Plan Your Holiday Itinerary!

Plan Your Escape for Festive Fun at Moody Gardens!
Moody Gardens has the ideal holiday adventure for you and your family. There is so much to do, you make a weekend of it and make the most of your vacation time with friends and family. Don’t know where to start? We have taken the livery of creating a sample itinerary to ensure you don’t miss a thing!

Day 1 of Fun

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Breakfast at Café in the Park at the Moody Gardens Hotel
Located at the Moody Gardens Hotel, this restaurant features a wide variety of breakfast options from tasty omelets to a sweet assortment of pastries. The lush greenery and vibrant colors make dining at the café like a festive outdoor picnic. Check out the menu here.

10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Festive Photo Opp
Strike a pose at the beautiful Poinsettia Tree in the Visitor Center Garden Lobby and share your photo with us on the Moody Gardens Facebook page.

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Rainforest Pyramid
Immerse yourself in our 10-story glass pyramid that is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. You will experience rainforest life from around the world and encounter free-roaming animals such as, monkeys and tropical birds.

11:45 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas
Explore the only ice attraction on the Gulf Coast as you take an underwater journey from the shores of Galveston Island through the Gulf of Mexico to arrive at the ultimate Caribbean Christmas destination. Walk through a 28,000 square foot exhibit area set at a chilly temperature of nine degrees and encounter towering aquatic sculptures made completely of ice! There is even an opportunity to enjoy some festive holiday spirits inside of ICE LAND at Shivers Ice Bar.

12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Lunch at the Garden Restaurant in the Visitor’s Center
Partake in a festive holiday buffet which includes Pecan Crusted Chicken, Parmesan Potatoes, sautéed vegetables and more!

2:00 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. Nature’s Wonders Gift Shop in the Visitor Center
Take home a reminder of your Moody Gardens experience by checking out an array of holiday ornaments, animal plush toys, unique jewelry sets and more.

2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Moody Gardens Hotel Spa and Salon
Escape to a world of revitalizing fragrances and botanical oils as you are treated with a nourishing facial or a Swedish massage. Make your holidays merry by selecting one of the various holiday packages being offered for the season. More information.

4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. SpongeBob SubPants Adventure
Dive into adventure! On this wild and silly deep-sea submarine voyage, YOU choose the destination and YOU interact with your hapless captain — Patrick Star! Plunge into a world of immersive 3D media, a torrent of special effects and a nonstop whirlwind of surprises! With an improvised, real time interaction with Patrick Star, and varying destinations, your adventure is never the same twice.

5:15 p.m. – 5:35 p.m. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D in the Special FX 4D Theater
Experience the latest 3D technology with a twist! Feel the rumble in your seat or snow fall into your lap as you join Rudolph, Santa and their misfit toy friends on their thrilling journey to save Christmas!

5:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Drinks at Shearns Lounge
Admire breathtaking property views of the Moody Gardens Pyramids or a beautiful sunset over Galveston Bay. Savor premium cocktails at one of the best views of holiday lights around.

6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner and Show (December 16 – 25 only)
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind Holiday show that includes amazing acrobats and aerialists, mesmerizing illusions, hilarious comedy and much more. All of this coupled with a superb Holiday Buffet Dinner prepared by renowned Moody Gardens Executive Chef Felipe Gonzalez. Click here for holiday hotel packages! Admission also includes a ticket to the Festival of Lights.

9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Festival of Lights
Take a stroll through the largest light attraction on the Gulf Coast. This one-mile trail features over 100 lighting displays such as, Santa Claus, various animals and even a narrated nativity scene! You can also glide on over to the area’s only outdoor skating rink as it is included in the Festival of Lights admission.

Day 2 of Fun

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Moody Brews in the Moody Gardens Hotel
Get your day started by grabbing a quick breakfast with a delicious brew at the Moody Gardens Hotel coffee shop. Take advantage of the sweet pastries and free hotel wifi.

8:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Tee Time at the Moody Gardens Golf Course
Take a swing on the lush greens of one of the top ranked golf courses in Texas. Enjoy spectacular views of beautiful palm trees and Galveston Bay.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch at the Pelican Grill at the Moody Gardens Golf Course
Savor great food and a great bargain while taking in the lush tropical scenery of the Moody Gardens Golf Course and Offatts Bayou.

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Aquarium Pyramid
Visit four distinct ocean environments in the infamous blue pyramid that houses seals, sharks, penguins and thousands of tropical fish.

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Ropes Course & Zip Line
Satisfy your inner thrill-seeker as you soar 30 feet above Moody Gardens’ Palm Beach. Relish in the awesome property views as well as city glimpses from Offatts Bayou!

3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Jerusalem 3D in the MG 3D Theater
Immerse yourself into one of the world’s most beloved cities. Discover why this tiny piece of land is sacred to three major religions through the stories of Jewish, Christian and Muslim families who call Jerusalem home.

5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Dinner at Shearns Fine Dining Restaurant

Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks is the premier destination for fine dining in Galveston. Delight in floor-to-ceiling views of the Galveston Bay and also amazing views of the Moody Gardens’ Pyramids.

7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Night Cruise on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat

Relax on a beautiful nightly cruise through Offatts Bayou on the Moody Gardens’ 1800s paddlewheel boat. Overlooking the deck you will view a festive panorama of Christmas lights and displays from the 15th Annual Festival of Lights trail!

So Much to Love

From adventuring in the Rainforest Pyramid to the taking a sunset cruise on The Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, there is something for you to make this Valentine’s Day memorable for those that you love.

On February 13 you can make plans with your sweetheart to set sail on a romantic sunset dinner cruise complete with a dinner buffet, DJ, and dancing. This cruise package includes your choice of a bottle of champagne or wine, a rose for your sweetheart, and a souvenir photo. Get a table for two for $200 or a table for four for $380. Seating is limited and reservations are required so be sure to make your reservations now by calling 1-800-582-4673 ext. 4368. For more details and table options, visit our website.

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We also have our popular Aquarium Valentine’s Day Dinner on February 14. Dive into an underwater dining experience at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid. The evening includes a chef’s three-course dinner, your choice of a bottle of champagne or wine, a rose for your sweetheart, a souvenir photo, and Aquarium Pyramid admission with our biologists on hand to answer your questions about the Moody Gardens marine animals. Enjoy your romantic dinner while sharks and other beautiful sea creatures swim overhead. There is also the Sealed With A Kiss seating area that treats guests to a table by the seals and sea lions of the North Pacific Exhibit. These playful animals will add a splash of fun to your dining experience. Another option for you and your sweetheart are our Fishin’ For Love tables that have the colorful fish inhabitants provide the perfect backdrop for your romantic evening. The Tunnel of Love section is already sold out. Grab a peak at the seating chart here and make your reservations by calling 1-800-582-4673 ext. 4368.

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Love is in the air in the animal kingdom, too! For $29.95 you can join us on February 13 or 14 and see the plants and animals you love as you travel around the world in the Rainforest and Aquarium Pyramids with our Rainforest and Aquarium Combo ticket. Visit the seals, sharks, birds, and even Moody Gardens’ sweet new couple, our Cotton-top Tamarins Victor and Gracie. This is a great option if you are looking to involve the whole family in a Valentine’s Day activity.

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For the entire month of February you can also enjoy the Moody Gardens Hotel Valentine’s Room Special. Be sure to book early because this deal is subject to hotel availability. The price is $229 for hotel room, chocolate covered strawberries and champagne, breakfast, and valet service.

You can also enjoy a wonderful Valentine’s Day meal at Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks located in the Moody Gardens Hotel. The menu for the mouthwatering and carefully selected meal can be found here.

Jungle Love

Finding Mr. or Mrs. Right in today’s day and age isn’t an easy task.  With the success of the Internet, dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble have taken the place of matchmaking services for purposes of convenience.  The skilled biologists at Moody Gardens have recently added matchmaker to their resumes as they successfully paired up and introduced two fuzzy Cotton-top Tamarins in the Rainforest Pyramid.  This is a difficult feat as this process requires information to be sorted through an extensive database to find the ideal match.  Both Victor and Gracie immediately took a liking to one another; so much so that he sweetly observed and presented his new lady’s favorite flower to her. Gracie willingly accepted the gift as her afternoon snack.

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The Moody Gardens curatorial staff is very hopeful that the two will breed in the future.  Tamarins thrive on companionship and usually live in large groups, with sometimes as many as fifteen members.  Typically, female Tamarins give birth to non-identical twins and the father will take part in caring for the infant by carrying it on its back.  Infant Tamarins are about 15-20% of the weight of an adult Tamarin so it will certainly be an endearing sight to see as you can imagine!

Native to the South American country of Colombia these petite primates spend most of their time in treetops feasting on fruit, bugs and flowers. Approximately 9 inches in height, they are among the smallest of the primates that are easily identified by their white flowing head of hair.  Although small, these primates can produce close to 40 different vocalizations when communicating with family or other fellow Tamarins. The Cotton-top Tamarins reside in the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid. This exhibit is home to various birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles native to the rainforests around the world. Offering canopy and ground level views this immersive environment gives guests a one-of-a-kind experience.

Happy birthday, Murphy and Diablo!

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The Komodo Dragons of Moody Gardens celebrated their fifth birthday with quite the party. Murphy and Diablo, Galveston’s only Komodo Dragons, were surprised with a lizard style birthday cake containing some of their favorite treats including eggs and meat. The crowd gathered around as the zoo keeper team fed them their delicious birthday treat. The dragons also received handmade cards and birthday decorations to enjoy on their special day.

Among the crowd, were two particular guests that had something very special in mind for the dragons. Twins Izzy and Abby have celebrated every birthday with the dragons and visit them frequently. Every year, they bring cards and sing “Happy Birthday,” but this year, they decided to adopt a Komodo dragon from the World Wildlife Fund on behalf of Murphy and Diablo.

“This is such a warm and inspirational happening, one that touches us all here in the Rainforest Pyramid,” said T’Noya Gonzales, Asst. Behavior Management Coordinator.

The Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard species in the world with potential of reaching 10 feet in length and weighing over 150 pounds. Despite their size, these guys are known for their burst of speed. They can briefly reach speeds up to 13 mph.

While the dragons have already had their cake, the celebration will continue.  Be sure to stop by and wish them a Happy Birthday!
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Moody Gardens Recognizes Six Outstanding Animal Care Professionals

Zookeeper WEEK.Logo 2006 VThis week is National Zookeeper Week and Moody Garden’s Life Science and Exhibit Operations department has taken this opportunity to recognize the dedication and hard work that goes into this challenging career path. Moody Gardens would like to thank each and every person on our team for providing the highest level of animal care and well-being while creating personal connections between our guests and our conservation, education and research efforts. The LSEO management team recognized 6 individuals with outstanding animal professional awards. These employees have had a significant impact on Moody Gardens through outstanding dedication, competence, conscientious performance, excellence in engaging guests and ingenuity.

The 2015 Outstanding Animal Care Professionals are: Dave Brossette, T’Noya Gonzales, Karen Holcroft, Marci Kurtz, Maggie Reynolds and Sean Salinger. As evidenced by their dedication to their job, only 3 recipients were present at the awards lunch on Tuesday, 21 July as duty called the others away.

Marci Kurtz, Sean Salinger and T’Noya Gonzales receive their recognition.
Marci Kurtz, Sean Salinger and T’Noya Gonzales receive their recognition.

#JurassicZooKeepers: Moody Gardens Edition!

It’s not always easy being a zoo keeper! Good thing we’ve got our very own set of #JurassicZooKeepers to keep everything under control. Our keepers tamed the most ferocious Moody Gardens animals using the Chris Pratt’s Jurassic World training tactic. Okay, they might not be the most ferocious animals but they are still pretty cool:

Snake Jurassic

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komodo jurrassic

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Do you want to be a #JurassicZooKeeper too? You’re in luck because we also have dinosaurs! Visit our Dinos Alive exhibit and join in on the fun! Share your best #JurassicZooKeeper photo on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtags #DinosAlive and #JurassicZooKeeper. Ready, set…rawr! 

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Taveta Golden Weavers

Taveta Golden Weavers – Rainforest Pyramid

A group of 22 Taveta Golden Weavers are the newest addition to the Rainforest Pyramid! This small, yellow bird is an African (Kenya and Tanzania) species of songbird that weaves oval shaped nests. The males are the nest builders and they usually are colonial nesters. Females pick a mate based on the male’s skill at weaving. The males are already making themselves at home and are working on more than 3 different nests at the moment. Make sure to look up and see if you can spot them next time you visit the Rainforest Pyramid!

MG SPOTLIGHT: Wild Almond Tree

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Spring is finally in the air, which means many of Moody Gardens’ 20,000 plants and trees will soon be blooming.

One of the trees currently in bloom is the Sterculia foetida, also known as the Wild Almond tree.

Native to East Africa, the Wild Almond’s genus is taken from Sterculius of Roman mythology, the god of manure. The name is in reference to the unpleasant aroma of the Wild Almond flowers.

While its flower’s smell isn’t the best, the tree’s wood is so durable that it is used as masts for ships. It also produces large nuts that are dark, smooth, woody and boat shaped. The nuts burst open to reveal many filbert-sized black seeds which are roasted and eaten like chestnuts.

Sound like a good ingredient for your next trail mix? Well there is a downside to these nuts. If eaten raw and in excess, it can cause nausea and vertigo.

The Wild Almond’s leaves and bark have considerable medicinal value thanks to an extract called Gum karaya. The extract is used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods, as a laxative, and as a denture adhesive. The oil from its seeds is also given internally for itching and skin diseases.

The Wild Almond doesn’t bloom for very long. In fact, as you can see from the photos, the Moody Gardens Wild Almond is almost done, with small, reddish flowers that are borne in clusters.

It doesn’t bloom for very long, in fact, it’s about done….flowers are small, reddish & borne in clusters. And yes…they do stink. Thanks Sterculius!

MOODY MADNESS: Favorite MG Animal

The inaugural Moody Madness tournament produced plenty of drama and upsets last year. In the end, the California Sea Lion was voted by you as the favorite animal at Moody Gardens.

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Can the Sea Lion repeat as champs? We’re about to find out with the second annual Moody Madness.

The most popular animals from the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids are squaring off in a bracket-style tournament this week. The animals were seeded based on last year’s results, but that doesn’t mean upsets aren’t possible.

Make sure your favorite animal makes it to the championship. Vote now: http://woobox.com/guw6iz 

UPDATE: Congratulations to the Saki Monkey, our 2015 Moody Madness Champion

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Birding at the Rainforest Pyramid

As you explore the Rainforest Pyramid, be on the lookout for some of these birds:

Visit moodygardens.org for tickets & hours