Don’t miss the natural wonders awaiting beneath three enormous glass pyramids at Moody Gardens (1 Hope Blvd., 409/744-4673, www.moodygardens.com, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.–Fri., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Sat., $45 for a day pass, $10 average for individual attractions). As Galveston’s most popular and prominent attraction, Moody Gardens offers an elaborate and stunning collection of plants, animals, and educational exhibits inside its colossal 100-foot-tall structures.
The all-access day pass carries a hefty price tag, so if you’d rather choose just one area to explore, go with the Rainforest Pyramid ($10 adults, $9 seniors, $8 children). The Aquarium Pyramid has more animals and features, but the Rainforest environment is a truly unique experience, where you’ll find yourself face-to-face with African jungle animals, tropical birds, and colorful reptiles. Massive plants, cascading waterfalls, and the constant chatter of birds and insects transport you across the planet to these exotic habitats. Be sure to check out the bat cave, with various species of bats hanging upside-down, nibbling on fresh fruit.
The Aquarium Pyramid takes you on a journey across the world’s oceans, viewed at two levels—surface and underwater. Marvel at penguins as they waddle and dive, and catch an up-close view of sea lions as they glide and play. Sharks, sea turtles, rays, and tropical fish await below the surface, viewable in a traditional aquarium tank setting or from the underwater tunnel surrounded by one million gallons of water.
Other notable attractions include the Discovery Pyramid, featuring science and nature exhibits, three IMAX “ridefilm” theaters, kids’ activities aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, seasonal recreation at Palm Beach (swimming lagoons, whirlpools, volleyball, and paddleboats), formal gardens, nature trails, and the esteemed Moody Gardens conference center, hotel, and spa.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition