One Hope Boulevard Galveston, Galveston, TX, USA
www.moodygardens.com - 1-800-582-4673
Moody Gardens Galveston Reviews
Fun and Educational (A great way to support a non-profit) Mar 25, 2008
The Moody Gardens is a large tourist attraction located on Galveston Island. It's easy to spot as you drive across the bridge into Galveston; three large, glass pyramids overlook a body of water, their reflections shimmering on the surface. The Gardens have a number of attractions including an aquarium, an indoor rainforest, a large hands-on science area, a 3-D Imax theater, 4-D ridefilms, a paddle boat, a private beach (seasonal), a light festival (seasonal), an ice skating rink (seasonal), and a bunch of little food stands and gift shops. There’s also a hotel, full-service spa, and convention center on the property. The main attractions are those housed in the pyramids: the Aquarium, Rainforest, and Discovery (aka hands-on science place).
The Aquarium is broken down into 4 main sections: Caribbean, South Atlantic, North Pacific, and South Pacific. Each exhibit features sea creatures and plant life from those regions. They have a large number of penguins, seals, tropical fish, sharks, etc. There is a particularly large sea horse exhibit that even has a sea horse hatchery. There are also exhibits that allow you to “pet” the starfish and sea urchins. It’s a fun exhibit and comparable with the aquariums in other cities. It can be a little confusing to navigate as the paths seems to diverge in seemingly random directions, but the exhibits are numbered so you can make sure you see everything you want to see. And the gift shop has a unique gift item for sale; apparently the penguins are quite artistic! You can buy an original work of art created by one of the penguins in the aquarium (i.e., they let them walk through paint and go to town on a piece of paper).
The Rainforest is probably my favorite exhibit. A clearly marked walkway meanders through a lush rainforest in miniature! The rainforest features plants and animals from Asian, African, and American rainforests. Birds of all colors fly overhead, little primates play in the canopy, and if you look carefully, you can find a sloth or two napping among the leaves. There are several water features, too, and some of the fish in the ponds are so large, it’s hard to believe! All of the plants are representative of various rainforests, and the flowers and lush green leaves are just breathtaking. Several benches along the pathway allow for taking a moment to sit and watch everything happening around you. This is truly a beautiful, little rainforest and not an exhibit to miss!
The Discovery pyramid is a hands-on science area with rotating exhibits. I have only gone to this pyramid once. It was very disappointing. Many of the science demos were over-used or broken, and the entire display was visually unappealing. I’m not certain, but I believe there were none of the rotating exhibits in the pyramid at the time, so I have hope that it isn’t that bad all the time. Then again, who knows?
The Imax theater is much like any other Imax: a blast. I love going to the Imax- especially in 3-D. The shows are interesting and educational, and it’s always fun when a random dinosaur or fish “jumps” out into the audience.
The 4-D ridefilms are lame. They are cheesy and seem worn out. I’ve seen some amazing ridefilms at places like DisneyWorld, but these just don’t compare. It seems like they should funnel some funds into improving these attractions; either that or they should get rid of them and use the money to expand other (better) attractions.
I haven’t been on the paddle boat or private beach nor have I been to the hotel, spa, or convention center, so I can’t really describe those. The Festival of Lights was a fun event (and it’s open on Christmas Day). The Gardens are lit up with thousands of light displays along a trail through the park. The trail eventually leads to the ice skating rink. For a couple bucks, you can rent ice skates and slip & slide around with all the other families. The rink itself is small and crowded, and the skates are very cheap (they almost looked disposable!), but it was still a ton of fun!
Overall, I love the Moody Gardens. I never get tired of the rainforest, and it’s always nice to see a good aquarium. The other exhibits aren’t unique to the Gardens, but some of them are fun to do anyway and others are better avoided. And it’s always nice to support a non-profit organization that promotes conservation and eco-education.
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