Moody Gardens to Amaze Guests with Butterflies and a Maze This Summer

Moody Gardens will open a special new exhibit just in time for the summer vacation season.  “Amazeing” Butterflies is scheduled to open Saturday, May 15 and will feature a maze and free-flying live butterflies.  The exhibit is designed to teach visitors the life cycle, variety of species and survival challenges of the colorful insects.

As soon as guests step inside the exhibit, they will be surrounded by hundreds of butterflies that are released daily. As they continue their journey, they will enter a maze through the huge monarch caterpillar tunnel. The maze will feature dead-ends, down which, lurks graphics with poisonous plants and predators that pose the same threat butterflies face daily. Visitors will discover the unique facts behind the beauty of the butterflies through interactive games, puzzles and various other activities. Guests will also be able to learn about gardens and plants that effectively attract the flying insects.

Amazeing Butterflies will be open from Saturday, May 15 through Sept. 6. The admission is $5.95 for all ages, and it’s free for children ages three and under. For more information, please visit moodygardens.org or call 1-800-582-4673.

Quick Facts

What: Amazeing Butterflies

When: May 15 – Sept. 6, 2010, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Where: Moody Gardens Discovery Tent

Admission: All ages $5.95

Information: moodygardens.org; 1-800-582-4673

Very Rare Pygmy Loris Twins Born at Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens is proud to introduce pygmy slow loris twins born on March 22. Breeding of this species is often challenging and largely rare in captivity. In fact, this is only one of five pygmy slow loris births in captivity in North America over the past year.

“This is such an exciting event,” said Paula Kolvig, assistant curator at Moody Gardens. “We have been keeping a very close eye on these babies, and we are very pleased to see steady growth so far.”

The addition of the twins is a valuable boost to the population of this primitive primate species called prosimians that are found in tropical forests of Vietnam, China and Cambodia.  Currently, there are only about 75 pygmy slow lorises in North American zoos and aquariums and fewer than 200 in captivity worldwide. Due to numerous environmental threats, the wild population is dwindling, and the species is listed as a threatened species by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.

To bring this mammal back from the brink of extinction, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, of which Moody Gardens is an accredited member, created a Species Survival Plan program for the pygmy slow loris. The birth was a great success of this cooperative breeding and conservation program, which helps ensure the survival of the species in both wild and captivity.

The baby boy and girl were born between mother Luyen and father Icarus. The parents are ten and 14 years of age and have been members of the Moody Gardens animal collection since 2004.

“Luyen has been a very attentive and good mother to the twins,” said Kolvig. “The babies stay attached to their mom for the majority of the day, taking plenty of opportunities to nurse.”

Visitors will be able to see both the parents and the twins in the Rainforest Pyramid once the $25 million enhancement project is completed in May 2011. The mother normally nurses her young until they reach approximately nine-months-old. Until then, the attentive mother will continue to pamper her kids behind the scenes. For information, visit moodygardens.org or call 800-582-4673.

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

Swedish Descendants Share Galveston Immigration Stories Through Story Time And Folk Crafts

Galveston – Local Swedish descendants will bring their craft skills and their ancestors’ original immigrant trunk full of family history to Moody Gardens on Saturday, April 3. Jan Faubion and her son Rob of VASA Carl Widen Lodge will share stories of their family who came to the U.S. from Sweden, host children’s story time and demonstrate folk craft making during the free Cultural Speaker Series from 1 p.m. through 5 p.m.

Speaker Jan Faubion’s great-grandparents came from Sweden to Texas through Galveston in the late 1880s. Her ancestors settled the Palm Valley community in Texas and were vital participants in the construction and settlement of Texas. Today, she and her son, Rob, continue their Swedish heritage by demonstrating Swedish straw crafts at cultural events throughout the state, including the Texas Folklife Festival and Bob Bullock History Museum.

The Cultural Speaker Series is in conjunction with the traveling exhibit, Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island. The exhibit chronicles the Port of Galveston’s largely forgotten history as a major gateway to American immigration from 1845 to 1924. The exhibit is the first of its kind to explore, on a national scale, Galveston’s legacy as a port of entry and its importance in shaping the Texas and U.S. history.

Moody Gardens continues to encourage Galveston immigrants and their descendants to share their stories and artifacts by contacting 409-683-4215. Forgotten Gateway will be on exhibit through Sept. 11, 2010, and admission to the exhibit is $8.95 for adults and $6.95 for children and seniors. For more information about the Cultural Speaker Series and the Forgotten Gateway exhibit, please visit moodygardens.org or call 800-582-4673.

AT A GLANCE

Event: Forgotten Gateway Cultural Speaker Series: Stories of Swedish Immigrants

Activities: Cultural Presentation, Kids’ Crafts and Story Time

Featured Group: Carl Widen VASA Club

Date/ Time: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 3

Location: Moody Gardens Discovery Pyramid, One Hope Blvd., Galveston

Admission: Free, open to the public

Information: 1-800-582-4673, moodygardens.org

Exhibit: Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island

Admission: Adults $8.95, children (4-12) & seniors (65+) $6.95

About the Exhibit:

Galveston was a Southern equivalent of Ellis Island. With over 200 original artifacts, Forgotten Gateway chronicles the largely forgotten history of Galveston as a major immigration port between 1845 and 1924.

Galveston Immigration with Mission to Help Those in Need

Driven by their religious belief and mission to help the sick, the poor and the deprived in Texas, three Catholic women sailed to Galveston from their home country France in 1866. Sister Deenan Hubbard will discuss her organization’s founders and their significant role in the community during the Cultural Speaker Series at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 20.

Texas in 1866 was plagued with disease and poverty. To provide health care for his needy people, Bishop Dubuis went to his native country of France in search of nursing sisters. Three French women volunteered to come to Texas. With their arrival the new Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word was founded. These Sisters opened the first Catholic hospital in Texas and soon started an orphanage.

Speaker Sister Deenan Hubbard will represent the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, With a proud heritage that began in Galveston, the Congregation today is multicultural and international as it continues to serve those in need in five countries.

The event is a part of the eight-month-long Cultural Speaker Series, which is held on the first and third Saturdays of each month in conjunction with the traveling exhibit, Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island. Presentations are free and open to the public and give opportunities for individuals to participate in, while passing on the legacy of Texas settlers to the generations to come.

Forgotten Gateway chronicles the Port of Galveston’s largely forgotten history as a major gateway to American immigration from 1845 to 1924. The exhibit is the first of its kind to explore, on a national scale, Galveston’s legacy as a port of entry and its importance in shaping Texas and U.S. history.

Forgotten Gateway will be on exhibit through Sept. 11, and admission to the exhibit is $8.95 for adults and $6.95 for children and seniors. For more information about the Cultural Speaker Series and the Forgotten Gateway exhibit, please visit moodygardens.org or call 800-582-4673.

AT A GLANCE

Event: Forgotten Gateway Cultural Speaker Series: Habit of Healing

Speaker: Sister Deenan Hubbard

Date/ Time: 1 p.m., Saturday, March 20

Location: Pompano Room, Aquarium Pyramid, Moody Gardens, One Hope Blvd., Galveston

Admission: Free, open to the public

Information: 1-800-582-4673, moodygardens.org

Exhibit: Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island

Admission: Adults $8.95, children (4-12) & seniors (65+) $6.95

About the Exhibit:

Galveston was a Southern equivalent of Ellis Island. With over 200 original artifacts, Forgotten Gateway chronicles the largely forgotten history of Galveston as a major immigration port between 1845 and 1924.

King Penguin Chick Joins Moody Gardens Family

Well, folks, we have good news to share with you.

On Monday, Feb. 15, we welcomed our first king penguin chick of the year into the world! The newborn weighed in at healthy 190 grams and is growing rapidly by the minute! Lando and Littlefoot are the parents.

We found shell fragments during our morning cleaning, and sure enough, egg had hatched! Throughout the breeding season, our role is to monitor that parents are, well, being the parents. We are there to make sure the birds are healthy and provide support only when needed.

King Chick Being from the Southern Hemisphere of the world, and more specifically, South Georgia Island, the penguins observe opposite seasons from Texas. This makes winter in the Continental U.S. their summer time and the prime breeding season. King penguins, unlike their smaller counterparts such as chinstrap and gentoo penguins, carry the unhatched eggs and newborns in between their feet while the parents take turns. Because of the way the eggs are handled, penguin eggs are much thicker and more durable than regular bird eggs. The incubation period of this species of penguins is longer than that of the smaller species and lasts about two months. Once chicks are born, they also take longer to become full grown.

Speaking of smaller species, we now have a total of four gentoo chicks, all growing healthy, in the back holding area of the South Atlantic Exhibit, where they will remain until they are fledged out and are strong enough to swim. While penguins are built to swim, as chicks, they seem to trade cuteness for buoyancy. By doing this, we can prevent any accidents.

The king chick will be on exhibit with its parents for a few more weeks. Check our Webcam periodically to catch us feeding the birds or just simply watch them chill out.

Stay cool,
Chris St. Romain
Moody Gardens Penguin Biologist

Celebrate Romance and Revelry in the Gardens

February on the island is a time for lovers and also the perfect time to experience first hand how the island comes to life with the grandest celebration of the season.

Moody Gardens has unveiled special packages for Valentines Day romance and Mardi Gras festivities. Whether you’re saying “I love you” all over again with an intimate Island getaway or having the time of your life at the biggest party of the season, our custom packages are the perfect way to celebrate.

The special Moody Gardens Hotel Valentine’s Retreat packages include a luxurious room for two for one night, a split of champagne to enjoy in room, a long stem red rose, and chocolate covered strawberries. Packages are available on Saturday, Feb. 13 starting at $199 per night and Sunday, Feb. 14 from $159 per night. For reservations or more information, call 888-388-8484 or visit www.moodygardenshotel.com.

Shearn's LoungeEnjoy a romantic dinner for two at the fabulous four diamond Shearn’s Restaurant with our special Valentine’s menu. This lover’s feast includes a divine four course meal with such offerings as seared snapper, prime filet mignon, panned veal chop, mushroom pasta, and a decadent dessert – a chocolate Chambord heart. The Shearn’s Valentine’s Dinner will be offered on Feb. 13 and 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are required with the last reservation at 9:30 p.m. each evening.  Prices are $75 per person. For reservations, call 409-741-8484.

The Spa at Moody Gardens invites you to rekindle the romance and share a delightfully decadent Valentine’s Day with the one you love. Enjoy a private spa couple’s suite, or treat that someone special to a day of pampering of their very own with one of our custom Spa packages.

The Champagne Bubbles & Chocolate Strawberry Cream Couple’s Escape package will indulge you and the one you love with a divine Chunky Chocolate Body Polish and soothing Champagne Bubble Bath, followed by a 25-minute Swedish massage for two with a sensuous Strawberry Cream Lotion.  Relax and share a complimentary champagne toast and chocolate truffles. The package also includes a Gift Set featuring our signature 4oz Chunky Chocolate Scrub & Strawberry Cream body lotion. The package is priced at $300 for couples or $150 for individuals. For Spa appointments or more information on all of the spa offerings, call 409-683-4440.

Couples can also keep their love afloat on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat Dinner Cruise sails around Galveston Offatts Bayou Saturday, Feb. 13. The two-hour boat ride will feature a DJ, dance floor and a dinner buffet in addition to plenty of romantic moments. To make memories last, passengers can get a Colonel Paddlewheel Boat special souvenir wine glass filled with champagne or wine for $7.50. A cash bar will also be available. The cost for the Valentine Dinner Cruise is $45 per person. Boarding starts at 7 p.m., and the paddlewheel boat will sail from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and information, please call 1-800-582-4673 ex. 4352.

In addition, when it comes to making memories, Moody Gardens is always a great place for couples as well as couples with children. How about a casual movie date at the IMAX® 3D Theater with the biggest 3D screen in the Houston area? Couples can also share bonding moments at the beautiful seaside-link Moody Gardens Golf Course. To impress your special someone, take your honey to meet a real penguin with the Penguin Encounter program.

Romantic Dinner Cruise to Sail Feb. 13

Couples can keep their love afloat this Valentine’s Day as the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat Dinner Cruise sails around Galveston Offatts Bayou Saturday, Feb. 13. The two-hour boat ride will feature a DJ, dance floor and a dinner buffet in addition to plenty of romantic moments.

“Fun, romantic, or both, the night is yours, and you can make it however you want it to be,” said Joy Cowan, Colonel Paddlewheel executive director. “Being on the water makes it even more special.”

To make memories last, passengers can get a Colonel Paddlewheel Boat special souvenir wine glass filled with champagne or wine for $7.50. A cash bar will also be available.

Colonel Paddlewheel Boat is an authentic replica of an 1800 style Paddlewheeler. The charming 800-passenger paddlewheel boat takes guests on year-round hour-long cruises in Offatts Bayou.  The boat also features climate-controlled Galveston and Texas Rooms with large dance floors, which can be booked for private dinners and parties.

The cost for the Valentine Dinner Cruise is $45 per person. Boarding starts at 7 p.m., and the paddlewheel boat will sail from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and information, please call 1-800-582-4673 ex. 4352.

Colonel Paddlewheel Boat

Mardi Gras Ball for Special People

Special People's BallPerhaps, one of your new year’s resolutions was to meet new people, get involved in the community or volunteer more. Well, you can do all of that by volunteering at this fun event.

No one needs to miss out on the Mardi Gras experience in Galveston. Moody Gardens will host the 24th Annual Mardi Gras Ball for Special People on Sunday, Feb. 7. Annually celebrated by thousands of people with special needs, this free event is hosted by Moody Gardens and made possible by hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time, supplies and services.

This year’s theme is Masquerede, and entertainment will include a local Galveston band Mid-Life Crisis.  To make the event free to all attendees, contributions have been made by numerous volunteers, Moody Gardens and other local businesses. Participants can enjoy donated food, refreshments, plenty of beads, clowns, face painters and a dance contest. This year, there will also be a costume contest and costumed characters.

We are looking for volunteers to assist with the table set-up, decorations, ushering, serving food and dancing with the guests. It’s a win-win situation where both participants and volunteers can have a good time.

The event is scheduled for 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the Moody Gardens Convention Center Expo A and B. For event registration and volunteer information, please contact Moody Gardens® at 800-582-4673, ext. 4108.

AT A GLANCE
What: Mardi Gras Ball for Special People
When: Sunday, Feb. 7, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Moody Gardens Convention Center Expo A&B
Who: People with special needs and their immediate family members are invited. Volunteers are always welcome and appreciated.
Information: 800-582-4673 ex. 4108 or volunteers@moodygardens.com

Second Annual Penguin Groundhog Day

Penguin ShadowIf you are anxious to know when this arctic winter is going to be over with, you are in luck. This Groundhog Day, a real Moody Gardens penguin will forecast spring on Galveston Island at Moody Gardens Tuesday, Feb. 2 in anticipation of spring break. In groundhog fashion, an Aquarium Pyramid bird will make its own prediction based on whether or not it sees its shadow. The penguin will then communicate with Greg Whittaker, Moody Gardens animal husbandry manager, who will translate the “Penguish” declaration into the human language.

General public is invited to witness the Penguin Groundhog Day ceremony and proclamation. Admission is free. Please meet us in front of the Aquarium Pyramid.

AT A GLANCE
What: Penguin Groundhog Day
When: Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Aquarium Pyramid (Outside)
Admission: Free and open to the public

Local Jewish Leader Tells Galveston Immigration Story

Rabbi Jimmy Kessler of Temple B`nai Israel will speak at Moody Gardens on Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. during the Cultural Speaker Series. The local leader will discuss the Galveston immigration through the perspective of the Jewish population.

Titled “Nu, Where Is Galveston?”, Rabbi Kessler’s presentation will highlight Galveston as the “Ellis Island of the West,” with topics including the “Galveston Plan” and the role the American Jewish played in the community.

The event is a part of the eight-month-long Cultural Speaker Series, which is held on the first and third Saturdays of each month in conjunction with the traveling exhibit, Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island. Presentations are free and open to the public and give opportunities for individuals to participate in, while passing on the legacy of Texas settlers to the generations to come.

Forgotten Gateway chronicles the Port of Galveston’s largely forgotten history as a major gateway to American immigration from 1845 to 1924. The exhibit is the first of its kind to explore, on a national scale, Galveston’s legacy as a port of entry and its importance in shaping Texas and U.S. history.

We continues to encourage Galveston immigrants and their descendants to share their stories and artifacts by contacting 409-683-4215. Forgotten Gateway will be on exhibit through Sept. 11, and admission to the exhibit is $8.95 for adults and $6.95 for children and seniors. For more information about the Cultural Speaker Series and the Forgotten Gateway exhibit, please visit moodygardens.org or call 800-582-4673.

Jewish ImmigrantsAT A GLANCE
Event: Forgotten Gateway Cultural Speaker Series: Nu, Where Is Galveston?
Speaker: Rabbi Jimmy Kessler of Temple B`nai Israel
Date/ Time: 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 16
Location: Aquarium Pyramid Pompano Room, One Hope Blvd., Galveston
Admission: Free, open to the public
Information: 1-800-582-4673, moodygardens.org

Exhibit: Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island
Admission: Adults $8.95, children (4-12) & seniors (65+) $6.95
About the Exhibit:
Galveston was a Southern equivalent of Ellis Island. With over 200 original artifacts, Forgotten Gateway chronicles the largely forgotten history of Galveston as a major immigration port between 1845 and 1924.