Summer Breeze

White sand in Galveston? That’s right, Palm Beach. Galveston’s favorite white sand beach will be opening to the public on May 21st! Relax under lush palm trees or take a dip in the cool waters of the popular lazy river or wave pool. With something for everyone, this summer will be loaded with fun and unforgettable memories!

Come and enjoy the interactive 650-foot lazy river, wave pool and two 18-foot tower slides. Other attractions include beach volleyball on regulation courts and the Aquarium Adventure play area. The Splashpad automated aquatic water feature offers interactive dump buckets, spray arches and fountains for a day of fun at the beach. Palm Beach admission is $23.95 for adults, $17.95 for children and seniors, or $55 for a season pass. Children ages three and under are free.

As if this isn’t enough fun, we have exactly what you need for a weekend of island fun with the Bands on the Sand summer concert series. Beginning June 4, this live music series runs throughout the summer following each show with fireworks over the Moody Gardens pyramids and Offatts Bayou. Admission to each concert is $15 and free for kids three and under. Bands on the Sand will be held from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through August 13.

splashpad

Below is the Bands on the Sand line-up:

June 4:                 Gary Michael Dahl (Variety/R&B)

June 10:               The Mockingbirds(Variety)

June 11:               Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Variety)

June 17:               Yelba (Variety/Latin)

June 18:               Mid Life Crisis (Variety)

June 24:               A Sure Thing (Rock)

June 25:               Line Up (Variety)

July 1:                   Intercoastal Pirates (Variety)

July 2:                   Space Monkeys (Variety)

July 8:                   Kaos (Variety/Rock)

July 9:                   Cody Hodges (Country)

July 15:                 Velvet Punch (Rock)

July 16:                The Relics (Rock)

July 22:                 The Slags (Variety/Rock)

July 23:                 Intercoastal Pirates (Variety)

July 29:                 Leannasaurus Rex (Variety)

July 30:                 Vertigo (Rock)

August 5:             Line Up (Variety)

August 6:             Rat Ranch (Rock)

August 12:           DJ Dio (Variety)

August 13:           The Relics (Rock)

 

Who Runs the World…. Girls!

I’m sure most have heard the saying, “There’s strength in numbers.” For one ant colony at the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid this proves to be true. Located in the browse boxes of the Rainforest, one in the canopy level and the other towards the exhibit’s exit, resides the largest Leaf Cutter Ant (Atta Cephalotes) colony in Texas. Hailing from various tropical paradises in Central and South America, Leaf Cutter Ants are responsible for 20% of all plant consumption in the rainforests.

Consisting of hundreds of thousands female ants, work duties are based on a caste system. Within this pure feminist society are four different types of ants whose sole purpose is to care for and protect the queen. Soldiers, normally the largest of the ants defend the nest from intruders. Cutters are the worker ants that spend their time cutting leaves and returning them to the nest. Guards are the first line of defense and attack anything that may pose a threat. Minims, the smallest of the workers play a vital role in maintaining the colony as they are the caretakers of the fungal garden as well as the queen.

From the time we exit our mother’s womb, we are groomed to be self-sufficient individuals in order to one day run our own successful households. This isn’t too far-fetched for Leaf Cutter Ants. When a virgin queen leaves her mother’s nest, she will mate with multiple males during “nuptial flight.” During this process the males will die off and she will collect the sperm she needs in order to begin her own colony. She will then dig a tunnel and burrow herself into a chamber known as a “fungal garden.” For a few years, she will nourish the fungus brought from her mother’s colony in order to begin her own. Queens can live anywhere from 15-20 years of age. Upon her death the entire colony dies out with her.

The Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens offers a huge variety of plant life to offer the colony as the ants cut daily. Be sure to stop by and get your own glimpse of these amazing creatures in action!

 

Earth Day Celebrations

On April 23 you can start the day with a yoga class in the morning, and then take part in gardens tours, a treasure hunt, arts and crafts, and a free milkweed plant giveaway throughout the day as supplies last.  We will also be having an Earth Day Expo in the Garden Lobby with speakers that will focus on composting, rainwater harvesting, hummingbirds and nesting birds. You can also attend presentations on gardening and sustainable cooking on Saturday.

Billboard_EarthDay2016_Digital_SMALL_500

Throughout the weekend you can check out the Rainforest Pyramid to witness a breathtaking tribute to rapidly vanishing wonders of Africa, Asia and the Americas that will showcase some of the issues that are having a negative impact in the wild. We will also be holding Keeper Chats with Moody Gardens biologists with a variety of animals that range from butterflies and birds to komodo dragons and more. Staff will lead discussions on important environmental issues as visitors can learn how to better protect the planet for the future. Sunday, there will also be free live musical entertainment for you and your family to enjoy.

The Moody Gardens “ZOOpermarket” will be open the entire weekend inside the Rainforest Pyramid allowing you to learn about palm oil and how environmentally friendly your food is. In addition to the “ZOOpermarket” you can take part in arts and crafts tables on both Saturday and Sunday.

We will also be offering a special $29.95 Combo Pass to visit the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids April 22-24. One Earth, One Choice is possible with the partnership of the Friends of Moody Gardens. For the complete One Earth, Once Choice  schedule, visit our website.

Birding Classes offered at Moody Gardens

At Moody Gardens we are dedicated to educating the community on nature, animals, and conservation. Part of the way that we do this is through different Keeper Chats and scheduled activities throughout the year. As Spring and Fall migrations offer fantastic birding on Galveston Island, we offer our Birding Classes  during which you are given a chance to go out into the field with our Animal Husbandry Manager, Greg Whitaker.

birding-warbler

Birding 101 is a series of beginner level birding classes focused on the basics of birdwatching with a unique focus each month on timely, relevant subjects.  Reservations are not required for Birding 101, if you would like to attend please meet at the 4-D theater in the Visitors Center. The day will start off there with a short classroom style presentation followed by a leisurely walk around the Moody Gardens property. While looking around, Greg will discuss and point out the diversity that we have to offer on site. The next Birding 101 is scheduled for April 9, 2016 from 9am-11am.

birding-sandhillcranes

If after Birding 101 you are looking for something a level up, we also offer Birding 201, offered on the third Saturday of the month..  This is a series of field trips that are geared towards the beginning level birders.  Most trips will be combined with the Galveston County Audubon Group’s field trips and offer an opportunity for you to interact with more experienced local birders.  Seats in the van for this trip are limited, so reservations are required. If you are interested please contact Greg directly at 409.683.4101. The next Birding 201 field trip is scheduled for May 21, 2016.

Feather Fest is also happening on Galveston from April 14-17. The fest boasts over 100 field trips, workshops, the Birds of Prey Raptor Show, and a screening of Audubon The Film! More information about the fest can be found on their website.

Happy birding!

Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens 3D on the BIGGEST screen in TEXAS!

There is still time to catch Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens 3D  at Moody Gardens in our state of the art theater!

Thirty years ago the Empire was defeated and now a new threat, the First Order has risen from the ashes of the Empire. A scavenger named Rey has come into contact with a droid that contains a map to the legendary Luke Skywalker, who has vanished. Rey and a rogue storm trooper named Finn find themselves in a monumental conflict between good and evil that will see faces old and new.

Experience the action at it plays out not only on the largest screen in Texas, but on one that features the world’s first 4K 3D Giant Screen 6 Primary Laser Projection System. What this means is that you will be immersed in 11.1 surround sound with Auro 3D on our Texas sized screen allowing the spectacular special effects of the film to be featured in the optimal setting for the best viewing experience in the world!

Take photos with your favorite Star Wars characters before the show Saturday, March 26! Stormtroopers and other characters will be roaming around Moody Gardens later in the afternoon before the 5:10 p.m. showing.

IMG_3795_edit_small
Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens 3D runs through spring break until March 27. Tickets for the film are included in our Day Pass or Two Day Value Pass as well as can be purchased separately for $10.95 for adults, $8.95 for children and seniors, and children 3 and under are free.  View our MG 3D Theater film schedule, or purchase tickets.

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.

ColonelPhoto evening

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.

IMG_1584_SMALL

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.

IMG_9605_edited_SMALL

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.

IMG_9605_edited_SMALL

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.

Taking Time for Turtles

Volunteers Raise $2,300 for Sea Turtles at Moody Gardens.

A special group of young volunteers spent the summer spreading awareness and raising money for sea turtles at Moody Gardens. While informing the public about the importance of marine wildlife, the SAVY volunteers raised over $2,300 to be given to the Turtle Island Restoration Network of Galveston Island.

The SAVY, the Society for the Advancement of Volunteer Youth, program at Moody Gardens provides students 14 to 17 years of age with the opportunity to volunteer within their community while participating in conservation efforts and gaining experience in various fields. Volunteers worked as advocates on behalf of sea turtles and other marine species that are jeopardized by various human practices around the world. They focused on potential problem Sea Turtles face in the wild and the importance of protecting their species. Their outreach efforts helped them raise over $2,300 for their cause.

Money raised went to the Turtle Island Restoration Network of Galveston Island, a leading advocate for the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. They work to protect endangered species while encouraging the government and public to take action and responsibility in improving choices that effect critical ecosystems.  Turtle Island Restoration Network is a nonprofit organization that saves thousands of sea turtles and other marine species through projects such as the Sea Turtle Restoration Project.

Thanks to the SAVY volunteers, the Island Restoration Network is another step closer to changing the lives of many sea turtles.

Savy Picture

Celebrate Mother’s Day Weekend at Moody Gardens!

We’ve got a fun-filled Mother’s Day weekend ahead of us! Join us for any of the following events and activities:

FRIDAY – SUNDAY | Red Cat Jazz Festival:

Red Cat Jazz Festival 2015Red Cat Jazz Preservation Society, Inc. presents the 5th annual Red Cat Jazz Festival at the Moody Gardens Hotel! There will be four days of non-stop live jazz concerts featuring a variety of local and international jazz artists. Invited guests include Grammy winner Kirk Whalum, Ronnie Laws, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Mindi Abair, Peter White, Hiroshima, Jazz in Pink, Mike Phillips and a host of others.

The 2015 festival will feature the following:

  • Friday, May 8: Celebrity Golf Classic hosted by Mike Phillips at the Moody Gardens Golf Course, Veteran’s Luncheon, VIP All-White Attire Poolside Party and After Party
  • Saturday, May 9: Red Cat for Pink, Women Empowerment Conference, T.E.A.M. Scholarship Workshop and Live Jazz Concerts
  • Sunday, May 10: Red Cat Jazz Legends Awards Breakfast and Live Jazz Concerts

CLICK HERE for more information

SATURDAY | 9 A.M. | Birding 101
ProthonotoryWarbler

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. Classes are from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and meet at the Aquarium Pyramid lobby.

SATURDAY | 10 A.M. | Demo Day at the Moody Gardens Golf Course

IMG_8531

Representatives from Titleist, Callaway and Ping will be at the Driving Range with all the latest technologies for you to try out! If you have been thinking about getting new clubs, or just curious about the new products available, this day is for you! For more information, contact PGA Professional, Rick Christ, at (409) 683-1201 or rchrist@moodygardens.org.

SUNDAY | 11 A.M. | Mother’s Day Buffets

mombuffet

Treat mom to one of our special Mother’s Day Buffets this Sunday.

The Garden Restaurant will be serving a wide array of fruits, fresh greens, and scrumptious entrées like carved prime rib and hand-sliced Texas rope sausage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A special dessert spread of cakes, cookies and pies will also be included. Buffet prices are $35.95 for adults, $25.95 for seniors, $15.95 for children ages 5-12 and free for children 4 and under. For the full menu, CLICK HERE.

The Moody Gardens Hotel is also hosting their decadent Mother’s Day Buffet! Enjoy complimentary Bloody Marys and Mimosas as well as smoked prime rib, carved yucatan grouper, herb roasted chicken and more! Prices for the Mother’s Day Buffet are $52.95 for adults, $42.95 for seniors, $24.95 for children 4-12, and children three and under are free. Seating times for the Mother’s Day Buffet are available every half hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For Buffet reservations call 409-683-4466. For the full menu, CLICK HERE.

SUNDAY | Mother’s Day Special at the Moody Garden’s Golf Course

Golf-Course-uncropped

Moms play FREE at the Moody Gardens Golf Course on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10) with a paid accompanying round! Limit one free green/cart fee round per paid green/cart fee. Call 409-683-4653 and mention this post to make a tee time.

SUNDAY | Last Day to Discover the Ice Age

IMG_2959

Be sure to visit Discover the Ice Age in the Discovery Pyramid before it closes its doors on May 10! This is an exciting and educational exhibition that invites you to travel back in time to discover a frigid world, covered in ice and occupied by mammoths, saber-toothed cats, bears, gigantic birds, cave people and more. The exhibit features life-sized animatronic animals, real fossils, some of which can be touched by our guests, and cast skeletons set within elaborate Ice Age scenery.

SpongeBob SquarePants Adventure Lets Guests Choose Their Own Submarine Adventure

SpongeBob SubPants Still Image

Moody Gardens guests can visit iconic destinations and meet their favorite underwater characters from Nickelodeon’s global phenomenon SpongeBob SquarePants when the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure debuts in the Discovery Pyramid this Memorial Day weekend. Guests will experience all the stages of a submarine voyage, complete with live animals and a visit from the hapless captain, Patrick Star, who takes you on a wild and silly deep-sea adventure:

  • The doors open to a pier-themed pre-show area filled with hands-on activities and tanks full of remarkable sea life. Guests will be transported back in time through L’Oceanauts Submarine Explorations’ vintage “mission briefing” film that explores the beauty of coral reefs.
  • The audience will encounter real sea stars, jellyfish, sea sponges and squids while also learning about the importance of sea-life conservation.
  • Then, step aboard “Le Plunger” submarine and take your 3D glasses before you depart from the dock for open water. The SUB then descends to a familiar underwater town as SpongeBob SquarePants and your tour guide, Patrick Star, appear through the front window of the SUB.
  • Have improvised, real-time interaction with Patrick while he takes you to destinations of your choosing through Bikini Bottom.
  • They can have their fortune read by Patrick in Goo Lagoon, try the jellyfish dating call in Jellyfish Fields or learn a special dance from Sandy Cheeks. Guests will also try to stop Plankton from taking over the SUB in his evil plan to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula.
  • Smell the sunscreen, pop bubbles above your head and hit around a beach ball when the 3D images on the screen transform from digital to real time through exciting 4D sensory elements and live narration.

The SpongeBob SubPants Adventure is a non-stop whirlwind of surprises that is fun for the whole family only at Moody Gardens!

For more information, call (800) 582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org.

©2015 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, SpongeBob SquarePants and all related titles, logos and characters are
trademarks of Viacom International Inc. Created by Stephen Hillenburg.