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.

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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NEW ATTRACTION: One-Of-A-Kind SpongeBob SubPants Interactive Experience!

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Moody Gardens continues to evolve through the years by offering new and innovative attractions for the public to enjoy. The newest interactive experience being introduced to the Discovery Pyramid is no exception to that. Guests will dive into an undersea voyage with the debut of the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure, this Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25.

This first-of-its-kind, choose-your-own-path, immersive experience lets visitors join their favorite underwater friends from Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants for a submarine adventure to Bikini Bottom through a 3D digital show that features live narration; a unique interactive option that allows guests to choose which locations to visit on their underwater journey; and exciting 4D sensory elements, such as wind, seat sensors, bubbles, leg ticklers and scents that make the aquatic town come to life.

Before guests descend into the deep sea on the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure “Le Plunger” submarine, the audience will encounter real sea stars, squids and sponges as they learn about ocean and sea-life conservation. They will then dive towards Bikini Bottom for a unique, multi-sensory experience, having real-time conversations with their tour guide, Patrick Star; traveling to destinations, like Jellyfish Fields, Rock Bottom, Sandy’s Treedome and Goo Lagoon; and encountering other surprises from SpongeBob SquarePants, Sandy and Plankton.

“Our objective is always to provide that fun, educational experience that is so important to parents and kids, and the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure attraction will achieve this in a new and exciting way,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt, who added that Nickelodeon serves as the ideal partner in creating memorable family experiences. “This is real engagement. Visitors will be able to interact with the Nickelodeon characters on a digital stage as they have never been able to do before.”

Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation and research. For updates, hours and to buy tickets, visit moodygardens.org

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

Rainforest Birthdays: Cooper & Davita

It was a day for celebration at the Rainforest Pyramid today as we celebrated not one but two very special birthdays!

COOPER THE OCELOT TURNS 6 YEARS OLD

Cooper joined Moody Gardens when he was just 18 months old! Ocelot’s are carnivores and in the wild, they eat small mammals, birds and fish. Ocelots are listed as endangered by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS). Once abundant in many areas throughout the southwest United States and Mexico, today the animal has almost disappeared. It is estimated that as few as 120 ocelots survive in Texas alone. In Central and South America, the ocelot is still hunted for its fur and captured for the pet trade.

Fun Fact: Cooper LOVES cinnamon and peppermint! Trainers use these spices as a form of enrichment when working with this amazing animal.

DAVITA THE GREEN ANACONDA TURNS 30 YEARS OLD

Davita is a very special resident of the Rainforest Pyramid. She first lived at the Bronx Zoo then the Indianapolis Zoo before she ended up here at Moody Gardens. She’s about 14 feet long and weight anywhere between 90-115 lbs. Anacondas are slow on land but in the water, they are swift and stealthy hunters. They eat birds, mammals or other reptiles.

Fun Fact: Davita enjoys swimming through wheat grass! So much so that MG staff ordered her some specially for her birthday.

The Birthday Bash

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.

Sweethearts of the North Pacific: Presley and Porter

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One of the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid’s most famous couples is Porter and Presley. These harbor seals met in 2006 and immediately became inseparable.

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Porter, male Harbor Seal

Porter, who was rescued as a pup off the coast of Maine after being abandoned by his mother, made his home at Moody Gardens in 2001. He had excellent care by the staff at Marine Animal Lifeline Rehabilitation Center, where unfortunately an infection caused him to lose his eye.

Porter would not hunt the live fish that he was offered, and biologists decided Porter would not be able to survive in the wild. Since he was unable to be released, a search for a new home for him began and Moody Gardens created a home for him at the Aquarium Pyramid.

Young Presley in 2006
Young Presley in 2006

Five years later, Presley joined the Moody Gardens family. After her companion at the Memphis Zoo passed away, caretakers knew the young harbor seal needed a companion. Even though Porter had fur seals and sea lions in his North Pacific Exhibit, the addition of Presley provided better companionship. Two habor seals together provided a more natural situation and made future breeding an option.

In 2011, Porter and Presley had a pup named Riley, after the former President of Moody Gardens Mike Riley. The couple had conceived in the past, but that was their first successful birth.

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Presley and pup Riley

The newborn seal and first-time mother Presley spent their time together bonding through activities like nursing and exploring their exhibit. Riley has since moved to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, where she has two young males to hang out with and possibly have pups of her own.

You can visit Presley and Porter at the Sea of Love Valentine’s Day dinner on Feb. 13 and 14. This romantic dinner includes a three-course meal, rose for her, souvenir photo and Aquarium Pyramid admission. The Feb. 14 dinner also includes a bottle of wine or champagne.

For prices, visit www.moodygardens.com/calendar/aqvalentines.

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 between 3-4 p.m. RSVP by February 11, 2015.

Chinese Lanterns

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In its 13th year, the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights continues to add spectacular displays for its guests. This year, visitors can enjoy truly unique displays – Chinese lanterns.

In honor of the Chinese Lantern Festival, Moody Gardens has lantern displays of pandas, jelly fish and trees. The lanterns are lined along the new ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants tent for all guests to admire and take pictures with.

The Lantern Festival has been part of Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty of Chinese Empire (206 BC- 221 AD). The people of the Han Dynasty believed that fire contained mystical properties that would ward off evil and prevent natural disasters as well as bring blessings such as a bountiful harvest to the people. The first lantern festivals were inspired by these beliefs.

Usually held on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, the lantern festival marks the end of New Year festivities.

The lantern festival has evolved over the centuries. Today, the modern lanterns come in all shapes and sizes and are featured in elaborate sets of vibrant color, dazzling light and eye-catching design.

Come enjoy these displays and all of the other beautiful displays at the Festival of Lights, open daily until Jan. 3.

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.

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» 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!

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» 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.