#JurassicZooKeepers: Moody Gardens Edition!

It’s not always easy being a zoo keeper! Good thing we’ve got our very own set of #JurassicZooKeepers to keep everything under control. Our keepers tamed the most ferocious Moody Gardens animals using the Chris Pratt’s Jurassic World training tactic. Okay, they might not be the most ferocious animals but they are still pretty cool:

Snake Jurassic

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komodo jurrassic

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Do you want to be a #JurassicZooKeeper too? You’re in luck because we also have dinosaurs! Visit our Dinos Alive exhibit and join in on the fun! Share your best #JurassicZooKeeper photo on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtags #DinosAlive and #JurassicZooKeeper. Ready, set…rawr! 

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Moody Gardens Assists Texas State Aquarium with Restocking Efforts

Following a tragedy at the Texas State Aquarium last month, the AZA aquarium community stepped up in support of our colleagues with offers of replacement exhibit specimens from our own collections.  Moody Gardens was able to contribute 18 exhibit fish to this effort.  Donated specimens included 8 Pompano, 3 Rock Beauty Angelfish, 3 Porcupine Puffers, 1 Red Drum, 1 Red Snapper, 1 Crevalle Jack, and 1 Tripletail.

We were also able to transport these fish as well as 8 adult cownose stingrays from the Houston Downtown Aquarium to Corpus Christi and assist in getting them put directly on display.  This effort is one small part of the larger AZA community response that emphasizes the collaborative collection management that makes our industry so strong.

For more information on how you can help, visit texasstateaquarium.org/support-us/recovery-fund/

Taveta Golden Weavers

Taveta Golden Weavers – Rainforest Pyramid

A group of 22 Taveta Golden Weavers are the newest addition to the Rainforest Pyramid! This small, yellow bird is an African (Kenya and Tanzania) species of songbird that weaves oval shaped nests. The males are the nest builders and they usually are colonial nesters. Females pick a mate based on the male’s skill at weaving. The males are already making themselves at home and are working on more than 3 different nests at the moment. Make sure to look up and see if you can spot them next time you visit the Rainforest Pyramid!

SPONGEBOB SUBPANTS ADVENTURE OPENS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND IN GRAND STYLE!

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Moody Gardens invites you to come help us celebrate the debut of the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure as it opens its doors to the public on May 23. Moody Gardens has planned a Memorial Day weekend full of fun and festive entertainment for the whole family to enjoy!

The free public activities are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 23 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 24 and 25 in the Discovery Pyramid Plaza and Herb Garden.

Activities include:

  • Meet and Greet with SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks (*Sandy only on Sunday)
  • Watch Nickelodeon illustrators create original SpongeBob SquarePants artwork. Those who visit the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure on May 23 will have the chance to win some of these one-of-a-kind drawings.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants-themed arts-and-crafts
  • Hourly performances from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 23 by Houston’s Sweft Dance Troupe as they show guests and Sandy Cheeks how to line dance to songs themed around Sandy’s home state of Texas.

The SpongeBob SubPants Adventure is a one-of-a-kind interactive experience that guests on a submarine voyage to explore the world of Bikini Bottom with the help of their captain, Patrick Star. Guests are able to have real-time conversations with Patrick and will help choose their path through the wild and silly deep-sea adventure for the whole family to enjoy only at Moody Gardens. Admission is $18.95 for adults and $16.95 for seniors and children. It is also included in a Moody Gardens Value Pass.

For more information, call (800) 582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org.

Celebrate Mother’s Day Weekend at Moody Gardens!

We’ve got a fun-filled Mother’s Day weekend ahead of us! Join us for any of the following events and activities:

FRIDAY – SUNDAY | Red Cat Jazz Festival:

Red Cat Jazz Festival 2015Red Cat Jazz Preservation Society, Inc. presents the 5th annual Red Cat Jazz Festival at the Moody Gardens Hotel! There will be four days of non-stop live jazz concerts featuring a variety of local and international jazz artists. Invited guests include Grammy winner Kirk Whalum, Ronnie Laws, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Mindi Abair, Peter White, Hiroshima, Jazz in Pink, Mike Phillips and a host of others.

The 2015 festival will feature the following:

  • Friday, May 8: Celebrity Golf Classic hosted by Mike Phillips at the Moody Gardens Golf Course, Veteran’s Luncheon, VIP All-White Attire Poolside Party and After Party
  • Saturday, May 9: Red Cat for Pink, Women Empowerment Conference, T.E.A.M. Scholarship Workshop and Live Jazz Concerts
  • Sunday, May 10: Red Cat Jazz Legends Awards Breakfast and Live Jazz Concerts

CLICK HERE for more information

SATURDAY | 9 A.M. | Birding 101
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Presented by Moody Gardens® and Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, Birding 101 is a series of free classes designed to educate and excite people about the tremendous variety of bird life routinely seen around Galveston Island. Classes are from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and meet at the Aquarium Pyramid lobby.

SATURDAY | 10 A.M. | Demo Day at the Moody Gardens Golf Course

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Representatives from Titleist, Callaway and Ping will be at the Driving Range with all the latest technologies for you to try out! If you have been thinking about getting new clubs, or just curious about the new products available, this day is for you! For more information, contact PGA Professional, Rick Christ, at (409) 683-1201 or rchrist@moodygardens.org.

SUNDAY | 11 A.M. | Mother’s Day Buffets

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Treat mom to one of our special Mother’s Day Buffets this Sunday.

The Garden Restaurant will be serving a wide array of fruits, fresh greens, and scrumptious entrées like carved prime rib and hand-sliced Texas rope sausage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A special dessert spread of cakes, cookies and pies will also be included. Buffet prices are $35.95 for adults, $25.95 for seniors, $15.95 for children ages 5-12 and free for children 4 and under. For the full menu, CLICK HERE.

The Moody Gardens Hotel is also hosting their decadent Mother’s Day Buffet! Enjoy complimentary Bloody Marys and Mimosas as well as smoked prime rib, carved yucatan grouper, herb roasted chicken and more! Prices for the Mother’s Day Buffet are $52.95 for adults, $42.95 for seniors, $24.95 for children 4-12, and children three and under are free. Seating times for the Mother’s Day Buffet are available every half hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For Buffet reservations call 409-683-4466. For the full menu, CLICK HERE.

SUNDAY | Mother’s Day Special at the Moody Garden’s Golf Course

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Moms play FREE at the Moody Gardens Golf Course on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10) with a paid accompanying round! Limit one free green/cart fee round per paid green/cart fee. Call 409-683-4653 and mention this post to make a tee time.

SUNDAY | Last Day to Discover the Ice Age

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Be sure to visit Discover the Ice Age in the Discovery Pyramid before it closes its doors on May 10! This is an exciting and educational exhibition that invites you to travel back in time to discover a frigid world, covered in ice and occupied by mammoths, saber-toothed cats, bears, gigantic birds, cave people and more. The exhibit features life-sized animatronic animals, real fossils, some of which can be touched by our guests, and cast skeletons set within elaborate Ice Age scenery.

NEW SPONGEBOB SUBPANTS ADVENTURE FEATURES NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN TECHNOLOGY

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Always among the leaders in use of state-of-the-art technology, Moody Gardens is showcasing another first in entertainment with the opening of its new attraction, the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure.

Moody Gardens has partnered with Nickelodeon, Super 78 and SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment to create this innovative attraction opening in the Discovery Pyramid on May 23. Harnessing the power of modern computer technology and classic artistic techniques, a group of designers, engineers, fabricators and  animators who are responsible for many of the world’s leading theme park attractions have come together to create the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure.

Guests will experience a whole new kind of submarine adventure as they take the “Le Plunger” into the hyper-real, life-sized world of Bikini Bottom which is viewed through a 30-foot wide observation window. Patrick Star and the rest of his animated underwater pals are seen on screen through 3D technology, as guests are able to have real-time conversations with him and help choose their path through the underwater adventure. To further immerse guests, four large viewing portholes bring the experience of the entire submarine to life.

To make this all possible, Super 78, an attraction design and production company, has provided their newest custom software and hardware for the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure named the Gepettoo. This Animation Control System allows a performer behind the scenes to control all aspects of the full-sensory experience on screen in front of audiences. The performer’s voice becomes an on-screen character, and he has an unlimited palette of animation options which brings the character to life. The performer also runs the lights, sounds, bubbles, and scents with the push of a button.

SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment created custom seats, designed and installed all theater systems and programmed special effects in new ways to enhance the adventure. They worked closely with Super 78 to integrate the virtual actor system into the overall attraction.

“This collaboration creates an emotionally engaging experience with innovative technology and definitely takes 4D storytelling to the next level,” said Mike Frueh, Senior Vice President, Licensing & Distribution at SimEx-Iwerks.

Also used in the design of this breakthrough attraction is Mushroom VR, a proprietary attraction design tool that utilizes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to pre-visualize the experience. It provides an accurate guest-experience assessment of all the attraction content, including 3D environments, media, scenic and show elements, making it seem as if you are submerged within Bikini Bottom.

“For the first time ever, the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure will allow guests to interact ‘live and in person’ with a 3D digital character, a major breakthrough in digital puppetry,” said Michael “Oz” Smith, Super 78’s Technical Director. “And because guests also help navigate the sub, choosing which direction the adventure takes, every voyage will be truly one-of-a-kind.”

This world-class technology immerses guests in a non-stop whirlwind of surprises with fun for the whole family to enjoy.

For more information, visit moodygardens.org/subpants

SpongeBob SquarePants Adventure Lets Guests Choose Their Own Submarine Adventure

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Moody Gardens guests can visit iconic destinations and meet their favorite underwater characters from Nickelodeon’s global phenomenon SpongeBob SquarePants when the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure debuts in the Discovery Pyramid this Memorial Day weekend. Guests will experience all the stages of a submarine voyage, complete with live animals and a visit from the hapless captain, Patrick Star, who takes you on a wild and silly deep-sea adventure:

  • The doors open to a pier-themed pre-show area filled with hands-on activities and tanks full of remarkable sea life. Guests will be transported back in time through L’Oceanauts Submarine Explorations’ vintage “mission briefing” film that explores the beauty of coral reefs.
  • The audience will encounter real sea stars, jellyfish, sea sponges and squids while also learning about the importance of sea-life conservation.
  • Then, step aboard “Le Plunger” submarine and take your 3D glasses before you depart from the dock for open water. The SUB then descends to a familiar underwater town as SpongeBob SquarePants and your tour guide, Patrick Star, appear through the front window of the SUB.
  • Have improvised, real-time interaction with Patrick while he takes you to destinations of your choosing through Bikini Bottom.
  • They can have their fortune read by Patrick in Goo Lagoon, try the jellyfish dating call in Jellyfish Fields or learn a special dance from Sandy Cheeks. Guests will also try to stop Plankton from taking over the SUB in his evil plan to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula.
  • Smell the sunscreen, pop bubbles above your head and hit around a beach ball when the 3D images on the screen transform from digital to real time through exciting 4D sensory elements and live narration.

The SpongeBob SubPants Adventure is a non-stop whirlwind of surprises that is fun for the whole family only at Moody Gardens!

For more information, call (800) 582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org.

©2015 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, SpongeBob SquarePants and all related titles, logos and characters are
trademarks of Viacom International Inc. Created by Stephen Hillenburg.

MG SPOTLIGHT: Wild Almond Tree

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Spring is finally in the air, which means many of Moody Gardens’ 20,000 plants and trees will soon be blooming.

One of the trees currently in bloom is the Sterculia foetida, also known as the Wild Almond tree.

Native to East Africa, the Wild Almond’s genus is taken from Sterculius of Roman mythology, the god of manure. The name is in reference to the unpleasant aroma of the Wild Almond flowers.

While its flower’s smell isn’t the best, the tree’s wood is so durable that it is used as masts for ships. It also produces large nuts that are dark, smooth, woody and boat shaped. The nuts burst open to reveal many filbert-sized black seeds which are roasted and eaten like chestnuts.

Sound like a good ingredient for your next trail mix? Well there is a downside to these nuts. If eaten raw and in excess, it can cause nausea and vertigo.

The Wild Almond’s leaves and bark have considerable medicinal value thanks to an extract called Gum karaya. The extract is used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods, as a laxative, and as a denture adhesive. The oil from its seeds is also given internally for itching and skin diseases.

The Wild Almond doesn’t bloom for very long. In fact, as you can see from the photos, the Moody Gardens Wild Almond is almost done, with small, reddish flowers that are borne in clusters.

It doesn’t bloom for very long, in fact, it’s about done….flowers are small, reddish & borne in clusters. And yes…they do stink. Thanks Sterculius!

MOODY MADNESS: Favorite MG Animal

The inaugural Moody Madness tournament produced plenty of drama and upsets last year. In the end, the California Sea Lion was voted by you as the favorite animal at Moody Gardens.

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Can the Sea Lion repeat as champs? We’re about to find out with the second annual Moody Madness.

The most popular animals from the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids are squaring off in a bracket-style tournament this week. The animals were seeded based on last year’s results, but that doesn’t mean upsets aren’t possible.

Make sure your favorite animal makes it to the championship. Vote now: http://woobox.com/guw6iz 

UPDATE: Congratulations to the Saki Monkey, our 2015 Moody Madness Champion

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NEW ATTRACTION: One-Of-A-Kind SpongeBob SubPants Interactive Experience!

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Moody Gardens continues to evolve through the years by offering new and innovative attractions for the public to enjoy. The newest interactive experience being introduced to the Discovery Pyramid is no exception to that. Guests will dive into an undersea voyage with the debut of the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure, this Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25.

This first-of-its-kind, choose-your-own-path, immersive experience lets visitors join their favorite underwater friends from Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants for a submarine adventure to Bikini Bottom through a 3D digital show that features live narration; a unique interactive option that allows guests to choose which locations to visit on their underwater journey; and exciting 4D sensory elements, such as wind, seat sensors, bubbles, leg ticklers and scents that make the aquatic town come to life.

Before guests descend into the deep sea on the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure “Le Plunger” submarine, the audience will encounter real sea stars, squids and sponges as they learn about ocean and sea-life conservation. They will then dive towards Bikini Bottom for a unique, multi-sensory experience, having real-time conversations with their tour guide, Patrick Star; traveling to destinations, like Jellyfish Fields, Rock Bottom, Sandy’s Treedome and Goo Lagoon; and encountering other surprises from SpongeBob SquarePants, Sandy and Plankton.

“Our objective is always to provide that fun, educational experience that is so important to parents and kids, and the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure attraction will achieve this in a new and exciting way,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt, who added that Nickelodeon serves as the ideal partner in creating memorable family experiences. “This is real engagement. Visitors will be able to interact with the Nickelodeon characters on a digital stage as they have never been able to do before.”

Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation and research. For updates, hours and to buy tickets, visit moodygardens.org