Taking your next vacation getaway to Galveston Island? Check out the oceanic wonder of Moody Gardens. It is a popular tourist attraction located in Galveston, Texas. It houses three colorful glass pyramids as an entertainment complex.
All its exhibits focus on the themes of nature and science, inspiring fun and education in the visitors. So, make the best out of your Galveston Island vacation with a Moody Gardens trip. Read this guide to find all the crucial information regarding this tourist entertainment complex.
|Best Time to Visit||Mid-November in the Autumn season|
|Suggested Visit Duration||2 to 3 hours to cover the Pyramid|
|Visiting Hours||10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily|
|Ticket Prices||Starting from $23.95|
|Specialty||• One of the largest aquariums in the Southwest with a 1.5 million gallons aquarium pyramid.|
• Key attractions include penguins, educational programs, behind the scenes tours.
|Address||1 Hope Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77554, USA (View on Maps)|
|Contact Number(s)||+1 409-744-4673|
|Links||Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram|
The Moody Gardens Complex was established in Galveston, Texas, in the mid-80s. It began with a horse barn. Then with the Moody Foundation’s efforts, Hope Therapy, a hippotherapy program, started in 1986.
Since then, the Convention Center, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Pyramid, Moody Gardens Hotel, and Spa. etc., are added to the complex.
The ten-story high turquoise Aquarium Pyramid was first opened in 1999. It covers 242 acres of the Moody Gardens resort complex. The Pyramid and two other Pyramids are built overlooking Galveston Bay.
It featured the 1.5 million-gallon aquatic attractions showcasing the North Pacific, Tropical Pacific, Caribbean, and South Atlantic Oceanic world.
In 2004, the Hotel and Convention Center Expansion Flexed Exhibit Hall to 60,000 square feet. It is available for various events, whether trade shows, concerts, or large gala dinners.
The addition of 4D special FX Theater in 2005 features 3D images and various special effects. In 2008, the Moody Gardens Golf Course was added to the complex, renovating the former Galveston Municipal Golf Course.
To date, many adventure theme-based new attractions are adding up to Moody Gardens for a more interactive experience.
- The aquarium represents over 300 species.
- You can see Seahorses and starfish in the “no-touch” tanks.
- Watch the new shipwreck habitat modeled after Galveston pirate Jean Laffite’s ship, the Pride.
- Jellyfish Gallery exhibit enhance the experience with advanced lights, sounds, and textures.
- Witness the evolving coral reef in the South Pacific Biome Displays.
Visitors can get free admission to Moody Gardens Aquarium apart from the general ticket price structure. Some free admissions conditions are:
- Kids three and below are eligible for free admission to all attractions.
- Visitors can enjoy unlimited admission to Moody Gardens attractions with a membership package.
- Annual Membership passes enable access to a full year of unlimited admission to most Moody Gardens attractions.
- The Annual Pass Plus Membership holders are eligible to have an immersive experience of all the Moody Gardens attractions at $165/per person.
- The Season Passes avail of attractive deals on seasonal attractions at $75/person.
Visitors can buy entry and other attraction tickets online or on the site for Moody Gardens Aquarium. Its Yearly attractions are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Moody Gardens is open for Christmas Day from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on seasonal occasions. The general ticket costs are:
- Kids under age 3: Free
- Kids above three years old: $29
- Adults: $36
- Seniors: $29
You can access Moody Gardens combo tickets to enjoy multiple attractions at a lower price. Visitors can save $15 off the individual ticket prices. For example, get an Aquarium/Rainforest combo at $49 for adults and $39 for kids and seniors.
Note: You can check out the combo tickets, One-day Value Pass tickets, and encounters for 4 to 6 admissions to the aquarium. Shop for ticket here.
Moody Gardens Aquarium avails of many special discounts on on-site ticket purchases. Some of the listed discounts are:
- Military Discounts: Visitors can show valid Military IDs to get 20% off on Value Passes. This discount is available for Military personnel, spouses, and children under 18.
- First Responder Discounts: Visitors with a valid First Responder ID can receive 20% off on Value Pass. It’s only available for first responders from Police, EMS, and Fire.
- Good Grades Discounts: Receive free admission into one education attraction through the Good Grades program. Only students are eligible for this program. Students can present a report card within 30 days. The grade should not be less than B to receive a discount through this program.
- Mommy Wednesday Discounts: These discounts are available for moms or dads and their children aged 4 to 5 every Wednesday. The Value Pass would cost $35 for one child and $35 for one parent.
Moody Gardens Aquarium enables individuals to purchase Moody Gardens Gift Cards for their loved ones. Although the facility is unavailable on the official website, you can buy gift certificates on reliable sites like GiftRocket and Giftly.
You can shop for any gift from $25 and above at Giftly for anything at Moody Gardens. Personalize your gift card with your message and send a present worth anywhere from $25 to any flexible amount at GiftRocket.
The Moody Garden Aquarium offers animal encounters for its behind-the-scenes program. It offers visitors close contact with their favorite part of the attractions available in Moody Gardens. This special experience for the visitors allows participants in the staff-only areas. Participants can touch and feel the animals with these encounter programs. Top animal encounters include the following:
Private Penguin Encounter
The Private Penguin Encounter program takes you on an immersive penguin rendezvous at Moody Gardens. It is a 45-minute session that includes a piece of Penguin Art and Aquarium Pyramid admission. This encounter is available from Wednesday to Sunday.
You can book the private session for 4 people at $425 online or in person.
Private Giant River Otter Encounter
Visitors require a Rainforest Pyramid Reservation for a Private Giant River Otter Encounter. You can learn much about otters and observe them from a distance in this session. They tend to avoid human interaction and avoid areas with dense populations.
The 45-minute session involves an otter painting activity for each participant and admission into the Rainforest Pyramid. This encounter is available for up to 4 people. You can book a private session on Saturday to Sunday at $425 for a group of 4 people.
Public Penguin Encounter
This is a behind-the-scenes encounter with the penguin with the biologist of Moody Gardens Aquarium. You can meet a real penguin, join the food prep kitchen, and discuss penguin biology, conservation, and care in the 45-minute session.
You can also join in creating penguin paintings for penguin stimulation and enrichment. The Public Penguin Encounter tickets are booked on a first-come and first-serve basis. Therefore, purchase them at least 20 minutes before the scheduled time.
A parent or an adult should accompany kids under 12 years old. This session is offered from Wednesday to Sunday.
Penguin & Seal Experience
The Penguin & Seal Experience behind-the-scenes facility costs $250 per person. This session lets you experience what it’s like to be a keeper at the South Atlantic and North Pacific exhibits for a day.
Guests can care for the penguins and seals for 4 hours during the behind-the-scenes adventure.
Guests can have lunch with the biologist in this session. Unfortunately, this session only allows three participants at a max of 16 years or older.
Public Giant River Otter Encounter
Book a Rainforest Pyramid Pass to go behind the scenes with Moody Gardens Biologist for the Public Giant River Otter Encounter. Learn about their biology, conservation, and caring in the private interior exhibit in this 45-minute session.
It is limited to 6 people per session from Saturday to Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The ticket would cost about $75 per person.
Note: The behind-the-scenes facilities are not wheelchair accessible as they are done in staff-only areas.
The Moody Gardens Aquarium conserves a wide range of species from various oceanic worlds. The additional charge for these exhibits varies according to the visitor’s age group. The ticket price for these exhibits is as under:
- Adults: $36
- Kids above three years old: $29
- Seniors: $29
- Kids under age 3: Free
Some of the popular exhibits you can see:
Two-story Gulf of Mexico Rig Exhibit
The Moody Garden Aquarium is a two-story replica of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig tank exhibit. It is the most eye-catching feature when you enter the center of the aquarium. The surrounding schooling fish circles around the 30,000-gallon round aquarium.
There is an oil production platform above the tank. It is a 23-foot scale model.
The Jellyfish Exhibit addition in Moody Gardens Aquarium from its $37 million renovation project in 2017. This touch tank is home to an amazing range of jellyfish. With colorful lighting and a modern structure, this exhibit is mesmerizing.
This exhibit is open until 8 p.m. according to its general schedules.
360-degree Shark Tunnel Tanks
You can see the classic arched Aquarium walkway in the Pyramid, apart from the main attractions of penguins and seals. When strolling through the tank’s center, you can witness aquatic life from all sides. This tunnel shows you the impressive range of fishes and sharks.
Visitors can find the Caribbean Exhibit in the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid. It is 20 feet deep and home to various fish, stingrays, sharks, and eels. It also showcases the coral reefs, a vital part of the Caribbean ecosystem.
Its diverse range of marine life in the warm waters is the main attraction. It highlights the importance of conserving the peaceful environment of the Caribbean seas.
South Pacific Exhibit
The South Pacific Exhibit showcases the depths of the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea. The main attraction at the Moody Gardens South Pacific exhibit is the stunning coral reefs and crystal-clear waters.
Visitors can have a close encounter with the various range of marine life, which includes fish, sharks, and stingrays. You can see more than 200 species of fish here. This exhibit features a tide pool with stunning sea anemones and sea urchins. You can also see the giant Pacific octopus in the exhibit.
North Pacific Exhibit
The North Pacific Exhibit in the Moody Gardens Aquarium features furry seals as its main attraction. You can see how they play on the rocky shore and dive into the water. Many colorful marine creatures are in the tide pool, showcasing sea urchins, anemones, etc.
Its design resembles the Gulf of Alaska, with a Kelp Forest housing a diverse underwater world representing Northern California.
South Atlantic Exhibit
This exhibit is designed to resemble the rocky beaches of the South Georgia Islands. Visitors can see the penguins from below and above the surface.
With their Penguin Encounter program, you can get up close with the penguin residents at Moody Gardens Aquarium. Get the opportunity to take some of their extraordinary artwork homes.
Sharks in Depth Exhibit
The new addition of a shark exhibit at the Moody Gardens Aquarium is a great attraction for visitors. These are the ultimate sea predators of the oceanic world. You can explore many of their species, learn about their anatomy and behavior, and enjoy hands-on activities in their Sharks in Depth program.
Moody Gardens Aquarium features facility for live webcams. You can check out penguins and your favorite species in action with the “Penguin Cam“. The “Pyramid Cam” will give you a glimpse into the daily activities of the Moody Gardens Pyramids in real-time.
The Moody Gardens Aquarium encourages animal conservation awareness in various oceanic regions. It gives young minds, learners, scouts, and educators learning opportunities. Here are some of the learning opportunities Moody Gardens Aquarium programs:
Learn Wild Home School
The Moody Gardens promotes its new Learn Wild Home School program for adults and youth ages 3 to 17 and children under 3 years. These are three hours-long programs designed to educate home-school families and groups of all grade levels.
The non-members’ fee for this program is $18 per adult person and youth individuals. The Members of the Moody Gardens facility can pay $10 per adult and youth individual. Children under the age of three can join this program for free.
The Pre-K Expeditions at Moody Gardens is a once-a-month program. Participants can enjoy many theme-based educational activities like games, experiments, crafts, storytime, and admission into their preferred attraction.
The educators can also offer “At home activity ideas.” This program is designed for kids of 3 to 5 years old with an adult individual. It costs $15 per child, including the guardian. The maximum number of attendees per session is 48.
Scout programs are for all ages and rank available in Moody Gardens Aquarium for all ages and ranks. You can join its Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Scouts BSA program and work towards earning a badge.
Participants can join in private Scout workshops to learn about all the exhibits that make up the environments from around the world.
The educator programs of Moody Gardens Aquarium include Educator Open House, Educator Workshops, and other programs. It allows you to learn what Moody Gardens and other Galveston attractions can offer. All workshops are TEKS aligned to offer many hands-on activities and educational materials.
Two exciting sleepovers are available at Moody Gardens Overnight Adventures program. It lets visitors stay the night exploring one of their thrilling attractions. Participants can enjoy a late-night pizza snack and a light breakfast. You need to make reservations two weeks in advance.
The Moody Gardens Aquarium facilitates bookings for various event programs. It has many skilled event planners in Galveston to ensure all your private events are organized successfully. Here are some of the events Moody Gardens can host:
Moody Gardens can do everything, whether you want to host trade shows or virtual meetings. Here is what its corporate meeting venues can avail:
- It has many spacious, well-equipped meeting rooms to host in-person or virtual events.
- Its convention center has large expo halls and a sophisticated corporate meeting ballroom.
- The buffets can cater to 50 guests minimum with a personalized menu.
The tropical Gulf attraction of Moody Gardens is perfect for serving as a wedding venue. Here is what to expect from its wedding venues:
- Guests can host intimate to grand wedding ceremonies at its unique venues. You can find venue information from their managers.
- Whether you want an Island casual or romantic rainforest wedding, you can find diverse options.
- They avail many amenities with professional staff to ensure everything is tended to in detail.
You can celebrate any special moments with Moody Gardens’ special event venues. Here is what the venues facilitate:
- It can host any casual to formal affairs to make the Day memorable with special venues. Get venue information from the event manager.
- They can plan your event and perfect your menu according to the event you like to have.
- It can host a party for any social gathering and game events for kids.
Audiences can submit their request for proposal, and their event planners can make the necessary arrangements. Click here to plan your event with their packages.
Dining at the Aquarium
There are many dining options in the Moody Garden Aquarium. Explore all the exhibits while satiating your hunger. Here are some of the eateries to find:
Café in the Park
Café in the Park is one of the popular dining options near the Moody Gardens Aquarium. It is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. It offers dine-in and takeaway service options. The café offers a garden-like setting and serves American dishes.
The Garden Restaurant
This restaurant is a fine dining option for light-hearted meals. Its popular snacks include French toast, Croissants, Pancakes, and Biscuits with Pepper gravy. You can grab a meal for around $50 to $100. Its timing is 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
After exploring all the beauty of the exhibits of Moody Garden, you can shop for souvenirs to take home. You can find a gift shop at the Aquarium Pyramid in the Visitor’s Center. You can shop for items like T-shirts, Souvenirs, tropical plushies, games, educational toys, scientific toys, etc.
Rescue & Conservation
Moody Garden participates in many animal rescue and conservation programs. Since it’s a non-profit organization, it depends on public and corporate donations to support its campaigns.
The Moody Gardens Conservation Fund is the sole support that enables its various local and global field conservation efforts. Some of its utmost efforts are:
Animal rehabilitation efforts in recovering and releasing sea turtles, fish, and other marine animals return to the wild. Guests can find rescued seals and other marine animals in the Aquarium Pyramid.
Moody Garden is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so it helps in supporting the continued survival of selected wildlife species. Moody Garden also participates in Species Survival Plans and is an active partner of Seafood Watch.
It has a Coral Rescue Lab at the Aquarium Pyramid to protect coral.
Hotels in the Aquarium
You can find an accommodation facility inside the premises of Moody Gardens. Its unique island resort hotel offers iconic views of Moody Gardens Pyramids and world-class attractions. Guests can book luxurious guest rooms, Junior suites, and suites with various in-room and resort amenities.
The Moody Gardens Aquarium map features many aquarium exhibits, a rainforest exhibit, 3D and 4D theaters, a water park, a paddle-wheeler cruise, and walking paths. Make your exploration easier with the map. Find your preferred Pyramid attractions and venues at the Moody Gardens property map here.
How to Reach & Parking
You can easily reach the aquarium by car, public transportation, or on foot.
By Car: Visitors can take Interstate 45 South from Houston, exit at 61st St., and turn right to Seawall Blvd. Then turn right to 81st St and turn right to Jones Rd. Next, turn to Hope Blvd to follow the Moody Gardens signs to reach the venue.
By Public Transportation: You can take bus lines 20 and 28 from Houston to reach Moody Gardens. Visitors can also take a train ride from Altic Hughes station.
By Foot: The Moody Gardens is within a walkable distance from many popular nearby locations Ssgt Macario Garcia Dr at Avenue N covers 7 min walk, and Canal St at Hedrick St covers 12 min walk.
Parking near the Moody Gardens Pyramids is free.
Moody Gardens Hotel (World-Class Accommodation Facilities)
Distance: 0.22 mi
It is the closest hotel to the aquarium within the Moody Gardens complex. The hotel offers a tropical-themed experience, with on-site restaurants, a spa, and an outdoor pool. Rooms are available from $170. It avails free parking space and all the luxury amenities.
Best Western Plus Galveston Suites (All Luxury Suites with Gulf of Mexico View)
Distance: 1.5 mi
It offers luxury accommodation options near Moody Gardens, just a few miles away. You can receive free parking and a free Wi-Fi facility. It has an exclusive beach area, meeting room, outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, and more. The check-in facility is available from $114 here.
Comfort Suites Galveston (Beachfront View with Beach Access)
Distance: 1.56 mi
It is one of the cheapest nearby stay options that offer great value. Guests can enjoy a great stay here, thanks to its restaurant, bar, and entertainment options. Its rooming facility starts at $84.
Days Inn & Suites (Spacious rooms along Galveston Seawall)
Distance: 1.58 mi
This is also a great stay option near Moody Garden at a low price. You can book your accommodation starting from $75. It offers free parking, multilingual staff, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness room, etc.
Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks (Best Steaks and Seafood)
Distance: 0.3 mi
This upscale restaurant is in The Moody Gardens Hotel and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. They specialize in seafood and steaks and offer an extensive wine list. It opens daily from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., except for Sunday and Monday.
Fish Tales (Balcony Seating)
Distance: 6.5 mi
This seafood restaurant is located on the waterfront at the Galveston Yacht Basin and offers fresh seafood, sushi, and cocktails. They have indoor and outdoor seating, and the outdoor seating offers views of the boats in the marina.
It is open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays and 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on weekends.
Seahorse Grill (Best Pizza and Unique Starters)
Distance: 3.6 mi
This restaurant offers pizza, burgers, and traditional American dishes. It is open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday except on Sunday. You can get both dine-in and takeaway facilities.
Lil’ Buffalo Grille (Best Grilled Chicken Salad)
Distance: 3.4 mi
Lil’ Buffalo Grille is typically open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It serves breakfast and lunch menus. However, their hours may vary depending on the Day or Season, so it’s always a good idea to check their website.
They offer many great dishes with multiple cuisines, which makes them a good option for travelers.
There are many thrilling attractions to check out near Moody Gardens Aquarium. Some popular attractions are.
Moody Gardens Golf Course
Distance: 0.5 mi
It is the nearest attraction to try out near Moody Gardens as it’s on the Moody Gardens property. It is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is ranked as one of the best public courses in Texas.
Distance: 4 mi
This waterpark is located on Seawall Boulevard, approximately 4 miles from the aquarium. The park is typically open from May through September, with varying hours of operation. You can enjoy many thrilling rides at a lower price.
Galveston Island State Park
Distance: 10 mi
Galveston Island State Park is located on the west end of Galveston Island. It offers opportunities for swimming, fishing, birdwatching, and more. The park is typically open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Distance: 5 mi
This popular attraction of Texas is located on Seawall Boulevard. It is an amusement park with many thrill rides, games, and food ventures. It’s typically open daily from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., but hours may vary depending on the Day or Season.
The Bryan Museum
Distance: 7 mi
It is historically significant to Texas and is located in the historic Galveston Orphans Home. It houses a collection of artifacts and Art related to Texas and the American West. Its open timing is from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Working at the Aquarium
The Moody Gardens Aquarium offers many working opportunities for interested candidates in the marine world. You can contact its HR team at [email protected] or call on: +1 409-683-4640. View the available job openings here.
- You can join as a volunteer at Moody Gardens in various campaigns.
- You can also intern at Moody Gardens to get hands-on experience in your field of choice.
Moody Gardens Aquarium in Galveston, Texas, is a non-profit organization. So, donations support its mission of offering education and conservation programs. It takes part in many donation programs and accepts donations from visitors too. You can also make online or mail-in donations.
The Moody Gardens Aquarium offers many attractions on its ground. Its clear glass Rainforest Pyramid, the blue Aquarium Pyramid, and the reddish-brown Discovery Museum Pyramid all have certain specialties.
It offers visitors the experience of oceanic and tropical habitats worldwide, along with its interactive theater and science exhibits. Overall, it’s an excellent option to try while in Galveston.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Moody Gardens Aquarium?
Moody Gardens Aquarium is at 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX, USA.
Is it free?
No, the Moody Gardens Aquarium is not free. But admission for kids ages three and under is free to all attractions. Admission prices can vary whether visitors purchase individual tickets or package deals—on-site book tickets to get special discounts.
How much are the tickets?
Moody Gardens Aquarium admission tickets price for adults is $26.95, for seniors is $21.95, and for kids is $15.95.
How big is it?
Moody Gardens Aquarium is one of the largest aquarium facilities in the Southwest. It features 1.5 million gallons of water and showcases over 10,000 marine animals from over 350 species. Its different habitats include a Gulf of Mexico exhibit, a South Atlantic exhibit, a Caribbean exhibit, and a Pacific exhibit.
How long to spend at the aquarium?
Visitors can enjoy the exhibits of Moody Gardens Aquarium at their own pace. Usually, visitors expect to spend about 2 to 4 hours at the aquarium. It would take about 45 mins to cover all the exciting features of the Rainforest and Aquarium. 45 mins at the movie theaters. Then about 30 mins at the new SpongeBob Subpants.
Where to park?
Visitors have free parking facilities at Moody Gardens and the hotel. You can park at the aquarium and visitor center if you don’t have a hotel package.
How much is parking?
Parking near the Moody Gardens Pyramids is always free.
Is the aquarium worth it?
Yes, it’s worth visiting Moody Gardens Aquarium. You can book specific packages or options to access every venue feature. With One-Day Value Pass, you can save big time, enjoy all its entertaining features in the three pyramids, and participate in an interactive adventure.
Other Nearby Aquariums
A word from FIA
All in all, the aquarium is a must if you’re in for a visual treat! It’s the perfect day out for families and friends. Hope we were able to share all the important information about the place, and we wish you a great visit!
We would love to hear from you when you’re back from the visit; tell us how it was and how you’d recommend the place to anyone planning a visit!