Birthday Corner: Dino Turns 18

Dino is turning 18 today! His favorite food is herring and doesn’t quite like squid. As the biggest sea lion in our exhibit, he currently weighs roughly 800 pounds! Come visit him at the Aquarium Pyramid and wish him a happy birthday.

Visit http://bit.ly/MGAquarium for more information about the Aquarium Pyramid!

Watt – The Tough Penguin at Moody Gardens

The toughest penguin at Moody Gardens is growing into a big guy just like his namesake.

Watt, a King Penguin named after Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, has already grown to around 3-feet tall and 30 pounds in just 2 ½ months.

Watt absolutely loves fish, which has helped him grow so big in such a short about of time. He is a curious little guy, but his dad still watches over him. He’s definitely not ready for his son to be exploring on his own.

Watt suffered a cut on his back 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. Now he is on exhibit joining the nearly 100 penguins housed in the Aquarium Pyramid

J.J. Watt is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most popular athletes in Houston.

Come see Watt and the other penguins at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid. The Aquarium is currently open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

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

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.