, or pick up deliveries from the warehouse. With all the typical spring migration activities cancelled and very little bird-nerd camaraderie happening, my time outdoors is my link to normal. I feel so very fortunate to be going to and from work in such a natural wonderland that my daily commute doubles as an enjoyable leisure activity.

Through the first 7 days of April, I encountered 109 species of birds. Through the second week, I’ve added 39 more for a whopping 148 species so far this month. There’s a reason Galveston County rates in the top 3 in the nation for birding in April. As I write this, I’m missing the nervous buzz that accompanies our annual Featherfest preparations. Meeting fellow birders as we check in at headquarters. Scouting eBird lists for upcoming trip locations to get the most up-to-date information for our guests. There’s still quite a buzz in the air for those of us fortunate enough to get out and bird. The spring migration is certainly still happening and in fact, the persistent north winds over the past few days have led to a great fall-out with loads of colorful passerines scouring our vegetated woodlots for the snacks they offer. I chose the image above for this blog as it’s the namesake bird for Houston Audubon Society – the Yellow-throated Warbler that adorns the logo. This fella dropped in early this afternoon after a tough trans-Gulf journey. If you’ve got the time, get outside and spend a few minutes looking through those hedges and trees. The birds are here!
In addition to the shear excitement of ticking off new species every single day, I had some surprising encounters over the past 2 weeks. On April 1st as I was leaving property, I stopped to take a look in one of the Oak groves favored by spring migrants. I did catch a female Cooper’s Hawk fly in with a fresh catch, a Rock Dove. As she tore into it, she was oblivious to me stalking in closer to snap a few pictures. Just as I got in a good location and started clicking away, the male flew in and mated her, answering the questions I’d had on whether this was a pair or not. She didn’t even stop eating and certainly didn’t share with him. This also answered the questions on why the Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and Green Herons weren’t busy nesting in this grove as they have in years’ past. As of 3 days ago, she’s sitting on a nest and he’s still showing up to bring her food, and the grove’s not particularly birdy otherwise.

Through the first couple days of the month I encountered a Red-shouldered Hawk eating a Blue-winged Teal, and a Louisiana Waterthrush catching and eating a fairly good sized Sheepshead Minnow. On the 6th, I found a freshly dispatched Barn Swallow mounted on the barbed wire fence adjacent to a Loggerhead Shrike’s perch. 3 days later I found a freshly killed Sora in a similar state. How does a Shrike kill a Sora and carry it up to a barbed wire fence 6 feet off the ground. All I can say to Mrs. Shrike is that’s SOME provider – she must be impressed. Just yesterday, that same Red-shouldered Hawk with a taste for blue, offered me a great photo-op as it unceremoniously dismantled one of those gorgeous Indigo Buntings that are flitting about property by the dozens.

Easter Sunday was the night for nighthawks as a late afternoon birding excursion offered views of over 2 dozen Common Nighthawks streaming in off the Gulf. We were fortunate enough to tease out 2 that were smaller, flying more erratically, closer to the hedges, with white flashes at their wing-tips. The lesser seen Lesser-Nighthawk.
Monday after Easter was Sparrow day. The strong northwest winds delivered a plethora of the little brown jobbers with enough interest in foraging that they allowed adequate viewing and photo-ops to decipher 9 species, plus the ubiquitous House Sparrow. The usual suspects including Savannah, Swamp and Lincoln were augmented with Chipping, Clay-colored, Song, Vesper, White-throated and the striking Lark Sparrow.

The past few days have been blessed with the blustery weather that’s unkind to the migrating birds, but kind to the birders. Warblers, Vireos, Buntings, Orioles, Tanagers, Grosbeaks, Thrushes and the Sparrows mentioned above are here in good numbers. The 3rd week of April is statistically the best week for migratory bird watching here in Galveston County. If you can get outside and spend a few hours appreciating Nature’s bounty in an appropriate socially distanced manner, please do. It will do your soul some good.
Stay safe peeps.

Greg Whittaker is Moody Gardens animal husbandry manager and, as a birding enthusiast, frequently leads free Birding 101 and Birding 201 tours around the island.

Eskimo Curlew sighted at Galveston Island State Park!

 

By: Animal Husbandry Manager Greg Whittaker

5 years after I sent an April fool’s email to several of my local birding colleagues, I can dust off the prank and repurpose it with a more tangible meaning. The World’s a strange place right now and we’re all searching for those anchors of “normal” to help us make sense of things. Perhaps our Lost Bird Project Eskimo Curlew sculpture can be a reminder to us all that what once was, may not be, and what is, may disappear.

Insert joke about finding irony in a metal sculpture. It may be fittingly ironic that a half century after the last of its living namesakes disappeared quietly and unnoticed from this Island, and Earth, we have its memorial reappear with a similarly eerie lack of attention and fanfare.

This is not by design. The community support around this momentous event warranted a party, a celebration, wide ranging acclaim for the installation of this 7’ bronze beauty. This was our chance to showcase our chapter in the nation-wide project designed to focus attention on how Humans can have profoundly bad effects on the natural world when we don’t cherish things around us.

Todd McGrain’s vision to create stoic reminders of our fellow American’s past bad choices and nudge us just a little bit towards caring for what we see in our back yards is now part of our own Island’s heritage. The first 5 chapters of the Lost Bird Project are also here in Galveston, but again the planned spotlights and fireworks around this really cool opportunity were snuffed out by a miniscule marauder reminding us all of our fragile existence and mortality. Nature doesn’t value species, races, clans or individuals as any more or less important, but simply and methodically moves forward with all the beautiful chaos and dynamic change that has always been in play.

Within the guidelines of social distancing, please go outside, breathe the spring air, soak in the sun, and listen to the chorus of migrating birds on their annual April visit. If you get the chance to go to the Galveston Island State Park to see our new nature tourism treasure, spend the time to feel the spiritual connection to the natural space. Be safe.

Greg Whittaker is Moody Gardens animal husbandry manager and, as a birding enthusiast, frequently leads free Birding 101 and Birding 201 tours around the island.

Moody Gardens Attractions Close Temporarily in Compliance with City of Galveston Order for Entertainment Venues in Response to COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

MOODY GARDENS ATTRACTIONS CLOSE TEMPORARILY IN COMPLIANCE WITH CITY OF GALVESTON ORDER FOR ENTERTAINMENT VENUES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 

Galveston, Texas (Updated March 24, 2020) — In compliance with an order issued for entertainment venues by the City of Galveston, Moody Gardens is temporarily closing its attractions. This order was issued on March 17  for the implementation of control measures to control the community spread of Corona/Covid 19 virus.

As a precautionary measure to further combat the potential for community spread, Moody Gardens’ officials decided to extend that period to 10 days until March 28 and will now remain closed until the order by the City of Galveston is lifted. The closure impacts the Moody Gardens attractions. The Moody Gardens Hotel closed on March 22 and will reopen on June 1. Moody Gardens Golf Course will remain open and will be following CDC guidelines regarding social distancing.

“We value the community of Galveston and the safety of our guests and staff is always our highest priority,” said John Zendt, president and CEO of Moody Gardens, who added that key staff will report to work to care for animals and the facility.

For more information, please call 409-744-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org

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

Moody Gardens CEO Public Health Update

Dear Valued Guest,

Moody Gardens priority is always the safety of our guests and staff. As concerns have continued to grow in regard to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) worldwide, we want to share the additional steps that are being taken at our property to provide a safe and hygienic environment for our community to enjoy, visit and work.

It is our intention to welcome guests to our venue as we continue to monitor the situation and follow stringent preventive measures set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), local authorities and our own practices to adhere to the highest standards of cleanliness at our attractions, hotel and golf course.  Additional measures that are currently in place include:

·         Reinforced sanitation training for our staff to ensure the highest standards of cleaning are maintained.

·         Clearly established cleaning and disinfection cycles for all areas.

·         Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of our facility throughout the day, every day.

·         Prominent and easily accessible handwashing and sanitizer stations throughout the property.

·         Quick response to spills, trash and other necessary clean-up needs.

As our leadership team continues to monitor this situation and communicate with our staff about prevention, we also share guidance that is provided by the CDC for preventive action we can all put into practice to help stop the spread of germs. Additional information is also available about coronavirus at cdc.gov.

We value each of our guests who come to visit Moody Gardens. We wish you well and look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

John Zendt

President/CEO

Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens Offers Wildlife Engineer Camps Where Campers Explore Zoological Fields and More!

Summer camp is the ideal opportunity to explore a child’s interests and Moody Gardens Pyramid Kids Camps offers a variety of unique options, including how to Become a Wildlife Engineer. These interactive day camps provide children with the perfect opportunity to learn what it means to work in the zoological field. Campers will get to participate in design challenges, conduct experiments, create works of art inspired by nature and visit the Moody Gardens’ attractions.

 

“We have tons of opportunities with our resources here at Moody Gardens to provide a place for children to foster their imaginations and continue to learn even when they are taking a break from school,” Moody Gardens Education Curator Lisa Stegman said, adding that education is one of the cornerstones of Moody Gardens’ mission.

 

The fun continues with the following camps scheduled for 2020:

Preschool Camps

3-5 year olds

10 a.m.-12 p.m.

June 6 – Sea Lion Scientists

August 1 – Coral Construction Workers

 

Wild Marvels Day Camps

Kindergarten-2nd Grade

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

June 15-19 – Seaside Safari I

July 13-17 – Seaside Safari II

August 3-7 – Seaside Safari III

 

Wild Marvels Day Camps

3rd-5th Grade

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

June 15-19 – Nature Rangers I

July 13-17 – Nature Rangers II

August 3-7 – Nature Rangers III

 

Wild Marvels Day Camps

6th-8th Grade

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

June 15-19 – BioQuest I

July 13-17 – BioQuest II

August 3-7 – BioQuest III

 

For more information including pricing, click here. To register, click here.

Unlock the Secrets of the Earth’s Climate with “Ancient Caves” in the MG 3D Theater

Visit some of the world’s most remote caves, both above and below the water, in France, Iceland, the Bahamas, the U.S., and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula with MacGillvray Freeman’s new film “Ancient Caves,” premiering Mar. 7 in the MG 3D Theater.

 

Narrated by Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston, this film brings science and adventure together as it follows paleoclimatologist Dr. Gina Moseley on her mission to unlock the secrets of the Earth’s climate in the most unlikely places – caves.

 

Moseley and her team of cave explores travel the world exploring vast underground worlds in search of stalagmite samples – geologic “fingerprints” – that reveal clues about the planet’s climate history – how rapidly it can change and how it has affected human civilization.

 

“Establishing and studying climate patterns helps to determine everything from how warm or cold a season will be to how many hurricane are expected to form in a certain season,” said John Zendt, President and CEO of Moody Gardens. “We are excited to be able to showcase this film and show the importance of the work being done to study these patterns,” he said adding that the film will be a great new addition to the Spring Break film schedule.

 

For more information on everything Moody Gardens has going on for Spring Break, click here.

Spring Breakers Can Meet Jeff Corwin and Cruise on the Bay March 7th!

Guests are invited to venture out with Jeff Corwin this Spring Break at Moody Gardens with opportunities for a morning cruise, a viewing of his new film along with a presentation and Q&A sessions as they learn about the bay. The Emmy award winning Biologist and Wildlife Conservationist will join Moody Gardens’ guests for a day of exploration and education on March 7.

 

Corwin is the narrator of the new Giant screen film “Expedition Chesapeake: A Journey of Discovery,” currently playing at the MG 3D Theater at Moody Gardens. The film takes viewers on a journey from New York to Virginia to explore the country’s largest estuary.  It also encourages audiences to appreciate the value of the Bay but to also take steps to support long-term conservation efforts in their communities.

 

Before screenings of “Expedition Chesapeake: A Journey of Discovery,” Corwin will be on hand to present his expertise on this estuary along with the vital need to conserve our resources and raise environmental awareness.

 

The film draws parallels from the local community as Galveston Bay is also an estuary and has many of the same species calling it home. Guests can embark on a special cruise aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat for “On the Bay with Jeff Corwin.” On March 7 guests can join him and representatives from other local area organizations as they interpret Galveston Bay and the role it plays in our ecosystem with some exciting hands-on activities. On the Bay cruise will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tickets are $40 per person and includes grab and go breakfast. Tickets can be purchased at www.moodygardens.org/justcoast.

 

“We are pleased to be able to offer our guests a fun and educational experience as Jeff Corwin shares a common purpose of promoting conservation,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt. “Jeff’s background and expertise fits right in with our mission as we hope to inspire and educate our guests.”

 

For more information on Spring Break activities happening at Moody Gardens, please visit http://www.moodygardens.org/justcoast or call 409-744-4673.

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