Cold-stunned Green Sea Turtles released after being cared for at Moody Gardens

More than 90 Green Sea Turtles that were rescued last week after suffering from cold-stun were safely released to warmer waters off North Padre Island Wednesday afternoon.

These beautiful turtles, ranging in size from 6 pounds to a whopping 70 pounds, called Moody Gardens home since last week following a dramatic drop in temperatures that left the turtles stranded in East Matagorda Bay, about 100 miles southwest of Galveston. 

In all, nearly 300 Green Sea Turtles were rescued along a five-mile stretch of the bay. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) led the rehabilitation mission. With an animal holding facility, complete with large holding tanks, Moody Gardens was happy to partner with NOAA to offer a home, and rehabilitation, for the turtles until it was time for their release.

NOAA released about 75 turtles off North Padre Island Tuesday with another 200 released Wednesday. Some turtles will remain at NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Lab here on Galveston Island until they are well enough to be released back into the wild.

Officials chose North Padre Island, just south of Corpus Christi, as the release site so that the turtles will enter warmer waters. Another cold front is expected to hit the Galveston area this Friday, and the goal is to release the turtles into warmer waters before that happens. The cold front shouldn’t impact North Padre Island and the surrounding area.

Green Sea Turtles feed on sea grasses found in the shallow bay waters. They were in the East Matagorda Bay area last week when temperatures dropped to freezing, leaving them cold-stunned and unable to retreat to warmer waters. Cold-stun can happen when water temperatures drop to 50 degrees. When that happens, the turtle’s metabolism shuts down and they respond by expanding their lungs and floating to the top of the water. Doing so can further expose them as they let cooler air into their lungs. Unable to swim, many are pushed up to the shoreline.

Turtles were triaged as they were rescued. They were measured, weighed and checked for any abnormalities and wounds. Those deemed healthy were sent to Moody Gardens while those who were wounded were cared for NOAA’s fisheries lab.

Staff and volunteers cleaned turtles, scrubbing off algae, debris, grime, barnacles, and in some cases even oysters. Tags were attached to the turtles’ front flippers. Internal tags were also placed so that the animals can be tracked in the future, if needed.

Moody Gardens’ mission has always focused on conserving natural spaces and resources. Looking at the natural habitat around Moody Gardens, sea turtles are probably one of the highest profile species that live in our native waters and are in need of our help.

Give Back When You Give A Gift This Holiday Season

Christmas is just around the corner which means the countdown is on to find gifts for all those special people in your life. But in the spirit of giving, why not also give some love back to the environment at the same time with an eco-friendly gift. Moody Gardens is here to help with these suggestions.

Handmade (or Feet-Made) Gifts – Show you care by taking time out to make something from scratch, whether that be a recipe or craft. If you aren’t feeling so artsy yourself, did you know the Moody Gardens’ penguins are painters? As part of their enrichment activities, some of our penguins have become quite the established artists. Watch them hop across a canvas to create their masterpieces during a Public or Private Penguin Encounter, or simply pick up a piece of art in the Moody Gardens’ gift shop. The funds raised from these purchases goes toward animal conservation efforts.

Gifts That Benefit An Organization’s Conservation Work – Several agencies also allow you to purchase gifts or make donations where the money collected goes to help with conservation efforts. As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Moody Gardens is a proud supporter of the Vaquita CPR effort, which seeks to provide safe habitats for the most critically endangered marine mammal in the world. Our own Animal Husbandry Manager Greg Whittaker even took part in AZA’s #Pied4APorpoise campaign earlier this year.

Recycled or Upcycled Goods – Whether it’s a wind chime made out of a wine bottle or a rug made from medicine containers, there has been a recent trend in giving discarded products new life. Several sites such as Etsy offer these goods direct from the artist who makes them and they are sure to be conversation starters with anyone who sees them.

Growable Gifts – Have someone with a green thumb on your holiday shopping list? Seedlings, planting kits or seed paper are all great ideas to ensure they have something to enjoy all year long.

Experiences – Instead of giving a tangible gift, make some memories with your loved ones with an activity. Moody Gardens has something for everyone to enjoy from adrenaline-filled adventures to romantic dinners and spa packages.

Happy Gifting!

Upcoming Events in March

March is a busy month here at Moody Gardens! On top of our Spring Break and Easter activities, we have a variety of other events and activities going on.

Still - Monarch on flower - FOB - SK FilmsFlight of the Butterflies 3D opens March 9

Follow monarch butterflies on their journey in one of those most incredible migrations on Earth. Not only will you be joining the butterflies, but also scientist Fred Urquhart, who spent forty years trying to discover the mysteries of monarch butterflies and where exactly they go during the winter season. The documentary is a story of perseverance across thousands of miles and many generations.

Why is it important? Each spring, millions of monarchs begin a journey north into Texas and onto a 1,500-mile quest to across North America. As they travel, the butterflies breed and lay eggs on milkweed plants in Texas. Over several generations, the monarchs complete their migration and return to Mexico for the winter, making their trip one of the longest migrations on Earth. However, because of extreme drought conditions, Texas’ milkweed population has declined in recent years, severely impacting the flight. More than 20 percent of the migration has decreased. The loss of milkweed and habitat, coupled with intense heat, contribute to the diminishing migration numbers over the past decade. As part of conservation efforts, Moody Gardens is launching a public awareness campaign in an effort to save the shrinking monarch migration. A portion of the sales from the new film, Flight of the Butterflies 3D, will be donated to the leading conservation organization in Mexico, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza.

Click here to watch trailer and for showtimes

Birding 101 and 201

Presented by Moody Gardens® and Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, Birding 101 & 201 is a series of classes designed to educate and excite people about the tremendous variety of bird life routinely seen around Galveston Island.

Click here for more information

Golf Junior Spring Break Camps

These camps are designed for boys and girls, ages 6-14, wanting to learn golf basics or brush up on their skills. Cost is $99 per student. Choose from one of these two-day sessions:

March 11 – 12, 2013 (9am-12pm) OR
March 14 – 15, 2013 (9am-12pm)

Registration form here:

IMG_7800Easter in the Gardens 

Annual Easter Egg Hunts are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and children 12 years old and younger are invited to run around the Oleander Bowl filled with colorful eggs. Other activities include a variety of games for prizes. In addition to all of the fun and excitement outdoors, Easter Buffet feasts will be available at both the Garden Restaurant and the Moody Gardens Hotel on Easter Sunday. Beginning at 11 a.m. and lasting till 3 p.m., this event is free to the public.

Join us at Moody Gardens for family-friendly events and attractions such as the Aquarium Pyramid and Rainforest Pyramid. We look forward to spending time with you in March!

Friends of Moody Gardens Annual Fundraiser: Gulf Coast Herb Fair

AA023255You’re invited! The Friends of Moody Gardens want you to join them for their Annual Fundraiser. The Gulf Coast Herb Fair at Moody Gardens benefits 3rd graders at the Aquarium Pyramid and 5th graders at the Rainforest Pyramid. Last year, the Friends of Moody Gardens hosted over 950 Galveston Elementary School Children!


The Gulf Coast Herb Fair includes more than just herb education. Vendors showcasing herbs, books, gifts and food items have been invited for guest’s shopping enjoyment.


Tickets to the fundraiser are $35 per person. Other fundraising options are the raffle and silent auction. There are tons of awesome items to be won! Not only could you be going home with some awesome prizes, but you’ll also be donating to a great cause.


The Gulf Coast Herb Fair will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Come in at ten to start browsing all the vendor booths and get your shopping fix. Lunch will be at 11, and then we have a special guest speaker at noon.


The Gulf Coast Herb Fair is proud to have Lucia Ferrara Bettler of Lucia’s Garden in Houston as the guest speaker this year! “Herbs from the Garden to the Table” will be a presentation on Mediterranean, Italian and Louisiana cooking that you won’t want to miss.


Lucia Bettler founded Lucia’s Garden in 1984 with her husband Michael as a one-room operation. The business has grown into a substantial bookstore featuring music, incense, herbs, crystals, statuary and other exciting items. Lucia’s Garden also hosts classes throughout the year on everything from cooking with Lucia to aromatherapy and gardening. The Friends of Moody Gardens are so excited to have her share her expertise and wisdom at the Gulf Coast Herb Fair this year.


The fundraiser will be held in the Moody Gardens Visitor Center and The Garden Restaurant. Click here for more details!


If you’re looking for one of the best places to stay in Galveston, check out the Moody Gardens Hotel, and don’t miss out on our great offer going on right now at the Spa at Moody Gardens.

Our SAVY Program for Teens

savyIf you’re between the ages of fourteen and seventeen and looking for a way to get involved this summer, while also creating unforgettable memories, then the SAVY program is your answer. What does SAVY stand for, you ask? SAVY is the Society for the Advancement of Volunteer Youths that gives teens the opportunity to give back to their community while also gaining experience in a variety of exciting career fields.


The goals and objectives of Moody Gardens SAVY program include:


  • To teach participants about different career fields, including biology and education.
  • To be a program that challenges teens mentally, physically, and socially regardless of sex, color, or creed.
  • To assist Moody Gardens staff with a variety of duties and responsibilities.
  • To help participants gain experience they can use for future employment.
  • To help support Moody Gardens’ mission as a public, non-profit education destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.
  • To provide an environment to guests that is both educational and entertaining.


Want to Apply?

Applying to SAVY is a three-part process. First, submit a written SAVY Volunteer application to Moody Gardens. Second, submit at least two letters of recommendation along with your application. We know your favorite aunt knows a lot about you, but the letters of recommendation must from non-relatives. The last part of the application process requires attending a SAVY Open House and a personal interview with members of Moody Gardens Volunteer Services and Education Department.


Open House

On Saturday, April 13, 2012, applicants must come to the open house to informally meet members of the Volunteer Services and Education Department and learn more about the program. The open house also gives participants a chance to meet and get to know each other through fun games and icebreakers. If you plan on being a SAVY volunteer, the open house is mandatory and part of the selection process for the program. Applicants may choose between two three-hour sessions, either at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m.



Those accepted into the program for the first time will go to orientation on Saturday June 2 or Monday, June 4, from 9 a.m. -3 p.m. For returning volunteers, orientation will be from 1-5 p.m.


To learn more about the SAVY program, please contact Volunteer Services at 800-582-4673, ext. 4121, or send inquiries via email to


When you aren’t volunteering with us, be sure to visit the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Spa at Moody Gardens, and all our other exciting attractions.


Group Volunteer Opportunities

group volunteerVolunteering is a great way to boost morale and promote team building for your company, organization, or student group. Corporate and group volunteers at Moody Gardens have an opportunity to get involved with ground work and special events, such as the Festival of Lights.


At Moody Gardens, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the help of our incredible volunteers. We depend on them for assistance in many areas of operation.


The Corporate and Group Volunteer Program allows participants to provide hands-on assistance in many areas, including but not limited to:

  • Gardens and grounds keeping (mulching, planting, and weeding)
  • Painting
  • Exhibit upkeep
  • Event preparation
  • Cleaning attractions, such as the lazy river and playground structures, and surfaces
  • Paint and change bulbs for the Festival of Lights
  • Special events, such as Ghostly Gardens, Easter in the Gardens, and Festival of Lights


Corporate and Group Volunteer Program details:

  • Weather permitting, groups may volunteer year round
  • Highest need for volunteers is between September and May
  • A maximum of 50 volunteers will be accepted
  • Groups are taken on a first-come, first-served basis
  • There is a 4-hour minimum requirement
  • Must be 16 years or older
  • Children may not accompany adults while volunteering
  • Each participant must sign a liability waiver


Volunteering with a group gives you the opportunity to become part of the conservation and education efforts that are a major aspect of Moody Gardens. You also have the chance to give back to your community and meet new people.


When you aren’t spending your time helping us out, be sure to check out the popular attractions, such as the Rainforest Pyramid and Aquarium Pyramid. For overnight stays, check out one of the best places to stay in Galveston—the Moody Gardens Hotel. We are so appreciative of our volunteers, and look forward to working with you soon!


Moody Gardens Teaching Teachers: Educator Programs Part 2

teachingteachersMoody Gardens offers workshops for local educators multiple times a year. Through our workshops, we demonstrate exciting ways to bring the rainforest, oceans, and nature into your classroom.


Through the exploratory workshops, teachers earn credit toward their Continuing Professional Education as established by the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC).  Teachers will also take home curriculum including math, science, and social studies lessons that correlate with TEKS requirements.


Each workshop includes hands-on activities, guided tours through Moody Gardens’ attractions, and take-home curriculum.


Choose between full-day and half-day workshops.


Full Day Workshops: During a full-day workshop, educators will earn six SBEC credit hours. The workshop includes a buffet lunch at the Garden Restaurant, a guided tour of one of the pyramids, and a take home copy of the applicable curriculum and all the related activities. The workshop is from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., with lunch included for $55.


Half-Day Workshops: Half-day workshop participants earn four SBEC credit hours. Participants will also receive a guided tour of one of the pyramids and take home curriculum. However, lunch is not included.  The workshop runs from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and costs $40 per person.


Upcoming workshops include:


  • Flying WILD (Full Day) on February 23, 2013
  • Frogs/Sharks (Full Day) on March 23, 2013
  • Marine Debris (Full Day) on April 27, 2013


Pre-registration is required for all educator workshops. For reservations and more information, please call 1-800-582-4673, ext. 4231, or email


You can also access our curriculum online by visiting our website.


While you’re here, we hope you enjoy your tour of the Aquarium Pyramid or Rainforest Pyramid. If you’d like to make a weekend out of the visit, the Moody Gardens Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Galveston. We look forward to seeing you soon.


Moody Gardens Teaching Teachers: Educator Programs Part 1

teachers part 1 On February 2, 2013, Moody Gardens will be hosting our 16th Annual Educator Open House. At the open house, you can learn what Moody Gardens and other Galveston-area attractions have to offer educators and their students.


All educators and school support staff are invited and encouraged to participate in the fun and informational event. You can join us just for the excitement and knowledge, but also have the option to earn up to 4 State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) hours.


This year, you must pre-register for the event, which you can easily do here.


By registering and participating in the 16th Annual Educator Open House, you will:

  • Receive free admission into all Moody Gardens attractions with your school ID
  • Be entered into a drawing for the chance to win a variety of door prizes, field trips, and workshops
  • Receive a tote bag and a free box lunch if you are one of the first 1,000 participants
  • Learn more about the volunteer programs and opportunities at Moody Gardens
  • Gather free educational materials while they last
  • Receive activity ideas to use in your own classroom
  • Learn about other educational programs available from other Galveston-area attractions


If your family members want to join in on they fun, they can purchase a day pass for only $21.00 a person.


Be sure to sign up for our Pyramid Educator Newsletter to receive information and updates on new programs and special educator events. Simply email to sign up.


When registering, be sure to provide school employment identification. For any more questions, call 409-683-4231 or email at We look forward to hearing from you soon and seeing you at the 16th Annual Educator Open House.


Be sure to check out the Aquarium Pyramid and Rainforest Pyramid during your visit. If you need a place to stay, check out the Moody Gardens Hotel, one of the best places to stay in Galveston.

A Look at the Moody Gardens Outreach Program

outreachAre you an educator or parent interested in helping your kids learn more about the rainforest? If you can’t make it out here for a field trip, but still want to bring the knowledge and excitement of Moody Gardens to your students, you may be interested in our Outreach Program.


The Outreach Program presents the Rainforest Roadshow! During the Rainforest Roadshow, a Moody Gardens rainforest expert will bring the wonder and beauty of the tropical rainforests to life for your students in the comfort of your classroom.


The Rainforest Roadshow features multiple interdisciplinary presentations that incorporate rainforest artifacts, plants, and animals.  Certain animals, when available, will actually accompany the rainforest expert during the presentation. Throughout the presentations, your students will learn valuable and interesting information about the Central and South American rainforest.


Presentations are forty-five minutes long and available for up to eighty students at a time. Price is based on location. For presentations within Region IV, the first presentation is $100.00. You can schedule additional presentations for $75.00 and up to four presentations in a single day.


Presentations outside of Region IV include a mileage fee. Reservations are required, and they must be made at least two weeks in advance. We recommend booking your Rainforest Roadshow as early as possibly so you can reserve the time slot you want.


For more information and reservations, please call 1-800-582-4673, ext 4325 or email us at


Moody Gardens is a public, non-profit and educational destination, which is why we are dedicated to teaching the youth about nature and conservation. To learn more about the educational events and activities we provide, visit us at


Moody Gardens is also dedicated to providing our visitors with a fun and memorable time, so be sure to visit our Aquarium Pyramid and Rainforest Pyramid. The Moody Gardens Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Galveston and a popular vacation destination.


Ways to Get Involved with Moody Gardens: Volunteering

One of the easiest ways to get involved with Moody Gardens is to become one of our many valued volunteers! As a public, non-profit organization, we really count on our volunteers to keep Moody Gardens awesome.  We believe our volunteers are essential in making sure each and every guest has an unforgettable experience with us.


Volunteers offer help in a variety of departments throughout all of Moody Gardens. Volunteering with us is not only a help to the community, but also an incredible opportunity to learn more about Moody Gardens, nature, and conservation. We are very flexible with our volunteering schedules, so you have the opportunity to volunteer as much or as little as you want! We appreciate any amount of time you are willing to share with us.


The current volunteer opportunities at Moody Gardens are for:

  • Individuals
  • Divers
  • Interns
  • Teenagers
  • Special Events


Volunteers are required to attend a brief volunteer orientation in order to be better prepared for volunteering at Moody Gardens. The orientation will teach you what you need to know in order to have a successful volunteering experience. The orientations are typically held on Saturdays, so even if you work or attend school, you can still make it.


To find out when the next volunteer orientation is, check with Volunteer Services. You can find out more information by emailing the Volunteer Coordinator at or calling 1-800-582-4673, ext. 4108. The Volunteer Coordinator would be happy to answer any questions you have about volunteering or the application process.


You can also sign up today to help out with the famous Festival of Lights! We have thousands of visitors each day coming to see the millions of lights, drink hot cocoa along the trail, and enjoy the live entertainment, so we need more helping hands!


When you aren’t volunteering, be sure to visit Moody Gardens for fun Galveston events. Don’t miss out on the Aquarium Pyramid this season!