Joining Forces for Conservation: Moody Gardens Partners with Ecology Project International and Pacuare Reserve

Advancing Wildlife Protection and Environmental Education Through Global Collaboration

Ecology Project International and Pacuare Rserve enters into conservation partnership with Moody Gardens.
Moody Gardens is proud to be official partners with Ecology Project International (EPI) and Pacuare Reserve.

Moody Gardens is excited to announce a new partnership in conservation and education with Ecology Project International (EPI) and Pacuare Reserve. This collaboration underscores our shared commitment to protecting wildlife and promoting environmental awareness.

The Agami Heron at its breeding grounds in Costa Rica at Pacuare Reserve.
Agami Heron perched on a decaying log in the Costa Rican tropical forest at Pacuare Reserve.

Our partnership with Pacuare Reserve includes funding assistance for conservation projects, staffing, and research. This support is vital for expanding the conservation efforts focused on the rare and magnificent Agami Heron, among other species.

This multi-year endeavor aligns with our mission of advancing conservation and education through successful international collaborations. One of our initial joint projects involves contributing to the construction of an observation blind for the majestic Agami Heron and hatcheries that protect sea turtle nests. We look forward to achieving great things together through joint research initiatives, educational programs, and impactful conservation projects.

Ecology Project International is a non-profit organization that fosters
place-based education partnerships among educators, experts, and students.
The work of EPI helps promotes scientific and community-based conservation, which addresses human and environmental threats.

Pacuare Reserve, managed by EPI, is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including three species of monkeys, 252 bird species, sea turtles, jaguars, and ocelots to name a few. The reserve, accessible only by boat, welcomes eco-tourists, students, and researchers to its dense jungle outpost.

Visitors can look forward to observing the flora and fauna first hand which can give them a real sense of the world in its natural environment. They can also participate in census collection and field research where they can observe and study species such as sea turtles, monkeys, felines and birds.

Additionally, they can learn about the diverse species and natural wonders of the reserve, with field assistants who explain scientific terms in simple, easy-to-understand language. For those unable to visit, donations are welcomed to support ecosystem protection, research, and education in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.

Two Spider Monkeys look down through the branches of the rainforest at Pacuare Reserve.
Curious Spider Monkeys looking down through the branches of the dense rainforest.

The Agami Heron, known for its vibrant breeding colors, is classified as Vulnerable due to habitat loss and other threats. Its small, scattered population makes it especially vulnerable. The research project at Pacuare Reserve is vital for protecting this species by studying its behavior, migration, and habitat needs, and sharing the findings with the international Agami Heron Working Group.

Research and conservation programs for the Agami Herons faces challenges, including the need for advanced technology like satellite transmitters and high-quality optical instruments. Moody Gardens is supporting Pacuare Reserve by helping design and place a blind to enhance the observation site. This will allow researchers, and participants to gather more accurate data and improve existing conservation strategies.

Together, Moody Gardens and EPI are confident that our joint efforts will lead to significant advancements in conservation and education for the Agami Heron and other species that can be found at Pacuare Reserve.

Bethany Boedicker of Moody Gardens Hotel triumphs at 2024 World Food Championship

The World Food Championship (WFC) is thrilled to announce the victor of the highly anticipated 2024 World Food Championship, Bethany Boedicker, Executive Pastry Chef for the Moody Gardens Hotel

Bethany Boedicker, Executive Pastry Chef at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center
Bethany Boedicker, Executive Pastry Chef at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center

Boedicker, a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience, emerged triumphant after an exhilarating competition against champions from 11 diverse categories. Renowned for her expertise in desserts, Boedicker clinched the esteemed title of the 11th World Food Champion.

The intense two-day culinary battle unfolded at Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food in Bentonville, Arkansas, where chefs from around the globe showcased their exceptional talents. Guided by esteemed judges Matthew Cooper, Joe “Trae” Basore III, and Timothy Ordway, contestants faced a series of challenges meticulously crafted to push their culinary skills to the limit.

Boedicker expressed her elation at the victory, stating,

“Winning this prestigious title and receiving such a generous prize is an incredible honor. This achievement marks a pinnacle in my career, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to compete among the best in the industry.”

“We are incredibly proud of Bethany’s achievement at the World Food Championships. Her talent and dedication have been evident throughout her 11 years with us, and this win is a testament to her exceptional skill and passion for pastry.”

Leon Garrison, Moody Gardens General Manager

The World Food Championships (WFC) is the premier culinary competition, attracting talented chefs worldwide. Since its inception in 2012, the WFC has transformed competitive cooking and impacted the food industry. With its global audience, the WFC continues to deliver unparalleled culinary experiences and support communities through various partnerships. For more information, please visit

Special Note: Bethany will be appearing as a headliner chef at the Galveston Island Wine Festival during Labor Weekend from August 30 to September 1.

Renowned CHEF BRYAN CASWELL joins culinary lineup for Galveston Island Wine Festival

Chef Bryan Caswell added to the Galveston Island Wine Festival at Moody Gardens

Galveston Island Wine Festival proudly announces the addition of renowned Chef Bryan Caswell to its esteemed culinary team for this year’s event, set to take place over Labor Day weekend at the breathtaking resort Moody Gardens on Galveston Island.

This addition to the line-up comes as two weeks remain for an early-bird discount of up to 25 percent on tickets and hotel packages through June 30.

Chef Bryan Caswell, a proud Southerner hailing from Lafayette, LA, brings with him a wealth of culinary expertise and a deep-rooted passion for Gulf Coast flavors. A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Caswell honed his skills under the mentorship of Jean Georges Vongerichten, refining his craft in culinary capitals such as New York, Hong Kong, Barcelona, and the Bahamas.

Famed for his innovative approach to seafood, Caswell’s culinary journey has been marked by his commitment to showcasing the freshest catches and locally-sourced produce. His Houston-based restaurant, Reef, has garnered widespread acclaim since its inception in 2007, boasting a rotating menu that highlights over 87 species of Gulf Coast fish. Reef has been lauded by critics and diners alike, earning Caswell numerous culinary accolades, including recognition from Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and the James Beard Foundation.

In addition to Reef, Caswell has expanded his culinary empire with ventures like Little Bigs and El Real Tex-Mex Café, further solidifying his status as a culinary luminary in the Houston dining scene. His partnership with the Houston Astros has also yielded successful ventures, including Jackson Street BBQ near Minute Maid Park.

Beyond the kitchen, Caswell is an avid outdoorsman, often found indulging his passion for fishing along the Gulf Coast. His love for the sea and its bounty serves as a guiding force in his culinary creations, infusing each dish with a sense of adventure and reverence for nature.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Bryan Caswell to the Galveston Island Wine Festival. His reputation as a visionary chef and advocate for Gulf Coast cuisine precedes him, and we are eager to see how his culinary artistry enhances this year’s event.”

John Zendt, ceo of moody gardens

Caswell joins a roster of esteemed culinary talents, including David Cordúa, Paul Miller, Chef James Lundy, Executive Chefs Chris Lopez and Bobby Ross, Executive Pastry Chef Bethany Boedicker, among others. The festival promises an array of exciting events, including the Seven-on-Seven Seafood Extravaganza, Penguins & Pinot: Grand Tasting, Regular Guy Wine Seminar, Brunch and Bubbles, a Bourbon Dinner and more offering attendees a unique opportunity to savor exquisite wines amidst the enchanting ambiance of Moody Gardens.

Families Will Discover the Wonder of the Holiday Season at Moody Gardens

Giant Ice Sculptures, Festival of Lights, Ice Skating, Dinner Shows and More!

Festival of Lights Display across the water at Moody Gardens during the Holiday in the Gardens event.
Festival of Lights display across the water at Moody Gardens.

The countdown to the holiday season has begun as preparation for one of the largest holiday events on the Gulf Coast is underway. Moody Gardens, one of the largest tourist venues in Texas will transform into a festive wonderland with Holiday in the Gardens featuring 40 days of holiday activities for visitors to enjoy on Galveston Island Nov. 23 to Jan 1.

This season, ICE LAND: Pole-to-Pole, a towering ice sculpture attraction takes guests on a journey from the North to South poles. A team of master ice carvers from China will arrive in early October to hand carve two million pounds to create an amazing presentation and immersive experience with a giant ice slide being the centerpiece that will take guests on a glacial journey. 

Guests will encounter polar bears, penguins, humpback whales, snowy owls, walruses, and of course, reindeer ice sculptures – individually crafted by this world-renowned team of artists. This breathtaking spectacle is created inside an enormous, insulated tent structure chilled and maintained at nine degrees. Shiver’s Ice Bar also returns to ICE LAND this year as guests enjoy ultra-cool holiday spirits as they enter this bar made completely of ice in the form of an igloo this year to fit the Pole-to-Pole theme.

Father and son sledding at Holiday in Gardens ICE LAND.
Father and son sledding at ICE LAND.

Visitors can explore a variety of other holiday attractions as the Festival of Lights features a mile-long trail illuminated by two million lights themed to holiday music, outdoor ice skating, the Arctic Slide, train rides, 3D holiday films, and Rudolph 4D Experience. Nightly holiday buffets as well as Breakfast with Santa, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinner provide guests with seemingly endless dining options that range from funnel cakes to fine dining.

The New Year’s Palooza Family Celebration at the spectacularly decorated Moody Gardens Hotel is one of several special holiday hotel packages that feature offer guest perks, savings and Kid’s Crew activities as the ideal venue to create those special memories.

This year introduces Holiday Fantasy: A Live Show Spectacular, a Mirage Entertainment collaboration, blending Broadway-style performances with acrobatics, illusions, stunning visuals and electrifying performances into a heartwarming spectacle that will ignite the holiday spirit for audiences to enjoy.

Tickets start at $21.00, with various discounted and bundled options available for those eager to partake in the holiday celebrations. Additional information, ticket options, and hotel packages coming soon!

Train ride through the Festival of Lights attraction.
Train ride through the Festival of Lights attraction.

World Migratory Bird Day on May 11

Protect Insects, Protect Birds

Participate in celebrating the importance of migratory birds this Saturday, May 11th. Insects play a hugely important role in the life cycle of birds and within the varied ecosystems of Planet Earth.

In conjunction with the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, there are three events planned to occur at Moody Gardens and one event that takes place offsite on Galveston Island:

Houston Audubon Urban Survey
Moody Gardens Golf Course
1700 Sydnor Lane, Galveston TX
Travel by golf cart across the greens to take a survey of all the birds on the course. Must RSVP, with a limit of six people per party to (409) 370-4585
7:00 AM – 8:30 AM

Moody Gardens Learning Place
Listen to knowledgeable staff as they discuss native plant gardens and actions that can be taken to help bird populations. This is a FREE to the public event.
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Moody Gardens Colonel Paddlewheel Tour
This boat tour will focus on bird migration throughout Galveston.
Tickets must be purchased for this event here.
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

The theme, ‘Protect Birds, Protect Insects’ which forms the focus for this year’s ‘Migratory Bird Day,’ are important for several reasons.

Insects are an importance food source for many creatures, they recycle nutrients by eating decaying plants and animals, they are also pollinators to 85% of all flowering plants including crops, and they are herbivores that promote biodiversity. Habitat degradation, pesticides, invasive species and more all threaten this balance in nature.

A Black-necked Stilt feeds in the retention ditch at Moody Gardens West Lot.

When it comes to humans, there are several actions that we can take to protect insects and the birds that rely on them for survival.
Leave the Leaves: leaves provide nutrients and shelter for many insects
Plant Native: native insects do better with native plants
Reduce Chemical Use: have a natural lawn instead of a manicured lawn
that uses pesticides
Dim Your Lights: both insects and birds are affected by artificial light at
night. Turn off unnecessary lights and make sure any outdoor lighting is
Dark Spy approved.

Happy World Migratory Bird Day!

Fly Fishing Film Festival Weekend Is Here!

Get the latest schedule of events from films to casting lessons in this festival guide

Credit: Fly Fishing Film Tour 2024

The time is at hand for fans of the 2024 Fly Fishing Film Festival as we await one more day until the weekend. We’ve prepared this special guide to help festival attendees navigate the scheduled times of events and films as they occur throughout the day. We’ve also added another Fly Fishing class on Sunday due to heavy interest and availability so be sure to check that out if you missed the Friday and Saturday sessions!

Film Festival Show Times

International Fly Fish Film Festival
Friday, April 26

07:00 Intro Ceremony
07:15 Pinawaca
07:29 The Runaround
07:40 The Golden Ride
07:51 A Ride with Clyde
08:05 Intermission
08:25 Tension
08:40 Tunulik
08:49 Kendjam
09:01 Vivid Dreams
09:09 South Caicos
09:24 Closing Ceremony
10:00 Lobby Bar After Party

Fly Fishing Film Tour
Saturday, April 27

07:00 Intro Ceremony
07:15 Only the Salmon Know
07:25 Rio De Gigantes
07:37 Rods, Rolls, & Reality on the Soca
07:43 Transitions – The Bow
07:55 Triple Trouble
08:05 Intermission
08:25 Good Fly Introduction
08:35 Pop’s Flies
08:48 Visibility
09:03 What Lies Above
09:14 A Line in the Sand
09:27 Marlin Fly Project
09:38 Closing Ceremony
10:00 Lobby Bar After Party

Schedule Of Events for Friday, April 26

Fly Fishing Lessons
Oleander Bowl

Food / Cash Bar
4:00pm to 9:45pm
Visitors Center

Vendor Expo
4:00pm to 7:00pm
Visitors Center

IF4 Film Screening
7:00pm to 9:00pm
MG3D Theater

Afterparty: End of Film
10:00pm to ???
MG Hotel Lobby Bar

Learn how to fly fish with the pros from Good Fly! The class is two hours long with limited capacity available. Participants must be 13 years or older.

Satisfy that appetite with fish tacos, concessions, and a cash bar throughout the event. Food and drinks will be available in the Visitors Center lobby.

Browse through the Fly Fishing Vendor Booths to discover the latest gear, apparel, tools, and crafts to enhance your fly fishing experience.

IF4 Film screening at the MG3D Theater with drawings for Fly Fishing prize packages. Intermission includes an animal presentation.

Stay for the afterparty at the Moody Gardens Hotel Lobby bar where you’ll have a chance to win another big prize!

Schedule Of Events for Saturday, April 27

Fly Tying Lesson
11:00am to 1:30pm
Macadamia Room

Vendor Expo
12:00pm to 7:00pm
Visitors Center

Fly Fishing Lessons
Oleander Bowl

Food / Cash Bar
4:00pm to 9:45pm
Visitors Center

F3T Film Screening
7:00pm to 9:00pm
MG3D Theater

Afterparty: End of Film
10:00pm to ???
MG Hotel Lobby Bar

Join us for fly tying lessons and lunch! Lessons will last about 2 hours, with lunch immediately following. Will be held in the Visitors Center.

Browse through the Fly Fishing Vendor Booths to discover the latest gear, apparel, tools, and crafts to enhance your fly fishing experience.

Learn how to fly fish with the pros from Good Fly! The class is two hours long with limited capacity available. Participants must be 13 years or older.

Satisfy that appetite with fish tacos, concessions, and a cash bar throughout the event. Food and drinks will be available in the Visitors Center lobby.

F3T Film screening at the MG3D Theater with drawings for Fly Fishing prize packages. Intermission includes an animal presentation.

Stay for the afterparty at the Moody Gardens Hotel Lobby bar where you’ll have a chance to win another big prize!

Schedule Of Events for Sunday, April 28

Fly Fishing Lessons
Oleander Bowl

Added due to overwhelming demand. Learn how to fly fish with the pros from Good Fly! The class is two hours long with limited capacity available. Participants must be 13 years or older.

We expect a great crowd for both nights of the event. If you need hotel rooms for one day or both days, there are still special weekend packages available. Or, come as a spectator and grab an admission ticket for one or both days. All the films will be shown on the largest screen in Texas which is something not to be missed. Take the opportunity to network with other fly fishing fans to share stories and experiences!

New Exhibit to Debut May 18 at Moody Gardens: BODY WORLDS RX

“Journey Under the Skin” appearing at the Discovery Museum offers visitors a chance to see the human body like none other!

© Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany,

The newest exhibition coming to the Moody Gardens Discovery Museum this May will take visitors on an eye-opening journey under the skin. BODY WORLDS RX offers visitors the unique opportunity to dive deep and explore the intricate biology and physiology of human health and the dramatic effects of disease through a journey into the human body. 

From organs to muscles to the nervous system and skeletal structures, BODY WORLDS RX gives an unprecedented look inside the world’s most sophisticated mechanism: the human body.

Created by anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, inventor of Plastination, and Dr. Angelina Whalley, curator of the trailblazing BODY WORLDS exhibitions, the exhibit features real human specimens preserved through Plastination, a technique that removes fluids from the body and replaces them with hardened plastics.

The displayed specimens show impressive comparisons and contrasts between healthy bodies and organs and those stricken with disease. The exhibit was designed to explore the intricate biology and physiology of human health and the dramatic effects of contemporary diseases, including back pain, arthritis, cancer, obesity, heart infarction, dementia, and more. It will inspire audiences to embrace preventive healthcare through an informative and entertaining presentation of the latest research on top health issues.

Tickets to the Discovery Museum provide admission to BODY WORLDS RX and are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors 65 and up, and for children 4-12. Visitors may also take advantage of a One-Day Value pass, which gives admission to the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids, Discovery Museum, Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, MG 3D, 4D Special FX, and Audience Recognition Theater for $80 per adult and $70 for children and seniors.

For more information about Moody Gardens, call 409-744-4673 or visit

48-Hour FLASH SALE to celebrate #TexasEclipse2024 starts on April 8

Save $48 Off the Best Available Price at the Moody Gardens Hotel

48-Hour Flash Sale graphic with $48 Off the Best Available Rate at the Moody Gardens Hotel to celebrate the 2024 Eclipse over Texas
Celebrate the #TexasEclipse2024 with this special 48-Hour Hotel Flash Sale

Hotel Sale Details

To celebrate the Eclipse over Texas, we’re launching this special 48-Hour Flash Sale starting 12am on April 8. Save $48 Off the Best Available Rate at the Moody Gardens Hotel (please note: some blackout dates will apply). Guests will have until 11:59pm on April 9 to take advantage of this limited time offer. To access this deal, you can click here.

Colonel Paddlewheel Eclipse Cruise

As an added bonus, visitors may also hop on board the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat for a special Eclipse Cruise. Boarding will begin at 12pm on April 8 and set sail at 1pm. On board, expect to find a specially made eclipse drink and concessions to satisfy any appetites. The boat will return to the dock at 2:30pm.

And, if you’re one of the first 50 people through the gate, you get some solar glasses to help you check out the eclipse. Also, if you’re a Moody Gardens member, you can board for free so don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of your membership privileges.

Click here to buy tickets and ensure you don’t miss this rare opportunity.

The Colonel Paddlewheel Boat cruising under the eclipse (artist rendition)

Eclipse Details

As the moon passes between the Sun and Earth, the eclipse will last 2 hours and 41 minutes. In Galveston, the eclipse will start at 12:20 p.m and is expected to reach its maximum 91% totality with darkness at 1:40 p.m. As the moon passes, the sun will continue to emerge and the eclipse will end at 3:01 pm.

Race to Glory: IRONMAN 70.3 Texas Descends Upon Moody Gardens!

Get in on the Action with this Race Day Spectator’s Guide

GALVESTON, TEXAS – APRIL 02: Deborah Eckhouse celebrates as she crosses the finish line as the first female age group athelete at IRONMAN 70.3 Texas on April 02, 2023 in Galveston, Texas. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Attention IRONMAN fans, on Sunday, April 7 the IRONMAN 70.3 Texas triathlon race kicks off at Moody Gardens starting at 6:45am. The race is split into three portions: swimming, biking, and running. Spectators are welcome to witness the event and cheer on the participants from the sidelines as they make their way to the finish. To see the race route you can click here or view the maps provided below.

IRONMAN 70.3 Swim Phase

At 6:45am, the action kicks off with swimmers diving into the waters near Palm Beach for a thrilling 1.2-mile race before coming ashore near the Colonel Paddlewheel dock.

Map provided by IRONMAN Group

IRONMAN 70.3 Biking Phase

Next up is a 56-mile bike race, weaving through the scenic southwest corner of Galveston and crossing the San Luis Pass, before circling back towards Moody Gardens.

Map provided by IRONMAN Group

IRONMAN 70.3 Run Phase

The adrenaline-fueled event concludes with a 13.1-mile run, beginning and ending at the West Lot, winding through the lush grounds of Moody Gardens with a brief stretch off the property before returning to the finish line.

Map provided by IRONMAN Group

The race is expected to last several hours, ending around 2pm Sunday, April 7. For visitors to Moody Gardens, please be aware that there may be considerable traffic in the area and some routes may not be accessible while the race is taking place.

Be sure to visit for detailed race information including routes and times if you want to find the best spot to watch the action.

Good Luck to all the participants at IRONMAN 70.3 Texas!

« Older posts

© 2024 Moody Gardens

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑