Moody Gardens

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Moody Gardens
Location Galveston, Texas, United States
Coordinates 29°16′27″N 94°51′05″W / 29.2741°N 94.8513°W / 29.2741; -94.8513Coordinates: 29°16′27″N 94°51′05″W / 29.2741°N 94.8513°W / 29.2741; -94.8513
Land area 242 acres (98 ha)
Number of species over 9,000
Annual visitors 2 million per year
(open 365 days)
Memberships Association of Zoos and Aquariums[1]
Owner City of Galveston,
run by Moody Foundation
Website http://www.moodygardens.com

Moody Gardens is an educational tourist destination, with a golf course and hotel in Galveston, Texas which opened in 1986. The non-profit destination uses nature to educate and excite visitors about conservation and wildlife.

Moody Gardens features three main pyramid attractions: the Aquarium Pyramid, which is one of the largest in the region and holds many species of fish and other marine animals; the Rainforest Pyramid, which contains tropical plants, animals, birds, butterflies, reptiles, and a variety of other rainforest animals including free-roaming monkeys and two-toed sloths; and the Discovery Pyramid, which focuses on science-oriented exhibits and activities.

Another major attraction is Palm Beach, a landscaped white sand beach with freshwater lagoons, a lazy river, tower slides, and splash pad play area for children. Moody Gardens also has a RideFilm Theater with motion-based pod seating, the MG 3D Theater features the largest screen in the state of Texas, 4D Special FX Theater, paddlewheel cruise boat, a hotel, golf course and a convention center.

The complex attracts many local tourists from the city of Houston and its outlying suburbs. The owners commissioned a landscape design from Geoffrey Jellicoe. It is described in Gardens of the Mind: the Genius of Geoffrey Jellicoe by Michael Spens (Antique Collectors Club, 1992).

Aquarium Pyramid[edit]

This blue pyramid is approximately 12 stories high. The massive pools that are contained in this pyramid contain approximately 10,000 marine animals from fish, sharks, seals and penguins. Each representing different regions of the sea: North Pacific, South Pacific, South Atlantic and Caribbean.

Rainforest Pyramid[edit]

Rainforest Pyramid
MoodyGardens.jpg
Type indoor rainforest
Area entire interior
Operated by Moody Foundation
Status open 365 days
Plants trees, bushes, flowers
Species 1,000 plant species
plus animals
Collections exotic plants, plus otters, monkeys, alligators, bats, ocelots and birds

This clear pyramid reaches the height of 10 stories. After Hurricane Ike, a $25 million enhancement project brought nature closer to visitors. The multi-level Rainforests of the World project focuses on education, conservation and possible future breeding with new rare and endangered animals. Giant Amazon river otters, saki monkeys, ocelots, and a wide range of other animals, birds, reptiles make up more than 1,000 species of exotic plants showcased the diversity of the rainforest environment.

The rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas are featured through the popular bat caves, crashing waterfalls, and Mayan Ruins. The warm, humid interior simulates the climate of rainforests on warm days.

Discovery Pyramid[edit]

The Discovery Pyramid features traveling exhibits and the ride film (motion simulator). The huge deep pink colored pyramid is currently featuring the JAM: Remastered exhibit. This exhibit highlights the science and math behind soundwaves while allowing visitors to play with instruments and sing karaoke.

Moody Gardens Golf Course[edit]

In 2007, the Moody Foundation signed an agreement with the City of Galveston to completely rebuild the city's municipal golf course. The course reopened in June 2008 under the moniker Moody Gardens Golf Course. The $17 million comprehensive renovation, included the addition of new turf grass, green complexes, elevations, irrigation, drainage, cart paths, greens and a full clubhouse renovation.[2]

The new course was designed by Peter Jacobsen of Jacobsen Hardy Golf Course Design and was constructed to keep historical features of the course while improving certain holes and course flow. The par 72 course measures 6,900 yards from the back tees, with 5 sets of tees to accommodate all playing abilities.[2]

Festival of Lights[edit]

Each November and December Moody Gardens hosts the Festival of Lights. A mile long trail features one million lights themed to holiday music with live entertainment and an outdoor ice rink. Additional attractions include holiday films at the MG3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater and Ridefilm Theater. A holiday buffet is featured in the Garden Restaurant and the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat offers evening cruises.

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