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Moody Gardens Zoo, Galveston, Texas

Discussion in 'United States' started by Catherine Brinkley, 14 May 2004.

  1. Catherine Brinkley

    Catherine Brinkley New Member

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    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    Moody Gardens is founded by the Moody family of Galveston, and it started as a therapeutic petting gallery for handicapped children. It is a smallish zoo. I worked and volunteered there- which is more fun than a visit  The zoo is mainly geared towards entertainment with a bent towards education. The facilities were built recently (~1998 for the rainforest, and ~2000 for the aquarium).

    The rainforest is a huge open flight museum with sun biters, piranhas, parrots, frogs, blind cave fish and much more. It is arranged such that the sections correspond to the 5 major rainforests of the world- and then birds are allowed complete free flight (which is fun because sometimes they dive bomb you for food- if they know you have it). Some lovelorn birds without partners are continually calling as well. There are misters to keep everything wet, and the rainforest can be visited at night to see the night life.
    There zoo releases a large population of butterflies which flit about until they are gobbled up by the birds.
    There are glass display cases with snakes, a bat cave, tank exhibits, tomato frogs and insects.
    The path winds through the rainforest never letting the visitor see the edge of the wall- so that it seems much larger than it is. There are also mock Incan ruins to give the effect.
    Amazon parrots with clipped wings are rotated from posts in the ponds every 4 hours. They stare over large carp or other huge fish. Usually the parrots are presented in pairs.


    The aquarium has a seal exhibit with 2 harbor seals and 2 sealions. The tank is small- with both land and water areas, stretching 3 floors. We tried to keep fish in it- but they never survive the seals.
    The penguin exhibit is likewise non-interactive. Most of the penguins are born in captivity (king penguins) and they never needed or cared to learn to swim- so mainly, they waddle about the ice- which is disgusting and must be cleaned 2x a day. There is a frisky group of rock penguins that dive for a school of fish that swims about basically unmolested except for the 4 rock penguins. This exhibit spans 3 floors as well.

    The most impressive part of the exhibit is the Caribbean sea- with sharks and turtles, and a viewing room right in front of a very territorial queen trigger fish. There is a tunnel under which visitors walk- and you can see the shark swim right at and over you- a chilling but graceful experience. People are nearly always quiet and respectful in the tunnel- even the middle school tour groups (an astounding feat). There are barracuda as well. The walls of the tank are dark blue- and the visitor would never know that the tank ends because of this illusionary trick. The only problem is that the sharks will often munch on the fish (having a $500 lunch) instead of the meat we feed them. Also - the poor sea turtle has a hard go of it with sharks and moray eels swimming about. All in all, the tank is in a figure-8 shape, which I am told is much better for the swimming patterns of the sharks (any verification ?) and stops their dorsal fin from drooping.

    There are also petting tanks for kids with Horseshoe craps, de-barbed stingrays, urchins, snails and the like.

    So- I would recommend visiting it if you ever find yourself in Galveston Texas USA.
     
  2. okapikpr

    okapikpr Well-Known Member

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  3. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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  4. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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  5. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    Moody Gardens announced the birth of a Chinstrap Penguin last week, making it the first Chinstrap chick ever born in the Moody Gardens Aquarium.
    Moody Gardens is one of five zoos and aquariums in the U.S. to feature the sub-Antarctic chinstrap penguins in captivity.
     
  6. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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  7. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, a reason to go back! Not that I needed one, I love that place. Best "true" aquarium in Texas.