Talk about culinary creativity at Moody Gardens Hotel! Pastry Chef Becky Kastelz spent more than 40 hours building Penguin Manor (in honor of our wonderful penguins), a set of three gingerbread houses decorated with the season’s most delicious candies .
The three houses, made from 28 pounds of gingerbread (including 3 gallons of molasses) and sugar windows, are adorned with M&Ms, licorice, chocolate snowcaps, fondant candy canes, modeling chocolate wreaths, vanilla wafer cookies, and lots and lots of royal icing (over 20 pounds). The fences and balcony are chocolate-covered pretzels with jellybean gardens. An M&M driveway lined with chocolate kisses leads onto the lawn.
Fondant penguins enjoy the holidays with caroling, skating on a sugar pond, making snow angels in coconut snow, snowball fights, and decorating Christmas trees made of ice cream cones covered in royal icing and non-pareils.
To protect the display from Galveston’s famous humidity, the entire house and all decorations have been coated with non-edible lacquer.
Come see it for yourself at the Moody Gardens Hotel lobby this holiday season!
Presented by Moody Gardens® and Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, Birding 101 is a series of free classes designed to educate and excite people about the tremendous variety of bird life routinely seen around Galveston Island. Birding 201 classes allows participants, led by an instructor, to visit areas on the island and spy some of the amazing variety of birds here.
Here is a quick recap, written by Birding instructor Greg Whittaker, of what you might see during our Birding classes:
Saturday, 15 October — Birding 201
Beautiful weather – left MG property shortly after 9am with a full van. Visited the Quaker Parrot (Monk Parakeet) nests at the ballfield on 54th street and Ave. S. Travelled to Pelican Island to the wetlands interpretive area, then east to Pier 19, then to the Big Reef area on Bodekker Road and finally to the base of the South Jetty on east beach. Not sure this is the complete list as I think I missed a few that others saw during the trip. Again, this is taxonomic order and not the order in which we saw them. 45 species, although I wouldn’t technically count the unidentified rail and the presumption on the Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Species spotted include:
American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk (think this was the one we originally identified as Peregrine Falcon but looked in book and think it was a Sharp-shin), Crested Caracara, American Kestrel, Rail (not identified to species), American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Forster’s Tern, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Rock Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Monk Parakeet, Belted Kingfisher, Scissortail Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Great-tailed Grackle, House Sparrow.
Get out there and see some of the cool stuff before, and after this front comes through. It should bring some more waterfowl and perhaps bigger numbers of sandhill cranes.
Crisp mornings and breezy afternoons combine to create the perfect recipe for wonderful fall weather. No wonder this is considered peak golf season at the Moody Gardens Golf Course! With that in mind, we want to encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful weather by playing a little golf. As a special treat, we are starting a new feature called Golf Tips where Rick Christ, our head golf professional, will share some quick tips to improve your game. Rick has been playing golf for approximately 45 years. So, without further ado, here is our first Golf Tip:
Chip Shot: For any newbies, a chip shot is when you play right off the green and are trying to get the ball onto the green and as close to the hole as possible. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are faced with your next chip shot:
Use a 7 or 8 iron
Use very little body movement
Keep wrists straight
Watch the following video for more tips and to see Rick demonstrate a chip shot:
Don’t you just love the sound of the golf club hitting the ball?
Do you have suggestions for what the next Golf Tip should be? Don’t be shy, use the comments section below to leave us suggestions, questions or simply say hi. Thanks for reading/watching!
Moody Gardens has entered the final phase of a $25 million enhancement project that will include a complete redesign of its popular Rainforest Pyramid, providing guest with a two-level experience to explore the rainforests of the world from both the ground and the sky. The newly enhanced attraction, to be unveiled in May 2011, will also include exciting new exhibits as well as more than 1,000 exotic plants and animals.
One of the most dramatic transformations in the Rainforest Pyramid will be a new tree-top canopy entrance and trail that will take guests on a “bird’s eye” exploration of plant and animal life for an entirely new perspective of the attraction. Along the 300-feet-long canopy walkway guests will be greeted by a variety of new exhibits and animals, including butterflies, leafcutter ants and bats that will fly from the tree tops to a new cave exhibit visible on the ground.
A new Mayan exhibit will showcase the culture of the people who use the rainforest for survival. A new exhibit showcasing the endangered Chinese Alligator will be added along with a giant river otter pond that will allow guests to view these amazing animals from multiple vantage points.
Moody Gardens will open a special new exhibit just in time for the summer vacation season. “Amazeing” Butterflies is scheduled to open Saturday, May 15 and will feature a maze and free-flying live butterflies. The exhibit is designed to teach visitors the life cycle, variety of species and survival challenges of the colorful insects.
As soon as guests step inside the exhibit, they will be surrounded by hundreds of butterflies that are released daily. As they continue their journey, they will enter a maze through the huge monarch caterpillar tunnel. The maze will feature dead-ends, down which, lurks graphics with poisonous plants and predators that pose the same threat butterflies face daily. Visitors will discover the unique facts behind the beauty of the butterflies through interactive games, puzzles and various other activities. Guests will also be able to learn about gardens and plants that effectively attract the flying insects.
Amazeing Butterflies will be open from Saturday, May 15 through Sept. 6. The admission is $5.95 for all ages, and it’s free for children ages three and under. For more information, please visit moodygardens.org or call 1-800-582-4673.
February on the island is a time for lovers and also the perfect time to experience first hand how the island comes to life with the grandest celebration of the season.
Moody Gardens has unveiled special packages for Valentines Day romance and Mardi Gras festivities. Whether you’re saying “I love you” all over again with an intimate Island getaway or having the time of your life at the biggest party of the season, our custom packages are the perfect way to celebrate.
The special Moody Gardens Hotel Valentine’s Retreat packages include a luxurious room for two for one night, a split of champagne to enjoy in room, a long stem red rose, and chocolate covered strawberries. Packages are available on Saturday, Feb. 13 starting at $199 per night and Sunday, Feb. 14 from $159 per night. For reservations or more information, call 888-388-8484 or visit www.moodygardenshotel.com.
Enjoy a romantic dinner for two at the fabulous four diamond Shearn’s Restaurant with our special Valentine’s menu. This lover’s feast includes a divine four course meal with such offerings as seared snapper, prime filet mignon, panned veal chop, mushroom pasta, and a decadent dessert – a chocolate Chambord heart. The Shearn’sValentine’s Dinner will be offered on Feb. 13 and 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are required with the last reservation at 9:30 p.m. each evening. Prices are $75 per person. For reservations, call 409-741-8484.
The Spa at Moody Gardens invites you to rekindle the romance and share a delightfully decadent Valentine’s Day with the one you love. Enjoy a private spa couple’s suite, or treat that someone special to a day of pampering of their very own with one of our custom Spa packages.
The Champagne Bubbles & Chocolate Strawberry Cream Couple’s Escape package will indulge you and the one you love with a divine Chunky Chocolate Body Polish and soothing Champagne Bubble Bath, followed by a 25-minute Swedish massage for two with a sensuous Strawberry Cream Lotion. Relax and share a complimentary champagne toast and chocolate truffles. The package also includes a Gift Set featuring our signature 4oz Chunky Chocolate Scrub & Strawberry Cream body lotion. The package is priced at $300 for couples or $150 for individuals. For Spa appointments or more information on all of the spa offerings, call 409-683-4440.
Couples can also keep their love afloat on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat Dinner Cruise sails around Galveston Offatts Bayou Saturday, Feb. 13. The two-hour boat ride will feature a DJ, dance floor and a dinner buffet in addition to plenty of romantic moments. To make memories last, passengers can get a Colonel Paddlewheel Boat special souvenir wine glass filled with champagne or wine for $7.50. A cash bar will also be available. The cost for the Valentine Dinner Cruise is $45 per person. Boarding starts at 7 p.m., and the paddlewheel boat will sail from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and information, please call 1-800-582-4673 ex. 4352.
In addition, when it comes to making memories, Moody Gardens is always a great place for couples as well as couples with children. How about a casual movie date at theIMAX® 3D Theater with the biggest 3D screen in the Houston area? Couples can also share bonding moments at the beautiful seaside-link Moody Gardens Golf Course. To impress your special someone, take your honey to meet a real penguin with the Penguin Encounter program.
Couples can keep their love afloat this Valentine’s Day as the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat Dinner Cruise sails around Galveston Offatts Bayou Saturday, Feb. 13. The two-hour boat ride will feature a DJ, dance floor and a dinner buffet in addition to plenty of romantic moments.
“Fun, romantic, or both, the night is yours, and you can make it however you want it to be,” said Joy Cowan, Colonel Paddlewheel executive director. “Being on the water makes it even more special.”
To make memories last, passengers can get a Colonel Paddlewheel Boat special souvenir wine glass filled with champagne or wine for $7.50. A cash bar will also be available.
Colonel Paddlewheel Boat is an authentic replica of an 1800 style Paddlewheeler. The charming 800-passenger paddlewheel boat takes guests on year-round hour-long cruises in Offatts Bayou. The boat also features climate-controlled Galveston and Texas Rooms with large dance floors, which can be booked for private dinners and parties.
The cost for the Valentine Dinner Cruise is $45 per person. Boarding starts at 7 p.m., and the paddlewheel boat will sail from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and information, please call 1-800-582-4673 ex. 4352.
Moody Gardens will host a Fruit Cake Launch and Christmas Tree Chunk on Jan. 2 with a mission to recycle and have some fun.
Conservation is a key part of our mission at Moody Gardens and this event is an example of something simple we can do to raise awareness and be environmentally friendly in our community. Each year, Moody Gardens collaborates with the City of Galveston in an effort to recycle Christmas trees. Visitors can bring their bare trees from this holiday season and “chunk” them into a pile to be recycled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The fresh mulch will be used in plant beds around Moody Gardens and throughout the city. Those who wish to can also bring some mulch home with them.
An entertaining new tradition is being added to the event this year. Visitors are invited to participate in the first annual Fruit Cake Launch from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Rather than re-gifting their unwanted fruit cakes, we welcome people to bring them to launch on one of our two launchers for the chance to win a prize for the furthest flying cake. The winner will receive a four-pack of tickets to all Moody Gardens attractions along with a Penguin Encounter where they will meet a real penguin. To enter the Fruit Cake Launch contest, visitors need to bring one nonperishable food item or $1 in cash to be donated to Gleanings From The Harvest. Guests may also purchase water balloons to launch for a donation of $1 per two balloons, also to be donated to Gleanings From The Harvest.
The festivities are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in the Moody Gardens west parking lot. The event is open to the public.
At a Glance
Event: Fruit Cake Launch and Christmas Tree Chunk
Date / Time: Jan. 2, 2010, 2 p.m.
Admission: Free and open to the public, to participate in Fruit Cake Launch please bring one nonperishable food item or $1 cash to donate
Submit a name and you could win a penguin prize package for four and meet a real penguin!
Enter one of two ways:
1) Submit your entry in the Registration Box at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid
2) Email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org (Be sure to include your name, age, phone number and address with your email entry)
Contest dates: Dec. 18, 2009 – Jan. 1, 2010
Prize Awarded: King Tux the Moody Gardens Penguin Mascot will choose the winning entry Jan. 3
Please note: Contestants must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older to use their prize.
We have a different offer every day for 12 days, starting Monday, Dec. 14 through Christmas Day, Dec. 25. You can find out what we are giving away the evening of the day before on Twitter.
All you have to do is show the tweet at the Aquarium Pyramid Lobby cashier on the day of the offer. The first 12 people to do so will receive the daily free gift from Moody Gardens. Remember, the offer is only good for the day! The Aquarium Pyramid Lobby ticketing counter opens at 9:30 a.m. every day except for Christmas Day at 12 noon.