Is there anything better than getting up close and personal with animals?
Moody Gardens offers a unique opportunity to do just that.
Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas is an unusual theme park housed in a series of glass pyramids. One pyramid contains a rainforest, another an aquarium, and a third is a children’s discovery center. The park also offers a 4D theater attraction, a paddlewheel boat ride, a water park, ropes course and zip-line and seasonal shows and events. Never a dull moment!
Tickets can be purchased for individual attractions or in combination packages. The only thing we’re interested in today are the rainforest and aquarium.
The rainforest pyramid entrance is located in the main lobby by the ticket counter.
This is the view as you enter, a neon jungle with small reptiles and amphibians and ambient rainforest sounds. Stepping on certain pads activates the sounds.
A set of stairs leads up to an outdoor water tank.
Otter was not amused.
A door in the glass opens onto a walkway inside the pyramid. The walkway is above the rainforest. Signs on the railing tell of the White Faced Saki Monkeys that live in the trees. The signs also mentioned sloths. I didn’t think they would allow them to roam free though.
At this point I’d like to offer a tip about visiting this incredible place.
Slow down. Stop. Look and listen.
As a society we’re so used to running from one activity to another, trying to fit as many things as possible in a day.
Jeff and I are guilty of this.
When we took the time to stand and look around we saw wonderful things.
Looking down to the pool below.
Looking down to the walkway below.
The gardens have a nice collection of fruit bats enclosed behind a net. It was so interesting to watch them move and fly so close.
As we watched, I noticed a small baby bat climb up and cling to his mother. She wrapped him in her wings and they ascended to the highest point of the enclosure. She hung up there rocking him and patting him with her wings just like a human mother. It was incredible to watch.
Tip number two.
I really wanted to get closer to the bats on the lower level. Unfortunately when we got down there we saw that the bat enclosure is blocked on that level. If you want bat pictures, the only chance is the upper level.
I was standing next to the bat enclosure, waiting for Jeff to take his pictures and I casually looked down into the greenery. I was startled to see a face looking back at me! It was the female Saki monkey, free roaming, not caged.
She just sat there on her log calmly grooming herself.
This time I purposely looked around and saw an unusual beige lump way up in the corner rafters of the pyramid.
The sloth, also not caged.
Nearby, sleeping on the ledges.
A tiny friend.
A zookeeper was standing in the corner by the door to the lower level because the male Saki monkey was hanging out in one of his favorite places right near the walkway. The zookeepers are on hand to keep watch.
Look at that hand!
He moved around the area, sitting right on the railing in front of us until he eventually went back into the trees.
As we entered the lower level we passed through another room of amphibian tanks, reptiles and nocturnal animals.
The official greeter of the lower level pyramid is this large Komodo Dragon.
Water and birds everywhere.
A reptile or two.
Birds wander around the paths at will.
Watch where you walk!
So many different kinds!
I’m pretty sure the one below is Kevin from the movie UP.
Funny looking fish.
Does he have teeth?
A few special birds and animals are housed in enclosures.
A large pond anchors the center of the lower level. It’s full of huge fish, spotted rays, turtles and water birds. Colorful parrots perch on the bare branches above.
This crazy looking bird was my favorite.
Of all the sights we saw, the Caiman Lizard and Miss MotMot were the funniest.
I thought he was smiling at me.
It turns out he was yawning, this is only halfway! His mouth is huge!
Meanwhile this little bird landed right next to me.
She was very comfortable there, she kept pecking at the glass and fussing around.
Apparently this is so normal that she has her own sign.
Meet Miss MotMot.
How cute is she?
Behind the waterfall is the next room in the pyramid.
The insect room.
It contains a massive ant farm and huge butterfly growing lab.
In the end, the rainforest pyramid turned out to be a perfect place to sit and be still. A great place to take pictures, and observe jewel toned birds and animals go about their business.
The pyramid exits outside and paths lead to the other two pyramids and to the paddlewheel boat ride.
The pink pyramid houses the children’s discovery center.
Our destination is the smaller blue pyramid at the end of this walkway.
It leads to the Aquarium.
A glass cylinder full of fish dominates the main room.
It’s a facsimile of an oil rig.
It seemed to be leaking a little, towels were tucked around the base.
The South Atlantic Penguin Habitat.
And beautifully decorated tank habitats.
This weird shark kept lifting his nose out of the water in the exact same place every time he circled.
The jellyfish room was a little empty, many tanks uninhabited, but we arrived at feeding time which was interesting to see.
I’ve never seen a jellyfish eat. The dots are food particles.
Jellyfish are beautiful!
The seals and sea lions are rescued animals, one is blind.
They were very playful! They can viewed from above and below. Fun to watch.
The mangrove forest was a petting pool full of rays.
The best part of the aquarium was the fish tunnel.
Once again, we’ve arrived at feeding time. Three divers were in the water, two to feed and one to push aggressive fish away.
The giant eel was a stubborn eater, the diver had to shove the food in his mouth and sometimes he’d just spit it out.
Not sure I’d stick my hand in there!
The Humboldt penguin exhibit is at the exit.
I found the aquarium to be a little on the small side, we’re spoiled by our California aquariums, but the animals were healthy and the exhibits well presented.
And that’s the end of our pyramid animal experience for the day.