There’s more to love this Valentine’s at Moody Gardens

Delve into the Sea of Love inside the Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens with a romantic Valentine’s dinner celebration on Feb. 10 and 17. Choose from dining options at the Gulf of Mexico Rig, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, South Pacific and Caribbean exhibits.

Packages range from $200-300 per couple and include a three-course dinner, bottle of champagne or wine, rose for your special someone, souvenir photo, Aquarium Pyramid admission and a meet and greet with one of our biologists.

For a complete dinner menu, click here, and for reservations, call 409-683-4202 or email dsalinas@moodygardens.org.

Continue your romantic getaway with a stay at the luxurious Moody Gardens Hotel. Be sure to inquire about the special room rate for guests when you make dinner reservations.

Sail aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat

Enjoy a two-hour Valentine’s dinner cruise Feb. 10 aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. Feast on a buffet dinner while sailing Offatts Bayou with music, dancing and a cash bar. Boarding begins at 6 p.m. with the boat shoving off at 6:30 p.m. The cruise runs 7-9 p.m.

To reserve a space on board the Colonel, please call 409-683-4419 or email lhuff@moodygardens.org. For a complete dinner menu, click here.

Golf Fore Two

Enjoy a day at the top-rated Moody Gardens Golf Course with your partner and take advantage of an incredible all-inclusive package that combines golf and dining for just $200 per couple.

Enjoy an 18-hole round of golf, cart fee included, as well as one dozen golf balls, one large bucket of range balls and a free replay (subject to availability) all topped off with unlimited food and drinks, excluding alcohol!

The all-inclusive Valentine’s package is available Feb. 10 and Feb. 17. To reserve a tee time, call 409-683-4653. You can also visit www.moodygardensgolf.com for more details on the course.

Enjoy a romantic dinner with stunning views

Experience premier fine dining at Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks, featuring beautiful floor-to-ceiling views of the Gulf waters from the top floor of the Moody Gardens Hotel.

Shearn’s will offer a romantic Valentine’s dinner on Feb. 9 and 10 starting at 5 p.m. with a special menu just for the holiday. Advance reservations are recommended and can be made here. To view the special menu, click here.

Treat yourself to luxurious pampering

Indulge in a day of luxury, or give the gift of relaxation, with one of several spa treatments and packages, all offered at The Spa at Moody Gardens Hotel. Packages include a Romantic Retreat featuring a 50-minute Couple’s Swedish Massage with Scandle Candle Body Butter, a hot stone foot treatment and Hydrotherapy Soak for two. Relax in our private relaxation area and indulge in chocolate covered strawberries and two glasses of champagne. There’s also a Couple’s Massage performed in our private couple’s suite. For a complete list of services and menus, visit us online.

Cold-stunned Green Sea Turtles released after being cared for at Moody Gardens

More than 90 Green Sea Turtles that were rescued last week after suffering from cold-stun were safely released to warmer waters off North Padre Island Wednesday afternoon.

These beautiful turtles, ranging in size from 6 pounds to a whopping 70 pounds, called Moody Gardens home since last week following a dramatic drop in temperatures that left the turtles stranded in East Matagorda Bay, about 100 miles southwest of Galveston. 

In all, nearly 300 Green Sea Turtles were rescued along a five-mile stretch of the bay. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) led the rehabilitation mission. With an animal holding facility, complete with large holding tanks, Moody Gardens was happy to partner with NOAA to offer a home, and rehabilitation, for the turtles until it was time for their release.

NOAA released about 75 turtles off North Padre Island Tuesday with another 200 released Wednesday. Some turtles will remain at NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Lab here on Galveston Island until they are well enough to be released back into the wild.

Officials chose North Padre Island, just south of Corpus Christi, as the release site so that the turtles will enter warmer waters. Another cold front is expected to hit the Galveston area this Friday, and the goal is to release the turtles into warmer waters before that happens. The cold front shouldn’t impact North Padre Island and the surrounding area.

Green Sea Turtles feed on sea grasses found in the shallow bay waters. They were in the East Matagorda Bay area last week when temperatures dropped to freezing, leaving them cold-stunned and unable to retreat to warmer waters. Cold-stun can happen when water temperatures drop to 50 degrees. When that happens, the turtle’s metabolism shuts down and they respond by expanding their lungs and floating to the top of the water. Doing so can further expose them as they let cooler air into their lungs. Unable to swim, many are pushed up to the shoreline.

Turtles were triaged as they were rescued. They were measured, weighed and checked for any abnormalities and wounds. Those deemed healthy were sent to Moody Gardens while those who were wounded were cared for NOAA’s fisheries lab.

Staff and volunteers cleaned turtles, scrubbing off algae, debris, grime, barnacles, and in some cases even oysters. Tags were attached to the turtles’ front flippers. Internal tags were also placed so that the animals can be tracked in the future, if needed.

Moody Gardens’ mission has always focused on conserving natural spaces and resources. Looking at the natural habitat around Moody Gardens, sea turtles are probably one of the highest profile species that live in our native waters and are in need of our help.

Mangrove Lagoon touch tank welcomes rockin’ Guitarfish

A rockin’ new fish has joined the party inside the Mangrove Lagoon touch tank at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid and you don’t want to miss out on seeing this unusual addition.

You’ll have to look closely to spot our new Guitarfish, as it likes to blend in with its surroundings and even burrow itself in the sand.

With a tail that looks a lot like a shark and triangular head, it’s not hard to see how the Guitarfish got its name.  A cross between sharks and stingrays, Guitarfish are closely related to the latter and feature an elongated body with a flattened head and body with ray-like wings.

Our Guitarfish is still young at about 2-3 years old and is only 1-2 feet long. When full grown, Guitarfish can reach 4 feet in length!

Guitarfish like to burrow in the sand so that the only things visible are their eyes and spiracles, small holes on the top of their heads. To breathe, Guitarfish pump water in through their spiracles, over their gills and out through gill openings. Their mouth is located on the bottom of their body and they use pebble-like teeth to crunch their food, which includes shrimp, clams and crabs.

Fun fact – Guitarfish can actually change in color from olive to a sandy brown, depending on the color of their sandy seafloor! Doing so helps them blend in with their habitat. You’ll notice our Guitarfish is very light in color, almost white, and that’s because the seafloor inside the Mangrove Lagoon is light.

Guitarfish are common along the East Coast, especially in mangrove areas found in the Florida Keys, so it made perfect sense to add this unusual and interesting looking fish to the Mangrove Lagoon exhibit at the Aquarium Pyramid where it joins stingrays, a couple of lobsters and other fish!

Go Green in 2018

Looking for a New Year’s resolution? Why not commit to doing your part for the environment. Check out these ten tips to get started.

  1. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Leaving the water running for two minutes can waste up to five gallons a day.
  2. Take a travel mug to your favorite coffee shop instead of using paper cups. Replacing one disposable cup goes a long way; 58 billion paper cups are thrown away annually in the United States alone.
  3. Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. (Also, use a reusable water bottle.) Americans spend about $1.22 per gallon on bottled water every year while tap water costs less than a penny per gallon on average.
  4. Bring your own reusable bags to the store when doing your shopping. A plastic bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1,000 years to break down, depending on the environment.
  5. Buy items in bulk. These larger containers reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills.
  6. Sign up for paperless billing. The average American uses about one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree’s worth of paper per year.
  7. Unplug unused chargers and appliances. The United States uses approximately 23 percent of the world’s energy, but only has about 5 percent of the world’s population.
  8. Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 90 percent of the energy used in a wash cycle goes in to heating the water.
  9. Try cooking meals using small appliances such as the microwave or toaster oven. These appliances use 30 percent less energy than a full-size oven.
  10. Try carpooling or taking public transportation to and from work. An average American spends 40 hours each year stuck in traffic, why not have some companions along for the ride?

Here’s to an eco-friendly 2018!

Give Back When You Give A Gift This Holiday Season

Christmas is just around the corner which means the countdown is on to find gifts for all those special people in your life. But in the spirit of giving, why not also give some love back to the environment at the same time with an eco-friendly gift. Moody Gardens is here to help with these suggestions.

Handmade (or Feet-Made) Gifts – Show you care by taking time out to make something from scratch, whether that be a recipe or craft. If you aren’t feeling so artsy yourself, did you know the Moody Gardens’ penguins are painters? As part of their enrichment activities, some of our penguins have become quite the established artists. Watch them hop across a canvas to create their masterpieces during a Public or Private Penguin Encounter, or simply pick up a piece of art in the Moody Gardens’ gift shop. The funds raised from these purchases goes toward animal conservation efforts.

Gifts That Benefit An Organization’s Conservation Work – Several agencies also allow you to purchase gifts or make donations where the money collected goes to help with conservation efforts. As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Moody Gardens is a proud supporter of the Vaquita CPR effort, which seeks to provide safe habitats for the most critically endangered marine mammal in the world. Our own Animal Husbandry Manager Greg Whittaker even took part in AZA’s #Pied4APorpoise campaign earlier this year.

Recycled or Upcycled Goods – Whether it’s a wind chime made out of a wine bottle or a rug made from medicine containers, there has been a recent trend in giving discarded products new life. Several sites such as Etsy offer these goods direct from the artist who makes them and they are sure to be conversation starters with anyone who sees them.

Growable Gifts – Have someone with a green thumb on your holiday shopping list? Seedlings, planting kits or seed paper are all great ideas to ensure they have something to enjoy all year long.

Experiences – Instead of giving a tangible gift, make some memories with your loved ones with an activity. Moody Gardens has something for everyone to enjoy from adrenaline-filled adventures to romantic dinners and spa packages.

Happy Gifting!

Enjoy a PSL, Save a PSL

Moody Gardens is once again joining forces to bring awareness and protection to Pygmy Slow Lorises this fall with its PSLs for PSLs campaign.

Guests can enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Latte while doing their part to protect Pygmy Slow Lorises in the wild. Moody Brews, located inside the Moody Gardens Hotel, serves Starbucks drinks. Through Jan. 7, a portion of proceeds from each PSL sold at Moody Brews will be donated to Little Fireface Project, the world’s largest running project that aims to protect lorises from extinction through research, education and conservation.

PSLs for PSLs, along with Little Fireface Project, hopes to bring attention and awareness to the plight of this small group of endangered primates.

Pygmy Slow Lorises are small, nocturnal prosimians native to Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. They have a vice-like grip, move slowly and have a venomous bite – which is unique for a mammal. Some believe lorises have healing powers. This, combined with the issue that they are perceived to make good pets, has led to the capture of many lorises and their numbers in the wild are dwindling.

So, head over to Moody Brews to grab a drink and participate in PSLs for PSLs now through Jan. 7.

After you help the cause be sure to stop by the Rainforest Pyramid to see the Pygmy Slow Lorises that Moody Gardens biologists have the pleasure of caring for. You can also head over to http://www.nocturama.org/en/welcome-little-fireface-project/ to learn more about the Little Fireface Project.

Scenic Moody Gardens Golf Course Named No. 1 by GolfNow

Moody Gardens Golf Course now has top bragging rights after it was named the No. 1 golf course in the U.S. for the month of August, according to GolfNow.

While the course has earned top grades from golf ratings in the past, this is the first time Moody Gardens Golf Course has been named No. 1 by GolfNow.

The review comes on the heels of Hurricane Harvey. Moody Gardens Golf Course was fortunate to not receive any damage from the storm, although it did close for a few days during the storm, reopening Sept. 4. The beautiful and scenic course is open for business as fall offers spectacular weather on Galveston Island!

The ranking is based on reviews from golfers, so it’s great to know our guests are enjoying themselves and having a terrific time.

Golfers can enjoy stunning views, green fairways and the gulf breeze, all while taking on the challenging tropical course.

Recently, GolfNow ranked Moody Gardens as the third-best course in the Greater Houston area. The course underwent a $16 million renovation in 2008. The par-72 course is a Jacobsen Hardy design and measures 6,816 yards from the farthest back tees. There are five tee boxes for players of all levels.

Elevations were raised, new irrigation and drainage systems were added and it was reseeded in paspalum, a salt-tolerant grass. It was the first course in the continental United States to be seeded with paspalum, and uses effluent water from the City of Galveston to water the grounds as a part of the conservation efforts that are a part of the Moody Gardens mission.

The premier public golf course has earned rave reviews from TripAdvisor, GolfNow and Golf Advisor since those improvements, including being named to Golf Advisor’s Best of 2016 Top 50 U.S. courses list.

For information or to book a tee time, call 409-683-4653 or visit www.moodygardensgolf.com.

Meet our new Friends in the Forest!

The stork was busy in July, visiting Moody Gardens twice in the Rainforest Pyramid with the birth of a Blue Duiker calf and just a week later with a Prehensile-Tailed porcupette.

Our female baby Blue Duiker was born July 22 at just 420 grams to proud parents Basi and Ruben. Soksi is Swahili for “socks”, which is fitting since her front feet are white, giving the appearance that she’s wearing a pair of socks. This is the first pregnancy for Basi and first breeding for Moody Gardens.

Blue Duikers are one of the smallest antelope. They are native to central, eastern and southern Africa and are actually longer than they are tall – reaching 22-35 inches in length and 13-16 inches tall. They can weigh 7-20 pounds and have short, spiky horns on their head.

The stork visited again on July 31, delivering a porcupine, born to mom Cora and dad Bono. This is the second birth for Cora, who delivered her first porcupette last summer. The baby was born with soft hair that will harden into quills with age. Once the quills come in, biologists will send one off to learn the gender of the porcupette.

Prehensile-Tailed Porcupines are native to Central and South America. They are tree-dwelling and typically weigh between 4-11 pounds and their tails are nearly as long as their entire body!

And, that’s not all.

 Our Giant River Otters Dru and Ella welcomed Maximo and Manuel to the exhibit this month, doubling the number of otters you can spot inside the Rainforest.

Maximo and Manuel, both 2 years old, came to Moody Gardens from the Los Angeles Zoo, where they were born.  The two new male otters will be companions for Dru and Ella.

Be sure to stop by and see all our friendly new faces!

Dive deep into fun this summer at Moody Gardens

Explore new worlds this summer as Moody Gardens takes you on a brand new underwater adventure in our Aquarium Pyramid and gets you up close and personal with dinosaurs!

Come meet our new Humboldt penguins, touch cownose stingrays and moon jellies and talk to our divers while they’re under water exploring all of our exhibits in the transformed Aquarium Pyramid.

We take you from rigs to reef in our brand new two-story 30,000 gallon Gulf of Mexico Rig Exhibit that shows how the oil rig platforms we see in the gulf actually provide ecosystems for coral and marine life out in the ocean. You’ll also explore the South Atlantic, South Pacific, North Pacific and the Caribbean as you journey to new depths!

Are you ready for a Jurassic adventure?

Once you’ve explored the ocean, travel back in time with the return of Dinos Alive to Galveston Island. This outdoors exhibit features life-like animatronic dinosaurs, including a full-size Tyrannosaurus, and you become part of a rescue team sent back in time to search for a missing plane and its crew. You get to meet dinosaurs along the way, and there’s even a dig site!

Got dinosaur fever? Don’t miss Dino’s Alive 3D, showing on the largest movie screen in Texas, and Dino Island II 4D. Both films bring dinosaurs back to life…in a big way. We’re even offering a Dino Combo Ticket at $23.95 for adults and $17.95 for children 4-12 and seniors that lets you experience the Dinos Alive Exhibit and both dino films.

Discover new worlds

Follow Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci on a journey of innovation, creativity, science and wonder in Da Vinci: The Exhibition in the Discovery Museum. This hands-on examination of da Vinci’s life includes themed galleries. The artist’s intricate and extraordinary early concepts are spotlighted, including his design for the helicopter, tank, SCUBA, crane, clock, submarine and his plan for a modern city.

Experience the Amazon Rainforest when “Amazon Adventure 3D” takes you on a visually stunning odyssey through the wilds of the Amazon rainforest in an incredible story of scientific discovery. The movie traces the extraordinary journey of naturalist and explorer Henry Walter Bates – the most influential scientist you’ve never heard of.

Cool off at Palm Beach

While you’re here, be sure to cool off at Palm Beach, you’re very own white-sand oasis. And, stick around for Bands on the Sand. Enjoy this summer concert series Friday and Saturday nights 6-10 p.m. The show ends with a fireworks display over Offats Bayou, overlooking the Moody Gardens pyramids. Bands on the Sand admission is $15. For a complete schedule, click here.

Dig deep with Jurassic fun this summer at Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens is taking you on a Jurassic adventure this summer when the Dinos Alive Exhibit comes to Galveston Island.

This fun outdoors exhibit features life-like animatronic dinosaurs, including a full-size Tyrannosaurus, as you become part of a rescue team sent back in time to search for a missing plane and its crew.

Along the way in the adventure, you get an up close and personal experience with some of the most feared and amazing creatures to ever roam Planet Earth.

Discover treasures of your own as you explore an archeological dig site in the exhibit. In addition to the dig site, the attraction will include a gift shop and photo opportunity. Explore all things dinosaurs June 3-Aug. 13.