Society

Moody Gardens:

an exploration for the whole family
By MARIE BAKKEN
Reporter Staff Writer


The Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens in Galveston is the amount of new explorations for anyone, young and old. The park largest of the three pyramids on the grounds that offer endless begin as a hippotherapy center for people with head injuries. The Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens in Galveston is the amount of new explorations for anyone, young and old. The park largest of the three pyramids on the grounds that offer endless begin as a hippotherapy center for people with head injuries. Galveston Island beckons the Bakken bunch

A s you go across the causeway onto Galveston Island, three pyramids highlight the coastline facing the mainland. Inside those three pyramids, and along the surrounding grounds, is an endless amount of new explorations for anyone, young and old.

Those three pyramids are Moody Gardens, a non-profit destination using nature to educate and excite visitors about conservation and wildlife.

Our small brood headed south recently to explore these pyramids and found new discoveries and beautiful sights.

Moody Gardens began in the mid-1980s with a horse barn, a riding arena with a hippotherapy riding program for people with head injuries and an extraordinary vision to create an island tourist destination.


The Bakken Family found a new, tall friend during their trip to Moody Gardens recently. Here they pose in front of a T-Rex at the Dinos Alive exhibit. The Bakken Family found a new, tall friend during their trip to Moody Gardens recently. Here they pose in front of a T-Rex at the Dinos Alive exhibit. Today, Moody Gardens is one of the premier educational/ leisure facilities in the Southwest. It provides horticultural therapy, education and employment for persons with a wide range of physical and emotional disabilities.

Since its inception in 1983 and adoption of an eight phase master plan in 1985, Moody Gardens┬« has illustrated through its various attractions numerous innovative and creative programs—resulting in a visitation count of approximately two million visitors annually.

RAINFOREST—Our adventure began in the Rainforest Pyramid, where more than 1,700 exotic plant and animal species from the rainforests of Asia, the tropical Americas and Africa are featured. There were trees that towered to the top of the pyramid, exotic plants, free roaming monkeys, a gorgeous butterfly garden and snakes. Yes, snakes, the one animal like creature that freaks me out the most.

The snakes were behind glass so they couldn’t get me, but I made sure the husband went around the next corner so I wouldn’t be caught off guard.

The beautiful sights and sounds of the Rainforest Pyramid kept my mind off it, until we got to a little area where I saw the word “Anaconda.” A huge snake with whom I did not want to meet, nor did my daughter.

However, the males in our group wanted to see it and in the words of my son, “It was massive, Mom.”

In the building next to the Rainforest Pyramid was a fabulous Imax Theatre. It opened as America’s first IMAX┬« 3D Theater in 1993 and continues to showcase films by some of the world’s top filmmakers.


The Rainforest Pyramid was the first of the three pyramids to be built on the Moody Gardens property. It houses more than 1,700 exotic plants and animals from around the world. The Rainforest Pyramid was the first of the three pyramids to be built on the Moody Gardens property. It houses more than 1,700 exotic plants and animals from around the world. We watched “Dino’s Alive” and learned a lot about dinosaurs and new theories on their extinction and preservation. I highly recommend it, but it, and the corresponding Dino’s Alive exhibit, a prehis- toric stomping ground with more than 20 lifelike animatronic dinosaurs, are only there until Aug. 11.

AQUARIUM—Next stop was the Aquarium Pyramid and what an amazing stop it was. The 1.5 million-gallon Aquarium Pyramid is a splashy tribute to the North Pacific, Caribbean, Tropical Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans, opened in the summer of 1999. As one of the largest aquariums in the world, the facility features close-up views of penguins, sharks, seals, seahorses, moray eels and much more.


A favorite stop for photographs is the tunnel in the Aquarium Pyramid where you are walking through the tank which includes several sharks (below). 
Reporter/Marie Bakken A favorite stop for photographs is the tunnel in the Aquarium Pyramid where you are walking through the tank which includes several sharks (below). Reporter/Marie Bakken There were several observations spots where you could gaze at different ceiling to floor “aquariums” and watch the creatures in their natural habitat.

A favorite spot for patrons is the tunnel area in the Aquarium Pyramid where you can sit and watch the fish and such in their natural environment. This is also a great spot to watch the sharks.

DISCOVERY—The next stop was the Discovery Pyramid, where until Oct. 20 kids of all ages can experience JAM: Remastered The Science of Music. The exhibit showcases the science and mathematic behind music and four fascinating galleries.


Visitors can not only look at the different plant species in the Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens, they can also smell them too. At left, this particular interactive sign allowed you to get a whiff of popular spices that grow in the real rainforests. Visitors can not only look at the different plant species in the Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens, they can also smell them too. At left, this particular interactive sign allowed you to get a whiff of popular spices that grow in the real rainforests. Other fun places to visit at Moody Gardens is taking a sail on the Colonel Paddle-wheel boat and take a dip at Palm Beach.

Both the Rainforest Pyramid and Palm Beach underwent enhancements after they were heavily damaged during Hurricane Ike in 2008. It took three years to complete the projects.



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