Disclosure: Our family received a complimentary stay at Moody Gardens. No other compensation was given. All experiences and opinions are 100% my own.
Are you looking for an all inclusive family fun spot in Texas? Galveston is on the Gulf of Mexico and home to the beautiful Moody Gardens.
From the moment we arrived at Moody Gardens we were impressed by the customer service and environment. We drove down early from Dallas and arrived several hours prior to check-in. We decided to stop by the hotel to see if we could at least leave our luggage while we toured the island, and were delighted to find a room ready for us. Typically we have to wait until well past check-in to get into our room. This was already a huge bonus. Plus, since my parents accompanied us on the trip, we were able to get adjoining rooms which made it much easier on us all.
Upon check in, the girls looked out the window and we knew where we would be spending the afternoon. Moody Gardens has a great outdoor pool area, along with an indoor lap pool. The outdoor pool includes a hot tub and swim-up bar. Plus, we were never crowded and the kids had a fantastic time enjoying the cool, clean water.
But there was so much more that the resort had to offer. After talking with my kids and parents, these were our top 5 family fun features:
- Animal Encounters: We were treated to a fantastic interactive Penguin Experience. We were accompanied into a kitchen where food was being prepared for the animals and asked to wait. As we did, Watson the King Penguin made his way into the middle of our group. Being sure to keep the kids quiet and contained, Watson simply did his thing as his trainer told us all about him. I was quite surprised at how tall he was. I had no idea… nor did the kids. They very much enjoyed being able to see a penguin close up and it was a fabulous learning experience for us all. Not to mention, as we toured the Rainforest Pyramid® , we were able to feed birds, stand amongst groups of butterflies, and even encountered a couple of monkeys. It was exhilarating to see these monkeys playfully walk by us as we were nearing the exit. My little Monkey got quite a kick out of that.
- Water Play: Not only does Moody Gardens have a pool for their guests, but non-guests of the hotel can even enjoy the on-site waterpark. Palm Beach is the only white sand beach in Galveston. (The sand was brought in from Florida). Plus, there is a lazy river, wave pool, splash pad, and several slides for the kids to enjoy.
- Theaters: We enjoyed a 3D film with the kids about a couple of sea turtles that find themselves in a bit of trouble. It was not any 3D film though. The giant six-story screen of the MG 3D Theater is the largest in Texas. The girls kept reaching out to grab the animals on the screen because they looked so real. Plus, there is also the 4D Special FX Theater where you can engage almost all of the senses and see, hear, feel and smell the action. Finally, the Ridefilm surrounds each 18-passenger car with a seamless 180° wraparound screen that fully encompasses each viewer’s peripheral vision. You can choose which movie experience works best for you.
- Learning Experiences: I think that other than the live animals, learning about sea life, dinosaurs, and the science of music completely won the kids over. The first exhibit we ventured into was the Dino Alive! tent and it was incredible. Each dinosaur was so well modeled and the entire exhibit was set to the scene of Jurassic Park. My little one had a grand time just walking around “RAWRing” at all of the dinosaurs. In fact, she was a bit hoarse by the time we left there. The Discovery Museum featured JAM Remastered: The Science of Music. It was a completely interactive look at the science behind music that the kids could get up close and personal with. Playing instruments, learning how they work and how sound travels. We almost did not get them out of this one. Even my 16 year old son and my dad enjoyed this exhibit a lot. There was so much to do and see. An incredible learning experience for us all for sure. If nothing else, I learned how much my toddler loves the piano.
- Escape to the Gulf: The Colonel Paddlewheel Boat let us get away a bit onto the Gulf waters. It is a 45 minute cruise around Offats Bayou on an authentic 1800’s replica paddlewheel boat. The kids thought it was the coolest thing. The waters were calm and the Gulf breeze blew gently as we “paddled” across the bayou. We saw a few fish as well as several jellyfish as we cruised along the water and simply enjoyed the ride. It was a nice break from the on-shore activities and gave the kids a taste of what history.