Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 12)


                                                            National Adoption Month Brings a Texas Homecoming for Six Penguin Eggs  


Moody Gardens is celebrating National Adoption Month with the highly-anticipated addition of six Macaroni penguin eggs to its collection.


These six eggs, came from Sea World San Diego, and are being cared for in an incubator by our staff biologists following a streamlined process that allowed this precious cargo to fly on a commercial flight last week inside a warm, insulated cooler that slid securely under the seat under the watchful eye of an attentive staff biologist and penguin mother-to-be, Maggie Reynolds. The anticipated hatch dates are Nov. 25-28, just in time for Thanksgiving.


The successful hatching of new chicks will allow for a more diverse penguin collection as they join the 10 other Macaroni penguins currently on exhibit in the Aquarium Pyramid. Four of these penguins came to Moody Gardens from Sea World San Antonio, while the other six were from the Detroit Zoo.


Each successful hatch adds to the Moody Gardens mission of education and conservation. Assistant Curator Diane Olsen notes that as is true in nature, there is not a guarantee that each egg will hatch. “As with every egg that is laid either at Moody Gardens, another facility or in the wild, whether it hatches or not is all up to nature and several circumstances. While we will do everything in our power to give these eggs the best chance at survival, sometimes no chick is hatched at the end of the process,” she said.


Olsen also explained the significance of adding Macaroni penguin eggs to the Moody Gardens’ collection. “Increasing the number of Macaroni penguins in the Moody Gardens’ collection helps to increase our breeding success and genetic diversity in the future. It also benefits the population of penguins kept at facilities accredited by AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), like Moody Gardens.”


Having Macaroni penguins on exhibit allows the public to learn about the plight these birds face in the wild. Macaroni penguins are currently listed as Threatened in the wild and numbers of populations are decreasing due to the climate change as well as overfishing.


The anticipated arrival of fuzzy penguin chicks also begs the question of whether a Moody Gardens tradition will continue to name Macaroni penguins after cheeses to join Brie, Jack, Colby and others.


Our Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the U.S. In addition to the Macaroni penguins, five other species including Gentoo, Chinstrap, King, and Rockhopper penguins also call the South Atlantic Exhibit home. The warm-climate Humboldt penguins live in an exhibit right next door to their chilly-aired friends. With over one million gallons of water, the building also houses colorful marine life from all around the world including sting rays, sharks, seals and sea lions, and hundreds of species of fish.

Parachuting Santa, Choirs and a Tribute to the Victorian Age Kicked Off Moody Gardens’ Holiday in the Gardens

A skydiving Santa and his merry elves have kicked off the fun-filled holiday season as Moody Gardens 18th annual Festival of Lights opened Nov. 16. One of the Gulf Coast’s largest holiday lighting events offers Christmas tradition infused with some steampunk flair making this a holiday tradition the whole family can enjoy.


The opening ceremony began at 4 p.m. with talented Texas locals providing holiday-themed entertainment. This year even featured a sci-fi twist to the entertainment pairing with Moody Gardens’ newest attraction, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure. Guests were treated to performances by Lee’s Golden Dragon lion dancers, Jill Rauscher School of Dance, the Houston Show Choir, and much more as the entertainment followed the Christmas Around the World theme with its steampunk twist.


Families joyfully welcomed Santa at 5 p.m. when he parachuted down from the North Pole to help prepare Moody Gardens for the grand lighting of the Festival of Lights trail. After mixing, mingling and few dazzling performances to put everyone in the holiday mood, Santa flipped the switch at 6 p.m. to turn on the two million twinkling lights that make up Festival of Lights, officially kicking off the holiday season on Galveston Island.


Festival of Lights will continue to shine throughout the holiday season nightly through Jan. 12. Hours run from 6-11 p.m. Moody Gardens’ other holiday and year-round attractions, including ICE LAND, holiday 3D films, Rudolph 4D, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure, Aquarium Pyramid and more are open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. This year’s ICE LAND: Christmas Around the World will take guests on a frosty journey from Russia and Egypt to China and beyond featuring famous sights like the Statue of Liberty, the Alamo, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, and more.


Regular admission to the Festival of Lights is $18.95. Guests can take advantage of significant discounts with the new Super Value Days and Value Days. Super Value Days start at $8.95 for Festival of Lights. For more information, click here.




The hip bone is connected to the…thigh bone. There are 206 bones that compile the human skeletal system and Skeletown, now open in the Discovery Pyramid, explores them all.


Skeletown provides guests the opportunity to see authentic bones from both animal and human specimens. The exhibit examines bone biology, bone health and the part that bones play in cultures all around the world.


The exhibit gets its name from the various areas within it that resemble what would be found in a small town. It features a Health Center to teach about the repair of broken bones, a pond to explore the skeletal system of various animals like frogs, and food a food truck to explore how healthy eating and exercising helps keep bones healthy.


Also in the exhibit is a cultural central designed to educate and enlighten guests about the various roles that bones play in everyday life around the world. This includes cultures that have made toys from bones, those that have altered their bodies for beauty throughout history and the myths that shroud unidentified bones.


“We are excited to welcome guests to explore Skeletown,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt. “The exhibit provides a great scientific message in a fun, interactive way and we hope we can educate and inspire visitors to live healthier lives and understand the role bones play in cultures all around the world.”


To plan your visit, click here.


Aquarium Pyramid’s New Coral Reef Lab Addresses Critical Environmental Crisis On Florida Reef Tract


Moody Gardens wants you to be a reefer starting 4/20. Now that we have your attention, an international effort is underway to increase awareness and combat a disease that is rapidly killing the Florida Reef Tract, the third largest coral reef system in the world. Moody Gardens’ new Coral Rescue Lab will be used to propagate coral as it focuses on species being impacted by this disease.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), selected Moody Gardens to participate in this vital project to help save corals native to the Florida Reef Tract as one of 60 institutions from 21 states and Canada.

“We are excited and honored to be selected as one of the institutions that are being entrusted with the care of these corals,” said Greg Whittaker, Moody Gardens Animal Husbandry Manager.

In 2014, an unidentified coral tissue loss disease was first observed in Miami-Dad County and quickly spread throughout the north areas of the Florida Reef Tract. The disease outbreak continued to persistently spread south of Miami through the Upper and Middle Keys, reaching the Lower Keys by April 2018.

In response to the disease the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) have formed the Florida Coral Rescue Team to execute the Florida Coral Rescue Plan to save what is left of Florida’s healthy coral stocks. Part of that plan includes the Rescue Team reaching out to institutions to house and maintain corals for gene banking and propagation for potential future restoration activities.

The Rescue Plans has two primary goals: prevent ecological extinction of the most susceptible species along the Florida Reef Tract, and maintain as much genetic diversity as possible among approximately 25 species of coral.

“Corals are animals and are highly impacted by their environment. Through this effort we are helping nature respond to a crisis and recover to once again become a healthy ecosystem,” Whittaker said.

In March the Aquarium Pyramid received 250 pieces of live aquacultured rock in preparation for the live corals for the exhibit. Aquacultured rock is rock used to season coral aquariums and prepare them for holding local corals. On April 17, Moody Gardens received the coral entrusted to us and acclimated it to its temporary home inside an exhibit inside the Aquarium Pyramid.

“We are looking forward to being able to educate our guests about the diversity of Florida’s coral reefs and the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem for them to thrive,” Whittaker said, adding that this project fits in perfectly with the cornerstones of Moody Gardens’ mission of conservation, education, rehabilitation and research.
The arrival of the live coral into the Aquarium Pyramid appropriately coincides with Earth Day, being celebrated property-wide at Moody Gardens with presentations and crafts on April 20. As part of the Earth Day festivities, the first 100 people starting at 10 a.m. to visit a new Reef Rescue VR Experience will receive two-for-one admission to the attraction. Reef Rescue VR is an interactive high-capacity virtual reality experience where up to 16 people can pilot their own R.O.V.E.R. to help clean up waters, plant new coral branches and feed the fish, returning the reef to complete health in the process.

Moody Gardens is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.

1/1/2019 – The Birds of Moody Gardens – Reflections

New Year’s Day always seems to have an air of renewal even though it’s an artifact of our own making. This year was particularly poignant with a bright sunny morning, calm winds and a comfortable temperature in the high 50s as I did my perimeter birding survey on the familiar route. Something was strikingly different however, as my “410-acre year” had officially ended the day before and I no longer was looking for that last elusive species to boost the property total. I found myself spending more time looking at what the birds were doing, not minding that I didn’t see a Spotted Sandpiper along Offatt’s Bayou, or the Belted Kingfisher on the tower in the marsh. I will be continuing the daily surveys at least through January to create some overlap in the seasonal diversity and provide the abundance data for the eBird listings, since I only included presence/absence with my January 2018 numbers.
I found myself being more contemplative on this first unofficial survey. Stopping to notice a secretive Pied-billed Grebe lurking in the shadows under the Hope Blvd culvert connecting Schlitterbahn with the Lake Madeline Channel. Watching the mixed species group of wading birds pictured above as they collaboratively fed in the slough near the mulch pile area. The Snowy Egret shuffling its yellow feet in the muddy water to spook prey items off the bottom, while the Tricolored Heron did a chaotic dance to chase down its breakfast. All the while, the quartet of White Ibis probed their foot-long curved bills into the marsh mud looking for tasty invertebrates. We should all take note how these different species can all peacefully co-exist in the same place at the same time, each deriving sustenance without adversely affecting those around them.
It struck me that 2018 was a year of awakening for me with regards to birding, with a tremendous amount of observational learning both in the field, through books and helpful colleagues. 2019 seems to be starting off with a more mindful awareness. Removing the competition aspect of attaining a year-long species total has given me more personal freedom to enjoy the birds I’m watching. 2019 should be less birdy for me: a promise I made my family as we moved out of the “Year of the Bird”. I’ll continue to do weekly property surveys and will work on building a cache of photos to document the diversity that the Moody Gardens property supports.
2018 ended with a total of 210 species seen here on Moody Gardens 240-acre property. We also tallied 138 species at the 170 acre Golf Course property with 14 being novel to the main Moody Gardens surveys, yielding a grand total of 224 species for the 410-acre year. There were a total of 290 daily surveys of Moody Gardens and 26 episodes of “chasing birdies” at the Golf Course. According to the eBird data for the Moody Gardens hotspot, we boosted the site total from 190 up to 249 over the course of 2018. Clayton Leopold, a fellow Moody Gardens biologist, was responsible for adding 10 of those new species. As an excellent birder, he texted me with updates and hints throughout the year when new migratory species showed up, or oddities were present. Fellow Island birders Mort Voller, Alice Anne O’Donnell and Jim Stevenson provided valuable guidance in species identification. Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council’s Executive Director, Julie Ann Brown, helped spread the word about this project to the broader nature tourism community. Clayton, Mort, Alice Anne, Jim and Julie Ann were on my group emails when I nailed some exciting new species or had a particularly cool day birding. David Sarkozi and Mike Austin provided guidance on species identification as eBird reviewers. They caught several mistakes in photographs I’d submitted and requested additional information for species IDs that were rare or needed better descriptions. Greg Miller (of “The Big Year” fame) provided motivation to finally pursue this project after many years of toying around with the idea.
Ultimately this project will yield a book to showcase the avian diversity that the Moody Gardens property supports, including those more exotic species that are in our care in the Rainforest, Aquarium and Conservation Education programs. A property map showing the various hotspots where migratory and resident birds tend to be seen, accompanied by a species ID reference will also evolve from this 410-acre year. We also intend to look at the species’ use patterns and provide habitat improvement features to benefit the birds, and viewing improvements to benefit the birders.
It was fitting to add #209 with Alice Anne O’Donnell’s Christmas Bird Count group and then finish out the year birding with Jim Stevenson and check off #210. Thank you both for your mentoring through this process.
Here’s to a birdy 2019!

The Birds of Moody Gardens – Merry Christmas!

As 2018 “Year of the Bird” winds down I am formulating a plan to deal with all the data I’ve generated through the year with the Moody Gardens property surveys. Several things happened in the past week that remind me of the value of citizen science in understanding how and where birds live their lives.

First and foremost was participating in the 41st annual Galveston Christmas Bird Count.  CBCs as we birdnerds call them have been performed across the United States for 119 years.  The Audubon Society oversees the CBC efforts and compiles the data from thousands of 15-mile diameter circles across the United States.  Each circle has a CBC manager that organizes a team to conduct a one-day survey between 14 December and 5 January that creates a snapshot of bird abundance and diversity.  Galveston Bay has 5 different CBC circles around it’s perimeter with 11 throughout the Greater Houston area.   

Galveston’s CBC was conducted on Tuesday, 18 December with more than 50 volunteers participating in teams counting 8 different areas within our circle. The Galveston circle is centered just west of Pelican Island encompassing areas on the mainland including much of Texas City, Virginia Point, Bayou Vista, Tiki Island, West Galveston Bay, North and South Deer Islands.  Here on Galveston Island, the perimeter of our circle encloses all of Sportsman’s Road and Ostermeyer Road, transecting the beach at 8 Mile Road.  Surveyors scan the Gulf waters all the way east on Galveston and across the Bolivar channel to Rettilon Road.  The West End of the Bolivar Peninsula includes the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary, Horseshoe Marsh and town of Port Bolivar.  The remaining arc encloses a large expanse of Lower Galveston Bay including the Texas City Dike and Skyline Road with a large area of the Lower Bay’s Western Shoreline.

According to Richard Mayfield, our Galveston CBC compiler, we typically see about 160 different species of birds, with a high of 175 in 2011 and a low of 144 in 2009. At the end of the CBC we assemble at a restaurant to recover from a day of slogging through marsh mud and prairie thickets for a fun and well deserved refueling and data download.  This year’s count was particularly enjoyable as we were treated to a great meal in a nice location at Fisherman’s Wharf.  The Galveston Parks Board and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau have taken the initiative to elevate Galveston’s birding activities to higher prominence in the City’s nature tourism story.  They graciously hosted this year’s meal and those of us that made it back from the field in time to take in the sunset and the great food they provided thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of ticking off species as we read through the list.  Data is still being compiled with a few write-in species making their way through the approval process.  Preliminary numbers suggest an average year with somewhere between 150-155 species for 2018.  If you are interested in joining us in 2019, the count will be on Tuesday, 17 December from dawn till dusk.  We gladly take volunteers from novice birders to experts to help us see, identify, count and record all the birds we see across this 177 square mile area.  We would be particularly interested in folks with boats that are large enough to comfortably host perhaps 6 people while being shallow draft enough to navigate the Bay shoreline.

The second example of citizen science data sharing came in the form of a picture taken by one of our Moody Gardens employees enjoying his newly acquired camera lens. Dusty Durbin took the photo of the Osprey above at 8-mile Road and Stewart Road.  A relatively common bird here on the Island through the winter, he noted that this one had bands on its legs.  Using the network of colleagues that readily provide advice, we were able to get this photo into the hands of a wildlife biologist at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota that recognized the colored and numbered bands as those he’d applied to a nestling in July 2015 on the bank of the Yellowstone River in Montana.  This bird, 41/C, was photographed and identified here in Galveston in January 2016, strengthening the researcher’s observations that these birds are surprisingly site faithful in their winter habitat.  Citing another local winter bird, 10/B that spent 4 winters on the same tree in Seabrook, the researcher has since been able to identify its nest site in Montana.  The observations of people in unrelated pursuits in distant areas over several years successfully connected the natal nest site, winter site and adult nest site for this bird.

Using birdwatching as an excuse to spend time outdoors is a complete reward on its own. Taking the extra step to record your observations from simple lists, through photos, videos and recorded calls adds value.  Providing that data to untold numbers of researchers compiling census trends, identifying shifting ranges and altered phenologies or localized extirpation events is critical to understanding how the natural world works and is changing around us.  I would encourage anyone that spends time outdoors looking at birds to consider putting those observations on eBird for others to see.

I also hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season in whatever tradition you hold dear. Peace.


12 Days, 12 Ways to Make a Difference this Holiday Season

We are in the final countdown to Christmas, 12 days away to be exact. In the spirit of the season and the Moody Gardens mission of conservation and education, we would like to take this opportunity to shine a very important light on 12 of the animals that call Moody Gardens home. These animals represent various threatened or endangered species in the wild.  We encourage you to give the gift of action this holiday season and help these populations continue to grow and thrive in their native habitats.

  • Lake Victoria Cichlids
  • Antarctic Penguins
  • Macaw
  • Sea Turtles
  • Sharks/Rays
  • Corals
  • Humboldt Penguins
  • Radiata Tortoise
  • Panamanian Golden Frog
  • Madagascar Ibis
  • Rodrigues Fruit Bats
  • Butterflies

Keep an eye on our social media channels as we highlight a different animal each day leading up to Christmas. We encouraged you to come and visit our attractions to see these animals and learn more about them! You can also make your donation to the Moody Gardens conservation fund to help save these and other species in the wild.

Click Here and Donate!

Facebook: @MoodyGardens

Twitter: @MoodyGardens

Instagram: @MoodyGardens

In the Moody for Delicious Food!

It’s time for the most wonderful season of all. The season of food! Get ready because Moody Gardens has you covered this holiday season with an assortment of scrumptious offerings you and your family can enjoy.

Enjoy holiday attractions like the Festival of Lights and grab a turkey leg or even some kettle corn. There are plenty of snack stands and kiosks on property to get your sweet and savory food fix. Here’s a snapshot of what food offerings you will see on property this holiday season: Hot Chocolate, Funnel Cakes, Jumbo Pretzels, Turkey Legs, Sweet Crepes, Jumbo Hot Dogs, Cinnamon & Sugar Mini Donuts, Dippin’ Dots, Buttered Popcorn, Cheetos Popcorn, Kettle Korn, Pork Skins, Corn in a Cup, Potato on a Stick, Chicken Bites, Tamales, Holiday Cookies, Nachos, Texas Size Sausage on a Stick and Foot Long Corn Dogs.

Roasted s’mores are also a nice fireside snack. Visit one of our open firepits and make a smore that will go towards conservation efforts. The money that is raised goes to the Galveston Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers – Last year over $7000 was donated to them!

Proceeds will benefit the Galveston Chapter of the American Association of Zookeeper’s conservation projects to help the Saola Working Group and Turtle Island Restoration Network.

Take in a buffet while you are here. Enjoy the Garden Restaurant’s Festival of Lights buffet from now until January 6. Click here for the menu. The Garden Restaurant will also be open for Christmas Day. Click here for menu

The Moody Gardens Hotel also has some delectable buffet offerings this holiday season. At Café in the Park enjoy a special holiday dinner buffet from December 22-January 6. Buffet menu is available here. A Christmas Day Brunch will also we be available from 11:30am-2:00pm on December 25. Click here for Christmas Day Brunch menu. Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks located on the ninth floor of the hotel is pleased to offer holiday features in addition to its award winning dinner menu. Dressy casual attire required.  For more information on Shearn’s please click here.

Don’t miss Cirque Joyeux Dinner and Show! From December 21-January 4 enjoy a spectacular, exhilarating and joyous celebration of the Christmas season live on stage featuring acrobats, aerialists, clowns and more all paired with a dinner buffet prepared by the Moody Gardens Hotel Executive Chef. It’s all happening at the Moody Gardens Convention Center. For more information please click here.

You and your family can have breakfast with Santa while you are here! Open to Moody Gardens’ members and non-members on a first-come, first-served basis. Enjoy a Meet and Greet with Santa and Friends along with a delightful breakfast! A souvenir photo is also included. Cost is $30 for adults and $18 per child. Moody Gardens’ Member cost is $25 for adults and $15 per child. Breakfast with Santa will be available December 1, 8 and 15 at 9:00am or 10:30am in the Garden Restaurant. To see what will be on the menu please click here.

The holiday season is here at last which means delightful and bountiful eats are not too far. Enjoy all that Moody Gardens has to offer this holiday season and enjoy some great food as well. For more information on this season’s eatings please click here.

The Birds of Moody Gardens – A lot to be Thankful for!

2018 has been a year of surprises as I’ve been much more aware of the bird activity that surrounds me.  For me and this 410-acre year project, it truly has been the “Year of the Bird”.  I’ve had several chance encounters with unique bird species that were likely there in years past, but I simply wasn’t looking at what was around me.

In early November there was a weather pattern that essentially created a fallout of southerly migrating species here on the coast.  The Arctic blast that pushed south across the area on 9 November brought with it a number of bird species that had not been seen very readily through the fall.  The warbler diversity seen on the Island between 10-14 November was impressive with 10 species seen here on property over that long weekend.  Species included; Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler.  I also encountered Summer Tanager and Scarlet Tanager as well as several Golden-crowned Kinglets alongside the expected Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Perhaps the most unique sighting was the Brown Creeper pictured above, which was officially my #200 property species on 10 November.  Since then I’ve added Hermit Thrush, Western Meadowlark, Golden-crowned Kinglet, American Goldfinch, White-crowned Sparrow and American Robin for 206.  I did 2 surveys at the Golf Course during this same 4 day period and increased that property total to 134 for the year with Ross’s Goose and Redhead bringing the combined 410-acre year total to 221 species!

The Brown Creeper pictured above is a rare Island visitor that was blown south with the strong frontal winds leading into that weekend.  These cryptic insectivorous birds use their long toenails to grip and their stiff tail to prop themselves up on tree trunks as they probe the crevices in the bark with their long curved bill searching for arthropods.  My encounter with this species could not have been more random and lucky as I was returning to work to search for Golden-crowned Kinglets and happened to see this little guy zip across the road in front of my car and land on the palm trunk immediately to my left.  It was accommodating as I tried to be as calm as possible while I stopped the car, turned down the radio, rolled down the window, grabbed my camera and snapped off several pictures of this gem.  It worked up the trunk in a characteristic spiral movement allowing me to get several great images.  Having a species that only shows up on the Island every 5 years offer me this great opportunity to see, identify, photograph and observe behavior was truly amazing.

My daily survey species counts are starting to dwindle with some of the birds I’ve been accustomed to throughout the past several months disappearing for a day, then 3, then a week.  The daily totals are dipping into the low 30s with a few in the mid-20s when the weather is poor.  I suspect the next 6 weeks will continue to offer the usual 2-3 dozen species with some individual birds that will become our winter residents and the occasional passer-by moving south adding a bird or two to the total list.  I’ll be looking to the sky for Greater White-fronted Goose or off in the distance on Offatts Bayou for the bay ducks that have eluded me through this year.  I am thankful that these birds are giving me the excuse to take the long way in to work and spend a few extra minutes outside as I deliver paperwork and tackle other administrative tasks around property.  As Henry David Thoreau wisely proclaimed “Consider it a day wasted that one does not take a walk in nature”

2018 is the Year of the Bird – get out and enjoy it!

Written by Greg Whittaker

Moody Gardens Welcomes Ice Carvers to Create Pole-to-Pole Journey!

After traveling halfway around the world, a team of internationally-acclaimed Chinese ice carvers made their way to Galveston’s Moody Gardens to create holiday and animal themed sculptures from two million pounds of ice.

The team of 25 master carvers will spend the next few weeks sculpting ordinary 300-pound blocks of colored and clear ice into works of art and more as they create ICE LAND: Pole-to-Pole, opening November 17.

This year’s ICE LAND theme takes guests on a journey from the North to South poles. The CAA Ruijing Ice Carving Team will even create a giant ice slide that will take guests on a glacial journey. Guests will encounter polar bears, penguins, humpback whales, snowy owls, walruses and of course, reindeer – all hand-carved out of two million pounds of ice inside a 28,000 square foot insulated tent structure chilled and maintained at nine degrees. Shiver’s Ice Bar also returns to ICE LAND this year for guests to enjoy ultra-cool holiday spirits.

ICE LAND: Pole-to-Pole will be open from November 17 through January 6.

Guests who want an ultra-chill behind-the-scenes look at how ice carvers transform two million pounds of ice into the towering, colorful sculptures seen in the finished ICE LAND can sign up for the exclusive Ice Carver VIP Experience offered daily through November 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The $199 package allows guests access to see the ice carvers in action. Guests will also go behind-the-scenes at the Aquarium Pyramid to meet a real penguin and enjoy lunch with the Ice Carving Team. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling 409-683-4375.For more information on ICE LAND, or any other Moody Gardens’ holiday attractions, call 409-744-4673 or click here.



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