Author: Moody Gardens (Page 1 of 37)

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, www.bodyworlds.com

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 www.moodygardens.org

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 https://www.ironman.com/im703-texas 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!

Moody Gardens Achieves 28 Years of Continuous AZA Accreditation

“Congratulations to the staff at Moody Gardens for achieving the world’s ‘gold standard’ for the zoological and aquarium profession”

Dan Ashe, AZA’s president and chief executive officer
Celebrating 28 Years of AZA Accreditation at Moody Gardens

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has announced that Moody Gardens was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.

“Congratulations to the staff at Moody Gardens for achieving the world’s ‘gold standard’ for the zoological and aquarium profession,” said Dan Ashe, AZA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “AZA’s standards continually evolve to reflect best practices in animal care and wellbeing, veterinary care, conservation, scientific advancement, and safety and security, among other things. With this assurance, the public can trust that the animals at Moody Gardens receive the highest level of care and wellbeing, and there is a deep commitment to their conservation in the wild.”

Moody Gardens Biologist Daniel chats with Easter Brunch visitors about skinks.

AZA accreditation entails a detailed application and rigorous on-site inspections by independent zoological experts. These inspections cover various aspects such as animal welfare, veterinary care, safety protocols, educational programs, conservation efforts, financial stability, and guest services. 

A thorough review ensures that each facility has met and will continue to meet ever-rising standards. As a condition of association membership, AZA facilities must complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years.

John Zendt, President and CEO of Moody Gardens, states,

“This marks the 28th year of continuous AZA accreditation for Moody Gardens. Our dedicated team has consistently worked to maintain the standards set forth by the AZA. We are committed to giving to best care possible, while also fulfilling our mission to educate and engage the public.”

There are 236 AZA-accredited institutions and 15 AZA-accredited related facility members throughout the U.S. and 12 other countries. For a complete list of accredited AZA facilities, please visit https://www.aza.org/current-accreditation-list.

“So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish!”

Fish Fry Fridays at the Moody Gardens Golf course ends Friday, March 29

Fish Fry Fridays at the Pelican Grill on the Moody Gardens Golf Course flyer
Final day of Fish Fry Fridays during the month of March, 2024

Now is your last chance to check out #FishFryFridays at the Pelican Grill on the Moody Gardens Golf Course happening Friday, March 29. This event will run from 5pm to 7pm.

Enjoy a delightful buffet dinner with fried fish, mac and cheese supreme, hush puppies, desserts, beverages, and more! Check out what’s on the menu here. Reservations can be made here or call (409) 683-GOLF (4653) to confirm. Reserve early to ensure access due to high demand and a limited amount of availability.

Whet your appetite before indulging in the dinner buffet by booking a tee time on our picturesque golf course. Golf tee times can be confirmed by visiting www.moodygardensgolf.com

But don’t worry if you can’t make it because the dinner buffet will return in the few short months for Summer 2024.

See you soon at Pelican Grill!

Indulge in Easter Delights: Brunch, Buffet, and a Spectacular 3D Journey Through Jerusalem!

Happening March 29th to March 31st in The Gardens Restaurant and the Frances Anne Moody Ballroom

Easter Bunny standing in front of the Aquarium Pyramid announcing Easter brunch and buffet at Moody Gardens on March 29th through March 31st.
“Hare Ye, Hare Ye!! Easter Brunch and Buffet at Moody Gardens.”

Moody Gardens is excited to announce a lineup of festive activities for the upcoming Easter weekend. Planned events include Breakfast with a Bunny, an Easter Buffet, an expansive Easter Brunch, and a themed Hotel Package fun for the family.  

Lasting memories can be made at Moody Gardens Hotel with a family-friendly, Easter-themed Hotel Package that includes a one-night stay, two Easter baskets, and a fun family Easter scavenger hunt.

To See Brunch and Buffet Packages & Reservations: Click Here

French Toast dusted with sugar along with cranberries and strawberries. Specially prepared for Easter brunch in the Gardens Restaurant
French Toast dusted with sugar available in The Gardens Restaurant

Moody Gardens Visitor Center

Guests are invited to begin their Easter celebration by having Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, available beginning Friday, March 29 at 10:00 a.m. or Saturday, March 30. Seating options on Saturday are 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. Guests can indulge in a delectable breakfast buffet at The Garden Restaurant inside the Visitors Center, featuring a variety of mouthwatering dishes such as eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurt, and a sweet affair of French toast dusted with sugar, croissants, Belgian waffles, and more. The event also includes a souvenir photo, an Easter Bunny meet and greet, a Moody Gardens animal presentation, and a train ride. Tickets are priced at $42 for adults and $28 for children aged 2-12.

The Easter Bunny and Scarlet the Moody Gardens McCaw Mascot during the Easter Brunch in the Gardens Restaurant
Easter Buffet in The Gardens Restaurant

On Easter Sunday, March 31st, visitors can don their best Easter attire and head to Moody Gardens for brunch. Guests will have two delicious dining options. The Garden Restaurant located in the Moody Gardens Visitor Center, will offer a delicious Easter Buffet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Buffet options include a selection of cold salads, chef-carved Smoked Ham and Texas Rope Sausage, a Pasta Station, Seafood options, and variety of delectable desserts. Prices for the Easter Buffet are $50 for adults, $40 for seniors, and $30 for children aged 4-12.

The Frances Anne Moody Ballroom

Guests may also enjoy an elevated and expansive Easter Brunch in the Frances Anne Moody Ballroom at the Moody Gardens Hotel. A menu crafted by Chef Bobby Ross includes an assortment of indulgent breakfast selections which include homemade baked croissants and pastries, made-to-order omelets, and other breakfast favorites. Additionally, guests may feast on a variety of savory salads, seafood, and entrée options. Menu offerings that include Braised Leg of Lamb with Mint Jus, Roasted Prime Rib, or Seared Red Fish in Citrus Butter, will please any foodies’ pallet.

Easter Brunch in the Frances Anne Moody Ballroom

Seating times for the Easter Brunch will be between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the Easter Brunch are $90 for adults, $80 for seniors, and $40 for children aged 4-12. A full menu for the Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, Easter Buffet, and Easter Brunch can be found at www.moodygardens.com/easter when purchasing event tickets.

Moody Gardens 3D Theater

Guests are also invited to watch the movie, Jerusalem 3D which will be available during the Easter Weekend as a special showing in the Moody Gardens 3D theater. Check out the trailer below for details.

Embark on a journey through one of the most cherished cities globally, understanding its sanctity to three predominant religions through the tales of diverse families residing in Jerusalem. Accompanied by eminent archaeologist Dr. Jodi Magness, delve into the city’s profound mysteries, gaining unparalleled access to the sacred sites and witnessing the rarely seen aerial vistas of the Old City. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch

Explore the Spring 2024 “Sustainable Tourism” Edition of the ‘Island Soul Visitor Guide’

Cover page of Galveston's Island Soul focused on Sustainable Tourism: Help keep our Island clean, green and pristine
The Spring 2024 Island Soul Visitor’s Guide featuring “Sustainable Tourism.”

Find out more about the Moody Gardens Conservation Fund, Coral Reef Lab, Animal Encounters and ongoing conservation efforts

In this Spring “Sustainable Tourism” issue of Galveston’s ‘Island Soul’ magazine produced by Visit Galveston, the tourist guide takes a deeper look at the ongoing environmental and conservation efforts taking place on the island. In this edition, you’ll discover special coverage spotlighting Moody Gardens’ role in sustainable environmental practices.

At Moody Gardens, conservation and research form a cornerstone of our mission, driving our efforts to educate the public about nature, wildlife, and the environment while serving as a focal point for all our activities. These efforts include the establishment of the Conservation Fund[PDF] which is maintained through Penguin & Otter Encounters; the Penguin, and Seal Experience; along with selling prints of penguin art.

To learn more, download a free PDF copy of ‘Island Soul’ via the link below:

This issue of ‘Island Soul’ written by Crai S. Bower (Instagram: @travelcrais & X / Twitter: @craisbower) and provided by VisitGalveston.com

The Lone Wanderer: Cattle Tyrant’s Texas Tale

“Reflections on Isolation and Resilience in Nature”

North American Cattle Tyrant small bird with brown features and a yellow chest. Photo by Greg Whittaker

The North American Cattle Tyrant in downtown Corpus Christi
Photo credit: Greg Whittaker

It was a strange rare bird chase as I walked a 6-block area in downtown Corpus Christi with binoculars and camera last Friday.  Circling back towards the corner of North Chaparral and Lawrence, I saw it!  A medium sized bird, gray on top, yellow below, catching bugs off the windows of a building and hopping on the sidewalk just as most previous eBird pictures and reports reflected. 

I took several pictures and walked back to the pizza joint to meet the other three non-birdnerds visiting the coastal bend on this long weekend camping trip.  I was beaming as I showed the grainy pictures on my cell phone and announced this as my species number 401 for Texas. 

I mention that not because it’s a particularly grand achievement amongst birders, but mainly to emphasize the relative unimportance of assigning a number.  My thoughtful wife pondered why birders flock to see a single, wayward individual bird and celebrate an encounter.  No one seems to care that this lost bird is destined to die alone in an unfamiliar place.  The focus on animal well-being is core to both of our professional lives, and her questions prompted my own curiosity.

At a Houston Audubon event this week I took the opportunity to ask several avid world birders if they’d ever seen a Cattle Tyrant in its native range and habitat.  A couple commented that their numerous encounters in Panama and Brazil involved birds hopping around on sidewalks in downtown urban centers plucking flies off buildings and dumpsters.  To which I thought to myself, well at least this new Texan has located its essential habitat.  I commented that it would probably suffer from the cold temperatures this past week and it was pointed out that the natural range has similar conditions. 

Satisfied that this visitor could survive, and perhaps physically thrive in its new home, I was troubled by the species description listing it as a social species often found in flocks.  Isolation of a social species is the opposite of thriving when we look through the animal well-being lens.  The North American Cattle Tyrant saga will continue to play out, and this individual bird will attract thousands of avian gawkers before disappearing mysteriously, or even sadder, to obscurity when the newness wears off.

Stepping back to explore the odd concept of listing in the birdwatching realm, I’ll state up front, that I’m a lister.  It would take some analyzing to determine why its important for me to have a metric assigned to my time outside enjoying nature, but it’s there, it’s real and eBird is the enabler. 

Likely the same neurochemical explosions associated with the dinging sound of increasing “likes” on a tik-tok post (if that’s even a thing).  The inherent narcissism of making me and my sightings more important than the subject matter itself. 

I realized this morning as I listened to the territorial call of an American Robin establishing a nest in my neighborhood and seeing the head of a Red-shouldered Hawk peering over the edge of last year’s nest that everyday encounters with the wildlife around us should be more important than a “first”.  Listing is important, and the valuable data that researchers access through the aggregate of all of our eBird lists is critical to understanding species population trends, range shifts, migration timing and many other questions that we haven’t even asked yet. 

While you’re out there chasing those rare birds, take time to notice everything else.  Collectively we may start talking a little more loudly about the reduced numbers of common species, or the seemingly smaller numbers of species we’re seeing throughout the year, or the lack of a species during a migration, or two, or a decade.  Since we all care about the birds we see, hopefully we’ll care as much about the ones we don’t.

Whooping Cranes at Goose Island State Park
Photo credit: Greg Whittaker

If you want to see the first ever North American record of the Cattle Tyrant, go to the corner of North Chaparral Street and Schatzell Street in downtown Corpus Christi and watch for the pretty yellow-bellied bird hopping along the sidewalk catching flies off the side of a building. 

On the way down, treat yourself to a drive by the Big Tree at Goose Island State Park to see some of the 536 living Whooping Crane that continue to visit Texas every November through February.

Photo of Greg Whittaker, Animal Husbandry Manager at Moody Gardens

Greg Whittaker is Moody Gardens’ General Curator and a birding enthusiast. He chairs the Galveston County Audubon Group and serves on the Houston Audubon Board of Directors.

Audubon Christmas Bird Count – Joyful Citizen Science!

On Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the newly formed Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition – a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them.  In the 123 years since, the annual CBC as we now call it, has grown from 27 birders tallying a mere 90 species, to just under 80,000 participants across Canada, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands surveying more than 2600 fifteen-mile diameter circles to record 2244 species, plus 432 hybrids.  The citizen science data produced from these collective efforts helps inform conservation strategies around avian population trends.

Galveston boasts 2 circles monitoring our Island; TXGA and TXWG.  The older TXGA circle is centered just off the northwest edge of Pelican Island and encompasses habitats from just east of Rettilon Road on Bolivar Peninsula to the west end of Sportsman’s Road (Bay) and Beach Pocket Park #2 (Gulf) here on the Island.  The circle extends approximately 3 miles off the seawall and wraps around to include most of Texas City, Bayou Vista, and Tiki Island.  This circle was established in 1978 by Dick and Dwight Peake, and we just completed its 46th count on Tuesday, 19 December.  It was a resurrection of an earlier CBC circle (TX1W) that was centered about 2 miles west and collected data from 1946 through 1970.  TXGA has more water than land and a limited amount of wooded area, but still produces species diversity in the top 20 of all US circles.  The picture above was taken at sunrise from the observation platform overlooking Galveston Bay Foundation’s Sweetwater Nature Preserve where our visiting Sandhill Cranes spend their nights.  We were there to count them as they woke up to start their day.

Galveston’s West End CBC will be conducted on Tuesday, 2 January, 2024.  This newly formed effort is in it’s 5th year under the watchful eyes of Kyle O’Haver and Cynthia Hughes.  This circle is centered just northwest of Jamaica Beach in West Galveston Bay.  The eastern edge captures Laffite’s Cove Nature Preserve and the western edge is just offshore of the westernmost point of San Luis Pass.  A full third of the circle is within the Gulf waters off Galveston Island, and the northern arc of the circle captures a generous swath of mainland agricultural land, marsh and coastal prairie habitat split between Galveston and Brazoria Counties.  The circle encompasses most of West Galveston Bay, the mouth of Greens Lake, much of Hall’s Bayou and Chocolate Bayou.

You don’t need to be an expert birder to participate, and all eyes are valued in seeing, counting and tallying what we encounter.  It’s a great way to meet folks, see some new and interesting places you might want to bird, and learn a little about identification tips and tricks, photography, compare birding equipment, or who knows where the conversations lead.  If you’re interested in spending time enjoying nature while identifying, counting and recording local birds with teams of volunteer citizen scientists, don’t hesitate to send an email to gwhittaker@moodygardens.org.  I’ll gladly send you information on these, or other local CBC circles where you might find interest.  The Christmas Bird Count season runs from 14 December through 5 January, and there are 26 of them in our local region.  Most CBCs wrap up the day with a countdown event where count compilers, area leaders and participants share stories of the day’s adventures, best birds and generally just catch up with fellow birders to celebrate the season.  I’ll leave you with our sunset over the same marsh where the Cranes were returning to roost after their day enjoying our Island.

Save Big and Make Unforgettable Memories This Holiday Season at Moody Gardens!

The holiday season is upon us, and here at Moody Gardens, we’re excited to offer you fantastic ways to save while creating lasting memories with your loved ones. From early Black Friday hotel deals to special themed nights and exclusive packages, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, let’s dive into the festive fun and explore how you can make the most of this holiday season without breaking the bank.

  1. Early Black Friday Hotel Sale – Save 30% on Stays!

Start your holiday adventure early with our exclusive Black Friday Sale on hotel stays. Book your room now through November 27th and enjoy a fabulous 30% off your stay. It’s the perfect opportunity to plan a relaxing getaway or a family vacation without the hefty price tag.

  1. Value Days – Buy One Get One Free Admission and Discounts!

Join us on select nights for our Value Days, where you can enjoy incredible savings on admission. Take advantage of buy one get one free admission on select nights or enjoy discounted rates on other evenings. Check out our themed nights:

– Groovy Night 🕺

– Super Hero Night 🦸

– Ugly Sweater Night 🎅

– Pajama Night 🌙

– Dickens Night 📖

– Bring Your Dog Nights 🐶

– Food Drive Thursdays 🥫

  1. Explore Exclusive Package Deals

Make your visit to Moody Gardens even more special by booking one of our exclusive package deals:

– Holiday in the Gardens Package: Bundle admission to all our attractions for a truly immersive experience. You’ll save while giving your family the opportunity to explore all that Moody Gardens has to offer. It’s a one stop shop for all things Holidays.

– Breakfast with Santa Family Package: Share a meal with Santa himself and create cherished memories with your family. The package includes breakfast for two adults (ages 13+) and two children (ages 4-12), a luxurious guest room, a souvenir photo, costumed character meet and greet.

– Polar Express Package Experience: Embark on an enchanting journey inspired by the classic holiday tale. The Polar Experience package includes your luxurious guest room, four tickets to Ice Land: Ice Sculptures Rainforest Holiday, the Festival of Lights trail at Moody Gardens, and transportation to and from the Galveston Railroad Museum for The Polar Express Train Ride!

– Holiday Dinner Cruise and New Year’s Packages: Celebrate in style on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. This package includes a guest room for one night, tickets for two for the Holiday sunset dinner buffet.

 

  1. Try It and Buy It – Your Gateway to Membership

Discover an exclusive opportunity with some of our “explorer” package deals- featuring a unique “Try It and Buy It” offer! When you book “explorer” packages, your stay becomes more than just a memorable experience; it becomes a pathway to membership. Apply the cost of your stay towards a membership within 30 days after your visit. To claim the offer, visit Member Services in person at the Visitors Center, call us at 409-683-4200, or send an email to memberships@moodygardens.org. Don’t miss out on turning your stay into a lasting membership with Moody Gardens.

This holiday season, come and celebrate with us at Moody Gardens, where you can save big, have a blast, and make unforgettable memories with your friends and family. We can’t wait to share the spirit of the season with you! 🎄🌟

Book your stay and explore our amazing offers today. Visit our website or contact us for more information and reservations. Happy holidays from all of us at Moody Gardens! 🎁❄️

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