Category: Aquarium Pyramid (page 1 of 8)

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.

 

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.

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

Start Your Day Right at Moody Gardens: An Insider Tip From Our Family to Yours!

Hey there, fellow adventurers! Welcome to Moody Gardens, where nature meets fun and excitement! Today, we’re going to let you in on a little secret that will take your experience to the next level. So, grab your hats, sunglasses, and a large coffee cup of enthusiasm as we embark on a journey to discover the best time to explore the Rainforest Pyramid and Aquarium Pyramid.

Picture this: It’s a bright and beautiful morning, the sun is shining, and the chirping birds are heralding a new day. You step into the lush oasis of Moody Gardens and feel an instant surge of anticipation. But wait, there’s a strategy here, my friend! If you want to witness the animal kingdom in all its glory, you must set your alarm clock to be here as the clock strikes 10 am.

Why, you ask? Well, let us spill the beans. When the gates open, and the first rays of sunlight pierce through the trees, our animal friends are wide awake, fresh, and brimming with energy. Just like us humans, they’ve had a good night’s sleep and are ready to tackle the day ahead. No groggy morning faces or sleepy yawns for these lively creatures!

If you head straight to the Rainforest Pyramid, you’ll find yourself in awe of the vibrant ecosystem buzzing with life all around you. As you venture deeper into the dense foliage, you’ll spot colorful birds showing off their plumage, playful monkeys swinging from tree to tree, and mischievous sloths peeking out from their leafy hideouts. It’s a symphony of sights and sounds that will leave you singing a happy little tune.

But hold your seahorses, because we’re not done yet! Next up, make your way to the Aquarium Pyramid. Trust us; the underwater wonders are best experienced when our aquatic friends are feeling chipper and sociable. From majestic sharks to graceful stingrays, you’ll witness an underwater oasis that will make your heart skip a beat.

At 10 am, it’s the perfect time to catch the sharks and sting rays setting out on their morning swim, witness the curious penguins waddling about, and marvel at the mesmerizing dance of the jellyfish. You might even catch a glimpse of our resident sea lion, performing his daily showmanship with a cheeky twinkle in his eye.

By visiting the Rainforest Pyramid and Aquarium Pyramid in the morning, you’ll enjoy a double dose of energy, excitement, and sociability. Our animal friends are more likely to interact, play, and show off their unique personalities during these vibrant morning hours. It’s like having a backstage pass to witness the animal kingdom at its best! Whether you’re an early bird or need a few cups of coffee to wake up, we guarantee this magical experience will be worth it.

So, what are you waiting for? Dust off your explorer’s hat, grab your camera (no flash!), and get ready to be amazed at Moody Gardens. The rainforest and the ocean await, filled with charismatic creatures eager to make your day an unforgettable one!

See you bright and early at 10 am, fellow adventurers! Let the wild and wonderful journey begin!

Nurse Sharks arrive at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid

Moody Gardens welcomes six nurse sharks to the Caribbean exhibit inside the Aquarium Pyramid. The nurse sharks came to Moody Gardens from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington as a result of that facility undergoing renovations on their exhibit and no longer being able to house the sharks. Moody Gardens was able to provide accommodations with a solution that was mutually beneficial to both facilities.

There are six large nurse sharks each weighing around 250 pounds and aged from 30 to 42 years old. The Caribbean exhibit is approximately 20 feet deep and is currently home to a large variety of fish, stingrays, eels, and sharks. “The sharks are doing amazing in the exhibit and we are thrilled to have them,” said Aquarium Curator Diane Olsen. The nurse sharks are loving their new exhibit and are staying very active. The aquarium biologists continue to monitor all of them closely to see how they continue to adapt to their new home.

The team here at Moody Gardens as well as the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium team all played a huge role in transporting the Nurse Sharks. A team was assembled from members of various departments including maintenance, biologists, divers, and vet techs to assist in the move into the exhibit. The move of these sharks was the largest that the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid staff has taken on. Custom equipment was used to transport the large sharks and it took a lot of planning and effort to move these animals. “It was like clockwork and it was amazing how well the team and sharks did,” said Diane Olsen, Curator at the Aquarium.

The role the nurse sharks play here at Moody Gardens is to display the diversity of sharks. Nurse sharks are very easy to identify. They are not grayish in coloration. Instead, they are yellowish-brown. They also have characteristically round heads, barbels that they use to search for prey, and very small eyes. Nurse Sharks are very unique because they have a societal role and form groups that they stay with their entire life.

Visit the nurse sharks and all their fish friends inside the Caribbean exhibit inside the Aquarium Pyramid. The Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the United States. With over 1.5 million gallons of water, the Aquarium Pyramid houses marine life from five distinct environments. Not only does the collection include seals and sea lions, but they also have penguins, stingrays, sharks, and over 200 different species of fish.

 

Moody Gardens predicts winner of Super Bowl LIV with help of harbor seal

With seemingly everyone predicted which team will be victorious in the Super Bowl, Moody Gardens has had the help of long-time resident harbor seal, Porter, to decide this year’s winner.

 

Porter was given the choice between two balls, a yellow one representing the San Francisco 49ers, and a red one representing the Kansas City Chiefs and was given direction by his keeper to retrieve the balls. Both balls were thrown out three times with Porter sent to retrieve them each time.

 

Porter has lived in the North Pacific Exhibit of the Aquarium Pyramid since 2001. He was found stranded off the coast of Maine with an injury to his eye that ultimately led to the removal of that eye to prevent the spread of infection. He was initially taken to Marine Animal Lifeline, a rescue and rehabilitation center for marine wildlife. When it came time to determine if Porter was well enough to be released back into the wild he was given live fish to see how he would respond to having to catch his own food. Instead of eating the fish he would instead just play with them so it was determined he would need to find a forever home, which is what Moody Gardens has become.

 

Click here to see who Porter picked to win the big game.

GIVING THANKS: NEW AND ADOPTED BABY PENGUINS HATCH AT MOODY GARDENS

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, and we’re offering a very warm welcome for several healthy Macaroni penguin chicks, which includes the hatching of the six eggs recently brought from Sea World San Diego and the very significant bonus of two others being the first successful hatching of the Macaroni penguin species from pairs already calling the South Atlantic exhibit home.

 

The six eggs from Sea World San Diego made quite a journey traveling on a commercial flight following a streamlined process initiated by their keepers in California. Once arriving at Moody Gardens they were placed in an incubator and cared for by staff until it was time for them to make their debut. These eggs seemingly couldn’t wait to join the Moody Gardens family as their anticipated hatch dates were set for Nov. 25-28 but the hatching started on Nov. 22 and continued through the weekend so that all six eggs have already hatched out.

 

“We are extremely grateful and excited for these new chicks to join the exhibit here at Moody Gardens,” said Assistant Curator Diane Olsen. “They received excellent care from the staff at Sea World San Diego and we are ready to continue that care as these chicks continue to grow and mature.”

 

In addition to these “adopted” penguin babies joining the South Atlantic Penguin Exhibit, two other native Macaroni penguin pairs are celebrating Thanksgiving with babies of their own.

 

The first native chick hatched on Nov. 17. The proud penguin parents are Bleu, a male who came to Moody Gardens from the Biodome in Montreal, Canada in 2007, and Gorgonzola, a female hatched at Sea World San Diego who arrived at Moody Gardens in 2017.

 

A few days later on Nov. 21, the second native chick made its debut. Its parents are Munster, a male also from the Biodome who came to Moody Gardens in 2007 and Gouda, a female from Newport Aquarium who moved into the South Atlantic exhibit in 2015.

 

Munster, Bleu, Gorgonzola and Gouda are just four of the Macaroni penguins calling Moody Gardens’ home. Their friends in the exhibit have names like Brie, Pepper Jack, Colby and more, in keeping with the whimsical tradition instituted by their biologists. Since these new chicks are the first in a second generation of Macaroni penguins at Moody Gardens their keepers have decided to name them after pastas to go along with the existing theme of cheeses for a little more biologist fun.

 

“Biologists like their puns and having animals like the Macaroni penguins gives us a great opportunity to show off our fun side,” Olsen said.

 

Stay tuned to Moody Gardens’ social media as we continue to share more exciting updates about the newest additions to our penguin family.

Rhapsody on the Reef

A VERY SPECIAL EVENING FOR A VERY SPECIAL CAUSE: MOODY GARDENS HOSTS RHAPSODY ON THE REEF

Experience one of nature’s most spectacular and rare ocean phenomena as Moody Gardens introduces the “Rhapsody on the Reef” coral spawning event on Aug. 23 at the Aquarium Pyramid. Guests will enjoy this amazing spectacle with light hors d’oeuvres, live music, cocktails, a variety of speakers and a silent auction as money is raised to help with ocean conservation.

 

While it occurs 150 miles off the coast of Galveston in the Gulf of Mexico, most people are unaware of this coral spawning. It takes place within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, one of 14 federally designated underwater areas protected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. It is the only sanctuary site located in the Gulf of Mexico. The total area of the sanctuary is about 56 square miles (about 36,000 acres), divided between three distinct areas: East Flower Garden Bank, West Flower Garden Bank and Stetson Bank.

 

Discovered at the turn of the 20th century by fishermen in search of snapper and grouper, the banks’ colorful reefs are the northernmost in the continental United States. Fishermen nicknamed this area the “Texas Flower Gardens” because of the colorful marine life they saw on the reefs below them. By the time the sanctuary was designated, the term ‘banks’ had been added to the name as a reference to the salt dome formations upon which the reefs are perched.

 

The coral spawning event allows corals at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to reproduce and disperse their genetic material over large distances. It also allows for genetic mixing between species of coral for greater diversification. In ways that defy scientific understanding, each coral species times its spawning for maximum benefit to the ecosystem in general.

 

At the Flower Garden Banks, this event typically occurs 7-10 days after the full moon in August. The timing for these mass spawning events varies from reef to reef around the world. The stunning phenomenon brings to mind an underwater blizzard with billions of colorful flakes cascading in white, yellow, red, and orange. These flakes, known as planula will eventually settle in a particular area and begin to bud in the ocean developing a coral colony.

 

At “Rhapsody on the Reef,” Moody Gardens will livestream the coral spawning live from the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary into the Aquarium Pyramid. The event will also feature presentations from NOAA, Galveston Bay Foundation and others as well as live music featuring a fun selection of contemporary music by the River Oaks String Quartet, a delightful menu of light hors d’oeuvres and desserts, a cash bar and a silent auction.

 

NOAA representatives will present on the coral spawning event and how sanctuary researchers have been documenting the mass coral spawning to accumulate more precise data on timing and species participation. The Galveston Bay Foundation will also present details on their annual report card for Galveston Bay providing scientific analysis of the health of the bay thereby inspiring others to take action to protect and preserve our waters.

 

“We are excited to be able to provide our guests with the chance to experience this beautiful phenomenon in a unique setting,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt, adding that this experience ideally fits with Moody Gardens’ mission to educate the public as the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is a hidden gem sitting just 150 miles off the coast of Galveston Island.

 

Early bird tickets are $85 per person until Aug. 16. The regular price is $100 per person starting Aug. 17 with proceeds going to the Moody Gardens’ Conservation Fund. The funds raised from this event will go specifically to coral conservation efforts around the world.

 

Click here for more information about Rhapsody on the Reef, or to purchase tickets.

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