Meet Watt: Our Newest & Toughest Penguin Chick

The toughest new addition to the Moody Gardens penguin exhibit has been named after the toughest athlete in the Houston area – Texans defensive star J.J. Watt.

Watt, a baby King Penguin who hatched earlier this month, suffered an injury shortly after breaking out of his shell. Under the care of Moody Gardens biologists, Watt proved he was one tough chick and made a quick recovery. He is back on exhibit, joining the nearly 100 penguins housed in the Aquarium Pyramid.

“The little chick braved through it all,” said Moody Gardens assistant curator Diane Olsen. “It was an injury we had to keep an eye on, and our staff did a good job taking care of it.”

Olsen said she’s not completely sure how Watt suffered the injury, a cut on his back, but said it was likely caused by a squabble between the parent and another penguin. Penguins are extremely protective of their young and will fight those that appear to be a threat to their chick.

Galveston veterinarian Dr. Richard Henderson closed the wound after Watt was injured. From there, Moody Gardens Vet Tech Karen Holcroft and the rest of the penguin biologists treated him until the injury was healed.

“You always have to be worried about infection and stuff,” Olsen said. “We cleaned the wound and weighed him twice a day. We watched it very carefully.”

J.J. Watt is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most popular athletes in Houston. He was drafted by the Texans in 2011 out of Wisconsin, and quickly became known as one of the toughest players in the franchise’s history.

Olsen said that like all other chicks, the new King penguin will only be on exhibit with its parents for a limited time. Although adult penguins are expert swimmers, babies must be kept safely away from the exhibit waters until they become water savvy.

The gender of the young chick is still unknown because penguins are not sexually dimorphic, meaning it is impossible to tell male and female penguins apart based solely on looks. While away from the exhibit, blood tests will be done to determine the sex of the hatchling.

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE ON WATT

MOODY GARDENS KING PENGUIN HISTORY

King Penguins originally arrived in Galveston in 1998, when a group of staff members from the Aquarium at Moody Gardens joined biologists and other professionals from Chile, France and the United States on an expedition to South Georgia Island in the Antarctic to collect eggs. The eggs were gathered during the fall breeding season and then transported to Galveston and hatched prior to the opening of the Aquarium Pyramid in May 1999.

Moody Gardens has a successful breeding program, with 15 King Penguin chicks hatched since 2003. There has been a total six chicks hatched overall among the King, Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins this breeding season. This is the first King to hatch this year.

 

Spring Break Keeper Presentations

Here at Moody Gardens we have an amazing  curatorial staff that take great care of our animals on a daily basis. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes from feedings to training to medical care and much more! You can get a sneak peek into some of those interactions by checking out any of our Keeper Presentations during Spring Break. Just show up at the time listed in front of the corresponding exhibit and you’ll be able to see how our staff works directly with some of  our animals.

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DAILY SCHEDULE
(through March 16)

10:30 a.m. Aquarium Caribbean

10:30 a.m. Seal Exhibit

11:00 a.m. Penguin Exhibit

11:00 a.m. Otter Training

11:30 a.m. South Pacific

11:30 a.m. Butterfly Exhibit

1:00 p.m. Otter Training

1:30 p.m. Butterfly Exhibit

2:00 p.m. Aquarium Caribbean

2:00 p.m. Seal Exhibit

2:30 p.m. South Pacific

3:00 p.m. Penguin Exhibit

Senior Tuesdays at Moody Gardens

senior tuesdayMoody Gardens provides a fun and memorable experience for guests of all ages! From the playful penguins in the Aquarium Pyramid to the colorful creatures of the Rainforest Pyramid, there is something enjoyable for everyone.

 

Moody Gardens wants to encourage more seniors to come join us for a day of fun, which is why we have Senior Tuesday every week. Senior Tuesday gives guests over the age of 65 an opportunity to explore Moody Gardens at a discounted rate! On Tuesday, seniors only have to pay $5 to gain admission into each attraction.

 

Seniors can visit the Aquarium Pyramid and the Rainforest Pyramid for only ten bucks! That is nearly half the normal price for visiting just ONE of these amazing attractions.

 

If you live in a senior community and are looking for an exciting activity everyone can be a part of, Senior Tuesdays at Moody Gardens is your answer.

 

If you have a parent or grandparent over the age of 65, bringing them to Moody Gardens for Senior Tuesday is a great way to spend the day together creating memories, without having to break the bank.

 

You don’t have to order any tickets ahead of time or bring in a special coupon. We make it easy for you!  Simply show up to Moody Gardens on Tuesday and purchase your $5 ticket at the Moody Gardens Ticket Window! Restrictions may apply though, so if you have any questions or need more information don’t hesitate to call us at 800-582-4673.

 

If you decide to join us on any other day, senior prices are still discounted:

 

Aquarium Pyramid: Adult: $21.95, Child/Senior: $17.95

 

Rainforest Pyramid: Adult: $21.95, Child/Senior: $17.95

 

Discovery Museum: Adult: $9.95, Child/Senior: $7.95

 

4D Special FX Theater: Adult: $10.95, Child/Senior: $8.95

 

MG 3D Theater: Adult: $10.95, Child/Senior: $8.95

 

RideFilm Theater: Adult: $9.95, Child/Senior: $7.95

 

Colonel Paddlewheel Boat: Adult: $10.95, Child/Senior: $8.95

 

We look forward to seeing you on your next family weekend getaways in Texas. Moody Gardens is a premiere vacation destination in Texas, with the Moody Gardens Hotel being one of the best places to stay in Galveston.

 

Overnight Adventures with Moody Gardens

overnightThere is so much to see, learn, and participate in at Moody Gardens that it is impossible to fit it all into one trip! If your kids just can’t get enough of Moody Gardens, then Overnight Adventures is the solution! Whether you want to set up a Moody Gardens sleepover for friends or for a classroom, we would love to talk to you about the opportunity.

 

We offer two different overnight adventures. Depending on which adventure you choose, students will spend the night exploring either the Rainforest Pyramid or the Aquarium Pyramid.

 

Creatures of the Night

With the Creatures of the Night adventures, the kids explore how the rainforest comes alive once the sun goes down. Discover how the nocturnal creatures live by using all five of your senses to find your way through the Rainforest. The adventure includes tons of nighttime rainforest activities, including a tour of the Rainforest Pyramid. The sleepover takes place in the Rainforest Entrance.

 

Nights on the Reef

Have you always wandered what lives above and below the tropical oceans of the world, and what’s going on during the night? Come spend a night exploring and learning about coral reef inhabitants and how they adapt to their particular environment before getting a night’s rest in the aquarium.

 

Overnight Adventures run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., and include a late-night pizza snack and a light breakfast. The price is $1,000 for up to 20 people, and $50 for each extra person. Chaperones are required.

 

Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. To make your reservation, or for more information, call 1-800-582-4673, ext. 4325, or email us at education@moodygardens.com.

 

For a Moody Gardens sleepover that includes the whole family, make your reservations at the Moody Gardens Hotel, one of the best places to stay in Galveston. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Upcoming Events: Birding 101 and Birding 201

egretMoody Gardens is dedicated to educating the community on nature, animals, and conservation. We love getting involved with our guests while also teaching them about the nature and beauty that surrounds us. On our Calendar of Events, some of the exciting things we have coming up are Birding 101 and Birding 201.

 

Birding 101

Birding 101 is presented by Moody Gardens and the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council. Birding 101 is a class created to educate participants about the variety of bird life that can be seen on Galveston Island. The island is home to hundreds of species of birds such as egrets, herons, hawks, seagulls, and many more. The class is free and held on the second Saturday of each month. We want to be able to excite our people about the bird species we share the area with. Class meets in the Aquarium Pyramid lobby and is from 9-11 a.m.

 

Birding 201

Birding 201 gives participants a more in depth look at the bird life on the island. The instructor-led classes allow participants to visit certain areas of the island where they can spy some of the tremendous variety of birds. Instead of just teaching participants about the birds, Birding 201 actually takes you out to find them! Classes are held on the third Saturday of each month from 9-11a .m. The class is $5 and participants meet in the Aquarium Pyramid lobby. Moody Gardens will provide transportation. Due to high demand, we ask that you reserve you spot no later than the Wednesday prior to the class by calling 409-683-4101.

 

Make Moody Gardens the destination for your next family weekend getaways in Texas, and learn more about Galveston’s bird life while you’re here! If you’re on the hunt for one of the best places to stay in Galveston, make your reservations at the Moody Gardens Hotel.

Sea of Love: Valentine’s Dinner at Moody Gardens

valentinesSpend your Valentine’s Day on a unique date in Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid. Celebrate the romance by diving into an underwater dining experience! Seating is limited, so book now!

 

Choose from four different Aquarium Pyramid dining experiences:

 

Tunnel of Love: Feel as though you’re underwater in our Caribbean Exhibit tunnel. Enjoy your romantic dinner while sharks and other beautiful sea creatures swim overhead.

 

Sealed with a Kiss: First- and second-level seating is available by the seals and sea lions of the North Pacific Exhibit. These playful animals will add a splash of fun to your dining experience.

 

Fishin’ for Love: First and second level seating is available in the South Pacific Exhibit. The colorful fish inhabitants provide the perfect backdrop for your romantic evening.

 

Lovable Penguins: You’ll have to be careful around the penguins of the South Atlantic Exhibit! They’re so cute they may just steal your heart this Valentine’s Day!

 

Our Lover’s Menu is packed full of delicious options to make the dining experience one to remember!

 

Soup and Salad (choice of one):

  • Asparagus Bisque topped with Roasted Pear
  • Seven Leaf Salad with Fresh Berries and tossed with Raspberry Vinaigrette

 

Entrée Selection (choice of one):

  • Colonel’s Rib Eye Steak with Garlic Herb Shrimp served with Red Potatoes
  • Red Snapped topped with Lump Crab Meat Cream Sauce served with Sauteed Julianne Vegetables
  • Pan Grilled Chicken Breast topped with Grape Tomato and Porcini Mushroom Sauce served with Char-Grilled Asparagus

 

Dessert (YUM!):

  • Chocolate Heart Shaped Tiramisu for two: three-layer sponge cake with mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, whipped cream, coffee liqueur, chocolate shavings, and topped with cocoa. Served with Bailey’s whipped cream.

 

This special Sea of Love Valentine’s Dinner is $80 per couple (does not include tax and gratuity).  The event is from 6-8 p.m. on February 14, 2013.

 

Go ahead and turn the evening into an overnight romantic rendezvous with our special Valentine’s Hotel Package. For only $255, the package includes:

  • Valentine’s dinner
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Breakfast for two
  • Behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium Pyramid on Friday morning

 

Discover why Moody Gardens Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Galveston.

Make your reservations TODAY! Call 1-800-582-4673 ext. 4200.

Learn More About the Animal Residents

At Moody Gardens, we have thousands of animal residents and a huge variety of different species! Keep reading to learn more about these exciting creatures from all over the world.

pygmy loris

Pygmy Loris: A Pygmy loris is a mammal that can be found in the rainforests and bamboo groves throughout Asia, including China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. This wooly creature has a brown coat and grows to be up to ten inches long and weighs about two pounds. They are recognized by their large eyes and small ears. Pygmy lorises are nocturnal animals that feed on small invertebrates, eggs, small reptiles, fruits, and vegetation. They can easily climb trees because of their opposable thumbs and strong hands and feet. The Pygmy loris is a threatened species, but cooperative breeding and conservation by various organizations is helping to ensure their survival.

 

Gentoo Penguins: We have a special place in our heart for the penguin residents at Moody Gardens! The Gentoo penguin can be found on the sub-Antarctic islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. They are recognizable by their red eyes ringed in white feathers, with a white patch above each eye that extends over their head. Their black beak has a vibrant orange “swish” and they waddle around on orange feet. The Gentoo penguin is listed as a lower risk-near threatened species because of habitat destruction.

animals at mg

Ocelot: The ocelot is an endangered medium-sized wild cat with tawny fur and irregular dark brown spots and stripes. They come from arid and forested habitats all over the world, including many parts of Central and South America. Ocelots are terrific swimmers that hunt during the night feeding on small deer, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, birds, other small mammals, and sometimes they go fishing!

 

To learn more about the animals at Moody Gardens, come explore the Aquarium Pyramid and Rainforest Pyramid. Moody Gardens is the perfect destination for your next family weekend getaways in Texas.

 

Our Dedication to Saving Animals

saving animalsMoody Gardens is dedicated to the care and survival of animals. We go to great lengths to make sure we provide a comfortable home for our animal residents and provide assistance to animals in need.

Moody Gardens has worked with the Marine Stranding Network and other organizations to help rescue injured animals and rehabilitate them. Moody Gardens has helped to provide aid in the recovery and release of marine animals, such as dolphins and turtles, back into the wild.

A permanent home is also provided for animals that may not be able to survive in the wild, as in the case of Porter. Porter was a newborn abandoned harbor seal pup that needed treatment for dehydration and injuries. After the Marine Animal Lifeline nursed him back to health, he did not have the survival and hunting skills necessary to be released back into the wild. He is now a permanent resident of the Aquarium Pyramid’s North Pacific Exhibit.

At the Seahorse Symphony Exhibit in the Aquarium Pyramid, visitors are reminded of the quickly diminishing seahorse population. It’s estimated that each year around 20 million seahorses are taken from the ocean to be used as souvenirs, pets, and for medicine. Project Seahorse is a collaborative international effort that focuses on conservation habitats, educating visitors, and making a difference for the seahorse population.

The efforts of Moody Gardens have been as widespread as South America, where a rescue team helped save a colony of Caribbean Flamingos after their home was attacked by jaguars. Also, the King Penguins at Moody Gardens are a genetically desirable group that have been part of a breeding exchange program with other institutions, helping to ensure their species survival.

Come visit the King Penguins and Porter the seal at the Aquarium Pyramid on your next family weekend getaway in Texas. Don’t forget to stop in and see the variety of animal residents at the Rainforest Pyramid! We look forward to seeing you soon.

Adopt a Moody Gardens Animal

200351967-001By adopting a Moody Gardens Animal, you don’t get to take the exotic creatures home with you, but you do get to contribute to providing them with a quality life. Moody Gardens is home to over 5,500 animals, and it costs over $150,000 to feed all of them each year.

 

By becoming an adoptive parent, you are helping to contribute to the cost of food, care, habitat improvements, and animal enrichment.

 

The following animals are available for adoption:

 

Aquarium Pyramid

 

  • Weedy Sea Dragon
  • Harbor Seal
  • Brown Shark
  • Sand Tiger Shark
  • Barracuda
  • False Clownfish
  • Blue Tang
  • Dogface Pufferfish
  • Yellow Tang
  • Bahamas Starfish
  • Raccoon Butterflyfish
  • Peppermint Cleaner Shrimp
  • Blacktip Reef Shark
  • French Angelfish
  • Queen Triggerfish
  • Southern Stingray
  • Cownose Stingray
  • White Spotted Bamboo Shark
  • King Penguin
  • Chinstrap Penguin
  • Rockhopper Penguin
  • Gentoo Penguin
  • Macaroni Penguin
  • Northern Fur Seal

 

Rainforest Pyramid

 

  • Military Macaw
  • White-face Saki Monkey
  • Giant River Otter
  • Pink Pigeon
  • Cottontop Tamarin
  • Pygmy Slow Loris
  • Arapaima
  • Lake Victoria Cichlids
  • Red Bellied Piranha
  • Prehensile Tail Porcupine
  • Blue Hyancith Macaw
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Green Anaconda
  • Green Basilisk

 

When you become a part of the Adopt-An-Animal program at Moody Gardens, you receive a personalized certificate of adoption, 5×7 color photographs, and an animal fact sheet. However, with a higher-level adoption package you will receive even more benefits.

 

The following are the available adoption packages:

 

Level I – $35.00

  • Certificate of Adoption – personalized
  • 5×7 Photograph
  • Fact Sheet
  • Recognition on “Adoptive Parents” board

Level II – $75.00

  • All Level I benefits
  • Father’s Day and/or Mother’s Day card
  • 2 Aquarium Pyramid or 2 Rainforest Pyramid Tickets

Level III – $100.00

  • All Level II benefits
  • Name on Adoptive Parent Web Board
  • Invitation to Adoptive Parent Event (+1 guest)

Level IV – $200.00

  • All Level III benefits
  • 2 Aquarium Pyramid or 2 Rainforest Pyramid Tickets
  • Guided tour of Rainforest Pyramid or Aquarium Pyramid for 2

 

Call the Adopt-an-Animal hotline at 1-800-582-4673, ext. 4325 or email us at adopt@moodygardens.com to learn more. You can also start filling out your adoption application here.

Moody Gardens Offers Fun For the Whole Family

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Moody Gardens is the perfect place for an entire family vacation, or even just a daylong adventure. Here at Moody Gardens, every member of your family will find something fun and interesting to entertain them.

 

The Moody Gardens Attractions, from the Aquarium Pyramid to the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, provide enough fun for everyone in the family. Kids will love getting up close with the penguins in the Penguin Encounter! For the adventurous family members, don’t miss out on catching a movie and a ride at the Ridefilm Theater. The technology of the Ridefilm Theater literally makes you feel like you are a part of the action!

 

Parents who are looking for a romantic evening on the water should book reservations for the dinner cruise on Colonel Paddlewheel Boat on the second Saturday of each month! Enjoy a delicious dinner and live entertainment while getting some time alone together. Please make your reservation by the Wednesday before the scheduled dinner cruise at 1-800-582-4673, ex. 4419.

 

The whole family will enjoy one of the most authentic rainforest recreations at the Rainforest Pyramid. The walk-in butterfly exhibit is one of Moody Gardens most beloved features, and enjoyable for family members from one to one hundred. Not only are the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids entertaining, they also provide educational opportunities by teaching visitors about the nature that lives within the habitats.

 

When the gang gets hungry, there are plenty of dining options here at Moody Gardens. Choose from The Gardens Restaurant, or in the Moody Gardens Hotel there is The Terrace Restaurant, Shearn’s Restaurant, Lobby Bar, Pool Bar, and Blossom. Don’t forget that your kids can eat free at The Terrace Restaurant when you’re staying at the Moody Gardens Hotel!

 

When Mom and Dad are ready to unwind, don’t miss out on our special deals for the Moody Gardens Golf Course and the Spa at Moody Gardens! We look forward to seeing you and the whole family soon!