Happy birthday, Murphy and Diablo!

KomodoTwinsBirthdayEdit

The Komodo Dragons of Moody Gardens celebrated their fifth birthday with quite the party. Murphy and Diablo, Galveston’s only Komodo Dragons, were surprised with a lizard style birthday cake containing some of their favorite treats including eggs and meat. The crowd gathered around as the zoo keeper team fed them their delicious birthday treat. The dragons also received handmade cards and birthday decorations to enjoy on their special day.

Among the crowd, were two particular guests that had something very special in mind for the dragons. Twins Izzy and Abby have celebrated every birthday with the dragons and visit them frequently. Every year, they bring cards and sing “Happy Birthday,” but this year, they decided to adopt a Komodo dragon from the World Wildlife Fund on behalf of Murphy and Diablo.

“This is such a warm and inspirational happening, one that touches us all here in the Rainforest Pyramid,” said T’Noya Gonzales, Asst. Behavior Management Coordinator.

The Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard species in the world with potential of reaching 10 feet in length and weighing over 150 pounds. Despite their size, these guys are known for their burst of speed. They can briefly reach speeds up to 13 mph.

While the dragons have already had their cake, the celebration will continue.  Be sure to stop by and wish them a Happy Birthday!
KomodoBirthday

NEW SPONGEBOB SUBPANTS ADVENTURE FEATURES NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN TECHNOLOGY

MoodyGardens(c)2015Mihovil5540

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.

MoodyMadness-Horizontal-Final-Recovered

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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MG Sweetheart Scavenger Hunt!

With its peaceful foliage in the Rainforest Pyramid and beautiful marine life in the Aquarium Pyramid, Moody Gardens is a great place to spend this Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart or family.

VDAY_ScavengerHunt_2015While you are at Moody Gardens, you can participate in the Sweetheart Scavenger Hunt. Learn about the intricate relationships and courtships that take place in the animal kingdom with this scavenger hunt. And best of all, you could earn a family 4-pack of Moody Gardens tickets by participating.

Here are some of the facts you will learn while participating in the scavenger hunt:

  • Humans aren’t the only ones that give presents when they are wooing a lady. Male penguins give their potential love interests a pebble. They search for the smoothest rock, and if the female accepts, she puts it in her nest and parenthood soon follows.
  • When piranhas find themselves in love, they turn almost completely black to discourage others from courting. Think of it as a clear sign of “Hey, I’m taken.”
  • Some women wish men would experience the ups and downs of pregnancy. In the seahorse kingdom that’s exactly what happens, as the male delivers the babies. Scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why it occurs – maybe it is to help make more babies or just share some of the load from females – but it certainly is one of the most unique relationships under the sea.
  • A scarlet ibis believes in true love. When a male successful woes a female, they will remain partners for life.
  • Harbor seals flirt by rolling and bubble-blowing. You can read about our Moody Gardens harbor seal couple, Porter and Presley, here.

Learn about these and the other animals at Moody Gardens when you visit on Valentine’s Day weekend. Be sure to download the Sweetheart Scavenger Hunt and get your cameras ready to win a great prize!

And don’t forget to dive into a romantic underwater dining experience at the Aquarium Pyramid with the Sea of Love Valentine’s Dinner on Feb. 13 or 14.

Enjoy a special menu created exclusively for the Sea of Love Dinner. You can reserve a table with a view of one of the unique locations throughout the Aquarium Pyramid.

Dinner for two is $140 on Friday and $180 on Saturday. It also includes rose for her, souvenir photo and Aquarium Pyramid admission. Saturday’s dinner also includes a bottle of wine or champagne. Biologists will also be in attendance to answer any questions you may have about the spectacular residents of the Aquarium Pyramid.

To reserve your spot, please call 1-800-582-4673 ext. 4368. Reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Calls will be answered and returned daily. RSVP by February 11. Click here for menus.

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. 

Creating ICE LAND Ice Sculptures: The Ice

One of the first challenges when creating ICE LAND was where to find 900 tons of ice. That’s not exactly something you can make in your refrigerator using an ice cube tray.

To create the ice, Moody Gardens enlisted the services of Flying Penguin Ice in Bryan, Texas.
To create the ice, Moody Gardens enlisted the services of Flying Penguin Ice in Bryan, Texas.
Creating the ice wasn’t a simple process. First the colors had to be mixed in some of the biggest ice cube trays you will ever see.
Creating the ice wasn’t a simple process. First the colors had to be mixed in some of the biggest ice cube trays you will ever see.
After several of days freezing, the ice was removed…
After several of days freezing, the ice was removed…
The color was tested…
The color was tested…
Clear block of ice
Clear block of ice
And it was shaved to the proper size.
Blocks were shaved to the proper size.
They made it as smooth as possible
They made it as smooth as possible
One of the many trucks ready to take ice to storage area
One of the many trucks ready to take ice to storage area
It took several days and 42 truck loads to bring all 6,000 blocks of ice to Galveston.
It took several days and 42 truck loads to bring all 6,000 blocks of ice to Galveston.
Moody Gardens staff unloaded the ice
Moody Gardens staff unloaded the ice
The giant tent was quickly filled with pallet upon pallet of ice.
The giant tent was quickly filled with pallet upon pallet of ice.
By the end, some of the ice was stacked up as high as five levels.
By the end, some of the ice was stacked up as high as five levels.

Stay tuned for our next Creating ICE LAND Ice Sculptures blog series! We’ll be taking a look at how a 28,000 square foot tent is built from the ground up.

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. 

Musical Enrichment Event

GREEN MUSIC ENRICHMENTJam out with the animals of the Rainforest Pyramid at our Music Enrichment Event this Saturday and Sunday October 11-12 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

What is Enrichment?

Animal enrichment is something that stimulates the senses or changes the environment. Several categories of enrichment are then used to enhance that species’ behavioral, physical, social, cognitive, and psychological well being.

This event, focuses on the auditory and vocal abilities of animals in the Rainforest Pyramid. Using music is just one of the many auditory ways that we can stimulate the animals. To them, it is simply a different sound. This replicates the various sounds they might encounter in the wild.

Stop by to enjoy the music with some of our most popular animals. Send us your pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ using the hashtag #MGEnrichment so we can see it and share them too.

Here’s the schedule:

SATURDAY

  • 10:30 a.m. Saki Monkeys: Guitar
  • 11:00 a.m. Amazon Pond: Guest Jam Session
  • 12:00 p.m. Otter Training Platform: Violin
  • 1:30 p.m. Croc Monitor Exhibit: Piano
  • 2:00 p.m. Rod Bat/Egyptian Bat: Harmonica/Guest Jam Session
  • 3:30 p.m. Ocelot Exhibit: Guest Jam Session
  • 4:00 p.m. Canopy: Flute

SUNDAY

  •  10:30 a.m. Saki Monkeys: Violin
  •  11:00 a.m. Otter Overlook: Guitar
  • 12:00 p.m. Amazon Pond: Drum
  • 1:30 p.m. Komodo Exhibit: Guitar/Piano
  • 2:00 p.m. Rod Bat/Egyptian Bat: Harmonica/Guest Jam Session
  • 3:30 p.m. Ocelot Exhibit: Guest Jam Session
  • 4:00 p.m. Canopy: Flute

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.

Moody Madness: Final 4

Stunning.

That’s the best word to describe the voting results for the Moody Madness Elite Eight.

Both top seeds, the Saki Monkey and the King Penguin, saw their chances of being named Moody Gardens’ favorite animal end in shocking results. The loss was especially tough for the King Penguin, which was defeated by just three votes.

Here were the final Elite Eight results:

MoodyMadnessBracket_Final4_Web

So we are down to the Final Four. Who will be the champion of the Rainforest and Aquarium Pyramids? That’s for you to determine!

CLICK HERE to vote or vote below for your favorites!

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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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