Author: Moody Gardens (page 1 of 36)

Audubon Christmas Bird Count – Joyful Citizen Science!

On Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the newly formed Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition – a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them.  In the 123 years since, the annual CBC as we now call it, has grown from 27 birders tallying a mere 90 species, to just under 80,000 participants across Canada, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands surveying more than 2600 fifteen-mile diameter circles to record 2244 species, plus 432 hybrids.  The citizen science data produced from these collective efforts helps inform conservation strategies around avian population trends.

Galveston boasts 2 circles monitoring our Island; TXGA and TXWG.  The older TXGA circle is centered just off the northwest edge of Pelican Island and encompasses habitats from just east of Rettilon Road on Bolivar Peninsula to the west end of Sportsman’s Road (Bay) and Beach Pocket Park #2 (Gulf) here on the Island.  The circle extends approximately 3 miles off the seawall and wraps around to include most of Texas City, Bayou Vista, and Tiki Island.  This circle was established in 1978 by Dick and Dwight Peake, and we just completed its 46th count on Tuesday, 19 December.  It was a resurrection of an earlier CBC circle (TX1W) that was centered about 2 miles west and collected data from 1946 through 1970.  TXGA has more water than land and a limited amount of wooded area, but still produces species diversity in the top 20 of all US circles.  The picture above was taken at sunrise from the observation platform overlooking Galveston Bay Foundation’s Sweetwater Nature Preserve where our visiting Sandhill Cranes spend their nights.  We were there to count them as they woke up to start their day.

Galveston’s West End CBC will be conducted on Tuesday, 2 January, 2024.  This newly formed effort is in it’s 5th year under the watchful eyes of Kyle O’Haver and Cynthia Hughes.  This circle is centered just northwest of Jamaica Beach in West Galveston Bay.  The eastern edge captures Laffite’s Cove Nature Preserve and the western edge is just offshore of the westernmost point of San Luis Pass.  A full third of the circle is within the Gulf waters off Galveston Island, and the northern arc of the circle captures a generous swath of mainland agricultural land, marsh and coastal prairie habitat split between Galveston and Brazoria Counties.  The circle encompasses most of West Galveston Bay, the mouth of Greens Lake, much of Hall’s Bayou and Chocolate Bayou.

You don’t need to be an expert birder to participate, and all eyes are valued in seeing, counting and tallying what we encounter.  It’s a great way to meet folks, see some new and interesting places you might want to bird, and learn a little about identification tips and tricks, photography, compare birding equipment, or who knows where the conversations lead.  If you’re interested in spending time enjoying nature while identifying, counting and recording local birds with teams of volunteer citizen scientists, don’t hesitate to send an email to gwhittaker@moodygardens.org.  I’ll gladly send you information on these, or other local CBC circles where you might find interest.  The Christmas Bird Count season runs from 14 December through 5 January, and there are 26 of them in our local region.  Most CBCs wrap up the day with a countdown event where count compilers, area leaders and participants share stories of the day’s adventures, best birds and generally just catch up with fellow birders to celebrate the season.  I’ll leave you with our sunset over the same marsh where the Cranes were returning to roost after their day enjoying our Island.

Save Big and Make Unforgettable Memories This Holiday Season at Moody Gardens!

The holiday season is upon us, and here at Moody Gardens, we’re excited to offer you fantastic ways to save while creating lasting memories with your loved ones. From early Black Friday hotel deals to special themed nights and exclusive packages, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, let’s dive into the festive fun and explore how you can make the most of this holiday season without breaking the bank.

  1. Early Black Friday Hotel Sale – Save 30% on Stays!

Start your holiday adventure early with our exclusive Black Friday Sale on hotel stays. Book your room now through November 27th and enjoy a fabulous 30% off your stay. It’s the perfect opportunity to plan a relaxing getaway or a family vacation without the hefty price tag.

  1. Value Days – Buy One Get One Free Admission and Discounts!

Join us on select nights for our Value Days, where you can enjoy incredible savings on admission. Take advantage of buy one get one free admission on select nights or enjoy discounted rates on other evenings. Check out our themed nights:

– Groovy Night 🕺

– Super Hero Night 🦸

– Ugly Sweater Night 🎅

– Pajama Night 🌙

– Dickens Night 📖

– Bring Your Dog Nights 🐶

– Food Drive Thursdays 🥫

  1. Explore Exclusive Package Deals

Make your visit to Moody Gardens even more special by booking one of our exclusive package deals:

– Holiday in the Gardens Package: Bundle admission to all our attractions for a truly immersive experience. You’ll save while giving your family the opportunity to explore all that Moody Gardens has to offer. It’s a one stop shop for all things Holidays.

– Breakfast with Santa Family Package: Share a meal with Santa himself and create cherished memories with your family. The package includes breakfast for two adults (ages 13+) and two children (ages 4-12), a luxurious guest room, a souvenir photo, costumed character meet and greet.

– Polar Express Package Experience: Embark on an enchanting journey inspired by the classic holiday tale. The Polar Experience package includes your luxurious guest room, four tickets to Ice Land: Ice Sculptures Rainforest Holiday, the Festival of Lights trail at Moody Gardens, and transportation to and from the Galveston Railroad Museum for The Polar Express Train Ride!

– Holiday Dinner Cruise and New Year’s Packages: Celebrate in style on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. This package includes a guest room for one night, tickets for two for the Holiday sunset dinner buffet.

 

  1. Try It and Buy It – Your Gateway to Membership

Discover an exclusive opportunity with some of our “explorer” package deals- featuring a unique “Try It and Buy It” offer! When you book “explorer” packages, your stay becomes more than just a memorable experience; it becomes a pathway to membership. Apply the cost of your stay towards a membership within 30 days after your visit. To claim the offer, visit Member Services in person at the Visitors Center, call us at 409-683-4200, or send an email to memberships@moodygardens.org. Don’t miss out on turning your stay into a lasting membership with Moody Gardens.

This holiday season, come and celebrate with us at Moody Gardens, where you can save big, have a blast, and make unforgettable memories with your friends and family. We can’t wait to share the spirit of the season with you! 🎄🌟

Book your stay and explore our amazing offers today. Visit our website or contact us for more information and reservations. Happy holidays from all of us at Moody Gardens! 🎁❄️

Making Moody Gardens the Coolest Destination on the Gulf Coast

When you think of holiday destinations, visions of snow-covered landscapes and ice sculptures might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But at Moody Gardens, we’ve turned that notion upside down by transforming our Gulf Coast paradise into a winter wonderland that rivals the coolest destinations in the world. Join us on a journey to uncover how Moody Gardens became the Gulf Coast’s ultimate holiday hotspot.

A Cool Idea Inspired by Tradition

Our story begins with an idea that took inspiration from a time-honored tradition—the Annual Ice Festival in Harbin, China. This extraordinary event, dating back to the 1960s, bringing together over 3,000 talented ice carvers who compete to create the world’s most massive and intricate ice sculptures, all in the frigid depths of winter. It remains the largest ice and snow festival globally, attracting visitors from far and wide.

From Harbin to Galveston: A Grand Challenge

Bringing this captivating festival to the sunny shores of Galveston presented a unique set of challenges. After all, how do you recreate an event that typically unfolds in a country with bone-chilling temperatures as low as -31 degrees Celsius?

This was the question faced by our remarkable partners at the Gilbane Building Company. They were tasked with creating an enormous tent capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds, all while maintaining an interior temperature of just 9 degrees. The result? A colossal temporary structure that signals the arrival of the holiday season each year.

The Art of Crafting Colored Ice

Now, let’s dive into the fascinating process of creating the stunning ice sculptures that grace Moody Gardens’ ICE LAND. All of the ice used for this breathtaking display comes from our partner in Bryan, Texas, the Flying Penguin.

The ice undergoes a meticulous transformation to achieve its vibrant colors. First, reverse osmosis is employed to create crystal-clear ice blocks. Then, the magic happens as the ice is matched to the artist’s palette using a mixture of tempura paint and milk. Each design is laid out to scale, ensuring that the precise amount of ice and colors required are calculated well in advance.

Precision Carving and Artistry

With the ice prepared, it’s time for the real artistry to take center stage. The carving process involves dedicated teams working in shifts, devoting over 1,000 hours to their craft in just 45 days. Every detail is meticulously crafted to bring the magnificent scenes to life.

Overseeing this incredible journey is Kun Lu, the US president of the VYA Ice Carving Team from China. His expertise and watchful eye ensure that the transformation from blocks of ice to intricate sculptures unfolds seamlessly.

Moody Gardens has succeeded in turning a dream of winter enchantment into a reality, creating a destination on the Gulf Coast that is unlike any other. With ice sculptures that rival those from the coldest corners of the world, we’ve truly earned our place as the coolest holiday destination around.

Experience the Wonder

Experience the wonder for yourself at Moody Gardens, where tradition meets innovation, and winter comes to life on the Gulf Coast like never before. Don’t miss out on this unique holiday adventure and book your experience today: https://www.moodygardens.com/holiday_season/

National Marine Sanctuary Day: Celebrating America’s Treasured Waters

Today marks a historic moment as we celebrate the very first National Marine Sanctuary Day. This day is a nationwide celebration of our protected marine environments in the oceans and Great Lakes, which safeguard America’s maritime and ecological heritage. National marine sanctuaries serve as a vital response to the pressing challenges of our time, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and systemic inequity. They are not only essential for ecological protection and restoration but also contribute to sustainable economic development in coastal communities. Most importantly, these sanctuaries belong to all of us, offering increased access to nature and its myriad benefits.

The establishment of National Marine Sanctuary Day launches a campaign of sanctuary stories that inspire innovative solutions. These stories come from voices united by their connection to sanctuaries, where they’ve discovered shared maritime heritage, embarked on scientific pursuits, found their livelihoods, and glimpsed the future. Coastal communities and local economies share stories of discovery, enjoyment, and lifelong connections with these remarkable places. The tales woven throughout the National Marine Sanctuary System illustrate that conservation, economic prosperity, and human well-being are deeply intertwined in our national character.

Our nation’s waters have a unique ability to bring us together, and our national marine sanctuaries are the storytellers. On this National Marine Sanctuary Day, we invite you to join us in celebrating these stories.

At Moody Gardens, we are proud to collaborate with the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary through our Aquarium-Sanctuary Partnership for America’s Keystone Wildlife. This partnership aligns our conservation-education messaging and field conservation efforts, amplifying the incredible work undertaken by the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary team. The most recent expansion of the sanctuary’s protection to encompass an additional 14 banks and their diverse biological systems continues to be cause for excitement. We anticipate years of collaborative projects between our aquarium and the sanctuary, all in the service of preserving these natural resource treasures. Moody Gardens’ dive operations will continue to support our Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary partners as we explore new undersea habitats and work diligently to protect the ecosystem. We look forward to continuing to share the discoveries from our own backyard sanctuary with our millions of visitors here in Galveston.

Today’s celebration is particularly significant as it coincides with the anniversary of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, enacted by Congress on this day in 1972. This landmark legislation laid the foundation for the creation of a system of underwater parks that now spans over 620,000 square miles of our ocean and Great Lakes.

For over half a century, National Marine Sanctuaries have preserved our nation’s history and provided opportunities for you to create your own memories. Sanctuaries are the crown jewels of marine conservation in the United States. For over 50 years, they have safeguarded species, offered opportunities for research, education, and recreation, and protected our maritime and cultural heritage.

Today, on the inaugural National Marine Sanctuary Day, let’s celebrate these vital institutions that are “of special national significance” for conservation, ecology, history, research, education, culture, archaeology, and natural beauty. Today, we invite you to reflect on what the term “sanctuary” means to you. Share it with us in the comments or post it on social media using the hashtag #NationalMarineSanctuaryDay and help us raise awareness for such institutions doing the most amazing work.

Happy National Marine Sanctuary Day!

Harmonizing Mind, Body, and Cosmos: 2nd Annual Yoga Retreat Aligned with a Spectacular Solar Eclipse on October 14

Take a transformative journey towards self-discovery and growth at the 2nd annual Yoga Retreat with renowned yoga guru, Doug Keller, located in the breathtaking scenery of Moody Gardens. This retreat promises to bring new life and energy to your soul from October 13th to 15th, coinciding with an annular solar eclipse, signifying a new season of change and growth.

Awe-Inspiring Annular Solar Eclipse

Have you ever experienced the sheer magic of an annular solar eclipse? This natural spectacle occurs when the moon partially obscures the sun, creating a “ring of fire” along a narrow line on our planet. The upcoming eclipse on October 14th is classified as annular, where the moon appears smaller and creates a dazzling ring around the sun. To fully appreciate this wonder, it’s essential to understand its scale – the moon’s diameter is 2,159 miles (3,476 km) while the sun’s is a colossal 865,000 miles (1.4 million km)!

Stay Safe While Observing the Eclipse

Though this celestial event is awe-inspiring, remember to prioritize safety while observing it. Gazing directly at the sun without proper eye protection can cause severe eye damage. For the annular solar eclipse, certified solar viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers are recommended.

Eclipse Season and Personal Growth

In astrology, eclipse seasons signify transformational moments, bringing significant changes in our personal lives and the energy of the zodiac. The solar eclipse occurring during the new Moon in Libra on October 14, 2023, marks the beginning of eclipse season 2023, creating an opportunity for unique perspectives and shifts in consciousness.

Meditation and Reflection During the Eclipse and Retreat

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of our Yoga Retreat and contemplate the importance of partnerships in your life. Find inner peace and stillness by reflecting on your deepest desires concerning relationships and consider how you can bring about positive changes in your life. Witness this celestial event from any of our ideal vantage points, and connect with yourself and the universe.

Why You Should Stay

Our packages offer a full-on immersion into the world of yoga and exclusive access to the relaxing sights and sounds of the Aquarium Pyramid. Get ready to dive deep into the magic of marine life from all corners of the globe. All yoga sessions are included in your stay so you can fully absorb the transformative practices throughout your retreat. But, what’s a yoga retreat without some R&R? We’re offering an 25% discount on our spa services, so you can pamper yourself and find inner peace in the tranquil sanctuary of Moody Gardens. Our goal is to make your stay unforgettable by blending wellness with luxury, ensuring you find the balance and peace you crave. Plus, you’re not just staying at a hotel – you’re contributing to a non-profit, educational destination that uses nature to promote conservation, recreation, research, and rehabilitation. Book your rooms here:  https://www.moodygardens.com/events/yoga-retreat/ 

Eclipse Safety Guidelines

Remember to protect your eyes during the eclipse. For comprehensive eclipse safety guidelines, please refer to NASA’s official resource here: [NASA Eclipse Safety](https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/eclipse-2024/safety/).

Join us for a life-changing retreat where yoga and the cosmos come together to inspire personal growth and self-discovery. Experience this extraordinary event with us and embrace change and growth!

Value Days for Festival of Lights and Holiday in the Gardens: New Theme Nights to Get You Into the Groove of the Holiday’s!

Moody Gardens is excited to announce its much-anticipated Holiday in the Gardens, a premier Gulf Coast destination happening from November 18th to January 6th. Select nights have been designated as Value Nights, offering discounted admission on Monday through Thursday, November 27th through December 14th, as well as January 3rd and 4th. Attendees who attend on these evenings can enjoy savings on their entrance to Festival of Lights AND those who participate in the themed nights for these evenings can take advantage of a buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) ticket offer to the Festival of Lights trail or Holiday Pass which includes: Ice Land, Festival of Lights, four slides on the Arctic slide, train ride, ice rink, Aquarium Pyramid, 3D And 4D theaters starting at 4 p.m. 

  • Food Drive Thursdays is a great way to celebrate the season while helping those in need. Every Thursday from November 30th to December 28th, bring a non-perishable food item and get BOGO admission. All proceeds will be donated to the Galveston County and Houston Food Banks.
  • If you are a fan of the 70s fashion, you will love Groovy Night on November 27th. Bell bottoms, tie-dye, peace signs, and polyester… wear the 70s fashion ensemble that suits you and get BOGO admission.
  • Superhero Night on November 28th is a perfect way to unleash your inner superhero. Dress up as your favorite superhero and get BOGO admission.
  • For those who love Dickens on the Strand, come to Moody Gardens on November 29th and wear a Victorian costume to get BOGO admission and you may even see some familiar faces from the festival caroling on the trail.
  • Angel Tree Night on December 4th is a great way to celebrate the season while helping others. Bring an unwrapped children’s gift for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Project and get BOGO admission.
  • Ugly Sweater Night on December 5th is another fun way to enjoy the Festival of Lights. The uglier the sweater, the better! Wear your ugly sweater and get BOGO admission.
  • If you are a dog lover, bring your furry friend and a pre-packaged donation for the Galveston Island Humane Society on December 6th and January 3rd to get BOGO admission.
  • On December 11th, wear your favorite PJs for Pajama Night and get BOGO admission to the Festival of Lights.
  • Let It Glow on December 12th is a perfect opportunity to get creative. Wear anything that glows, such as glow paint, glow sticks, neon colors, and more, and get a discount with BOGO admission.
  • Lastly, Sensory Night on December 13th is a special evening for those with sensory sensitivities to enjoy the Festival of Lights. Modifications will be made from opening at dusk until 7 p.m. to provide straight lights with no blinking and no music or sound effects along the trail.

Our goal at Moody Gardens® is to provide a unique and memorable experience for you and your family this holiday season. As a non-profit, educational destination, our mission is to utilize the beauty of nature to advance research, rehabilitation, conservation, and recreation. Come and embrace the holiday spirit with your loved ones under the twinkling lights of Moody Gardens®. For more information, please visit our website www.moodygardens.org or call us at 409-744-4673.

 

Working Underwater in a National Marine Sanctuary: Field Notes from Our Recent Adventure at the Flower Garden Banks

Hello, fellow ocean enthusiasts! We’re thrilled to share some exciting field notes from our recent adventure at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Join us as we take a closer look at our “working” trip with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), where we delved deep into the heart of the ocean to perform essential maintenance and explore the wonders of the deep blue.

Our Daring Crew, Boosting Operational Capacity, and Key Triumphs!

Representing the Moody Gardens Dive Program on this incredible journey were scientific divers and dive officers Chris Ledford, Aaron Bouwkamp, and Elisabeth Maxwell. These seasoned divers were more than ready to tackle the challenges that lay ahead. Under the guidance of NOAA, strict commercial diving standards are required to ensure safety and success in our underwater mission.

One thing that didn’t go unnoticed was the significant impact our participation had on the trip’s operational capacity. Our team’s expertise and dedication brought an extra layer of efficiency to the mission, making each dive and task more productive. Though our main goal is to support efforts in a safe and productive manner, we really enjoyed seeing the success unfold!

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of our accomplishments during this unforgettable trip:

  1. Anchors Away: One of our primary objectives was to replace worn out moorings with brand-new mooring buoy U-bolts. We helped successfully install not one, but two, of these essential components, ensuring the mooring system’s reliability and strength. These U-bolts are crucial for securing vessels and equipment during various underwater operations for the sanctuary, as well as providing public access!
  2. A Temporary Solution: In the world of marine exploration, flexibility is key. We faced unexpected challenges, including the need for a “temporary” mooring anchor. With expert precision from the sanctuary team, an implemented and rigorously tested solution was found! Photo 1 in our gallery offers a sneak peek into our ingenious dry-side mockup of the temporary mooring system.

Why are mooring buoys important to the Flower Gardens Banks you ask? First, it’s important to know anchoring in the FGBNMS is strictly prohibited because it is incredibly damaging to coral reefs. Mooring buoys play a crucial role in the health and preservation of ocean environments because they provide a means of accessing a beautiful area like the FGBNMS without having to anchor. This provides a huge protection to coral reefs and established habitats and gives access while minimizing damage, reducing chemical pollution, enhancing safety, promoting sustainable tourism, and fostering environmental awareness. You can learn more about them here: https://flowergarden.noaa.gov/protection/mooringbuoys.html

Diagram of a mooring buoy from the Flower Garden Banks Marine Sanctuary.

Example of an installed u-bolt before the mooring is attached.

Witness the intricate setup of the temporary mooring system. Braided cable, clamped to a broken u-bolt, serves as a necessary attachment point for our mooring line. This line is indispensable for drilling operations when installing new U-bolts.

Dive into the action as Chris Ledford gets geared up and ready to plunge into the depths. Standing by as a dedicated safety diver, Aaron Bouwkamp is always at the ready to ensure the safety of the team.

Discover the hands-on work behind the scenes. Elisabeth Maxwell, Jacque Emmert, and Aaron Bouwkamp join forces to mix and bag cement, a crucial step in securing the new u-bolt anchors firmly in place.

Temporary mooring solution installed on the broken U-bolt!

Teamwork for the Win

Our adventure at the Flower Garden Banks was nothing short of extraordinary. While we faced some unexpected challenges, the spirit of exploration and teamwork prevailed. To date, our dive team has supported 31 missions for NOAA’s FGBNMS since 2013 and has helped with the installation of six mooring buoys  with plans to continue supporting future efforts!

We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the entire Dive Operations team for their dedication and commitment to ocean conservation and exploration. Stay tuned for more thrilling underwater escapades as we continue to explore the mysteries of the deep and work tirelessly to protect our precious marine ecosystems thanks to support like yours!

Until next time, dive deep, dream big, and make waves! 🌊🐟🦑

– Moody Gardens Dive Ops

Start Your Cruise Off Seamlessly at the Moody Gardens Hotel & Spa in Galveston

Start Your Cruise Off Seamlessly at the Moody Gardens Hotel & Spa in Galveston

Galveston, Texas is fast becoming a hub for cruise enthusiasts, ranking among the top destinations in the country for embarking on a memorable cruise vacation. With its picturesque shoreline and convenient cruise terminals, it’s no wonder that this coastal gem has caught the attention of travelers seeking the perfect pre-cruise stay. Nestled in the heart of Galveston with the iconic pyramids, the Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center offers an enticing solution for those looking to start their cruise experience stress-free. Let’s cruise through why staying at this spectacular hotel before your trip on the ship could be the perfect way to kickstart your vacation.

  1. Cruising’s Rising Star – Galveston’s Cruise Scene: Galveston has been making waves in the cruise industry, consistently ranking as one of the top cruise departure points in the United States. In fact, it’s poised to take the number two spot soon. With its strategic location on the Gulf of Mexico, it’s an ideal launchpad for cruise adventures. Staying at Moody Gardens Hotel & Spa allows you to fully embrace this coastal paradise and conveniently start your cruise journey.
  2. Say Goodbye to Parking Woes: One of the most significant advantages of booking a stay at the Moody Gardens Hotel & Spa is the inclusive cruise package. This package not only provides you with a spectacular guest room but also includes valet parking for your vehicle during your entire cruise duration. The best part? You won’t have to pay a penny extra for parking. It’s essentially a cost-effective way to keep your vehicle secure while you embark on your cruise adventure.
  3. No More Hauling Luggage: Picture this – you arrive at the cruise terminal with your luggage, navigating giant parking lots, busy streets, and unfavorable weather conditions. It’s not the ideal way to start a relaxing vacation, right? However, when you stay at Moody Gardens, you can bid farewell to these hassles. The hotel’s convenient shuttle service ensures that you and your luggage are dropped off right at the terminal’s doorstep. No more dragging suitcases through rain or scorching heat – your vacation starts with ease and comfort.
  4. Safe and Secure: Security is a priority when it comes to your vehicle. At Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center, you can trust that your car will be securely parked throughout your cruise. This peace of mind allows you to fully enjoy your vacation without worrying about your vehicle’s safety.
  5. A Stress-Free Start: For those who dread the early morning drive to the cruise terminal, filled with stress and parking anxieties, Moody Gardens Hotel & Spa offers an attractive alternative. Instead of rising before dawn, you can wake up refreshed, enjoy a delicious breakfast, and then simply board the shuttle. It transforms the transition from everyday life to vacation mode into a seamless and enjoyable experience.
  6. Explore Moody Gardens with the Value Pass: Come in a day early and make your trip even more memorable by adding the “Value Pass” to your stay. The value pass is discounted to $45 per person for cruise passengers and gives you and your family access to the Rainforest and Aquarium Pyramids; 20,000 Leagues: An Interactive Adventure; 3D Theater; 4D Theater; and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. It’s a fantastic opportunity to turn your pre-cruise stay into a shore excursion, exploring the wonders of Moody Gardens’ attractions while staying at the hotel.

As you can see, starting your cruise vacation at the Moody Gardens Hotel & Spa in Galveston is a smart choice. With our all-inclusive cruise package, you can leave behind the worries of parking, transportation, and luggage handling. Instead, savor a stress-free beginning to your cruise adventure, with the added bonus of enjoying the scenic beauty and attractions Galveston has to offer. To book your hassle-free pre-cruise stay, visit the Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center website at www.moodygardens.org and set sail for a vacation you’ll cherish forever.

Educational Opportunities Can Seem to Be Our Best Kept Secret at Moody Gardens!

Educational Opportunities Can Seem to Be Our Best Kept Secret at Moody Gardens!

Since our inception, The Moody Gardens mission has been a public, non-profit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research. However, as we strive to provide an enjoyable and informative experience, education can appear to be one of our best-kept secrets! Our staff is passionate about creating a place where education meets adventure and learning comes to life! We are thrilled to announce an array of upcoming educational opportunities suitable for all ages. Whether you’re a homeschool family, a curious preschooler, or a member of a scouting group, there’s something exciting awaiting you at Moody Gardens!


**Learn Wild! Home School Program**

Calling all home school families and groups! Our Learn Wild! Home School Program has the perfect opportunity for you to engage in a focused educational experience and it is offered each month. Join us on the first Wednesday of every month to explore a featured attraction, meet our ambassador animals, and dive into captivating documentary movies. Our expert Educators will lead you in hands-on activities that complement your home classroom curriculum. Our fall program kicks off on September 5, 2023, where students will learn all about “Slithering Sidekicks: Riding Reptiles.” It’s a chance for your kids to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. This family adventure includes the adults in the fun and is perfect for all ages!

Cost: $18 for non-members and $10 for members per person adult and youth 3-17; accompanying siblings 2 and under are free but must be registered.


**NEW! Learn Live! Pre-K Expeditions – For Learners Ages 3-5**

Your little learners aged 3-5 can embark on an unforgettable adventure through our Learn Live! Pre-K Expeditions. On the second Wednesday of every month (with the exception of June-August), children can enjoy games, crafts, experiments, storytime, and admission to the corresponding attraction. It’s a fun and interactive way to keep their curiosity alive. The next expedition will be offered on August 16 where we’ll be “Digging Dinos”! The expedition will feature the Dinosaur movie at the 3D IMAX and the Dino’s Alive exhibit. The fun continues on September 13 with “Nocturnal Night-Owls.” These morning sessions from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm fit perfectly into your little one’s routine. Tickets are required for all adults and children aged 3 and up, while babies up to 2 years old can join for free, however crafts and games are 3+.

Cost: $15 for non-members and $10 for members per person adult and youth 3-17; accompanying siblings 2 and under are free but must be registered.

Private tours and programs are available for schools, home school groups, clubs, or a private family outing. Reach out to us for more info!


**Scout Programs: Exploring and Earning Badges**

Attention all scouts from Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls, and Trail Life Troops! Moody Gardens is the perfect destination for your scouting adventures. Not only will you explore environments from around the world, but you’ll also have the opportunity to work towards earning badges while having a blast.

For scouts aged 11-17, we have Scouts BSA Merit Badge Workshops designed to help you earn and learn at the same time. Join us on August 20 for the “Sustainability” workshop and on September 3 for the “Mammal Study.” Our workshops are comprehensive and include exhibits or animal presentations related to the badge and are hands-on fun for everyone.

Private workshops are available for all ages and ranks, and you can even combine them with a sleepover to create a memorable Scouting Overnight Adventure. For more information and reservations, reach out to the provided email or phone number.


At Moody Gardens, we believe that education and adventure go hand in hand. Come and be a part of these incredible learning opportunities, where knowledge and excitement intersect. Whether you’re a homeschool family, a curious preschooler, or a scouting group, Moody Gardens welcomes you to explore, learn, and create memories that will last a lifetime. For more information and to secure your spot, contact us today by calling us at 409-683-4290 or emailing us at teaching@moodygardens.org​ for more information. We look forward to embarking on this educational journey with you!

Celebrating Our Dedicated Team During National Zookeeper Week!

Last week, we had the pleasure of celebrating National Zookeeper Week, a time dedicated to honoring the unsung heroes of our sanctuary – the hardworking and passionate individuals who dedicate their lives to caring for our beloved animals. As we reflect back on this special week, we cannot help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for our incredible team of zookeepers who make Moody Gardens a truly magical place.

One of our cherished team members, Janie, the talented Penguin & Seal Biologist, beautifully summed up her experience with the following heartfelt quote: “Over the last 2+ years, I have learned so much, made wonderful memories, and gotten to work with some amazing people and animals! The 14-year-old me that started volunteering at Moody Gardens could only dream of having this career, and I’m so happy to have achieved that dream. Hug your local zookeeper and enjoy the photos!”

Janie’s story exemplifies the journey of passion and dedication that our zookeepers embark upon. Many of them begin as bright-eyed volunteers, motivated by their love for wildlife and the desire to contribute positively to conservation efforts. Over time, they grow and learn, gaining valuable knowledge and hands-on experience through countless hours of hard work and determination.

These remarkable individuals play an integral role in our mission to utilize nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research. Through their care, expertise, and commitment, our animals thrive in a safe and nurturing environment, allowing visitors to witness their natural behaviors up close and personal.

National Zookeeper Week gives us the opportunity to recognize the challenges our team faces daily. From meticulously preparing diets tailored to each animal’s needs to creating stimulating environments that encourage physical and mental well-being, their dedication knows no bounds. Their efforts extend beyond the well-being of the animals, as they also serve as invaluable educators, teaching the public about the importance of conservation and the need to protect these incredible species.

At Moody Gardens, we take immense pride in our diverse and talented team of zookeepers who work tirelessly to ensure the happiness and well-being of our animals. Each member brings their unique skills, experience, and passion to the table, resulting in a vibrant and harmonious atmosphere that permeates throughout our sanctuary.

As we honored our zookeepers during this special week, we also wanted to extend our heartfelt appreciation to you, our dear visitors, and supporters. Your continued love and support make it possible for us to maintain our high standards of care and carry out crucial conservation efforts.

We encourage you to take a moment to express your gratitude to the zookeepers at your local wildlife sanctuaries and zoos, no matter the week. Their dedication often goes unnoticed, but their impact on the lives of both animals and humans is immeasurable.

So, from all of us here at Moody Gardens, a big shoutout to our amazing team of zookeepers! Your hard work, passion, and unwavering commitment inspire us daily, and we are incredibly fortunate to have you as part of our family.

Let us continue to cherish and protect the fascinating creatures that share our planet, and as Janie said, don’t forget to give your local zookeeper a warm hug of appreciation!

With heartfelt thanks and warm wishes,
Jaree Hefner
Moody Gardens Blogger

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