MG Sweetheart Scavenger Hunt!

With its peaceful foliage in the Rainforest Pyramid and beautiful marine life in the Aquarium Pyramid, Moody Gardens is a great place to spend this Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart or family.

VDAY_ScavengerHunt_2015While you are at Moody Gardens, you can participate in the Sweetheart Scavenger Hunt. Learn about the intricate relationships and courtships that take place in the animal kingdom with this scavenger hunt. And best of all, you could earn a family 4-pack of Moody Gardens tickets by participating.

Here are some of the facts you will learn while participating in the scavenger hunt:

  • Humans aren’t the only ones that give presents when they are wooing a lady. Male penguins give their potential love interests a pebble. They search for the smoothest rock, and if the female accepts, she puts it in her nest and parenthood soon follows.
  • When piranhas find themselves in love, they turn almost completely black to discourage others from courting. Think of it as a clear sign of “Hey, I’m taken.”
  • Some women wish men would experience the ups and downs of pregnancy. In the seahorse kingdom that’s exactly what happens, as the male delivers the babies. Scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why it occurs – maybe it is to help make more babies or just share some of the load from females – but it certainly is one of the most unique relationships under the sea.
  • A scarlet ibis believes in true love. When a male successful woes a female, they will remain partners for life.
  • Harbor seals flirt by rolling and bubble-blowing. You can read about our Moody Gardens harbor seal couple, Porter and Presley, here.

Learn about these and the other animals at Moody Gardens when you visit on Valentine’s Day weekend. Be sure to download the Sweetheart Scavenger Hunt and get your cameras ready to win a great prize!

And don’t forget to dive into a romantic underwater dining experience at the Aquarium Pyramid with the Sea of Love Valentine’s Dinner on Feb. 13 or 14.

Enjoy a special menu created exclusively for the Sea of Love Dinner. You can reserve a table with a view of one of the unique locations throughout the Aquarium Pyramid.

Dinner for two is $140 on Friday and $180 on Saturday. It also includes rose for her, souvenir photo and Aquarium Pyramid admission. Saturday’s dinner also includes a bottle of wine or champagne. Biologists will also be in attendance to answer any questions you may have about the spectacular residents of the Aquarium Pyramid.

To reserve your spot, please call 1-800-582-4673 ext. 4368. Reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Calls will be answered and returned daily. RSVP by February 11. Click here for menus.

Here’s Your 2014 Holiday Itinerary:

PLAN YOUR GETAWAY AT THE COOLEST HOLIDAY DESTINATION IN THE SOUTHWEST

With the opening of ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants and the return of the annual Festival of Lights, Moody Gardens has officially become the coolest holiday destination in the Southwest.

With so many attractions to enjoy, the Moody Gardens Value Passes have been a popular choice among guests. For just $59.95, visitors get entry into ICE LAND, Festival of Lights, Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Museum, MG 3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. Those wanting to make a weekend visit can also purchase a Two-Day Value Pass for $79.95 and get unlimited entry to everything Moody Gardens has to offer.

So what’s the best schedule if you are planning a vacation to Moody Gardens? Here is a sample itinerary to make sure you don’t miss a thing:

DAY 1

» 9-9:45 a.m. Breakfast at Moody Brews
Located in the main lobby of the hotel, Moody Brews offers a full line of Starbucks beverages, grab-and-go menu items, retail products, free WiFi, laptop work stations and comfortable seating.

» 10-11 a.m. Rainforest Pyramid
Take a tour of the 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, like the cotton-top tamarins and saki monkeys.

» 11:05-11:35 a.m. Discover the Ice Age
Travel back in time to discover a frigid world, covered in ice and occupied by mammoths, saber-toothed cats, cave people and more. The exhibit features life-sized animatronic animals and real fossils within the Discovery Pyramid.

Smilodon-(1)

» 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch at Café in the Park at the Moody Gardens Hotel

» 1:30-2 p.m. ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants
Enjoy the coolest new attraction to date when you visit ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants. Being the only holiday ice exhibition on the Gulf Coast, this is a vast and amazing display of 900 tons of towering SpongeBob SquarePants-themed ice creations.

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» 2:15-4:30 p.m. Deep Tissue Massage at the Spa and 9 Holes at the Moody Gardens Golf Course
Send the little ones to a Kid’s Crew activity provided throughout the weekend by the Moody Gardens Hotel and relax at The Spa or play a round of golf at the Moody Gardens Golf Course.

» 5-6 p.m. Festival of Lights Buffet at the Garden Restaurant for Dinner

» 6-6:15 p.m. Pictures with Santa
Be sure to stop by Santa’s Village in the Visitor’s Center lobby and get your picture with Santa Claus!

» 6:15-6:45 p.m. Gingerbread Gardens
Build your own Gingerbread House with the family inside the Visitor’s Center lobby.

» 7-8 p.m. Festival of Lights
Enjoy the mile-long trail of over one million lights and 100 animated displays that winds through the beautiful Moody Gardens property. This is a holiday tradition you won’t want to miss!

FOL-snowman--with-tree-and-lighted-balls

» 8-8:30 p.m. Ice Rink
Grab some rental skates and enjoy the area’s only outdoor ice skating rink.

Day 2

» 8:45-9:45 a.m. Breakfast at Café in the Park

» 10-10:50 a.m. Aquarium Pyramid
Visit four distinct ocean environments in the largest Moody Gardens Pyramid that includes seals, sea lions, sharks, thousands of fish and more than 90 penguins.

» 11-11:45 a.m. Penguin Encounter
Get up close and personal with a penguin during this 45-minute program that takes guests behind the scenes.

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» 12-12:45 p.m. Lunch at the Aquarium Pyramid Food Court

» 1-2 p.m. Colonel Paddlewheel Boat
Take a cruise around Offatts Bayou on this 1800s-style paddlewheel boat.

» 2:30-3 p.m. 4D Special FX Theater
Engage your senses in this theater as you encounter a 20-minute adaptation of Rio 4D or Polar Express 4D.

» 3:15-3:45 p.m. Arctic Ice Slide
Take a slide down this Texas-sized ice slide located outside the Visitor’s Center.

» 4-4:45 p.m. Sky Trail® Explorer Ropes Course
Challenge your agility, balance and strength as you encounter the new five-tier Ropes Course. Children 48 inches and under can also take on an adventure of a smaller scale on the Sky Tykes™ Ropes Course.

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» 4:45-5 p.m. Moody Gardens Zip Line
Snap into the harness, step to the edge of the zip line platform and glide over Palm Beach and the Lazy River 60 feet in the air for a bird’s eye view of the Moody Gardens Pyramids and tropical gardens.

» 5:15-6:15 p.m. Dinner at Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks

» 6:40-8 p.m. MG 3D Theater
Finish out the day watching some holiday favorites, such as Light Before Christmas 3D and Santa vs. Snowman 3D, in the newly enhanced MG 3D Theater featuring the world’s first giant screen 6p laser projector and the largest screen in Texas.

Musical Enrichment Event

GREEN MUSIC ENRICHMENTJam out with the animals of the Rainforest Pyramid at our Music Enrichment Event this Saturday and Sunday October 11-12 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

What is Enrichment?

Animal enrichment is something that stimulates the senses or changes the environment. Several categories of enrichment are then used to enhance that species’ behavioral, physical, social, cognitive, and psychological well being.

This event, focuses on the auditory and vocal abilities of animals in the Rainforest Pyramid. Using music is just one of the many auditory ways that we can stimulate the animals. To them, it is simply a different sound. This replicates the various sounds they might encounter in the wild.

Stop by to enjoy the music with some of our most popular animals. Send us your pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ using the hashtag #MGEnrichment so we can see it and share them too.

Here’s the schedule:

SATURDAY

  • 10:30 a.m. Saki Monkeys: Guitar
  • 11:00 a.m. Amazon Pond: Guest Jam Session
  • 12:00 p.m. Otter Training Platform: Violin
  • 1:30 p.m. Croc Monitor Exhibit: Piano
  • 2:00 p.m. Rod Bat/Egyptian Bat: Harmonica/Guest Jam Session
  • 3:30 p.m. Ocelot Exhibit: Guest Jam Session
  • 4:00 p.m. Canopy: Flute

SUNDAY

  •  10:30 a.m. Saki Monkeys: Violin
  •  11:00 a.m. Otter Overlook: Guitar
  • 12:00 p.m. Amazon Pond: Drum
  • 1:30 p.m. Komodo Exhibit: Guitar/Piano
  • 2:00 p.m. Rod Bat/Egyptian Bat: Harmonica/Guest Jam Session
  • 3:30 p.m. Ocelot Exhibit: Guest Jam Session
  • 4:00 p.m. Canopy: Flute

It was a SLOW week…

It’s a slow week around the world. A Slow Loris week that is!

Moody Gardens Pygmy Slow Loris
Pygmy Slow Loris at the Rainforest Pyramid

Now in its fourth year, Slow Loris Outreach Week (S.L.O.W.) is aimed to bring awareness to the rapid decline of one of the world’s most endangered group of primates. SLOW lasts until Sunday, Sept. 14.

The week was started by “The Little Fireface Project,” the world’s longest running Loris conservation project. The Project started in 1993 under the supervision of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group of Oxford Brookes University.

So what exactly are Slow Lorises? Here are some facts about these unique primates.

• There are five types of Lorises – Sunda, Bengal, Pygmy, Javan, and Bornean.

• The name Little Fireface comes from the Sundanese name for Slow Loris – muka geni. In other languages, Loris means thin one, wind monkey (both in Sumatra and Thailand), forest baby, and the shy one.

• Slow Lorises are actually venomous, making them the only poisonous primate in the world. They produce their venom by combining saliva with oil from a gland on the upper arm. This poison can cause anaphylactic shock, and even death, to humans.

• Each Slow Loris species is recognized as either vulnerable or endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Threats to the Slow Loris include illegal pet trade, hunting for traditional medicinal purposes, and habitat loss/destruction.

You can see two Pygmy Slow Loris girls, Blackwell and Cai, at the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid. Moody Gardens is a part of the AZA Species Survival Program, which is responsible for developing a comprehensive population Studbook and a Breeding and Transfer Plan which identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population. Blackwell and Cai were both born at Moody Gardens.

To learn more about SLOW and what you can do to help, visit www.nocturama.org.

Moody Madness: CHAMPIONSHIP

There’s still a champion left to be crowned! The real battle is here as we have the Amazon River Otter representing the Rainforest Pyramid face off against the California Sea Lion representing the Aquarium Pyramid. Who will come out on top? That’s all up to you.

MoodyMadnessBracke_Championshipt

CLICK HERE to vote or vote below for your favorite

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Moody Madness: Final 4

Stunning.

That’s the best word to describe the voting results for the Moody Madness Elite Eight.

Both top seeds, the Saki Monkey and the King Penguin, saw their chances of being named Moody Gardens’ favorite animal end in shocking results. The loss was especially tough for the King Penguin, which was defeated by just three votes.

Here were the final Elite Eight results:

MoodyMadnessBracket_Final4_Web

So we are down to the Final Four. Who will be the champion of the Rainforest and Aquarium Pyramids? That’s for you to determine!

CLICK HERE to vote or vote below for your favorites!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Moody Madness: Elite 8

The Sweet Sixteen of the Moody Madness tournament saw most of the top seeds move on, with the exception of two upsets.

The Cinderella story of the tournament to determine the most popular animal at Moody Gardens continues to be the Two-Toed Sloth. After a surprise win over the Cotton-Top Tamarin, the Sloth pulled out a stunning victory over the Komodo Dragon.

Can the Sloth continue its improbably run against the Giant River Otter? Can the top-seeded White-faced Saki Monkey and King Penguin continue their march to the Final Four? That’s up to you to decide.

Click the image below to see the results from the Sweet 16 round:

MoodyMadnessBracket_Elite8_Web

 

CLICK HERE to vote or vote below for your favorites!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Moody Madness: Sweet 16

Sweet Sixteen : March 25-27

Just like the first weekend of the college basketball tournament, the first round of the Moody Madness bracket had some thrilling contests. Some of the match-ups came down to the wire in the tournament to determine the most popular animal at Moody Gardens.

Here are the results from Round 1:

MoodyMadnessBracket_Sweet16_Web

Now it’s on to the Sweet Sixteen where the competition steps up a notch. Don’t let your favorite fall short of the Elite Eight. Be sure to vote to this exciting tournament!

CLICK HERE to vote or vote below for the Rainforest Pyramid animals and make sure to click Next when you’re done at the bottom to vote for the Aquarium Pyramid animals on the second page.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

2014 Moody Madness

CLICK to download the 2014 Moody Madness Bracket
CLICK to download the 2014 Moody Madness Bracket

Our animals at Moody Gardens are big sports fans. No, really!

Over the years, we’ve had our seals, Saki Monkeys and Komodo Dragons pick the Super Bowl winners. We also have penguins named after sports stars like Biggio and Watt.

So with the NCAA Basketball tournament this week, our animals decided to have a friendly competition to find out which is the most popular.

The bracket features 16 Rainforest Pyramid and 16 Aquarium Pyramid residents. During the next three weeks, you will be able to vote for who you want to advance to the next round. In the end, one Rainforest Pyramid and one Aquarium Pyramid animal will square off to see which is the most popular at Moody Gardens.

Be sure to vote for your favorite animals at Moody Gardens!

VOTING SCHEDULE:

  • First round – March 19-24
  • Sweet Sixteen – March 25-27
  • Elite Eight  March 28-31
  • Final Four – April 1-April 3
  • Championship – April 4-7

CLICK HERE to vote or vote below for the Rainforest Pyramid animals and make sure to click Next when you’re done at the bottom to vote for the Aquarium Pyramid animals on the second page.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Pyramids of Love: Rainforest (Part 2)

Join us this week as we take a closer look at the Pyramids of Love at Moody Gardens! Learn about the intricate relationships and courtships that take place in the animal kingdom throughout the week on our blog and look for our trivia questions on Facebook & Twitter for chance to win Aquarium and Rainforest tickets. Make sure to stop by February 14-16 for Valentine’s Day themed animal enrichment and presentations at the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids.

LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES

There’s plenty of love to discover within the Rainforest Pyramid! Here’s a look at the relationships between some of our most popular animals:

 

IMG_3343Prehensile-tailed Porcupine

Letting a love interest know how you REALLY feel about her

It’s not every day that female porcupines are interested in mating. It’s estimated the time is only 8-12 hours a year! That gives little time to make a great first impression. So what does the male do? The most bizarre thing imaginable; he soaks her with urine. If the female doesn’t enjoy this unusual advancement, she’ll just give a shriek of disgust and shake off the urine.

 

IMG_6670Mandarin Ducks

Vanity isn’t everything

The males have a striking ‘nuptial’ plumage, making it easy to distinguish them from the females…however, it doesn’t last long.  Once the breeding season is over, it’s off with the “suit and tie” and the males will enter the ‘eclipse plumage’ phase where they look just like the female.  But while they are all dressed to impressed, they also have to “walk the talk”! These males must perform to their female love interest, not just a dance, but cold calculated courtship display! The males time their moves just right by bowing and vocalizing to suit the females’ choosiness.  With the male’s superb looks and artistic dance, he’s sure to ruffle her feathers, in a good way of course.

 

cOcelots

A mother’s love is so strong

Who said that being a single parent is easy? Female ocelots raise their young on their own for two years. Since ocelots typically only breed every other year and usually produce only one kitten, you know you have to really have love for your young. During this time, the cub is learning what mom does best: hunting, eating, and how to stay alive. A mother’s love is always the best solution.

 

blue macawsMacaws

A painting worth a 1,000 words

How colorful can you get? Most birds use their keen eyesight to distinguish a good mate. Macaws are distinctly, colorful and beautiful.  The vibrancy of their plumage can help a bird looking for love to determine the overall fitness and health of a potential mate.  Hue said looks don’t matter?

 

Blue_Duiker_1 high resBlue Duiker

Love Patrol

Have you ever met a couple that does everything together? Well when duikers mate and form a bonded pair that’s exactly what happens. These tiny deer tend to eat, sleep, raise young and mark territories together. That’s right! Both males and females in a bonded pair will walk around their territory and scent mark.  No, “mine or yours” in this relationship, it’s all ours!

 

cotton top tamarins pairCotton-Top Tamarin 

A loving mother and father, and uncle, and aunt, and neighbor, and that guy that lives down the road, and mom’s sister’s best friend from high school….

Have you ever had a friend of the family that tells you all sorts of stories about you being young and how cute you were when you were a baby? Cotton-top tamarins do. This species of tamarins cooperatively breed, which means that the dominate breeding pair have offspring that are tended to be all members of the group. Doesn’t matter if you’re the older sibling, or an aunt/uncle, they all help raise the young like their own.  It is believed that this behavior helps offspring to survive to adulthood. Those who are not dominate at the time will receive the same treatment when they’re next in line.  Time for cheek squeezing!!

 

IMG_6643Scarlet ibis

Hi, this is my mother, my father, and their own body guard

Scarlet ibis nest just like any other birds. They build a nest out of twigs and raise young in it, except one little twist. Just a few feet away from the nest is another scarlet ibis who’s watching out for predators.  This is called colonial nesting.  Many individuals may mate and build nests, but everyone has security duty and will rotate (even laying on nests) to be guards. Each sentinel has a duty to alert the rest of the group of when predators are spotted.    Think of it as a couple’s own personal secret service. It’s a loving job.

 

Arapaima

A father’s love has no boundaries, well maybe one

Arapaimas are mouth brooders meaning that they keep eggs and small fry in their mouths. This helps keep predators from eating them, while also making sure the young are all in one place at a time.  The mother isn’t missing from this equation though. She’s protecting the male by continuously being by his side and circling around him and the young when predators are present.  Although this is a very odd way to house your young, many fish do it. For instance, several species of cichlid fish use this same parenting strategy.

Gaboon Viper

Fighting for Love

Sometimes things can’t be settled by looks, by food, or by dances. Sometimes it’s an all out battle for the female. When two gaboon viper males meet during mating season, they have to make sure that they are the only one in that area able to breed with females. So they get into a match of endurance.  They will stand as tall as they can and face each other, each one trying to push the other male down, squeezing him, and trying to tire him out. All in trying to prove to the other male with brute strength that he is the dominate one.

IMG_0107Giant River Otters

Big brother and big sister love

Those of us who have brothers and sisters all know how hard they can be on us from time to time. Although in the end, they still love us no matter what. If you take a look at the Giant River Otters and look closely at their groups out in the wild, you’ll realize they are mostly made up of the same family group. The mother and father will give birth to offspring that stay with the family group, even after maturity.  These older offspring stay on in the family for hunting, security, and most importantly to help raise the next set of kids.