Monarch Madness at Moody Gardens!

It’s March and that usually marks the beginning of a little thing called March Madness, but at Moody Gardens we’re focusing on a different kind of black and orange…the Monarch Butterfly! Join us as we learn more about this amazing creature featured in our new film Flight of the Butterflies 3D, opening March 9th at the MG 3D Theater.

Monarch Madness

Rooms and Suites Offered at Moody Gardens Hotel

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If you’re looking for family-friendly hotels in Texas, then book your next vacation here at the Moody Gardens Hotel! Our hotel is one of the best places to stay in Galveston, and we have the finest rooms and suites in the area to accommodate our valued guests.

King and Queen Accommodations

Each room is a reflection of the botanical beauty of the Moody Gardens. The interior design of each hotel room combines both style and tropical ambiance to create the best guest room accommodations on the island. Each room provides 500 square feet of space, and a variety of views, such as the Pyramids, Galveston Bay, and marinas.  Choose from rooms with either a king-sized bed or two queen-sized beds. Expect unbeatable amenities, such as complimentary high-speed Internet, mini fridges, plush bathrobes, lighted vanities, full-length mirrors, extra pillows, and more.

King Jacuzzi Suites

All the great amenities from the king and queen accommodations are a part of the king Jacuzzi suites, but they offer even more. Located on the third floor, these luxury suites feature an expanded living area, a balcony overlooking the Pyramids and Galveston Bay, and of course, a separate Jacuzzi area.

One and Two Bedroom Suites

Looking for even more luxury? Stay in one of our sumptuous one- or two-bedroom suites individually designed with stunning views of Moody Gardens and Galveston. Expansive living and dining areas, wet bars, and complimentary wireless Internet connectivity are all a part of these suites. Choose from a one-bedroom with a king-sized bed and connection parlor, or a two-bedroom suite with a king-sized bed and a room with two queen beds.

Book your next vacation to Galveston with us! While you’re staying in the Moody Gardens Hotel, be sure to check out the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, and other surrounding attractions.

Brews, Boots & BBQ


Brews, Boots & BBQ

Date:
Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Price: $10 per person cover charge
Location: Moody Gardens Convention Center

Dust off the old cowboy boots and take it for a night to remember. With a special performance by Horizon, the country band sets the perfect scene for a two-stepping kind of night. Come for the craft beers brewed right here in the great state of Texas and cheer on Sparky Sparks’ Live Armadillo Races.

Get your tickets here

Brewmasters Friday Night Pub Crawl

Date: Friday, Aug. 31, 2012
Time: 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Price: $25 per person in advance
Location: Moody Gardens Hotel and Convention Center Lobby

Remember those bar hopping nights? Well now it’s an official event. Grab your buddies and hop on the bus. With a free 2012 t-shirt and koozie, the ride will take you to different places to purchase special feature selections at Pub Crawl Stops.

And if you want something to make you feel real special, then check out the Taste It First selections. That’s right, be the first to taste new brews from Cedar Creek, Fort Bend Brewing, No Label and Southern Star before they hit the store shelves.  From the makers of Texas Backyard Blonde, Lawn Ranger Cream Ale, El Hefe and Pine Belt Pale, these guys are brewing up their next fan favorite!

Tap into Texas’s Largest Craft Beer Festival with 400 featured brews

According to Brewers Association records there are now almost 2,000 craft breweries in the United States and growing. In 2011, craft beer sales grew more than 13%. Join fellow craft beer lovers and supporters of this independent craft as they gather Labor Day weekend to sample more than 400 specialty and hard-to-find brews at the Third Annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival. This annual foam fete takes place at Moody Gardens Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2, 2012.

The three-day celebration will showcase two signature events: BrewLicious in the Ballroom and BrewHaHa Grand Tasting, both of which have VIP experiences, as well as the regular ticket. There are a host of related events like the BrewMasters PubCrawl and Texas Brewery Tasting Tours. Featured activities include: live music, beer and food pairing seminars and dinners featuring renowned chefs, educational events, and a slew of Brew Brains and industry experts including award-winning BrewMasters. Sunday, September 2 will feature a new event called Tex-E-Que which will feature a live concert.

“We’re fortunate to have multiple micro breweries right here in Houston and many others throughout the region, said event founder and organizer, Clifton McDerby, principal of Food & Vine Time Productions, Inc. “This event is dedicated to showcasing the voluminous and explosive industry that is craft and specialty brews and it just keeps getting bigger and better along with the craft beer industry,” added McDerby. “We started as the largest beer festival in the state and we plan to give Texans even more including the largest selection of Craft beers available at any Texas festival. Plus, we’ll continue to feature Taste it First at BrewMasters selections where we’ll be bringing to market beers that haven’t been tasted before since the brewers are holding off the beer’s release to showcase them first at BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.”

Festivities begin on Friday, August 31 with BrewLicious in the Ballroom. Located at the Moody Gardens Hotel’s Francis Anne Moody Ballroom, this spectacular evening for suds sippers is for the serious beer and culinary enthusiast. BrewLicious in the Ballroom will feature renowned chefs showcasing unique food and beer pairing selections. BrewLicious in the Ballroom will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and tickets to the event are $55, with a VIP Premium Room upgrade ticket for $75 with early entry and premium craft selections.

Also on tap is the BrewMasters Pub Crawl Friday, August 31 at 8 p.m. Hop on board this festive party bus with a tour to some of Galveston’s coolest bars and meet featured Brew Brains at each stop.

Saturday, September 1st sample some of the best available brews in the world at the BrewHaHa Grand Tasting held in the Moody Gardens Expo Arena, featuring over 400 craft and specialty brews and more than 30 wines. Admission to BrewHaHa is $35 in advance, $40 at the door, $75 for a VIP ticket, or guests can purchase a VIP or general admission two-day Hopper Pass. The BrewHaHa Grand Tasting will run from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and includes access to multiple beer seminars on the Spec’s University Seminar Stage, a fun and educational experience for all who take pride in their beer and want to expand their knowledge of craft beers.

Sunday, September 2nd offers the new Tex-E-Que and concert. For a $10 cover charge, beer lovers get their pick of 400 selections for a flat price per bottle. Get them while they last and boot scoot the night away.

BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival is presented by Spec’s Wine, Spirits and Finer Foods. Additional sponsors include Moody Gardens Hotel and Conference Center, GreatBrewers.com, Toasted Head Wine, and DeFalco’s Home Wine & Beer Supplies.

For more information on the BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival, visit www.brewmastersbeerfest.com or call 713-557-5732.

WORLD’S LARGEST FLOWERING PLANT IN FULL BLOOM AT MOODY GARDENS

 

Corpse Flower, “Morticia” Intrigues Guests with Two-Day Bloom and Powerful Stench.

Galveston Island, TX (June 14, 2012) — The odor of rotting flesh has never smelled so sweet as “Morticia,” the Giant Corpse Flower officially started to bloom in the evening June 13 at the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid. With a short blooming period of 2 to 4 days, visitors have the rare opportunity to see and smell the Amorphophallus titanum. Native only to Sumatra, Indonesia, it is not only rare in its native habitat, it is extremely rare in cultivation. Fewer than 85 Corpse Flowers have ever bloomed in the United States. Measuring in at 56 inches tall and 40 inches in circumference, this bloom is only the fourth in the state of Texas. Visitors can expect to have their breath taken away in more ways than one.

“The stench and beauty of this plant are equally amazing,” said Donnita Brannon, horticulture exhibit manager at Moody Gardens; who added the staff has been anxiously waiting for the big blooming event to occur since the plant first broke dormancy May 1. “She is even more beautiful than I expected. We are celebrating and invite guests to hurry out to the Rainforest Pyramid to share this experience with us.”

The common name, Corpse Flower, originates from the unpleasant odor the plant emits during flowering. 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 plant has a very unpredictable blooming schedule. There is no bloom season and flowers can be produced at any time of year. The Corpse Flower grows from an underground tuber which can weigh up to 200 pounds. A single large leaf that resembles a small tree emerges from this tuber that can grow to more than 20 feet tall. During this vegetative state, the tuber gains 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 the tuber breaks dormancy and begins to send up a flower spike, the plant will usually bloom within four to six weeks as it did at Moody Gardens. There are six other Corpse Flower tubers in the Rainforest Pyramid. Brannon hopes to see some of these plants bloom in the future.

The Corpse Flower was first discovered in 1878 by an Italian plant explorer Odoardo Beccari. Upon initial discovery, the plant struck fear into Beccari’s team due to the plant’s tremendous size and smell. It was believed to be a man-eating plant. Beccari took seeds back to the botanical gardens in Florence, Italy and later sent seedlings to The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, England. The first recorded bloom of the Corpse Flower took place at Kew in 1889. Police had to be called in to control the crowds of people who came to see it.

The first bloom ever recorded in the United States took place at New York Botanic Garden in 1937 where it created a similar response. The same plant bloomed again in 1939. In May 1998, the University of Missouri at St. Louis had a bloom and was the first in this country in nearly 60 years. Due to the plant’s peculiarity, popularity and incredible appeal to growers and collectors in the botanical community, the Corpse Flower began to gain attention in again the 1990s and early 2000s. Since May 1998, there have been 84 recorded blooms in the U.S. at arboretums, botanic gardens, zoos and universities.


Rainforest Pyramid®: Special Hours of Operation

Thursday, June 14: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday, June 15: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday, June 16: 9 a.m. – 10p.m.

Click here for more information

“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 communications@moodygardens.com  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.

CONTEST RULES:

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.

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
CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

• 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.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD EVENT FLYER

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.

 

Recap: Birding 201 (10/15/2011)

Presented by Moody Gardens® and Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, Birding 101 is a series of free classes designed to educate and excite people about the tremendous variety of bird life routinely seen around Galveston Island. Birding 201 classes allows participants, led by an instructor, to visit areas on the island and spy some of the amazing variety of birds here.

Here is a quick recap, written by Birding instructor Greg Whittaker, of what you might see during our Birding classes:

Saturday, 15 October — Birding 201

Beautiful weather – left MG property shortly after 9am with a full van. Visited the Quaker Parrot (Monk Parakeet) nests at the ballfield on 54th street and Ave. S. Travelled to Pelican Island to the wetlands interpretive area, then east to Pier 19, then to the Big Reef area on Bodekker Road and finally to the base of the South Jetty on east beach. Not sure this is the complete list as I think I missed a few that others saw during the trip. Again, this is taxonomic order and not the order in which we saw them. 45 species, although I wouldn’t technically count the unidentified rail and the presumption on the Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Species spotted include:

American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk (think this was the one we originally identified as Peregrine Falcon but looked in book and think it was a Sharp-shin), Crested Caracara, American Kestrel, Rail (not identified to species), American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Forster’s Tern, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Rock Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Monk Parakeet, Belted Kingfisher, Scissortail Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Great-tailed Grackle, House Sparrow.

Get out there and see some of the cool stuff before, and after this front comes through. It should bring some more waterfowl and perhaps bigger numbers of sandhill cranes.

Upcoming Birding classes:

*Birding 101

  • Date: November 12, 2011
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m
  • Location: Aquarium Pyramid Lobby
  • Admission: FREE

*Birding 201

  • Date: November 19, 2011
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m
  • Location: Aquarium Pyramid Lobby
  • Admission: $5.00
  • Reservations: Call 409-683-4105 no later than the Wednesday prior to the Saturday class.

Sharks: Fact vs. Fiction


A recent string of shark sightings along the Texas Gulf Coast has sparked a flurry of media interest and has beach-goers questioning their safety in the salty waters. According to recent reports, two large sharks were caught from the shorelines at Crystal Beach and Matagorda Bay and a college student was bitten at Surfside Beach, adding to the animosity between man and fish that Steven Spielberg helped permeate our culture nearly four decades ago.

While the image of massive aquatic beasts breaking the surface to swallow anything in sight has been burned into our collective consciousness via Jaws or the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, several experts, including those at Moody Gardens, say that sharks are misunderstood creatures and it’s important that humans learn to respect them and know how to safely share the ocean with them.

For any who are apprehensive about visiting Galveston and going to the beach because of what may be swimming beside them the water, here’s a breakdown of shark fact and fiction to help shed some light on whether or not their reputation is deserved.

FICTION: Increased sightings of sharks in the Texas Gulf Coast means I’m more likely to get bitten if I go swimming.

FACT: Instances of sharks attacking humans are extremely, extremely rare. According to Roy Drinnen, Moody Gardens’ assistant curator of fishes, while there are numerous sharks that make their home in the waters off Galveston Island, there have only been approximately 11 shark bites reported in the Galveston Bay area in the last 100 years.

“There are sharks out there. That’s their home. We basically are visitors when we go swimming. We have to expect them to be out there,” Drinnen said. “You have a better chance being struck by lightning or killed by a group of bees.”

FICTION: Sharks are a bigger threat to humans than humans are to sharks.

FACT: Humans are a huge threat to sharks, as overfishing is the biggest threat to their existence. A soup made from shark fins is a delicacy in many countries. Sharks are routinely caught and thrown back into the ocean to die after their fins are chopped off in a process called “finning.” Finning is now prohibited in the United States.

FICTION: There’s nothing you can do to reduce your chances of being attacked by a shark.

FACT: Swimmers can take numerous precautions to reduce their chances of being mistaken for prey by a shark. A few tips include:

  • Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk (sharks’ typical feeding time)
  • Avoid wearing any shiny, flashy clothing or jewelry that a shark can mistake for a fish in the Gulf’s murky waters
  • Leave the water if you are bleeding in any way, as sharks are attracted to the smell of blood.

Overall, sharks are beautiful animals that deserve respect more than fear. While sharks are plentiful in the Gulf of Mexico with approximately 15 species inhabiting the waters around Galveston, attacks are few and far between.

To learn more about sharks, visit the Sharks: In Depth exhibit, currently in the Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens®.