NEW SPONGEBOB SUBPANTS ADVENTURE FEATURES NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN TECHNOLOGY

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Always among the leaders in use of state-of-the-art technology, Moody Gardens is showcasing another first in entertainment with the opening of its new attraction, the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure.

Moody Gardens has partnered with Nickelodeon, Super 78 and SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment to create this innovative attraction opening in the Discovery Pyramid on May 23. Harnessing the power of modern computer technology and classic artistic techniques, a group of designers, engineers, fabricators and  animators who are responsible for many of the world’s leading theme park attractions have come together to create the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure.

Guests will experience a whole new kind of submarine adventure as they take the “Le Plunger” into the hyper-real, life-sized world of Bikini Bottom which is viewed through a 30-foot wide observation window. Patrick Star and the rest of his animated underwater pals are seen on screen through 3D technology, as guests are able to have real-time conversations with him and help choose their path through the underwater adventure. To further immerse guests, four large viewing portholes bring the experience of the entire submarine to life.

To make this all possible, Super 78, an attraction design and production company, has provided their newest custom software and hardware for the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure named the Gepettoo. This Animation Control System allows a performer behind the scenes to control all aspects of the full-sensory experience on screen in front of audiences. The performer’s voice becomes an on-screen character, and he has an unlimited palette of animation options which brings the character to life. The performer also runs the lights, sounds, bubbles, and scents with the push of a button.

SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment created custom seats, designed and installed all theater systems and programmed special effects in new ways to enhance the adventure. They worked closely with Super 78 to integrate the virtual actor system into the overall attraction.

“This collaboration creates an emotionally engaging experience with innovative technology and definitely takes 4D storytelling to the next level,” said Mike Frueh, Senior Vice President, Licensing & Distribution at SimEx-Iwerks.

Also used in the design of this breakthrough attraction is Mushroom VR, a proprietary attraction design tool that utilizes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to pre-visualize the experience. It provides an accurate guest-experience assessment of all the attraction content, including 3D environments, media, scenic and show elements, making it seem as if you are submerged within Bikini Bottom.

“For the first time ever, the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure will allow guests to interact ‘live and in person’ with a 3D digital character, a major breakthrough in digital puppetry,” said Michael “Oz” Smith, Super 78’s Technical Director. “And because guests also help navigate the sub, choosing which direction the adventure takes, every voyage will be truly one-of-a-kind.”

This world-class technology immerses guests in a non-stop whirlwind of surprises with fun for the whole family to enjoy.

For more information, visit moodygardens.org/subpants

MOODY MADNESS: Favorite MG Animal

The inaugural Moody Madness tournament produced plenty of drama and upsets last year. In the end, the California Sea Lion was voted by you as the favorite animal at Moody Gardens.

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Can the Sea Lion repeat as champs? We’re about to find out with the second annual Moody Madness.

The most popular animals from the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids are squaring off in a bracket-style tournament this week. The animals were seeded based on last year’s results, but that doesn’t mean upsets aren’t possible.

Make sure your favorite animal makes it to the championship. Vote now: http://woobox.com/guw6iz 

UPDATE: Congratulations to the Saki Monkey, our 2015 Moody Madness Champion

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Creating ICE LAND Ice Sculptures: The Team

If you want the best, you need to hire the best! That’s why Moody Gardens traveled to Harbin, China, to recruit the award-winning VYA Ice Carving team.

On Sept. 27, Moody Gardens gave an official warm Texas welcome to these 31 master ice carvers from China.
On Sept. 27, Moody Gardens gave an official warm Texas welcome to these 31 master ice carvers from China.
The carvers traveled half way around the world to Galveston where they will transform 900 tons of ice into towering and majestic works of art featuring the beloved underwater characters from SpongeBob SquarePants during the holidays.
The carvers traveled half way around the world to Galveston where they will transform 900 tons of ice into towering and majestic works of art featuring the beloved underwater characters from SpongeBob SquarePants during the holidays.
The conception of ICE LAND was inspired several years ago by the world’s largest International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin.
The conception of ICE LAND was inspired several years ago by the world’s largest International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin.
Known as the Ice City, over 3,000 of the world’s top artisans create a 100-acre walk-through Ice Park complete with thousands of immense ice sculptures made from millions of pounds of ice.
Known as the Ice City, over 3,000 of the world’s top artisans create a 100-acre walk-through Ice Park complete with thousands of immense ice sculptures made from millions of pounds of ice.
The temperatures in Harbin stay below freezing for almost half the year, so spending approximately 1,080 hours within the ICE LAND tent that is chilled to nine degrees could actually be a warmer option for these professional ice carvers.
The temperatures in Harbin stay below freezing for almost half the year, so spending approximately 1,080 hours within the ICE LAND tent that is chilled to nine degrees could actually be a warmer option for these professional ice carvers.
The VYA Ice Carving Team is led by Mr. Qui Guanghui, one of the top carving artists in the world.
The VYA Ice Carving Team is led by Mr. Qui Guanghui, one of the top carving artists in the world.
Immediately after the welcome ceremony, the team went to work.
Immediately after the welcome ceremony, the team went to work.
In a matter of hours, there was already a ton of progress from these incredible artists.
In a matter of hours, there was already a ton of progress from these incredible artists.

Stay tuned for our next Creating ICE LAND Ice Sculptures blog post where you’ll get a behind the scenes look at the ice carving process.

ICE LAND will be a frosty new addition to the Festival of Lights and other holiday attractions this year as Galveston makes its holiday transition into a Winter Wonder Island. Admission to the exhibit is $26.95 for adults, $21.95 for seniors and $15.95 for children, and will also be included in a Moody Gardens Value Pass that includes admission to the various Moody Gardens attractions and Festival of Lights for $59.95. A two-day pass is available for $79.95. Courtesy parkas will also be distributed to each guest. Visit moodygardens.org/iceland for more information and to purchase tickets.

Creating ICE LAND Ice Sculptures: The Construction

One of the biggest questions people have is how do you make it 9 degrees in Galveston?

The answer is a lot of planning and a lot of hard work under the Texas sun.

A skilled team from the Gilbane Building Company in Houston prepared for the construction of the tent for more than a year.
A skilled team from the Gilbane Building Company in Houston prepared for the construction of the tent for more than a year.
There were four stages to the development process that will be executed by a team of roughly 48 people.
There were four stages to the development process that will be executed by a team of roughly 48 people.
The crew worked all day to make sure tent was ready in time for the arrival of the ice blocks
The crew worked all day to make sure tent was ready in time for the arrival of the ice blocks
The first stage was pouring concrete footers to support the structure.
The first stage was pouring concrete footers to support the structure.
To make sure the space for the tent remained a usable parking lot for guests once the structure is removed in late January, the concrete for the footers was poured flush with the existing concrete so it was less noticeable and ensured that there is no damage to cars.
To make sure the space for the tent remained a usable parking lot for guests once the structure is removed in late January, the concrete for the footers was poured flush with the existing concrete so it was less noticeable and ensured that there is no damage to cars.
The next step was to erect the insulated tent.
The next step was to erect the insulated tent.
The frames of the tent begin to go up
The frames of the tent begin to go up
The Moody Gardens "skyline" beginning to change
The Moody Gardens “skyline” beginning to change
The tent starts to take shape
The tent starts to take shape
Once up, the inside had to be insulated
Once up, the inside had to be insulated
Then the flooring was placed to insulate the tent at its ultimate 9 degree environment.
Then the flooring was placed to insulate the tent at its ultimate 9 degree environment.
The finished product was an impressive 28,000 square foot tent that towered 40 feet into the air.
The finished product was an impressive 28,000 square foot tent that towered 40 feet into the air.

Stay tuned for our next Creating ICE LAND Ice Sculptures blog series! We’ll be getting to know the award-winning VYA Ice Carving team that will be creating the ICE LAND Ice Sculptures.

ICE LAND will be a frosty new addition to the Festival of Lights and other holiday attractions this year as Galveston makes its holiday transition into a Winter Wonder Island. Admission to the exhibit is $26.95 for adults, $21.95 for seniors and $15.95 for children, and will also be included in a Moody Gardens Value Pass that includes admission to the various Moody Gardens attractions and Festival of Lights for $59.95. A two-day pass is available for $79.95. Courtesy parkas will also be distributed to each guest. Visit moodygardens.org/iceland for more information and to purchase tickets. 

World’s First Giant Screen 6P Laser Projection System to Debut at MG 3D Theater

The Moody Gardens MG 3D Theater has always been one of the best large-format screen theaters in the world. It will continue to live up to that status with the installation of a state-of-the-art laser projection system in the coming months.

The world’s first museum-based 4K 3D giant 6-Primary laser projection system will debut on the largest screen in Texas on Nov. 15.

Christie 4K 6P laser projection system

At least twice as efficient as today’s best 3D systems, Christie Digital System’s 6P laser projectors generate a proprietary mix of photoptically-optimized light wavelengths for each eye directly from the source, in effect eliminating the need for a highly inefficient stage of filtering or polarizing the light as it leaves the projector. New Dolby® 3D glasses specifically engineered to exactly match the 6 primary laser light wavelengths will yield nearly 90 percent light efficiency.

OK, what does that mean in layman’s terms for the average movie goer?

Well now audiences will see a picture that is nearly three and a half times brighter and featuring more vibrant colors than normal theaters. Moody Gardens is also replacing the 60 by 80 foot MG 3D silver screen with a white one. The result will be the sharpest picture quality ever seen in a 3D theater.

Along with the theater’s top-of-the-line 11.1 surround sound system, this new laser projection further distinguishes the MG 3D Theater as one of the premier cinema venues, giving audiences the best viewing experience in the world.

The system is the latest collaboration between D3D Cinema and Moody Gardens. In 2011 and 2012, Moody Gardens hosted the annual Digital Cinema Symposium, unveiling new technology from D3D and Christie.

Don Kempf, president and founder of D3D Cinema, said the new laser projection system is “unarguably the future of cinema presentation.”

“The DCI and DIGSS-compliant Christie laser solution, coupled with 6P glasses technology, will be unparalleled in terms of image quality,” Kempf said.The MG 3D Theater will close on Oct. 27 to have the new laser projection system installed. It will re-open on Nov. 15, just in time to show some of the most popular holiday movies during Moody Gardens’ Festival of Lights.

Get Crafty at BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival!

Have you ever wanted to enjoy the different tastes from around Texas and the world in one day?

Well this weekend you can when the fifth annual Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival returns to the Moody Gardens Convention Center. With more than 400 different craft beers, live music, and a unique dining experience, Brewmasters has been named one of the top ten best festivals in the country.

The experience starts on Friday with the Brewlicious Brews and Foods Pairing. For the serious beer and culinary enthusiast, this special evening is devoted to pairing delightful food with high-end premium beer. Enjoy the unique opportunity to sample spectacular pairings from 10 restaurants and breweries. This VIP event runs from 7-10 p.m. and tickets are $75. Click here to buy your tickets.

Don’t miss out on Saturday’s ultimate event for craft beer lovers – the BrewHaHa Grand Tasting. This delicious event will be from 3-6:30 p.m. in the Moody Gardens Expo Arena.

With your golden ticket you will receive your very own tasting cup, which is your passport to sample beer hailing from around the world. You will receive a tasting card for 24 tastings of your choice. Should you want to continue to sample from the selections, additional tasting cards are available for only $5 which allows for another 12 tastings.

Additional activities include a Wine Escape with wine samplings, access to multiple beer seminars on the Spec’s University Seminar Stage, and optional participation in The Pink Pinty Society to help support the Pink Ribbons Project, a women’s breast health organization.

Admissions to BrewHaHa Grand Tasting are $35 in advance, $40 at the door, $85 for a VIP ticket, or choose a multi-event Hopper Pass. Click here to buy your tickets.

After tasting some of the top craft beers in the world, head down to Palm Beach at Moody Gardens for the Beach, Brews and Bands.

Dance in the sand to live music, followed by a special fireworks show on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $10 for pre-sale tickets, $12 at the gate, and includes access to all water features at Palm Beach.  Texas country singer Jared Waggoner entertains the crowd on Saturday, while Rock band Rat Ranch takes the stage Sunday. Click here to buy your tickets.

For more details on the Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival, or to order tickets, visit www.brewmastersbeerfest.com.

#MGSharkQuest

Find the MG Shark Spots around property, marked by a fin, during Shark U Week and take a picture at each location. Upload to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #MGSharkQuest to be entered to win a behind-the-scenes shark tour for up to 4 people.

CLICK HERE to download clues

Here’s how the shark quest is going so far:


Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, July 19!

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Galveston is the Winter Wonder Island of Texas, and this season the island will offer visitors more than 1,000 magical holiday events! This summer, be sure to visit with Santa at a variety of events throughout the island. You’ll also have the chance to win some cool prizes by participating in Galveston’s Photo Contest.

GALVESTON ISLAND PHOTO CONTEST, 2 – 6 PM:

It’s Christmas Around the World as Santa travels from the North Pacific to South Pacific in the Aquarium Pyramid to Asia, Africa and the Americas in the Rainforest Pyramid and Palm Beach. Free Santa Hats are available as supplies last. Get your picture and go to Galveston.com/holiday to register for prizes! Stop by the Garden Lobby with the kids and enjoy some free Arts & Crafts activities from 2 – 4 p.m. as well.

snowmanlSNOWMAN SAND CASTLE COMPETITION, 2 – 4 PM:

A few slots remain, so register now to participate in our Snowman Sand Castle Competition on July 19 at Palm Beach. Participants will receive a Snowman Sand Castle Building Kit, then will have until 3:45 p.m. to build their very best snowman. Judging will begin at 3:45 p.m. and winner will be announced at 4 p.m. The winner will receive a Penguin Encounter Certificate for 4 people and tickets to all Moody Gardens Attractions (Including ICE LAND Ice Sculptures, Festival of Lights and Arctic Ice Slide) for 4 people.

CLICK HERE for complete rules and to register for the competition (limited spots available)

GET SOCIAL & WIN PRIZES WITH #CHRISTMASINJULY:

Celebrate Christmas in July by connecting with us through Social Media and you’ll get the chance to win a Holiday Four-Pack to Moody Gardens, which includes tickets to all attractions as well as the ICE LAND Ice Sculptures opening November 15, 2014.

TO PARTICIPATE: Visit our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram each week in July and participate in our Christmas in July trivia questions by using the handle @moodygardens and the hashtag #ChristmasInJuly. If you answer correctly you will be entered into our weekly drawing. Remember to use our handle and hashtag!

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Inc., Twitter, Inc. or Instagram, Inc. Must be 18 years or older to win.

IMG_9984JOIN US THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

ICE LAND Ice Sculptures makes its debut November 15 – January 4 for the first time in South Texas. Marvel at the artistry of the internationally acclaimed VGA Ice Carving Team from Harbin, China, as they bring their extraordinary talent to sculpt 900 tons of ice into a vast and amazing display of towering ice sculptures held at a cool and constant 9 degrees as Galveston makes its transformation into the Winter Wonder Island. There is more than ever for your family to enjoy! Be among the first to experience the ICE LAND Ice Sculptures attraction, Festival of Lights, Arctic Ice Slide, Ice Skating, holiday films and much more!

 

Moody Madness: Elite 8

The Sweet Sixteen of the Moody Madness tournament saw most of the top seeds move on, with the exception of two upsets.

The Cinderella story of the tournament to determine the most popular animal at Moody Gardens continues to be the Two-Toed Sloth. After a surprise win over the Cotton-Top Tamarin, the Sloth pulled out a stunning victory over the Komodo Dragon.

Can the Sloth continue its improbably run against the Giant River Otter? Can the top-seeded White-faced Saki Monkey and King Penguin continue their march to the Final Four? That’s up to you to decide.

Click the image below to see the results from the Sweet 16 round:

MoodyMadnessBracket_Elite8_Web

 

CLICK HERE to vote or vote below for your favorites!

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Shark U Week: Know Your Sharks

How well do you know your sharks? Odds are most people only know the sharks that have been portrayed as vicious killers in Hollywood thrillers, such as the mighty great white shark in the 1975 blockbuster hit “JAWS.” But the truth is there are over 400 different types of sharks in our oceans and aquariums all over the world and, despite all the horror stories, sharks do not eat people.

Sharks come in all sizes from the massive whale shark, reaching lengths of 30 feet, to the dwarf lanternfish that’s less than 10 inches. Being able to tell the hammerhead from the nurse shark is quite easy, but others can be difficult. Can you spot the difference between a leopard shark and tiger shark?

How can you tell one from the other?

IT’S ALL IN THE BITE:

IMG_5603Sharks’ teeth are adapted for what they eat. Sharks like the great white and tiger shark have triangular teeth with jagged edges. This keeps hold of larger fish and animals, tear chunks of meat or slice through a turtle’s shell. A sand tiger’s teeth, on the other hand, are long and narrow which make them look frightening, but in fact these types of sharks are not very aggressive. The shape of their teeth is ideal for grabbing a hold of prey. However, the whale shark has very small teeth and it’s not used for biting because they simply filter their food.

SHARK MARKS:

IMG_5627Coloration and patterns play an important role in identifying a shark. Their special marks allow them to camouflage perfectly into their environment. Mako sharks, for example, inhabit tropical and offshore water and are normally a bluish color. On the other hand, the nurse shark has a tan pigmentation ideal for hiding on the ocean’s floor. Tiger sharks can be identified by their stripes and leopard sharks for their spots.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

Know the sharks that lurk in the water. Sharks can be found all over the world from the warm waters of the Caribbean to the freezing temperatures of the arctic. The Gulf of Mexico alone houses more than 50 different species of sharks including, on the rare occasions, the great white shark. The bull shark and blacktip shark are quite common off the shores of Galveston while the Caribbean reef shark is obviously in the Caribbean.