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See the pyramids é on the Texas coast

See the pyramids é on the Texas coast
The three pyramids in Moody Gardens house incredible exhibits, from rainforest plants and animals, to sea life, to science and traveling exhibits.

Standing in front of the Moody Gardens complex in Galveston, with its magnificent landscape and three huge pyramids, it is hard to believe that this all started in 1983 as a therapeutic riding arena for people with physical or mental challenges. Today, it is an educational tourist destination that attracts more than 2 million visitors each year. There is truly something for everyone here, including a beach, created by transporting tons of white Florida sand on barges across the Gulf of Mexico.

Experience the pyramids

In 1993 the Rainforest Pyramid, a 10-story structure, was opened and filled with plant and animal species from the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Here you can view the giant Amazon River otter exhibit and take the treetop path that leads through the canopy level of the pyramid to see the monkeys, sloths, and the other free-roaming tree dwellers.

The MG 3D Theater, located inside the Visitor Center, was the first IMAX 3D theater to open in America; it continues to showcase films by some of the world’s top filmmakers, such as “Flight of the Butterflies,” “A Turtle’s Tale Escape from Paradise,” “Sharks,” and “Wild Ocean.”

The Discovery Pyramid, the second of the pyramids, opened in 1997 and features traveling and science exhibits. Here you will also find the Ridefilm Theater, showing a thrilling motion simulation experience. Each 18-passenger ride is surrounded by a seamless 180-degree wraparound screen that fully encompasses each viewer’s vision. High-quality images and awesome sound combine to make you a part of the action.

The big blue Aquarium Pyramid debuted in the summer of 1999; it is the largest aquarium in the world. This 1.5-million-gallon aquarium houses a diverse display of life from four distinct ocean environments. It is home to penguins, sharks, seals, seahorses, moray eels, and a magnificent coral reef with thousands of tropical fish. Now, if you are wondering how you are going to see all these fish, you actually walk through a tunnel completely surrounded by water as the sea creatures swim around you. (No fishing poles allowed.)

And there’s more

As if all of the above was not enough, there are also a 4D FX theater, the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, and an 18-hole, par 72 golf course, where the fairways are lined with 500 palm trees. Palm Beach is a landscaped white sand beach with freshwater lagoons, a lazy river, tower slides, and splash pad play area for children.

Of course, it is not possible to see and do everything at Moody Gardens in one day, so for those who want to make it a weekend, there is the Moody Gardens Hotel and Spa that has been described as an “architectural masterpiece.”

Lunch while learning

Refreshments at Moody Gardens include the Garden Restaurant, located in the Visitor Center lobby, which offers soups, salads, pastas, seafood, burgers, and sandwiches. The Aquarium Pyramid Food Court has a great variety of cuisine including Mexican, barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, wraps, and pizza. At the Rainforest Concessions, you can order hot dogs, shrimp, chicken tenders, pizza, nachos, and eggrolls. And the Shoreline Café Palm Beach has typical beach fare, such as corn dogs, burgers, fish tacos, chicken, and shrimp.

Admit one

The One-Day Value Pass is
 $49.95 per person and includes one admission to all of the attractions. The Two-Day Value Pass is $64.95 and offers unlimited admission to all attractions for a two-day period. Neither pass includes golf. You can also purchase individual attraction tickets.

Moody Gardens is 235 to 250 miles from La Vernia, depending on which route you choose.

Almost everything at Moody Gardens revolves around education, conservation and family fun, and how nature and our world work together with plants and animals, each doing their part. Its goal is “to generate excitement about wildlife and wild places and to ensure the long-term survival of captive wildlife populations.” And, I must say, Moody Gardens does it very well.

Harry and Linda Kaye Perez are freelance writers from just down the road from Floresville. Together they share a passion for traveling and writing, and discovering the very best in all corners of the world. Email them at Harry-Linda411@att.net.

Find out more

Moody Gardens: One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, 1-800-582-4673; or visit www.moodygardens.com

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