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  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.


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?


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!

Polar Bear Photo Contest

Do you have a way with words? Then make sure to participate in our Polar Bear Photo Contest in anticipation of the grand opening of To the Arctic 3D.

The Arctic Ice Cap is shrinking each summer—and by 2050 or earlier will be reduced to a small fringe on the coast of Canada and Greenland. Only about 20,000 polar bears remain, and their survival is in jeopardy. This film takes viewers on a captivating journey of survival in the Arctic wilderness.

You’ll have until Sunday, April 22 to impress us with your best caption! As part of the fun, we’ll be throwing in some To the Arctic 3D related prizes for the best two captions. Winners will be selected by Moody Gardens staff members and announced on Monday, April 23, 2012 on Facebook. Head on over to our Facebook page and find the post with the Polar Bear Photo (shown on left) and leave your caption in the comments section. While you’re on our Facebook page, why not go ahead and click “LIKE” to stay connected with us!

If you capture us with your witty ways and are selected as a winner, you’ll receive the following prizes:

  • One (1) Official To the Arctic t-shirt
  • One (1) Official (and adorable) To the Arctic stuffed polar bear
  • One (1) Official To the Arctic movie poster
  • Two (2) tickets to the MG 3D Theater which can be redeemed to see To the Arctic 3D

So put on your creative hats and head on over to our Facebook page: Questions, comments and/or concerns? Leave us a comment below!

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.

5 Reasons to Visit Moody Gardens this Spring Break

1. See Tornado Alley 3D and Meet the Famous Storm Chaser Sean Casey
Opens March 10

The fascinating film Tornado Alley 3D opens March 10 at Moody Gardens and follows veteran storm chasers on two exciting unprecedented missions. Guests will follow Storm Chasers star Sean Casey as he and his crew navigate their famous tornado intercept vehicle—TIV-2—directly into the heart of a tornado and capture its beauty and destructive power on film. Visitors will have the chance to meet Sean Casey in person at Moody Gardens March 10 and 11 as he signs autographs and specialty merchandise. Guests will also get to see the tornado intercept vehicle- TIV-2 up close. Join the storm chaser crew at Moody Gardens for a memorable Spring Break this season.

2. Enjoy Wizard of Oz 4-D Experience
Opens March 10

This beloved classic becomes a modern adventure in The Wizard of Oz 4-D Experience. Newly restored in digital 3D with added special effects, be swept along with Dorothy as a powerful tornado transports you on an unforgettable journey to the magical Land of Oz.

THE WIZARD OF OZ and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Turner Entertainment Co. Judy Garland as Dorothy from THE WIZARD OF OZ. (s12)

 3. BODIES REVEALED Exhibition
Now Open in the Discovery Museum

Be among the first to explore the inner workings of the human body at the BODIES REVEALED Exhibition. This fascinating Exhibition is unlike anything seen at Moody Gardens before, with real and carefully preserved human body specimens that will fascinate and inspire. The exhibition takes visitors through galleries providing an up-close look inside the skeletal, muscular, reproductive, respiratory, circulatory and other systems of the human body. As the visitor moves to each gallery, more than 200 organs tell the story of the astounding systems at work within each of us every second of our existence. Don’t miss this three-dimensional tour of the human body!

 4. Perfect your game at the Moody Gardens Golf Course

Galveston’s premier public course is a seaside links enchantress whose lush paspalum fairways are lined with 500 palms and shorebird habitat. Sydnor Bayou laps at its shores to entice your best shot. Five sets of tees create diverse challenges for every level of play. This Jacobsen Hardy-designed course is a beautiful and intriguing, demanding in its own Island way. Call 409-683-4653 or

5. Island Getaway for the Entire Family at the Moody Gardens Hotel

Head to the Moody Gardens Hotel this Spring Break for the perfect family vacation. Spring Break fun includes live music pool side, Texas-size Tropical Pool with swim-up bar, adult lounge and cabanas. Looking to keep the kids entertained? The Kids Crew Club will be featuring a Jumping House, Face Painting, Clowns, Balloon Art, Pool Coin Dives, Arts & Crafts, Wii Competitions, Karaoke, Movie Nights, S’mores and a free kid’s fun pack at check-in. If that doesn’t sound like enough, enjoy Starbuck’s Specialty Drinks at Moody Brews. Click here for more information on Spring Break at the Moody Gardens Hotel. For hotel reservations call 888-388-8484 or visit

CLICK HERE to plan your visit this Spring Break at Moody Gardens.

Save the Date: Bats Are Doin’ It

Throughout 2012 Moody Gardens® will bring attention to an often overlooked, but important animal: the bat. The United Nations has declared 2012 as International Year of the Bat and Bat Conservation International (BCI) as an International Year of the Bat founding partner. Moody Gardens® will be participating throughout 2012 with opportunities for the public to get involved in the conservation mission. The International Year of the Bat campaign aims to raise global awareness about bats, bat conservation and the unique roles bats play in our environment.

The “Bat’s Are Doin’ It” fundraiser will bring attention to the ecological importance of bats such as eating their weight in harmful insects and pollinating many economically valuable crops including bananas and mangoes. Guests will leave with a new appreciation for this misunderstood animal species; which will assist BCI in their efforts to protect bats.

Enjoy a special evening celebrating the mysterious creatures with a tasty bat- themed food and drink menu. The night will include a cocktail party, special guest speaker James Eggers from Bat Conservation International and a tour of the Rainforest Pyramid®. This event will give you the chance to help save an often overlooked animal species while celebrating the special holiday.

SAVE THE DATE: Bats Are Doin’ It: A Fundraiser for Animal Lovers

When: February 11th from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Where: Moody Gardens Visitors Center

Price: $50 for a single ticket, $90 for two

• Included in the price: Heavy hors’ doeuvres and 2 drink tickets for specialty bat- themed drinks. Each attendee also receives a free “Bats Are Doin’ It” goody bag.

• Other Information: Raffle tickets can be purchased upon arrival to the event. Prices are $5 for 1 ticket or $10 for 3 tickets.Prizes will include various fabulous bat themed packages.


Proceeds raised for the event will be donated to the organization Bat Conservation International. This event is open to individuals who are 21 and above only.


And the winner is…

After 6 weeks of photo submissions and one week of voting on Facebook, we have found our Festival of Lights Photo Contest season winner! With 324 “likes” the winner is:

Congratulations to the Wehrle Family! They have won the following:

  • Four (4) Tickets to all of the Moody Gardens® Attractions (Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, MG 3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater, Ridefilm Theater, Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, Discovery Museum and Palm Beach)
  • Chance to Meet a Real Penguin in a Penguin Encounter for up to four people

Welcome Riley to Moody Gardens!

Another holiday special gift has been given to Moody Gardens this season. Riley, pictured above is the newest addition to our North Atlantic seal exhibit. Riley is an estimated 20 pound seal that is making great progress and making its home here at Moody Gardens.

Baby Riley with mom Presley

The pup is a harbor seal is born to the parents of Presley and Porter who met in 2006. These two seals have had a journey of their own to get to Moody Gardens. Porter, who was rescued near death off the coast of Maine after being abandoned by his mother, made his home here in 2001. He had been bottle fed and nursed back to heath by workers at Marine Animal Lifeline, but after an infection destroyed his eye biologists decided Porter would not be able to survive in the wild. Five years later, Presley joined the Moody Gardens family after her caretakers at Memphis Zoo determined the young harbor seal needed a companion. Although Presley and Porter have conceived in the past, this is the couple’s first successful birth.

“Our seal exhibit is now a complete picture of our dedication to animal rescue and conservancy,” Whittaker said and added that addressing special needs is a key part of the Moody Gardens mission. “Riley is an adorable new addition to our family and a heartwarming gift for all of us.”

We are very excited about our new pup and hope you can come down to see Riley for yourself! If you want to see the harbor seal then take a look at the live seal web cam on

Welcome to Penguin Manor!

Talk about culinary creativity at Moody Gardens Hotel! Pastry Chef Becky Kastelz spent more than 40 hours building Penguin Manor (in honor of our wonderful penguins), a set of three gingerbread houses decorated with the season’s most delicious candies .

Entrance to Penguin Manor

The three houses, made from 28 pounds of gingerbread (including 3 gallons of molasses) and sugar windows, are adorned with M&Ms, licorice, chocolate snowcaps, fondant candy canes, modeling chocolate wreaths, vanilla wafer cookies, and lots and lots of royal icing (over 20 pounds). The fences and balcony are chocolate-covered pretzels with jellybean gardens. An M&M driveway lined with chocolate kisses leads onto the lawn.

Caroling Penguins

Fondant penguins enjoy the holidays with caroling, skating on a sugar pond, making snow angels in coconut snow, snowball fights, and decorating Christmas trees made of ice cream cones covered in royal icing and non-pareils.

Who knew pretzels could also function as a balcony rail!

To protect the display from Galveston’s famous humidity, the entire house and all decorations have been coated with non-edible lacquer.

A roof good enough to eat!
Snow Angels, a holiday must!
Decorating the tree!
One final look!

Come see it for yourself at the Moody Gardens Hotel lobby this holiday season!