Shark Week

One of the most exciting weeks of the year is swimming in and Moody Gardens® is getting in the spirit with a special program and combo deal.

Moody Gardens biologists are celebrating “Shark Week” with a forum on the myths and realities of these amazing sea creatures. The staff will also discuss the process it goes through to care for the sharks housed in the Aquarium Pyramid®.

The 30-minute program will run from Aug. 13 through Aug. 17 at the Aquarium Pyramid’s Ocean View Room. The forum starts at 2 p.m. and is included with aquarium admission at that time.

“We want to dispel some of the myths about sharks and give everyone some history and facts about them,” Moody Gardens Animal Husbandry Manager Greg Whittaker said. “There are also a lot of local sharks in the Galveston area that we will give more information on.”

The program will also feature a trivia contest, where a five lucky winners will get a behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium Pyramid’s Caribbean Exhibit each day.

A special combo pass is also being offered to guests during “Shark Week.” For $23.95, visitors receive tickets to the Aquarium Pyramid® and an aquatic-themed movie at the MG 3D Theater. Movies at the theater include Sharks 3D and The Last Reef 3D. The combo runs from Aug. 12-18.

We will also feature several shark-themed blog posts throughout the week.

“Shark Week,” which has developed a cult following throughout its 25 years on the Discovery Channel, begins on Aug. 12.

Tap into Texas’s Largest Craft Beer Festival with 400 featured brews

According to Brewers Association records there are now almost 2,000 craft breweries in the United States and growing. In 2011, craft beer sales grew more than 13%. Join fellow craft beer lovers and supporters of this independent craft as they gather Labor Day weekend to sample more than 400 specialty and hard-to-find brews at the Third Annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival. This annual foam fete takes place at Moody Gardens Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2, 2012.

The three-day celebration will showcase two signature events: BrewLicious in the Ballroom and BrewHaHa Grand Tasting, both of which have VIP experiences, as well as the regular ticket. There are a host of related events like the BrewMasters PubCrawl and Texas Brewery Tasting Tours. Featured activities include: live music, beer and food pairing seminars and dinners featuring renowned chefs, educational events, and a slew of Brew Brains and industry experts including award-winning BrewMasters. Sunday, September 2 will feature a new event called Tex-E-Que which will feature a live concert.

“We’re fortunate to have multiple micro breweries right here in Houston and many others throughout the region, said event founder and organizer, Clifton McDerby, principal of Food & Vine Time Productions, Inc. “This event is dedicated to showcasing the voluminous and explosive industry that is craft and specialty brews and it just keeps getting bigger and better along with the craft beer industry,” added McDerby. “We started as the largest beer festival in the state and we plan to give Texans even more including the largest selection of Craft beers available at any Texas festival. Plus, we’ll continue to feature Taste it First at BrewMasters selections where we’ll be bringing to market beers that haven’t been tasted before since the brewers are holding off the beer’s release to showcase them first at BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.”

Festivities begin on Friday, August 31 with BrewLicious in the Ballroom. Located at the Moody Gardens Hotel’s Francis Anne Moody Ballroom, this spectacular evening for suds sippers is for the serious beer and culinary enthusiast. BrewLicious in the Ballroom will feature renowned chefs showcasing unique food and beer pairing selections. BrewLicious in the Ballroom will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and tickets to the event are $55, with a VIP Premium Room upgrade ticket for $75 with early entry and premium craft selections.

Also on tap is the BrewMasters Pub Crawl Friday, August 31 at 8 p.m. Hop on board this festive party bus with a tour to some of Galveston’s coolest bars and meet featured Brew Brains at each stop.

Saturday, September 1st sample some of the best available brews in the world at the BrewHaHa Grand Tasting held in the Moody Gardens Expo Arena, featuring over 400 craft and specialty brews and more than 30 wines. Admission to BrewHaHa is $35 in advance, $40 at the door, $75 for a VIP ticket, or guests can purchase a VIP or general admission two-day Hopper Pass. The BrewHaHa Grand Tasting will run from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and includes access to multiple beer seminars on the Spec’s University Seminar Stage, a fun and educational experience for all who take pride in their beer and want to expand their knowledge of craft beers.

Sunday, September 2nd offers the new Tex-E-Que and concert. For a $10 cover charge, beer lovers get their pick of 400 selections for a flat price per bottle. Get them while they last and boot scoot the night away.

BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival is presented by Spec’s Wine, Spirits and Finer Foods. Additional sponsors include Moody Gardens Hotel and Conference Center, GreatBrewers.com, Toasted Head Wine, and DeFalco’s Home Wine & Beer Supplies.

For more information on the BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival, visit www.brewmastersbeerfest.com or call 713-557-5732.

Porcupine Baby Born at Moody Gardens

Porcupine Baby!

From brightly colored macaws to lounging lizards, more than 200 animal species have made a home in the Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens. And as of yesterday, Moody Gardens has the second prehensile tailed porcupine born onsite since the Rainforest Pyramid’s grand re-opening.

The reddish orange baby was born on the same exact date as its older sibling last year. A quill was sent for DNA testing to determine the gender and after, a name will be chosen. Weighing at 480 grams, the newborn is on exhibit inside the nocturnal gallery of the Rainforest Pyramid.

Here is the mother, Bobby-Sue!

Although the newborn looks as soft as a puppy, the quills will harden within a few weeks. Sharing an exhibit with the mother, Bobby-Sue, the new baby is climbing the trees and exploring the area. Bobby-Sue and the father, Bono, have been together since 2007 and this is their second baby since their introduction into the newly enhanced pyramid.

Prehensile Tailed porcupines are found in the wild in Central and South America. These vegetarian, tree-dwelling rodents usually weigh between four and eleven pounds and their tails are almost as long as their whole body. They are covered in short, thick spines and their body color runs from yellowish to orange to brown. One of their defining characteristics is a small head with a round, bulbous nose which is covered by short and fine hair. They also have whiskers on the face and feet that help in maneuvering around at night.This species is named for their unique tail, which is used a fifth hand to help hold onto branches as they climb throughout the canopy. The last 1/3 of the tail is spineless, enabling the animal to get a better grip on the tree branches. The front and hind feet are modified for grasping, which makes them excellent climbers. One thing they cannot do however is jump.Porcupines have a built-in defense. While most of their body is covered in sharp quills, they are incapable of throwing them, which is a common misconception. These quills will detach easily when touched and imbed into the skin of an enemy. They have also been known to hit and bite their attackers and curl up into a ball when caught. When provoked, they will stomp their hind feet, sit on their haunches, shake their quills and emit deep growls and high pitched cries. These defenses are so formidable that Prehensile Tailed porcupines have the luxury of a longer lifespan and slower reproductive rate than most rodents.

Win Tickets to 2nd Midnight Showing of The Dark Knight Rises at Moody Gardens!

Calling all Batman fans: Submit a photo or 30-second video proving to us why you’re the biggest Batman fan for the chance to attend our 2nd midnight showing on Friday evening.

Winners will receive two (2) tickets to the 2nd midnight showing on July 21 (Friday evening). Moody Gardens staff will select the top 5 entries and announce the winners during Thursday morning, July 19 2012. Submit your entry either by posting it on our Facebook wall (https://www.facebook.com/moodygardens) OR tweeting us with the hashtag #MGBatmanContest.

 Terms & Conditions: 

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Inc. or Twitter, Inc. Any photos and videos that are inappropriate, offensive, spam or commercial in nature or copyrighted photos that do not belong to the participate will be deleted by the page administrator. Must be 18 years or older to win.

By submitting photograph(s) and video(s) to Moody Gardens®, the participant hereby agrees that all photograph(s) and video(s) submitted become property of Moody Gardens®. Moody Gardens® reserves the non-exclusive right to use any photograph(s) and video(s) in publications or for promotional purposes. By submitting photos and videos, the participant also acknowledges that any persons appearing in submitted photograph(s) and video(s) have given the participant and Moody Gardens® consent for reproduction and promotional use. Participants must be 18 or older to enter. If participant is under 18 and wishes to participate, they may have a parent or guardian submit on their behalf. Only participants that have followed the outlined rules and regulations will be considered.

The Dark Knight Rises at Moody Gardens!

Don’t miss the much anticipated conclusion to the Batman trilogy on the largest screen in Texas…the MG 3D Theater! Viewers can expect a high quality theater experience with a 15/70 IMAX® Projection as well as the only large format screen in the US with 11.1 Surround Sound Audio. Be the first to experience the seat-gripping action with a midnight showing on July 20 and 21. The Dark Knight Rises will play daily at 6:15pm and 9:15pm.

 CLICK HERE TO PRE-PURCHASE TICKETS

 

 

 

 

WORLD’S LARGEST FLOWERING PLANT IN FULL BLOOM AT MOODY GARDENS

 

Corpse Flower, “Morticia” Intrigues Guests with Two-Day Bloom and Powerful Stench.

Galveston Island, TX (June 14, 2012) — The odor of rotting flesh has never smelled so sweet as “Morticia,” the Giant Corpse Flower officially started to bloom in the evening June 13 at the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid. With a short blooming period of 2 to 4 days, visitors have the rare opportunity to see and smell the Amorphophallus titanum. Native only to Sumatra, Indonesia, it is not only rare in its native habitat, it is extremely rare in cultivation. Fewer than 85 Corpse Flowers have ever bloomed in the United States. Measuring in at 56 inches tall and 40 inches in circumference, this bloom is only the fourth in the state of Texas. Visitors can expect to have their breath taken away in more ways than one.

“The stench and beauty of this plant are equally amazing,” said Donnita Brannon, horticulture exhibit manager at Moody Gardens; who added the staff has been anxiously waiting for the big blooming event to occur since the plant first broke dormancy May 1. “She is even more beautiful than I expected. We are celebrating and invite guests to hurry out to the Rainforest Pyramid to share this experience with us.”

The common name, Corpse Flower, originates from the unpleasant odor the plant emits during flowering. The strong smell that is similar to rotting flesh attracts its pollinators, carrion beetles and sweat flies. It is considered the largest flowering plant in the world, often reaching heights of over 10 feet tall. Technically, it is the largest unbranched inflorescence, containing both male & female flowers.

The plant has a very unpredictable blooming schedule. There is no bloom season and flowers can be produced at any time of year. The Corpse Flower grows from an underground tuber which can weigh up to 200 pounds. A single large leaf that resembles a small tree emerges from this tuber that can grow to more than 20 feet tall. During this vegetative state, the tuber gains energy to produce the massive bloom. The plant then goes into a dormant period for approximately three months. The tuber will then either produce another leaf or a flower as it has at Moody Gardens. Once the tuber breaks dormancy and begins to send up a flower spike, the plant will usually bloom within four to six weeks as it did at Moody Gardens. There are six other Corpse Flower tubers in the Rainforest Pyramid. Brannon hopes to see some of these plants bloom in the future.

The Corpse Flower was first discovered in 1878 by an Italian plant explorer Odoardo Beccari. Upon initial discovery, the plant struck fear into Beccari’s team due to the plant’s tremendous size and smell. It was believed to be a man-eating plant. Beccari took seeds back to the botanical gardens in Florence, Italy and later sent seedlings to The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, England. The first recorded bloom of the Corpse Flower took place at Kew in 1889. Police had to be called in to control the crowds of people who came to see it.

The first bloom ever recorded in the United States took place at New York Botanic Garden in 1937 where it created a similar response. The same plant bloomed again in 1939. In May 1998, the University of Missouri at St. Louis had a bloom and was the first in this country in nearly 60 years. Due to the plant’s peculiarity, popularity and incredible appeal to growers and collectors in the botanical community, the Corpse Flower began to gain attention in again the 1990s and early 2000s. Since May 1998, there have been 84 recorded blooms in the U.S. at arboretums, botanic gardens, zoos and universities.


Rainforest Pyramid®: Special Hours of Operation

Thursday, June 14: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday, June 15: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday, June 16: 9 a.m. – 10p.m.

Click here for more information

NABS Youth Group Dives into Action

The National Association of Black Scuba, or NABS, hosted another successful year for the Youth Educational Summit. For this year’s 9th annual summit, these kids were given the opportunity to visit Moody Gardens, an educational research destination in Galveston, Texas. In conjunction with NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, young adults ages 12 to 18 travel throughout the state to learn about marine life.

Youth participating in the Summit toured the Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens and received behind-the-scenes access. Each student was then able to pilot a mini-RO V, remote operated underwater vehicle, in the South Pacific exhibit. NOAA staff and Moody Gardens’ associates were able to educate the benefits of the mini-ROVs and its role in the marine environment.

These activities encourage young adults to broaden their horizons beyond a college experience to include diving and participating in these organizations, noted Chanel McFollins, a four-year member of NABS.

On a deeper and more intimate level, two of the older youth, both certified and experienced divers, participated in a dive session. The two suited up in and swam into the Aquarium Pyramid’s largest tank. Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest on the Gulf Coast, featuring four distinct ocean environments.

Holding more than 1.5 million gallons of water, the two NABS Summit divers swam in the tank with sharks, tunas and barracudas. On the other side of the glass, fellow group members wave from behind the acrylic tunnel with smiles across their faces.

“This was a way for me to share my knowledge, my job and the fun things I get to do with someone else,” said Elizabeth Foster, Moody Gardens’ Dive Safety Officer. “It was a way to give an opportunity to someone who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have these experiences.”

The mission at NABS is to bring together youth with an interest in the marine sciences; providing them with educational experiences that enhance their knowledge of and respect for marine life, while promoting safe and skilled exploration of the seas through scuba diving.

Each year, NABS youth group travel to different parts of the country and learn about marine life. T.J. Bentley, a long-time member of NABS, particularly enjoyed this year’s trip.

“We’ve done more volunteer work this year and more things for the community to help the organization,” said Bentley. “We get the chance to do what we want to do.”

 

“Who ‘nose’ when the Corpse Flower will bloom?” Contest

UPDATE—WINNERS: Lucky 13…today has been declared official bloom date! Only guesses submitted by 2:00pm today June 13, 2012 will be taken in consideration. Email us at communications@moodygardens.com  if we reply to your comment with “WINNER” to claim your prize. Thank you all for your guesses!

Morticia, the Corpse Flower, looks like she’s ready for her bloom! But without a set blooming season, it’s hard to predict when the Corpse Flower will bloom. So who “nose” when the Corpse Flower will bloom and begin its silent and smelly flowering? The first 20 people to guess correctly will win a free ticket to the Rainforest Pyramid to see Morticia!

A Corpse Flower bloom occurs when the spadix, the long, French bread-like stem, emerges from the bud. At that point, the flower will grow four to six inches a day and the strong smell will start to roll in. The strong smell that is similar to rotting flesh attracts its pollinators, carrion beetles and sweat flies. It is considered the largest flowering plant in the world, often reaching heights of over 10 feet tall. Technically, it is the largest unbranched inflorescence, containing both male & female flowers.

The Corpse Flower grows from an underground tuber which can weigh up to 200 pounds. From this tuber, a large single leaf emerges resembling a small tree that can grow to more than 20 feet tall. During this vegetative state, the tuber gains its energy to produce the massive bloom.  The plant then goes into a dormant period for approximately three months. The tuber will then either produce another leaf or a flower as it has at Moody Gardens.

Once fully unfurled, the flower will only last for a day or two. Then the flower collapses upon itself and withers away. The tuber will then go into a dormant period, resting and gaining energy, eventually sending up another tree trunk-like stalk, beginning the incredible process all over again!

The Corpse Flower is under threat of extinction in the wild due to illegal logging and the clearing of rain forest land for cultivation of oil palm plantations. It is our hope that interest in and appreciation of our Earth’s amazing plants and animals will lead to increased efforts at conserving the habitats of these and other rare species.

CONTEST RULES:

Use the information we’ve provided above as well as Morticia’s growth progress, which we update frequently on our Facebook  & Twitter, to guess the exact date that she will bloom. Our horticultural exhibit manager, Donita Brannon, will declare the official bloom date. Here are the rules:

  • Leave your guess in the comments section of this post or tweet us your guess @Moody_Gardens with hashtag #MorticiaContest
  • Only one guess per person.
  • Contest open until flower starts to bloom
  • First 20 people to guess correctly will win two (2) tickets to the Rainforest Pyramid®
  • Only people who guess the EXACT date determined by our horticultural exhibit manager will win

While you’re at it, why not go ahead and like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Inc. Any comments that are inappropriate, offensive, spam or commercial in nature can be deleted by the page admin. Must be 18 years or older to win.

Bat Facts: What’s with the hanging?

Q: WHY DO BATS HANG UPSIDE DOWN?

A: Unlike the bodies of other animals, a bat’s body is best adapted for hanging upside down. Its hind limbs have rotated 180 degrees so that its knees face backwards. This rotation aids in the bat’s ability to navigate in flight and to hang by its feet. Bats actually have specialized tendons that hold their toes in place so that they are able to cling to their roosts without expending any energy. In fact, bats must flex their muscles in order to let go of the roosting surface. These adaptations are quite helpful for a flying mammal since bats only need to let go of the roost in order to drop into flight. Hanging upside down also provides bats with roosting space away from predators in safe places on the ceilings of caves, in trees, and buildings that few other animals can use because they have not evolved to hang upside down by their feet.

Visit Bat Conservation International to learn more about bats!