I Dream of Galveston: The Moody Heritage

Following are more of our favorite Galveston attractions…

Moody Gardens

The Rainforest Pyramid is now open after $25 million in enhancements. (Credit: drclue.com)

Surprises abound at Moody Gardens, a 242-acre wonderland just off Interstate 45 northeast of Offats Bayou. Lush gardens surround the 242 acre complex, which features three shimmering glass pyramids rising from the coastal flats that contain fascinating exhibits plus 3D IMAX Theatre.

The Aquarium Pyramid, the largest and arguably most remarkable exhibit of the three pyramids, boasts 1.5 million gallons of aquatic environments and houses about 8,000 specimens of marine life from the North and South Pacific, South Atlantic, and Caribbean. Sharks, sea turtles, eels, and thousands of beautiful tropical fish swim overhead as you navigate through an underwater tunnel completely surrounded by the exhibit’s one-million gallons of water.

Sharks In Depth, the latest exhibit in the Aquarium Pyramid, explores the mysterious and often-misunderstood world of sharks, from where they live and what they eat, to how they are designed for their environments.

The Rainforest Pyramid is now open after $25 million in enhancements that takes you closer than ever to the over 1,000 species of exotic plants and animals from the rainforests of Africa, Asia, and the Americas that populate the multi-level 10-story glass pyramid.

Your journey starts through the Rainforests of the World on a new walkway overlooking the endangered giant Amazon River otter exhibit before entering the pyramid at the canopy level, letting you explore the rainforest from the air and giving you a better opportunity to spot the birds, sloths, white-faced saki monkeys, cotton-top tamarins, and other free-roaming tree-dwellers.

Scarlet Macaw at the Moody Gardens Rain Forest Pyramid. (Credit: Dee Ann Pederson/art.com)

The canopy walkway also includes one of Moody Gardens’ most beloved features— a walk-in butterfly exhibit that lets you mingle with several species of beautiful butterflies.

And the pink-hued Discovery Pyramid offers a unique peek into the world of science, from the heavens to the earth. Spectacular traveling exhibits from around the country provide interactive demonstrations showcasing the world of science that surrounds you.

The current exhibit, “Bones: An Exhibit Inside You”, was originally developed by the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The exhibit features exciting and interactive activities to teach visitors about bones. It examines bone biology, keeping bones healthy, and how bones are a part of cultures all over the world.

Admission: $49.95 (includes admission  to Aquarium Pyramid, 3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater, Ridefilm Theater, Discovery Museum, and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat); two-day pass $64.95; discount available when purchased online

Location: One Hope Boulevard

Admission: (800) 582-4673

Website: moodygardens.com

Moody Mansion

Purchased by W.L. Moody six days after the 1900 storm (reportedly for “ten cents on the dollar”), this imposing 28,000-square-foot limestone and-brick mansion has 32 rooms filled with opulent furnishings and heirlooms from one of Texas’s most powerful families. Mr. and Mrs. Moody and their four children celebrated the first of more than eighty Christmas seasons in the house in December of that year. Built in 1895, the mansion remained home for Moody family members until 1986.

The guided tour of the Moody Mansion includes a history of the Moody family in the context of late 19th and 20th century Galveston and Texas.

The guided tour of the Moody Mansion includes a history of the Moody family in the context of late 19th and 20th century Galveston and Texas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The furnishings are all original to the family and to the house. Each room on the main floor is decorated in a different style. The house was meticulously restored in the late 1980s and first opened to the public in 1991.

When W.L. Moody died in 1954, Time magazine proclaimed him one of the 10 wealthiest men in the country. Moody’s philanthropist daughter, Mary Moody Northen, made her social debut in the mansion’s ballroom in 1911 and lived here until it was damaged by hurricane Alicia in 1983. It was subsequently restored with 1900- era furnishings.

During Hurricane Ike, five feet of water covered the main floor; however tours of Moody Mansion were able to be resumed the following Thanksgiving weekend.

Admission: $8.00; seniors $7

Location: 2618 Broadway

Phone: (409) 762-7668 or (409) 765-9770

Website: moodymansion.org

Please Note: This is the fourth in a series of stories on favorite Galveston attractions

Texas Spoken Friendly

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

Worth Pondering…
Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your sea winds blowin’
I still see her dark eyes glowin’
She was 21 when I left Galveston.
—Glen Campbell

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