The Ibis Dream

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Let’s give a shout out to the newest addition of our Scarlet Ibis family. Hatched on June 30, this adorable little fuzzball has been one of many Scarlet Ibis hatched in the Moody Gardens’ Rainforest Pyramid.

Weighing in at 100 grams and standing several inches tall, this little cutie has dreams of flying. Months from being ready, the overly ambitious chick attempted flight, but sadly fell from its nest just days after hatching. Luckily, no major injuries occurred and it is now in the care of Moody Gardens’ finest biologists, awaiting its next voyage.

IMG_5388This endearing and very vocal chick loves its gruel, which is a liquid diet made up of fish, shrimp, pellets, water and vitamins which is hand fed five times a day. Biologists are hoping to introduce him to whole fish this week.

The gender of this hatchling is unknown and cannot be determined until much later in its life. While off exhibit, a feather will be collected and sent for lab work to determine its gender. Its bright red plume will not be visible until roughly eight months.

Full-grown Scarlet Ibis
Full-grown Scarlet Ibis

This little one will be hand raised and sent to our on-site learning place where it will become an educational ambassador.

Don’t forget to check out our other free roaming birds in our Rainforest Pyramid.

Visit moodygardens.org for more information or click here for tickets.

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

 

Growing Green with Solar!

We’re happy to announce that the Moody Gardens grew a bit greener today with the addition of some new solar-powered donations from the Green Mountain Energy™ Sun Club™!

The Sun Club‘s dedication of solar-powered recycling stations, trash compactors, and a solar-powered maintenance cart to our grounds was funded in part by Galveston-area residents who are customers of Green Mountain Energy. With these new solar additions, we expect to reduce our landfill-bound waste production by 75% in the next two years. Our new solar items were dedicated in a special ceremony with Mayor Rosen and Mr. Doug McLeod, who spoke on the importance of conservation and environmental-consciousness in Galveston.

“This is a unique application of solar energy, and we’re thrilled to see it come to life at an organization as environmentally friendly as Moody Gardens,” said Tony Napolillo, Sun Club program manager, Green Mountain Energy Company. “We’re proud to help Moody Gardens in its quest to reduce its landfill-bound trash so dramatically. I also encourage our Houston/Galveston-area Sun Club members to visit the attractions to see how their contributions are helping a worthy organization reduce its environmental impact while promoting solar power.”

Applications are now open for other non-profits interested in working with the Sun Club to receive a solar donation in 2014. Apply online at greenmountainenergysunclub.com/apply-for-a-donation/ before the August 2nd deadline and see how solar can help enhance your mission!

Eagle Scout Project: Offatts Bayou Wetlands Improvement

Ever since Hurricane Ike, Moody Gardens and Galveston Island has been on a slow but successful recovery. But the wetlands by Offatts Bayou close to Moody Garden’s parking lot sustained much damage on the shoreline. Debris became stuck on the land and it was a long way from being a habitat for some of the Island’s animals.

On May 18, Neil Stegman launched an Eagle Scout project to change the area for better. He and a large group of volunteers worked closely with Danny Carson, Moody Gardens’ Horticultural Manager. Together, they installed an improved, raised pathway with two Osprey nesting platforms.

Moody Gardens hopes to eventually create a three-quarter mile long path with interpretive signs, resting benches, gazebos and more. As these features become complete, the habitat will thrive on its own and become one of Galveston’s birding hot spots.

Watt – The Tough Penguin at Moody Gardens

The toughest penguin at Moody Gardens is growing into a big guy just like his namesake.

Watt, a King Penguin named after Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, has already grown to around 3-feet tall and 30 pounds in just 2 ½ months.

Watt absolutely loves fish, which has helped him grow so big in such a short about of time. He is a curious little guy, but his dad still watches over him. He’s definitely not ready for his son to be exploring on his own.

Watt suffered a cut on his back shortly after breaking out of his shell. Under the care of Moody Gardens biologists, Watt proved he was one tough chick and made a quick recovery. Now he is on exhibit joining the nearly 100 penguins housed in the Aquarium Pyramid

J.J. Watt is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most popular athletes in Houston.

Come see Watt and the other penguins at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid. The Aquarium is currently open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

We’re Going BLUE for World Oceans Day!

One World One Ocean Foundation Display outside of MG 3D Theater
One World One Ocean Foundation Display outside of MG 3D Theater

We’ll be celebrating World Ocean Day on June 8 with ocean-themed activities across the property to raise awareness about ocean conservation.   Guests can dive into aquatic movies, a special presentation at the MG 3D Theater, keeper activities at the Aquarium Pyramid®, special discounts and live concerts.

Like Moody Gardens, the One World One Ocean Foundation hopes to inspire generations to help protect the ocean.

“Earth Day is the ideal day to make an announcement about World Oceans Day activities,” said Moody Gardens President John Zendt. “The ocean plays a vital role in our conservation efforts.”

In partnership with the Foundation, Moody Gardens created an elaborate exhibit at the MG 3D Theater exit and donated $1,000 to the Foundation. The exhibit highlights the importance of ocean conservation with staggering statistics and beautiful imagery.

Beginning at 10 a.m., visitors can join Marine Biologist Sarah Bedolfe via Skype at the MG 3D Theater. Bedolfe, who works with film producers MacGillvray Freeman, will highlight the importance of conservation. Families can learn about whale sharks, sea turtles, coconut octopus and other exotic animals featured in upcoming films.

Audiences ages 12 to 18 can get involved by producing a video telling judges what the ocean means to them. Grand prize winners will receive $100 and a Go Pro HD HERO3 camera. For more information, visit www.worldoceansday.org.

Visitors can also help support ocean conservation when Bands on the Sand kicks off at Palm Beach with the popular beach group, the Intercoastal Pirates. Visitors can donate to the One World One Ocean Foundation, with Cadillac matching the donation up to $1,000. The summer concert series is sponsored by Cadillac with fireworks.

Guests can also watch a diverse range of ocean-themed movies throughout the day or visit the Aquarium Pyramid for presentations. A special World Oceans Day combo will be offered, featuring admission to the Aquarium Pyramid and MG 3D Theater for $24.95.

About World Oceans Day

Coordinated by The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network, World Oceans Day was recognized by the United Nations in 2008, encouraging people around the world to celebrate how water connects the globe and impacts all life forms. 

Earth Day Weekend Schedule & Savings

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EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES:

Start your Earth Day in our Herb Garden with the Galveston County Master Gardeners, as they teach easy gardening tips on Texas butterfly gardens. Children can also enjoy plenty of activities including make-and-take recycled pots and other crafts.

  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Oleander Festival in the Visitor Center
  • 10:30 a.m. Seal Presentations at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 11 a.m. Penguin Feedings at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 11 a.m. Butterfly Release at Rainforest Pyramid*
  • 11 a.m. Free Master Gardener Presentations at Discovery Pyramid (Saturday only)
  • 11:30 a.m. Sky King Falconry Bird Presentation at Herb Garden (Saturday only)
  • 11:30 a.m. South Pacific Exhibit Dive at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Arts and Crafts by the Discovery Pyramid
  • 1 p.m. Ocelot Presentation at Rainforest Pyramid*
  • 1 p.m. Free Master Gardener Presentations at Discovery Pyramid
  • 1:30 p.m. Sky King Falconry Bird Presentation at Herb Garden (Saturday only)
  • 2 p.m. Caribbean Tank Dive at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 2:15 p.m. Seal Presentations at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 3 p.m. Penguin Feedings at Aquarium Pyramid*
  • 3 p.m. Butterfly Release at Rainforest Pyramid*
  • 3 p.m. Free Master Gardener Presentations at Discovery Pyramid
  • 3:00 p.m. Sky King Falconry Bird Presentation at Herb Garden (Saturday only)

*Pyramid admission not included

EARTH DAY WEEKEND SAVINGS

Save big this Earth Day weekend with our Special Combo Pass to the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids for just $24.95 ($43.90 value). Click here to purchase online (valid only April 20-21).

 

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

 

Notes from Birding 101: April 13, 2013

Brown-Pelican

by Greg Whittaker, Animal Husbandry Manager at Moody Gardens

Excellent weather – walked around Aquarium Pyramid and retention ditch to Colonel Paddlewheeler dock.  Then walked the path around Palm Beach and to the Lake Madeline channel. We went back past the Learning Place and ended at the hotel near the pool.

By my count we saw 33 species listed here in taxonomic order (not the order we saw them):

Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Common Loon, Brown Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Peregrine Falcon, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, Dunlin, Laughing Gull, Forster’s Tern, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, White-winged Dove, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Scarlet Tanager, Great-tailed Grackle and House Sparrow.

Birding 201 is next Saturday, April 20 and there is a limit to the number of people we can take.  We will leave Moody Gardens in a van and spend about 2-3 hours out in the field.  Please respond and let me know if you are interested in going so we can reserve a seat.  To reserve a spot, please call 409-683-4101 no later than Wednesday, April 17.

Get out and see the birds this week, there are lots of them here on the island and lots of other birders to help you identify things.  I just tallied what I’ve seen since Thursday when Featherfest started and have 103 species.