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!

 

Moody Gardens Offers Live Webcams!

Experience Moody Gardens a little bit before you come visit us! At moodygardens.com, we offer live webcams allowing you to get a real time view of what the animals of Moody Gardens are up to! Our live webcams keep track of the seal exhibit, the penguins, the rainforest watch cam and a pyramid view! Since Moody Gardens is dedicated to the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research, we want you to be able to experience as much of what we do as possible.

 

You can watch the penguins jumping in and out of the water, cuddling up, or gathering around for mealtime. Penguins are always having fun and doing funny things.

 

Catch a glimpse of the beautiful, brightly colored birds perching on trees on the live rainforest watch cam. You never know which rainforest creature you are going to get to see, but it’s always interesting.

 

The large seals are especially fun to watch, especially during their feeding time. They love coming up out of the water to greet the great people who take care of them on a daily basis. Sometimes the seals will disappear for a little bit for a nap, but then pop back on up on the screen swimming around belly-up!

 

Our pyramid view is especially helpful if you want to check the exact weather conditions of the Moody Gardens grounds. The live webcam gives a clear view of the sky, so you can check for dark clouds or beautiful sunny skies.

 

The live webcams at Moody Gardens also give you the opportunity to see firsthand how the animals are cared for. Watching live mealtimes, or just seeing the caretakers interacting with the animals provides an up close look at the daily lives of our favorite animal residents.

 

If you’re looking for a fun place to visit on your Texas weekend family getaways, come see us at Moody Gardens. Explore the Aquarium Pyramid and Rainforest Pyramid and then catch a movie at the Moody Gardens 3D Theater. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Learn More About the Animals at Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens is home to over 5,500 animals representing 650 different species from around the world.  Moody Gardens is a member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and is dedicated to the survival of selected wildlife species. We’ve put together a few fun facts about some of the awesome animals living at Moody Gardens.

 

Blue Duiker: The blue duiker is a small antelope with slate-colored fur and a slight bluish tint. The average lifespan of this nocturnal animal is about ten to twelve years. Blue duikers come from forested and shrub habitats, including rainforests throughout central and southern Africa. They are omnivorous, feeding on seeds, mosses, leaves, fruit, and the occasional small animal. The word “duiker” is Afrikaans for “diver,” and the animal was given this name because the antelope dives into undergrowth when startled. The animal is becoming less common in the wild because of hunting. It is not necessarily threatened with extinction but still needs extra care to ensure its survival.

African Speckled Pigeon: This African bird is brown to bluish-gray with a gray head and underside. Its name stems from the white speckles on its wings. These birds also have red skin visible around each eye. They can grow to be about thirteen inches in length from head to tail. African Speckled Pigeons can be found in grasslands, urban areas, forests, and cliff ledges south of the African Sahara. They eat seeds, grains, and fruits and are a very urban species in Africa. They are a non-threatened species.

Panamanian Golden Frog: This brightly colored frog is yellow-orange with black splotches. Its skin secretions are toxic and used as a defense mechanism against predators. The Panamanian Golden Frog can be found in moist, humid, forested areas in Panama (hence the name). This golden frog is an insectivore, surviving off a variety of insects. It is a cultural symbol of the Republic of Panama and is a threatened species, meaning it needs extra precautions taken to ensure its survival.

Learn more about the animals of Moody Gardens by visiting the Aquarium Pyramid and Rainforest Pyramid. Be sure to check out the Moody Gardens Hotel for family-friendly accommodations on your next trip.

Field Trips to Moody Gardens

While Moody Gardens is fun and entertaining, it is first and foremost a nonprofit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research. Which is why it is the perfect destination for a field trip! There is so much to learn and explore at Moody Gardens. Guided and unguided programs are available. There are three different fantastic field trip options to choose from.

 

Rainforest Exploration

Students will get to experience hands-on fun with some of Moody Gardens’ exotic animals at The Learning Place. A guided tour through our “tropical classroom,” the Rainforest Pyramid, gives students the opportunity to observe interesting plants, exotic fish, and colorful birds from the rainforests of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The trip includes a visit to the MG 3D Theater for a multi-sensory viewing of an educational film.

 

Ocean Exploration

An instructional presentation starts off this underwater adventure and is followed by a guided tour of the Aquarium Pyramid. In the underwater “classroom,” students observe exotic fish, unusual invertebrates, frolicking seals, and playful penguins. The Aquarium Pyramid features the underwater environment of the Caribbean, South Atlantic, North Pacific, and South Pacific. The trip includes a visit to the MG 3D Theater.

 

Funday

You can custom-design your own field trip by choosing your favorite attractions and creating a unique learning experience! Select a self-guided tour of the Aquarium Pyramid, Discovery Pyramid, a film at the MG 3D Theater, a simulated moving adventure at the Ridefilm Theaters, a ride on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat (weather-permitting), or a multi-sensory experience in the 4D Special FX Theater.

 

For more information on field trips, visit us online at www.moodygardens.com. Be sure to let your local schools know!

 

For events in Galveston, be sure to check out Moody Gardens Attractions, Moody Gardens Golf Course, and Moody Gardens Hotel. We hope to see you soon!

 

All About Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid

Experience the beauty of the North Pacific, South Pacific, South Atlantic, and Caribbean with a visit to the ten-story blue-glass aquarium building. This incredible attraction features 1.5 million gallons of water and more than ten thousand marine animals. The Aquarium Pyramid is divided into four regions, each representing a different area of the oceanic world.

 

Caribbean Exhibit

The Caribbean Exhibit is the largest of the four. It features sharks, sea turtles, eels, and thousands of beautiful tropical fish that swim overhead as you wander through an underwater tunnel. The tunnel completely surrounds guests and is filled with one million gallons of water.

 

South Atlantic Exhibit

The penguins of Moody Gardens reside in this area of the pyramid! The South Atlantic Exhibit is designed to closely resemble the rocky beaches of the South Georgia Islands. You can view the penguins from both above and below the surface. With our Penguin Encounter program you can even get up close with the penguin residents and take home some of their fabulous artwork.

 

North Pacific Exhibit

The furry seals reside in the North Pacific Exhibit. Watch as they play on the rocky shore and dive into the water. A few feet away, you can watch the sea urchins, anemones, and other colorful marine creatures in the tide pool. A kelp forest houses the rich and diverse underwater world representing Northern California to the Gulf of Alaska.

 

South Pacific Exhibit

Go on a journey through the depths of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea! The South Pacific Exhibit features a tide pool with vibrant sea anemones and sea urchins. In the lower level, you can see more than 200 species of fish, stingrays, and sharks in their beautiful underwater environment.

 

New Exhibit: Sharks in Depth

The newest exhibit at the Moody Gardens explores shark fact versus fiction, shark anatomy, and shark behavior through hands-on activities. Learn how sharks survive, how they sense their pray, and what threats there are to the shark population. This exhibit is better than Shark Week! With an Aquarium Pyramid Shark Passport, you can learn to identify shark species from around the world.

 

If you’re looking to plan your family weekend getaways in Texas, don’t miss out on the Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens. As part of our recent holiday offer, you will gain admission to the Aquarium Pyramid!

Why You Can’t Skip a Visit to Moody Gardens During Your Trip to Galveston

Moody Gardens is the perfect place to visit on your family weekend getaways in Texas. There is so much to do at Moody Gardens that it’s impossible to fit all the fun into one day! Not only are the year-round attractions incredible, but we also have seasonal fun depending on what time of the year you visit. You can’t skip visiting the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, 3D Theater, and more!

 

Aquarium Pyramid: The Aquarium Pyramid is the largest pyramid at Moody Gardens. It houses four distinct ocean environments. When wandering through this big blue pyramid, you and your family will be entertained and entranced by the five species of penguins, the furry seals, and the famous Squirt, our blind sea lion. The colorful fish and coral reefs are nature’s art at its finest. Watch the sharks, sea turtles, eels, and tropical fish swim all around you as you walk through an underwater tunnel!

 

Rainforest Pyramid: A major enhancement project has allowed guests to experience the Rainforest Pyramid in a whole new way! You can now walk through an entry that overlooks a new Amazon River otter exhibit. A new treetop path leads you through the canopy level of the pyramid, allowing you to explore and see the monkeys, sloths, and other tree-dwellers closer than ever. Don’t forget to surround yourself with beautiful butterfly species in the butterfly exhibit. There are ten stories of rainforest magic to explore!

 

Moody Gardens Theaters. Choose from three different theaters, giving you three different experiences. At the MG 3D Theater you can enjoy larger-than-life images projected onto the largest movie screen in Texas. The Ridefilm combines both ride and a film, and the 4D Special FX Theater allows you to see, hear, feel, and smell the action with special effects such as wind, smoke, mist, leg ticklers, and seat buzzers!

 

The Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, and the theaters at Moody Gardens are just a few of the reasons you can’t miss out on this famous tourist attraction. Learn more by visiting www.moodygardens.com. Don’t miss the Festival of Lights this holiday season if you are looking for Christmas events in Texas. We also have a special holiday offer going on!

Moody Gardens to develop collaborative conservation project in the Philippines

Earlier this month, members of the Moody Gardens animal care team traveled to the Philippines to begin a conservation partnership with a marine aquarium facility in Subic Bay.

The project partners Moody Gardens with a nonprofit organization known as Wildlife In Need (WIN). This project pairs resources with conservation needs in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.

WIN is the nonprofit arm of Ocean Adventure, Southeast Asia’s only open water marine park. It is nestled between one of Luzon’s only remaining intact primary growth rainforests and a marine-protected area that includes two small bays on the southern shore of the mouth of Subic Bay.

There are three primary goals for the trip – to formalize a Memorandum of Understanding, develop a coral reef conservation program, and explore terrestrial conservation opportunities.

The Moody Gardens team is working with additional field conservation partners including the California Academy of Science, the Florida Aquarium and SECORE.org to design a land-based coral nursery lab, and begin long term coral reef habitat monitoring as the first step towards active restoration work.

Following the trip, Moody Gardens’ staff will provide direct and in-kind support, as well as technical assistance, in building the coral nursery lab. Their ultimate goal is to establish a facility similar to the SECORE lab at the Curacao Sea Aquarium. It will support technical workshops and regional reef restoration efforts at the same time that it serves a public education role as an aquarium exhibit.

Please refer back to the Moody Gardens blog  for updates from the field.

 

Cool Fun at Moody Gardens: Penguin Encounter

Get to know the penguin residents at Moody Gardens. With the Penguin Encounter program, you will get the opportunity to get up close with the penguins and see what goes on behind the scenes! Here are valuable facts about the Penguin Encounter:

 

  • The program lasts for 45 minutes
  •  Guests start at the front of the exhibit and move on to see the back of the exhibit and the penguin food preparation kitchen
  •  A Moody Gardens biologist will teach you about penguin biology, training, enrichment, and care
  •  Guests get to watch a penguin create art as part of an enrichment activity
  •  Tickets are $50 a person
  •  Children 3 and under are free
  •  Tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis
  •  Guests must also purchase admission to the *Aquarium Pyramid
  •  Children 12 and under must be with an adult
  •  The program is at 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays
  •  Depending on the mood of the penguin, you may be able to touch them!
  •  It’s about 45 degrees in the Penguin Encounter area, so dress accordingly
  •  The penguins love to pose for your pictures

 

Private Penguin Encounters are also available for up to four people. Private encounters can be scheduled based upon guest’s convenience and availability. Admission is $350 per group and includes admission to the Aquarium Pyramid, and a unique piece of penguin art.

 

The Seal and Penguin Experience shows guests what it’s like to be a South Atlantic and North Pacific exhibit keeper for a day. The experience is six hours long and allows various activities such as feeding penguins, and helping out the biologists. The $175 (per person) package includes admission to the Aquarium Pyramid, lunch, a photograph, and a unique piece of penguin art. Participants must be 16 years or older and a maximum of three participants. Be sure to wear closed toe shoes, comfortable clothes, and reserve your package two weeks in advance.

 

Moody Gardens is the number one place this season for holiday events in Galveston. Join us for more kids activities and family fun. Be sure to keep up with our Moody Gardens blog to learn more about Houston holiday events, the Moody Gardens Hotel, and the Moody Gardens Golf Course!

Arctic Fun at Moody Gardens: Ice Skating

Always dreamed of tying up your skates and gliding around with the stars above you and the winter chill in the air? Then you realize you’re in Texas, and you can’t ice skate outside! There’s rarely snow or ice, especially along the Gulf Coast. Moody Gardens has solved your problem. We have the ONLY outdoor ice skating rink in the region!

 

Pull on your warm sweaters, slip on your mittens, and head out to the rink.  This popular winter activity is fun for the entire family. Don’t worry if you don’t have a pair of skates. We have plenty of sizes available to rent.

 

Ice skating outside with the Festival of Lights surrounding you is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Whether you’re a veteran ice skater or it’s your first time, everyone is welcome on the Moody Gardens Ice Rink. It’s okay if you slip and fall a few times, no one at Moody Gardens will be laughing at you. We can’t say the same for your friends and family though!

 

Ice skating is a great way to get all those relatives in town for the holidays out of your house, and making memories together. The outdoor ice rink could be a new family tradition that everyone looks forward to each year.  You can also take pictures with Santa while you’re here.

 

If you’re going to come check out the outdoor ice skating rink, then don’t miss out on our special holiday offer! For a limited time, you can get the Festival of Lights Arctic Package for only $17. The package includes admission to the Festival of Lights, the Aquarium Pyramid, and the To The Arctic 3D documentary. It’s the perfect way to get the whole Moody Gardens holiday experience.

Moody Gardens features the best Houston holiday events and events in Galveston. The family entertainment is non-stop this season.

Sharks: A more diverse species than most realize

By Greg Whittaker

Working in the zoo and aquarium industry offers a lot of perks. That’s because we get to work with some of the coolest animals in the world.

As I was walking through the exhibits looking at what our guests see, I started counting the species of sharks and rays we house at Moody Gardens® and the diversity they represent in habitat, diet, behavior and natural history. From the secretive swell sharks and wobbegongs to the large active brown sharks and sand tigers, we have 22 species from Galveston’s local waters to Australian reefs from the other side of the world. We have three species of stingrays that are found in the Amazon River basin and are so completely adapted to living in freshwater that they can’t exist in the brackish delta.

One of the questions we answer while walking through the public galleries is, “Where are the sharks?” Over time we’ve come to realize that most guests are referring to the Caribbean exhibit and the large, easily recognizable species.

You might be surprised to hear that four out of these five are relatively common species in the waters just off Galveston. If they truly were the bloodthirsty human predators they’re portrayed to be, we surely would be losing more tourists and fishermen to the sharky menace.Looking at the tremendous diversity of sharks, rays, skates, guitarfish, sawsharks and sawfish all collectively grouped together as cartilaginous fishes, there are over 1,200 different species. The sharks that gain all of the attention are the ones that grab the headlines in “attacks” on humans, and the five that are generally agreed upon as the top “maneaters” are – great hammerhead, lemon, bull, tiger and white sharks.

In reality, the vast majority of the 100 incidents that are reported worldwide annually are cases of mistaken identity with small, non-dangerous species. Contrast those statistics with the estimated 350 to 500 million sharks that are removed from the world’s oceans every year. Many of those are reproductively mature adults of species that are in perilous population declines and in some cases, they have their fins cut off and are dumped back into the water to die.

Even if you don’t particularly like sharks, you have to see how wasteful shark finning is.

Back to the amazing diversity – whale sharks are the largest fish with a maximum length of 45 feet and weighing as much as 36 tons. Along with basking sharks and megamouth sharks as the most menacing-sized sharks, they all filter feed on plankton and small fish. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the tiny cigar shark reaches a maximum size of only about eight inches long.

The biggest ray species is the manta which can have wing tips that measure almost 24 feet wide and weigh almost 3,000 pounds. Electric rays generate powerful electric currents that protect them from predators and assist in navigating dark murky water and capturing prey. Between sharks and rays is an assortment of species that have aspects of their appearance that match both – a  generally flattened body with elongated tails. These include angel sharks, guitarfish, sawsharks and sawfish.

Sharks can fill ecological niches from scavengers to apex predators and have reproductive strategies that include eggs deposited within the reef to complex internal egg incubation, internal hatching and internal cannibalism of siblings.

From this rambling account, you hopefully have gained enough perspective to realize that “sharks” cannot be painted with a simple broad brush stroke. They generally all came from ancient ancestors hundreds of millions of years ago. They fill every available niche and are remarkably adaptable to environmental changes and pressures placed on them.

For every species we can provide care for in the captive aquarium, there are dozens of other species that we simply don’t know enough about.  It’s a safe wager that there are untold numbers of species out there that we haven’t even discovered yet.