Oh, Baby Baby: Moody Gardens welcomes Pygmy Slow Loris Twins

Moody Gardens is counting its blessings – two by two – this holiday season as the Rainforest Pyramid staff welcomed Pygmy Slow Loris twins in the Nocturnal Exhibit.

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The twins made their debut just before Christmas as excitement mounted amongst staff. This is the first Pygmy Slow Loris birth at Moody Gardens since 2011.

The birth was even more special as Cai, the mother of the twins, is a Moody Gardens twin herself. She is one of the first pair of Pygmy Slow Loris babies born at Moody Gardens in 2011. The father of the twins joined the Moody Gardens’ family in September 2015 as per a Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommendation from the Duke Primate Center in North Carolina as a mate for both Cai and another female named Blackwell.

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As an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ accredited institution, Moody Gardens is a part of the SSP  breeding recommendation program. Through this program staff assists animals that are endangered or threatened in the wild by breeding them in captivity.

Pygmy Slow Lorises are small, nocturnal prosimians native to Southeast Asia, more specifically Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. They have a vice-like grip, move slowly, and have a venomous bite which is unique for a mammal.

In addition to habitat loss, their main threats are traditional medicine and the illegal wildlife trade. They are captured and their various body parts are used in different traditional medicine or practices because some cultures believe the animal can be used for healing. This, combined with the issue that they are perceived to make good pets, has led to the capture of many lorises and their numbers in the wild are dwindling.

There are only about 50 Pygmy Slow Lorises in captivity in North America.

Guests can do their part to protest lorises. Moody Gardens has partnered with the “Little Fireface Project”, the world’s longest running project that aims to protect lorises from extinction through research, education and conservation. Through Jan. 8, visitors can purchase a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Moody Brews at the Moody Gardens Hotel. A portion of the “PSLs for PSLs” proceeds will be donated to help protect the Pygmy Slow Loris in the wild.

The twins will join the other Pygmy Slow Lorises on exhibit in the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid in the New Year. The Rainforest Pyramid showcases the various rainforest habitats from around the world. The Nocturnal Exhibit houses Geckos, Prehensile-Tailed Porcupines and Madagascar Jumping Rats. The immersive tropical environment is home to free roaming monkeys and birds, as well as fish, Komodo Dragons and more!

Spend New Year’s at Moody Gardens!

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and what better way to kick off 2017 than with the Midnight in the Gardens: A New Year’s Gala.
From 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m., put on your finest black-tie attire and get a “little bit country and a little bit rock and roll” to enjoy live music, an open bar, deluxe party favors, a lavish buffet, Champagne toast and a midnight balloon drop, all at the Moody Gardens Hotel.
Tickets for the gala are available for $470 per couple or $240 per single person. As a special treat, hotel accommodations for gala guests start at $109+tax/night. For tickets and reservations, call 888-388-8484.
While you’re here, make sure to check out our holiday attractions, including ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas and Festival of Lights.

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ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas
This year’s brand-new ICE LAND theme allows you the chance to embark on a breathtaking underwater journey from the shores of Galveston Island through the Gulf of Mexico. As you explore the oceans depths, you will discover sunken treasure and see Christmas surprises along the way.
An ice slide takes the form of a towering oil rig and gives you an opportunity to venture through the beautiful Flower Garden Banks for encounters with spectacular schools of colorful tropical fish, eagle rays, turtles, dolphins, Hammerhead sharks and more.
On the way to your Caribbean island destination be on the lookout for Shivers Ice Bar that will be serving up alcoholic drinks inside a bar made completely out of ice! ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas is open now through Jan. 8.

Festival of Lights
The 15th annual Festival of Lights offers an illuminating holiday season. Guests are invited to start a holiday tradition like never before with more lights, breathtaking views, the area’s only outdoor skating rink and the thrilling Arctic Slide.
Visitors can walk the one-mile trail filled with sound-enhanced lighting and animated displays themed to their favorite holiday music. Guests can then grab an inner tube and plunge down the Festival’s Texas-sized, 100-foot long Arctic Slide.
New this year is the arrival of television classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the Special FX 4D Theater. For the first time guests will be able to enjoy the family favorite in high definition for better viewing and interactive elements to engage all senses. There will be new holiday films at the MG3D Theater as well.

The Flavors of Christmas

Enjoy the Flavors of Christmas at Moody Gardens!

Honey glazed ham, potatoes, New York sirloin steak and a little something sweet. These are just a few Flavors of Christmas that our chefs at Moody Gardens are featuring on this year’s holiday menus.

And the best part? We’re open Christmas Eve 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Christmas Day noon-10 p.m., so we can do all the cooking for you!

Whether you’re craving the traditional flavors of Christmas or a taste of the sea, or have an extra sweet tooth, the chefs here at Moody Gardens have you covered.

Garden Restaurant Christmas Buffet

Located in the Visitor Center, the Garden Restaurant features views of Offatts Bayou from the patio. The buffet includes Butternut Squash with Cinnamon Croutons, Smashed Potato Bar with all of the Fixings, Chicken Gruyere on a Bed of Marsala Sauce and more. Reservations are recommended but not required. Call 409-683-4202. Complete Menu.

Café in the Park Christmas Dining

We’re offering brunch and dinner at the café, located on the lower lobby level of the Moody Gardens Hotel. This year’s brunch and dinner boasts Pan Roasted Red Fish with Blackened Shrimp and Sweet Three Pepper Sauce, Chicken Leg Confit with French Lentils and Herb Jus and Spiral Honey Glazed Ham with Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Brunch includes complimentary Mimosas and Bloody Marys. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more. Call 409-683-4466. Complete Menu.

Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks

Located on the ninth floor of Moody Gardens Hotel, Shearn’s features views of the Moody Gardens Pyramids. Choose from fresh seafood including Lobster Tails, Snapper and Scallops or Filet Mignon, New York Sirloin Steak, Lamb Chops and Veal. Reservations are required. Complete Menu.

Moody Brews

Enjoy a warm cup of coffee, and give back, when you visit Moody Brews through Jan. 8. With every sale of a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Moody Brews, which serves Starbucks drinks, $1 goes to help protect the Pygmy Slow Loris’ in the wild.

Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner & Show

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Enjoy a dinner and a show with Cirque Joyeux Noel, featuring award-winning performers including Christian Stoinev, a finalist of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

Witness the magnificent and the impossible…all in a circus winter wonderland. Marvel in soaring acrobatics, amazing aerialists and gravity defying feats while enjoying a holiday buffet dinner. And, take a stroll through the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights. ALL included at one great price!

The dinner and show run through Christmas day with doors opening and the buffet beginning at 6:30 p.m. The circus performance starts at 7:45 p.m. Enjoy Felipe Gonzalez’s delicious cuisine and then sit back for a one-hour holiday circus spectacular. Complete Menu.

Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner and Show tickets

And, don’t forget about snacks. Our Festival of Lights trail features funnel cakes, kettle corn, soup, nachos, hot dogs, sausage on a stick, porkskins, mini donuts and Irish Cream shots and hot chocolate to keep you warm!

Wishing You and Yours a Very Merry Christmas!

Plan Your Holiday Itinerary!

Plan Your Escape for Festive Fun at Moody Gardens!
Moody Gardens has the ideal holiday adventure for you and your family. There is so much to do, you make a weekend of it and make the most of your vacation time with friends and family. Don’t know where to start? We have taken the livery of creating a sample itinerary to ensure you don’t miss a thing!

Day 1 of Fun

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Breakfast at Café in the Park at the Moody Gardens Hotel
Located at the Moody Gardens Hotel, this restaurant features a wide variety of breakfast options from tasty omelets to a sweet assortment of pastries. The lush greenery and vibrant colors make dining at the café like a festive outdoor picnic. Check out the menu here.

10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Festive Photo Opp
Strike a pose at the beautiful Poinsettia Tree in the Visitor Center Garden Lobby and share your photo with us on the Moody Gardens Facebook page.

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Rainforest Pyramid
Immerse yourself in our 10-story glass pyramid that is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. You will experience rainforest life from around the world and encounter free-roaming animals such as, monkeys and tropical birds.

11:45 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas
Explore the only ice attraction on the Gulf Coast as you take an underwater journey from the shores of Galveston Island through the Gulf of Mexico to arrive at the ultimate Caribbean Christmas destination. Walk through a 28,000 square foot exhibit area set at a chilly temperature of nine degrees and encounter towering aquatic sculptures made completely of ice! There is even an opportunity to enjoy some festive holiday spirits inside of ICE LAND at Shivers Ice Bar.

12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Lunch at the Garden Restaurant in the Visitor’s Center
Partake in a festive holiday buffet which includes Pecan Crusted Chicken, Parmesan Potatoes, sautéed vegetables and more!

2:00 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. Nature’s Wonders Gift Shop in the Visitor Center
Take home a reminder of your Moody Gardens experience by checking out an array of holiday ornaments, animal plush toys, unique jewelry sets and more.

2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Moody Gardens Hotel Spa and Salon
Escape to a world of revitalizing fragrances and botanical oils as you are treated with a nourishing facial or a Swedish massage. Make your holidays merry by selecting one of the various holiday packages being offered for the season. More information.

4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. SpongeBob SubPants Adventure
Dive into adventure! On this wild and silly deep-sea submarine voyage, YOU choose the destination and YOU interact with your hapless captain — Patrick Star! Plunge into a world of immersive 3D media, a torrent of special effects and a nonstop whirlwind of surprises! With an improvised, real time interaction with Patrick Star, and varying destinations, your adventure is never the same twice.

5:15 p.m. – 5:35 p.m. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D in the Special FX 4D Theater
Experience the latest 3D technology with a twist! Feel the rumble in your seat or snow fall into your lap as you join Rudolph, Santa and their misfit toy friends on their thrilling journey to save Christmas!

5:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Drinks at Shearns Lounge
Admire breathtaking property views of the Moody Gardens Pyramids or a beautiful sunset over Galveston Bay. Savor premium cocktails at one of the best views of holiday lights around.

6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner and Show (December 16 – 25 only)
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind Holiday show that includes amazing acrobats and aerialists, mesmerizing illusions, hilarious comedy and much more. All of this coupled with a superb Holiday Buffet Dinner prepared by renowned Moody Gardens Executive Chef Felipe Gonzalez. Click here for holiday hotel packages! Admission also includes a ticket to the Festival of Lights.

9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Festival of Lights
Take a stroll through the largest light attraction on the Gulf Coast. This one-mile trail features over 100 lighting displays such as, Santa Claus, various animals and even a narrated nativity scene! You can also glide on over to the area’s only outdoor skating rink as it is included in the Festival of Lights admission.

Day 2 of Fun

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Moody Brews in the Moody Gardens Hotel
Get your day started by grabbing a quick breakfast with a delicious brew at the Moody Gardens Hotel coffee shop. Take advantage of the sweet pastries and free hotel wifi.

8:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Tee Time at the Moody Gardens Golf Course
Take a swing on the lush greens of one of the top ranked golf courses in Texas. Enjoy spectacular views of beautiful palm trees and Galveston Bay.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch at the Pelican Grill at the Moody Gardens Golf Course
Savor great food and a great bargain while taking in the lush tropical scenery of the Moody Gardens Golf Course and Offatts Bayou.

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Aquarium Pyramid
Visit four distinct ocean environments in the infamous blue pyramid that houses seals, sharks, penguins and thousands of tropical fish.

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Ropes Course & Zip Line
Satisfy your inner thrill-seeker as you soar 30 feet above Moody Gardens’ Palm Beach. Relish in the awesome property views as well as city glimpses from Offatts Bayou!

3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Jerusalem 3D in the MG 3D Theater
Immerse yourself into one of the world’s most beloved cities. Discover why this tiny piece of land is sacred to three major religions through the stories of Jewish, Christian and Muslim families who call Jerusalem home.

5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Dinner at Shearns Fine Dining Restaurant

Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks is the premier destination for fine dining in Galveston. Delight in floor-to-ceiling views of the Galveston Bay and also amazing views of the Moody Gardens’ Pyramids.

7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Night Cruise on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat

Relax on a beautiful nightly cruise through Offatts Bayou on the Moody Gardens’ 1800s paddlewheel boat. Overlooking the deck you will view a festive panorama of Christmas lights and displays from the 15th Annual Festival of Lights trail!

10 Holiday Gift Ideas from Moody Gardens

The holidays are only a few weeks away which means it is time to start crossing things off of your list for those special people in your life. Moody Gardens has something for everyone to enjoy from adrenaline filled adventures to romantic dinners and spa packages. See below for ten great holiday gift for the special people in your life.

  1. Family Fun- Let your kids unwrap a full day of adventure with a Moody Gardens Day Pass that allows you to experience all that Moody Gardens has to offer from the MG 3D Theater to the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat and everything in between. Tickets can be purchased online now! Buy Tickets
  2. Golf Course- Treat dad to Galveston’s premier public course by reserving him a tee-time at the Moody Gardens Golf Course! Let him enjoy this spectacular par 72 seaside links course has three sets of tees making it great for all levels of play. Book a Tee TimeGolf-Course-uncropped
  3. Penguin Encounter– Have someone in your family that loves penguins? Surprise them with a penguin encounter! You can schedule either a public or private encounter that allows you to get up close to one of the penguins from the Aquarium Pyramid South Atlantic Exhibit. Meet a Penguin
  4. Dinner for two at Shearn’s- Go ahead and make a reservation for a romantic dinner for two at the award-winning Shearn’s Restaurant located on the top of the Moody Gardens Hotel. Make Reservations
  5. Family Memberships- Looking for something for the whole family? A Moody Gardens Family Membership is just the thing! For $380 your family (up to five people) can enjoy a full year of unlimited admission to most Moody Gardens attractions, special member events, discounts and much more. Join the Moody Gardens Family
  6. Ropes Course and Zip Line- If you need a gift for someone that likes the thrill of adrenaline, set them up with passes to the Ropes Course and Zip Line. Let them challenge their agility, balance and strength as they encounter the five-tier Sky Trail® Ropes Course, the tallest Steel Ropes Course on the Gulf Coast or take it to a whole new level with a round trip on the Zip Line. Plan the Adventure Now 
  7. Spa- Get mom some time to pamper herself at the Spa at Moody Gardens. Book a relaxing treatment like a facial or massage that will be sure to put the holiday stress behind her. Relaxation Begins Herespringtime at spa
  8. Getaway- Take a break from the hustle of the holidays and treat yourself and those close to you to a getaway at the Moody Gardens Hotel. Enjoy nearby attractions like the Moody Gardens Golf Course, a visit to the beach or shopping and dining in historic downtown Galveston. The Moody Gardens Hotel provides the amenities and professional service to ensure your stay is relaxing and refreshing. Escape With Us
  9. Giant River Otter Encounter- Make the animal lover on your list happy by gifting them with a Giant River Otter Encounter. Our keepers will take you behind-the-scenes of the Rainforest Pyramid for the rare opportunity to meet and learn all about our Giant Amazon River Otters. Meet an Otter
  10. ICE LAND Guided Experience- Experience ICE LAND as a VIP with our all new ICE LAND Guided Experience. Guests will receive front of the line access, a Q&A session regarding the construction of ICE LAND, Hot Coco and so much more! Become a VIPimg_8924_s

Great Holiday Savings!

In its third year, the brand new theme of ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas has already become a big hit so far this holiday season. Don’t miss your chance to explore the depths of the Gulf of Mexico in a massive 28,000 square foot structure that has been set to nine degrees! This year’s attraction features gorgeous ice replicas of the Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary, the R/V Manta, a submarine and a massive three lane Oil Rig Ice Slide! This year’s theme also includes Shivers Ice Bar, Galveston’s brand-new iced out watering hole.

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If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience at a great price join us for one of our Value Days! Value Days are Sunday – Thursday (excluding Thanksgiving Day) now through December 15 and January 1-5 when you can receive a discount of $5.00 off of our ICE LAND attraction!

ICE LAND will offer a unique holiday experience for the entire family and will be open through January 8. Admission for adults is $26.95, $21.95 for seniors and $15.95 for children. Kids 3 and under are free.  A VIP Guided Experience will also be available Sunday through Thursday with front-of-the-line access, a guided tour through ICE LAND, hot cocoa, souvenir family photo and admission to Festival of Lights. Special packages are available for groups of 20 or more.

For more information call 1-800-582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org .

Home for the Holidays Gift Market

Are you looking for the perfect gift to give to those you love? Shop ‘til you drop on Thanksgiving weekend, November 25 and 26, at the Moody Gardens Convention Center for this year’s Home for the Holidays Gift Market.

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This annual holiday market features more than 200 of the region’s most unique gift vendors selling distinctive products perfect for anyone on your shopping list! The market brings together the best local home décor, candles, craft foods, accessories and much more for an extraordinary holiday shopping experience in one convenient location. With all of the variety there is sure to be something for even the most difficult person on your list!

This is one stop on November 25 – 26 you definitely don’t want to miss. Tickets for the Holidays Gift Market are $6 for admission; the gift market will be open 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. both days.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D

With the weather getting colder and the holidays closer, one of our favorite things to do is watch Christmas movies with our family and friends. At Moody Gardens we bring holiday films to the next level by showing them not only in our 3D theater but our 4D Special FX Theater as well.

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This year Moody Gardens is thrilled to present Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer in our 4D Special FX Theater which combines 3D projection with audio and timed sensory elements. While watching the holiday classic guests can feel the wind in their face as Rudolph flies through the sky and smell Christmas trees and cookies when at Santa’s castle. Perhaps the most enchanting part of the experience, however, is the snow that falls inside of the theater at the same time that it falls in the film. The 4D experience engages all the senses and leaves guests wishing that they could join Rudolph as part of Santa’s team. There is no doubt that after the film, children and adults alike are left feeling  the Christmas spirit!

To experience the sensory adventure of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer in our 4D Special FX Theater you can purchase tickets in the Visitor Center for $10.95 for adults, $8.95 for children and seniors, and free for children under 3. If you have a day pass or membership the theaters are included for you to enjoy!

Your Caribbean Destination Awaits!

With just nine days remaining until opening day, the CAA Harbin Ruijing Carving Team of master ice carvers from Harbin, China are adding the finishing touches as the work of over 100 towering ice sculptures are completed at ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas. Beautiful coral, a wide range of marine life ranging from spinner dolphins and other fish, a giant hammerhead and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles as well as the finishing details at Shiver’s Ice Bar, the Oil Rig Ice Slide and more with Christmas theming throughout are the nuances that will provide a unique experience unlike any other for visitors to enjoy this holiday season when the attraction opens November 12.

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In its third year, ICE LAND will have guests embark on a breathtaking underwater journey from the shores of Galveston Island through the Gulf of Mexico. As they explore the oceans depths, they will discover sunken treasure and see Christmas surprises along the way. An ice slide takes the form of a towering oil rig and gives an opportunity to venture through the beautiful Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary for encounters with spectacular schools of colorful tropical fish, eagle rays, turtles, dolphins, hammerhead sharks and more on the way to their Caribbean island destination.

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ICE LAND will offer a unique holiday experience for the entire family and will be open November 12 through January 8, as Galveston makes its transition into the Winter Wonder Island.  Admission for adults is $26.95, $21.95 for seniors and $15.95 for children. A Value Days discount of $5.00 is available Sunday through Thursday, November 13 – December 15 and January 1-5 excluding Thanksgiving Day. Festival of Lights admission is $10.95. Additional combination tickets such as the Holiday Pass are available online for $34.95 and offer admission to ICE LAND, Festival of Lights, plus one attraction. Special packages are available for groups of 20 or more. Hotel Packages are also available.

In addition to ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas, Moody Gardens will be home to seven other holiday attractions this season. Guests can take a stroll through the Festival of Lights, a one mile walking trail that features hundreds of light displays, including the area’s only outdoor ice rink. They can also enjoy the Arctic Slide, train rides, a variety of holiday and traditional films at the MG 3D theater, and a new Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Experience at the 4D Special FX Theater. The Rainforest, Aquarium and Discovery Pyramids will also be open. A Holiday Buffet will also be available nightly. The Holiday Gift Market will be featured at the Moody Gardens Convention Center Thanksgiving Weekend and guests can enjoy the new Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner & Show December 16 – 26 at the Moody Gardens Hotel.

For more information call 1-800-582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org .

Explore the Depths

It may be 9 degrees, but the heat is on as the CAA Harbin Ruijing Carving Team has nearly completed Scene 3 of ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas. Be sure to get your ticket to this, the Festival of Lights and all of the other holiday attractions at Moody Gardens November 12 – January 8.

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After your cruise through the Gulf of Mexico via the RV Manta Research Vessel, you will discover your path into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico in Scene 3. You’ll encounter vibrant corals as part of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary! Immerse yourself in all that this unique experience has to offer as you discover amazing holiday surprises along the way.

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Moody Gardens is also offering an Ice Carver V.I.P.  Experience with a behind-the-scenes tour of these skilled carvers transforming these huge blocks of ice into magnificent towering ice sculptures. Next, you will be escorted to the Aquarium Pyramid for a Penguin Encounter during which you get to meet a real penguin!  This is followed by an authentic Chinese lunch accompanied by a Q&A session with the master ice carvers themselves!  This $199 per person package also includes a Penguin Art painting by a Moody Gardens penguin and a ticket to visit ICE LAND and Festival of Lights once these attractions are completed and open for the holiday season. For reservations, please call 409-683-4368. (Reservations are required one week in advance. Prepayment is required at the time of your reservation. This package is discounted to $179 for Moody Gardens members).

You can watch all of the action live with our webcam.

The holiday season at Moody Gardens will kick off on November 12, 2016 and run through January 8, 2017.