Ever since Hurricane Ike, Moody Gardens and Galveston Island has been on a slow but successful recovery. But the wetlands by Offatts Bayou close to Moody Garden’s parking lot sustained much damage on the shoreline. Debris became stuck on the land and it was a long way from being a habitat for some of the Island’s animals.
On May 18, Neil Stegman launched an Eagle Scout project to change the area for better. He and a large group of volunteers worked closely with Danny Carson, Moody Gardens’ Horticultural Manager. Together, they installed an improved, raised pathway with two Osprey nesting platforms.
Moody Gardens hopes to eventually create a three-quarter mile long path with interpretive signs, resting benches, gazebos and more. As these features become complete, the habitat will thrive on its own and become one of Galveston’s birding hot spots.
We’ll be celebrating World Ocean Day on June 8 with ocean-themed activities across the property to raise awareness about ocean conservation. Guests can dive into aquatic movies, a special presentation at the MG 3D Theater, keeper activities at the Aquarium Pyramid®, special discounts and live concerts.
Like Moody Gardens, the One World One Ocean Foundation hopes to inspire generations to help protect the ocean.
“Earth Day is the ideal day to make an announcement about World Oceans Day activities,” said Moody Gardens President John Zendt. “The ocean plays a vital role in our conservation efforts.”
In partnership with the Foundation, Moody Gardens created an elaborate exhibit at the MG 3D Theater exit and donated $1,000 to the Foundation. The exhibit highlights the importance of ocean conservation with staggering statistics and beautiful imagery.
Beginning at 10 a.m., visitors can join Marine Biologist Sarah Bedolfe via Skype at the MG 3D Theater. Bedolfe, who works with film producers MacGillvray Freeman, will highlight the importance of conservation. Families can learn about whale sharks, sea turtles, coconut octopus and other exotic animals featured in upcoming films.
Audiences ages 12 to 18 can get involved by producing a video telling judges what the ocean means to them. Grand prize winners will receive $100 and a Go Pro HD HERO3 camera. For more information, visit www.worldoceansday.org.
Visitors can also help support ocean conservation when Bands on the Sand kicks off at Palm Beach with the popular beach group, the Intercoastal Pirates. Visitors can donate to the One World One Ocean Foundation, with Cadillac matching the donation up to $1,000. The summer concert series is sponsored by Cadillac with fireworks.
Guests can also watch a diverse range of ocean-themed movies throughout the day or visit the Aquarium Pyramid for presentations. A special World Oceans Day combo will be offered, featuring admission to the Aquarium Pyramid and MG 3D Theater for $24.95.
About World Oceans Day
Coordinated by The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network, World Oceans Day was recognized by the United Nations in 2008, encouraging people around the world to celebrate how water connects the globe and impacts all life forms.
Start your Earth Day in our Herb Garden with the Galveston County Master Gardeners, as they teach easy gardening tips on Texas butterfly gardens. Children can also enjoy plenty of activities including make-and-take recycled pots and other crafts.
In celebration of its mission of conservation, Moody Gardens will feature free presentations, activities and fun, as well as special discounts this Earth Day weekend, April 20 and 21.
Join the Galveston County Master Gardeners in the Herb Garden by the Discovery Pyramid® to learn about easy gardening tips on Texas butterfly gardens. Guests can also pick up a homemade pot and learn how to make one of their own with materials found around the house. Children can enjoy plenty of activities including make-and-take butterfly crafts and recycled seed starters. In the Visitors Center, the Oleander Festival will feature more than 60 varieties of oleander flowers.
At the Aquarium Pyramid, Moody Gardens biologists will be holding special keeper presentations throughout both days. Visitors will be amazed by the massive seals as they are rewarded with fish for completing training exercises at 10:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
Biologists will begin penguin feedings at 11:00 a.m. and 3 p.m., so families can adore and spot the newest King penguin, Watt. In the South Pacific exhibit, biologists will suit up and dive in at 11:30 a.m. to feed sting rays, sharks and more than 200 species of fish. In the one million-gallon Caribbean tank, guests can watch divers feed the tropical fish, sharks and barracudas at 2 p.m.
As guests tour the Rainforest Pyramid, the Society for the Advancement of Volunteer Youth group (SAVY) will have educational carts out to teach visitors about the importance of conservation and preservation. At 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., biologists will release beautiful butterflies in their netted exhibit on the top canopy of the Rainforest Pyramid. Guests can also take pictures of the newborn Prehensile Tailed Porcupine, before heading over to the Ocelot’s exhibit for a keeper presentation at 1 p.m.
The Earth Day activities and Oleander Festival are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 20 and 21, and admission is free to the public. A special $24.95 combo pass to the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids will be available during the festival. For more information, call Moody Gardens at 800-582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org and www.oleander.org.
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.
We’re celebrating #MonarchMadness here at Moody Gardens® in anticipation of the grand opening of Flight of the Butterflies 3Don March 9 at the MG 3D Theater. First things first…let’s learn the basics about this amazing little creature with a little crash course on Monarchs, starting with a brief biology lesson!
A Monarch butterfly isn’t just your average pretty face, they are complex migratory insects with powerful body parts that help them navigate and migrate long distances. In other words, they were born to travel! This is quite impressive considering they weigh less than a paper clip (or less than half a gram).
MALE vs FEMALE
Your typical Monarch is made up of four wings and have six jointed legs. Not all Monarchs are created equal though. There are some very visible differences between the males and females, starting with their wings. Females have a bit of a darker color and their veins are wider. In contrast, the males are smaller and have two distinct black spots near the bottom of each wing. Males might have been shortchanged when it comes to their body size but they make up for it with an added level of charm–special glands that release pheromones to attract the females.
One of the Monarch’s most impressive feature is their vision. What might look like one eye is actually called a compound eye and it’s made up of thousands of tiny circles called ommatidia. Its purpose is to gather light and process visual information. Butterflies can perceive ultraviolet and polarized light or light waves that move in only one direction and the Monarchs have the ability to sense that direction. Imagine how useful that would be if your main purpose was to migrate!
Another impressive feature is their senses. Chemoreceptors are spread out all over them and gives them the ability to taste and smell using their entire bodies, including their antennae and wings. They like to use this ability to smell nectar and pheromones (in the case of the female). The females are equipped with extra Chemoreceptors on their legs which aides them in the search of milkweed plants, the home of their newborn eggs. Another way they sense is through hairs that cover the majority of their bodies. These hairs let them “touch” and give them important information about movement such as wind, gravity and the position of their other body parts. Being hairy is a good thing in the butterfly world since this is extremely important information to have when in flight.
Next time you see a Monarch, see if you can spot some of these features. And remember, these delicate looking insects are more powerful than they appear. We’re not saying they’re super heroes or anything but we’re also not saying they’re not…
Tune in tomorrow to learn about the Monarch Butterfly Life!
It’s March and that usually marks the beginning of a little thing called March Madness, but at Moody Gardens we’re focusing on a different kind of black and orange…the Monarch Butterfly! Join us as we learn more about this amazing creature featured in our new film Flight of the Butterflies 3D, opening March 9th at the MG 3D Theater.
The Rainforest Pyramid, which opened in 1993, is a ten-story glass pyramid that recently underwent a massive enhancement project to make it better for both visitors and its animal and plant residents. The Rainforest Pyramid has shared the wonders of the Asian, African, and American rainforests with millions of visitors. It has also brought attention to the dangers rainforests are facing and the endangered species that inhabit them.
The popular Moody Gardens attraction is a great entertainment destination, but it is also the center point of Moody Gardens rainforest conservation efforts. Over the years, Moody Gardens has shown its dedication to saving the rainforest in a variety of ways.
In the last decade, Moody Gardens purchased 2,215 acres of rainforest in Panama for protected reserves. We have also collected over $69,000 for research and conservation in Central and South America to help preserve the diminishing rainforests in those regions.
Moody Gardens contributed to purchasing land in Peru to help complete the ReNuPeru Ethno Botanical Garden at the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research.
Other funds from Moody Gardens have been donated to support the Belizean Ministry of Natural Resources as they try to save the Mountain Pine Ridge Forests area from the devastation caused by a massive Pine Beatle infestation. We also contributed to the Rainforest Foundation to help indigenous people preserve their land from being taken over.
Moody Gardens contributes to helping save the rainforest through our animal programs and our research efforts. We stand by our mission: “Moody Gardens is a public, non-profit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.”
As we mentioned in our earlier blog post, Moody Gardens is dedicated to our mission of supporting plant and animal programs. We are a public, non-profit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research. We’ve already discussed the Medical Plant Program, the Beneficial Insect Program, and the Coral Propagation Program, but we are also dedicated to our Saving Elkhorn Coral program and our partnership with United States Fish and Wildlife.
Saving Elkhorn Coral
Recently, a Moody Gardens biologist and twenty other U.S. and European scientists embarked on one of the greatest coral conservation efforts ever undertaken. They traveled to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, to use their knowledge to help save Elkhorn coral. Elkhorn coral is listed on the federal government’s Endangered Species Act, and is also essential for the growth of existing and future coral reefs. Without Elkhorn coral, the reef builder, coral reef, and its inhabitants could be lost. The lost of the coral reef would be immense for a variety of reasons. They serve as storm barriers for the coastline, are a potential source for pharmaceuticals, and support 85% of the tourism in surrounding areas. Moody Gardens is hoping to support the cause through captive coral sexual reproduction and husbandry techniques.
Partnership with United States Fish and Wildlife
When certain animals or live specimens are confiscated from people who possess them illegally, Moody Gardens assumes care responsibilities. Moody Gardens will care for these animals while their cases are pending and handle long-term care by assisting with relocating them to other facilities. Animals included in this partnership include turtles, Panamanian golden frogs, Cuban Amazon parrots, and the Wyoming toad.