Polar Bear Photo Contest

Do you have a way with words? Then make sure to participate in our Polar Bear Photo Contest in anticipation of the grand opening of To the Arctic 3D.

The Arctic Ice Cap is shrinking each summer—and by 2050 or earlier will be reduced to a small fringe on the coast of Canada and Greenland. Only about 20,000 polar bears remain, and their survival is in jeopardy. This film takes viewers on a captivating journey of survival in the Arctic wilderness.

You’ll have until Sunday, April 22 to impress us with your best caption! As part of the fun, we’ll be throwing in some To the Arctic 3D related prizes for the best two captions. Winners will be selected by Moody Gardens staff members and announced on Monday, April 23, 2012 on Facebook. Head on over to our Facebook page and find the post with the Polar Bear Photo (shown on left) and leave your caption in the comments section. While you’re on our Facebook page, why not go ahead and click “LIKE” to stay connected with us!

If you capture us with your witty ways and are selected as a winner, you’ll receive the following prizes:

  • One (1) Official To the Arctic t-shirt
  • One (1) Official (and adorable) To the Arctic stuffed polar bear
  • One (1) Official To the Arctic movie poster
  • Two (2) tickets to the MG 3D Theater which can be redeemed to see To the Arctic 3D

So put on your creative hats and head on over to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/moodygardens. Questions, comments and/or concerns? Leave us a comment below!

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Inc. Any comments that are inappropriate, offensive, spam or commercial in nature can be deleted by the page admin. Must be 18 years or older to win.

5 Reasons to Visit Moody Gardens this Spring Break

1. See Tornado Alley 3D and Meet the Famous Storm Chaser Sean Casey
Opens March 10

The fascinating film Tornado Alley 3D opens March 10 at Moody Gardens and follows veteran storm chasers on two exciting unprecedented missions. Guests will follow Storm Chasers star Sean Casey as he and his crew navigate their famous tornado intercept vehicle—TIV-2—directly into the heart of a tornado and capture its beauty and destructive power on film. Visitors will have the chance to meet Sean Casey in person at Moody Gardens March 10 and 11 as he signs autographs and specialty merchandise. Guests will also get to see the tornado intercept vehicle- TIV-2 up close. Join the storm chaser crew at Moody Gardens for a memorable Spring Break this season.

2. Enjoy Wizard of Oz 4-D Experience
Opens March 10

This beloved classic becomes a modern adventure in The Wizard of Oz 4-D Experience. Newly restored in digital 3D with added special effects, be swept along with Dorothy as a powerful tornado transports you on an unforgettable journey to the magical Land of Oz.

THE WIZARD OF OZ and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Turner Entertainment Co. Judy Garland as Dorothy from THE WIZARD OF OZ. (s12)

 3. BODIES REVEALED Exhibition
Now Open in the Discovery Museum

Be among the first to explore the inner workings of the human body at the BODIES REVEALED Exhibition. This fascinating Exhibition is unlike anything seen at Moody Gardens before, with real and carefully preserved human body specimens that will fascinate and inspire. The exhibition takes visitors through galleries providing an up-close look inside the skeletal, muscular, reproductive, respiratory, circulatory and other systems of the human body. As the visitor moves to each gallery, more than 200 organs tell the story of the astounding systems at work within each of us every second of our existence. Don’t miss this three-dimensional tour of the human body!

 4. Perfect your game at the Moody Gardens Golf Course

Galveston’s premier public course is a seaside links enchantress whose lush paspalum fairways are lined with 500 palms and shorebird habitat. Sydnor Bayou laps at its shores to entice your best shot. Five sets of tees create diverse challenges for every level of play. This Jacobsen Hardy-designed course is a beautiful and intriguing, demanding in its own Island way. Call 409-683-4653 or www.moodygardensgolf.com

5. Island Getaway for the Entire Family at the Moody Gardens Hotel

Head to the Moody Gardens Hotel this Spring Break for the perfect family vacation. Spring Break fun includes live music pool side, Texas-size Tropical Pool with swim-up bar, adult lounge and cabanas. Looking to keep the kids entertained? The Kids Crew Club will be featuring a Jumping House, Face Painting, Clowns, Balloon Art, Pool Coin Dives, Arts & Crafts, Wii Competitions, Karaoke, Movie Nights, S’mores and a free kid’s fun pack at check-in. If that doesn’t sound like enough, enjoy Starbuck’s Specialty Drinks at Moody Brews. Click here for more information on Spring Break at the Moody Gardens Hotel. For hotel reservations call 888-388-8484 or visit www.moodygardenshotel.com.

CLICK HERE to plan your visit this Spring Break at Moody Gardens.

Welcome to Penguin Manor!

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 .

Entrance to Penguin Manor

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.

Caroling Penguins

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.

Who knew pretzels could also function as a balcony rail!

To protect the display from Galveston’s famous humidity, the entire house and all decorations have been coated with non-edible lacquer.

A roof good enough to eat!
Snow Angels, a holiday must!
Decorating the tree!
One final look!

Come see it for yourself at the Moody Gardens Hotel lobby this holiday season!

Recap: Birding 201 (10/15/2011)

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.

Upcoming Birding classes:

*Birding 101

  • Date: November 12, 2011
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m
  • Location: Aquarium Pyramid Lobby
  • Admission: FREE

*Birding 201

  • Date: November 19, 2011
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m
  • Location: Aquarium Pyramid Lobby
  • Admission: $5.00
  • Reservations: Call 409-683-4105 no later than the Wednesday prior to the Saturday class.

Introducing Golf Tips

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!

Rainforest Pyramid® Enhancement Underway!

By Whitney O’Grady
Moody Gardens News

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.

Rendering of New Canopy Entrance in Rainforest Pyramid

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.

Learn about more changes coming to the Rainforest Pyramid by watching an exciting video tour. Click Rainforest Enhancement Video Tour to watch!

Moody Gardens to Amaze Guests with Butterflies and a Maze This Summer

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.

Quick Facts

What: Amazeing Butterflies

When: May 15 – Sept. 6, 2010, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Where: Moody Gardens Discovery Tent

Admission: All ages $5.95

Information: moodygardens.org; 1-800-582-4673

Celebrate Romance and Revelry in the Gardens

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.

Shearn's LoungeEnjoy 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’s Valentine’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 the IMAX® 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.

Romantic Dinner Cruise to Sail Feb. 13

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.

Colonel Paddlewheel Boat

Launch Unwanted Holiday Fruit Cakes and Recycle Christmas Trees at Moody Gardens on Jan. 2

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