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.

King Tux Picks a Baby Penguin Name

The winning name is SQUIRT! Congratulations and thank you to Laurel Sterling from Crosby, Texas for the great name! Laurel also won a family four-pack to the Moody Gardens attractions and a penguin encounter which gives her a chance to meet a real penguin up close and personal.

Having trouble viewing the video? Watch it on YouTube: Name the Baby Penguin Contest Winner Announced

Launch Unwanted Holiday Fruit Cakes and Recycle Christmas Trees at Moody Gardens on Jan. 2

Moody Gardens will host a Fruit Cake Launch and Christmas Tree Chunk on Jan. 2 with a mission to recycle and have some fun.

Conservation is a key part of our mission at Moody Gardens and this event is an example of something simple we can do to raise awareness and be  environmentally friendly in our community. Each year, Moody Gardens collaborates with the City of Galveston in an effort to recycle Christmas trees.  Visitors can bring their bare trees from this holiday season and “chunk” them into a pile to be recycled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  The fresh mulch will be used in plant beds around Moody Gardens and throughout the city. Those who wish to can also bring some mulch home with them.

An entertaining new tradition is being added to the event this year.  Visitors are invited to participate in the first annual Fruit Cake Launch from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Rather than re-gifting their unwanted fruit cakes, we welcome people to bring them to launch on one of our two launchers for the chance to win a prize for the furthest flying cake.  The winner will receive a four-pack of tickets to all Moody Gardens attractions along with a Penguin Encounter where they will meet a real penguin. To enter the Fruit Cake Launch contest, visitors need to bring one nonperishable food item or $1 in cash to be donated to Gleanings From The Harvest. Guests may also purchase water balloons to launch for a donation of $1 per two balloons, also to be donated to Gleanings From The Harvest.

The festivities are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in the Moody Gardens west parking lot.  The event is open to the public.

At a Glance

Event: Fruit Cake Launch and Christmas Tree Chunk

Date / Time:  Jan. 2, 2010, 2 p.m.

Admission: Free and open to the public, to participate in Fruit Cake Launch please bring one nonperishable food item or $1 cash to donate

Moody Gardens Holiday Golf Tournament Collects Many Toys

Kids'smas Toy Drive at Moody Gardens Golf Course
Kids'smas Toy Drive at Moody Gardens Golf Course

Golfers enjoyed the sport while helping make the holiday season bright for children in Galveston County Sunday, Dec. 20, during the Merry Kids’smas Scramble, a holiday golf tournament combined with a toy drive. This event was brought back to life as a tradition from the Galveston Municipal Golf Course. We collected over 75 new toys including bicycles, games, dolls and trucks for the children of the Resource and Crisis Center of Galveston County.

Players and community members generously donated new toys throughout the month of December, and the toy drive ended with the Merry Kids’smas Scramble Golf Tournament on Sunday. We thank all of you who made generous contributions to benefit the kids in our area.

Moody Gardens Golf Course

Name the Baby Penguin Contest!

Submit a name and you could win a penguin prize package for four and meet a real penguin!

Moody Gardens Penguin ChickEnter one of two ways:

1)    Submit your entry in the Registration Box at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid
2)    Email your entry to namethepenguin@moodygardens.com (Be sure to include your name, age, phone number and address with your email entry)

Contest dates:  Dec. 18, 2009 – Jan. 1, 2010
Prize Awarded:  King Tux the Moody Gardens Penguin Mascot will choose the winning entry Jan. 3

Please note: Contestants must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older to use their prize.

Penguins, penguins, penguins… Baby boom continues.

Over in the South Atlantic exhibit at the Aquarium Pyramid, we’ve got big news! We just had our first penguin egg hatching of the season! This kicked off what appears to be the penguin baby boom this season with 24 eggs laid.

Our gentoo penguins Wiley and Marvin are now the proud parents of an adorable 94-gram chick. After around a month of incubating, the egg had a pip hole in it the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 5. The Moody Gardens penguin biologists kept a close vigil throughout the day on Sunday, making sure the hatching process was going smoothly. Finally, on Monday morning, Dec. 7, we found a new member of our colony! After a quick check-up to get weight and a nice poop on the scale, it was back to mom and dad for our young chick.

Three Gentoo penguin chicks are now a part of the Moody Gardens family.
Three Gentoo penguin chicks are now a part of the Moody Gardens family.

Additionally, our most recent king penguin hatchlings, now all grown up, are bound for the Central Park Zoo. Four of our birds, Lyle, Fred, Ducky DeLorenzo and Julian, left for the Empire State last Wednesday to join the Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins already residing in the Polar Circle section of the Zoo.

But wait…there’s more!

On Dec. 10, another chick hatched out, this one belonging to our gentoo penguins Casper and Ren! You can view them on the Webcam by checking out the ledge on the far right-hand side of the screen.

Finally, on Dec. 13, Quagmire and Marge’s first egg hatched. This is a very important milestone for our gentoo penguins because Quagmire is the first gentoo born at Moody Gardens to successfully hatch an egg. While their nest is out of range on the PenguinCam, if you visit the Moody Gardens Penguin Exhibit and look to the far left on the ridge above the water, you will be able to get an unobstructed view of the nest. Also, look for the biologists trying desperately to check on the chick and not fall off the ledge and into the 54-degree water! This brings the tally for this season so far up to three hatchings, with several more expected.

Keep checking the PenguinCam to get a gull’s eye view of our colony, and see some of our nests as the breeding season continues.

Stay Cool,
Chris St. Romain
Moody Gardens Penguin Biologist

Free 12 Days of Christmas at Moody Gardens Starts Monday

We are celebrating the 12 days of Christmas by offering you the Free 12 Days of Christmas.

Here are simple steps to receiving the free offers:

First, follow us on twitter at twitter.com/moody_gardens or by searching @moody_gardens on your Twitter account

We have a different offer every day for 12 days, starting Monday, Dec. 14 through Christmas Day, Dec. 25. You can find out what we are giving away the evening of the day before on Twitter.

All you have to do is show the tweet at the Aquarium Pyramid Lobby cashier on the day of the offer. The first 12 people to do so will receive the daily free gift from Moody Gardens. Remember, the offer is only good for the day! The Aquarium Pyramid Lobby ticketing counter opens at 9:30 a.m. every day except for Christmas Day at 12 noon.

Happy Holidays, everyone!