Bubble Dome with Jelly Fish

Things to do at Moody Gardens in Galveston TX

Moody Gardens is a hotel and spa, golf course, convention center, and adventure park all in one. I’m not sure what came first. It’s most recognized off Galveston Bay by the Three Pyramids off in the distance.

The whole experience can be a little intimidating at first. With things stretched out over the entire complex, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are my tips and things to do at Moody Gardens in Galveston TX.

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What is Moody Gardens?

Moody Gardens is an absolute blast and an oasis of fun in Galveston, Texas! You can spend hours exploring the giant Aquarium Pyramid, where you can see all sorts of aquatic creatures from tiny fish to massive sharks.

It’s like taking a magical underwater journey without even getting wet!

And if you love cute and cuddly animals, you’ll want to visit the Rainforest Pyramid where you’ll get to meet all sorts of rainforest creatures like playful monkeys and adorable sloths.

The 3D and 4D theaters are also a must-visit, where you can experience all sorts of thrills and spills on the big screen.

When you need a break from all the action, you can head over to Palm Beach, the seasonal outdoor water park, and float down the lazy river, splash around in the wave pool, or take a plunge down one of the water slides.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can challenge yourself with the zip line and ropes course, or practice your swing at the golf course.

How much does it cost to visit Moody Gardens?

Tickets for Moody Gardens on Galveston Island are around $29 – $36 per attraction, or $55 – $65 bundled together.

The biggest tip I have for anyone visiting Moody Gardens is to get the Value Pass. I was reluctant to spend the money at first but found it to be a great deal.

Each attraction can be purchased individually and range in price. The two biggest attractions, the Rainforest and Aquarium, start a little over $29 – $36 each. If you plan on going to two things, get the Value Pass. It gets you into almost all the attractions.

Is Moody Gardens suitable for children?

Yes, Moody Gardens is more than a garden. Its an aquarium, zoo, childrens museum, ropes course, boat ride, beach and so much more. My kids are still talking about this place year later.

What attractions are at Moody Gardens?

Iceland (Seasonal)

Oh, Iceland, what can I say. I guess this is how southerners enjoy worlds of ice. In Minnesota, we build ice castles outside of dripping icey wonder.

In Galveston, they freeze colored water into blocks and stack them into their favorite shapes. To keep it all from melting they keep the temperature between 26 degrees and 6.

I was there on a 6 degrees day. Why do they feel the need to keep it at 6 degrees, I’ll never know. It’s currently 24 degrees out right now and all you need is a light sweatshirt.

Thankfully, they provide all guests with a parka before going in, because who in Texas actually has a proper winter coat. We did get a few funny looks for not actually zipping up our coats.

Iceland managed to get a lot of ionic things from all over the world, all continued in a space the size of a standard ice rink. There were tunnels, igloos, and even an ice slide.

The ice slide didn’t provide any sleds or anything to go down on. It must be a northern thing because I sat my but down on it and my jeans stuck right to it. After scooting halfway down I realized the rest of the guests were sitting on the parkas.

We were having a fun time exploring the area until we realized that my daughter was in some Teva sandals and freezing her feet. That’s when we ran through the rest. It’s quirky and fun and something we will all remember.

Ice Land Egypt
Ice Land Rio

The Rainforest Pyramid

One of the biggest elements and most well done is the Rainforest. Containing elements for Asia, Africa, and the Americas, we could get up close with some amazing animals.

The rainforest is two floors of winding pathways. Each one was beautifully done incorporating rare plant life. You never knew what might be hiding around the corner.  The rainforest is part of the primary pyramid.

Inside the Rain Forest Moody Gardens
Inside the rain forest
Commode Dragon at Moody Gardens Rain Forest

Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyrmyid

The biggest reason my husband wanted to visit Moody Gardens was for the Aquarium. And it didn’t disappoint. The Aquarium is contained in its own pyramid.

We saw everything from seals, stingrays, to sharks and penguins. There is touch and feel sections, tunnels, and above and below viewing options for all of the inhabitants. Everything you would expect from a good Aquarium.

Dive Dank at Moody Gardens
Tunnel at the Aquarium Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens does an excellent job of keeping the kids engaged. Our favorite exhibit and the on that took the most courage was getting to touch a Jelly Fish.

Touching the Jelly Fish

20,000 Leagues

There are a few different theatre experiences. A 3D, 4D, and 4D Audience Recognition Theatre. If you can only go to one, make sure it’s the 4D Audience Recognition theatre.

They have an interactive experience, and the kids will love it. If you have a chance, make sure your little one sits on the middle aisle seat, or even better in the front row. They’ll get to pick the direction of the show. 

4D Theater at Moody Gardens

3D & 4D Special FX Theatre

The other 4D theatre is a little older. They take current movies and add a 4D element to them. The one we saw was on sharks. It was a mini-documentary that is currently showing on Netflix.

The theatre was a little older with a few elements not performing at peak. Instead of misting guests with water, mine repeatedly shot a stream of water at my face.

I needed a towel afterward. It’s closed for a few weeks after I visited. I hope it has to fix a few of these elements. There is also a 3D Theatre too.

Discovery Museum

If your kids need to get some wiggles out, while learning something, you need to visit the Discovery Museum. Taking up the top floor of the Discover Pyramid, the place is built like a children’s museum.

With interactive exhibits, allowing kids to learn while they play. The theme was skeletons and all about movement.  

Sky Trail Ropes Course

Probably the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done next to jumping off a platform during a free-fall experience zip lining. The ropes course is 81ft tall with 48 obstacles to get across.

They have something like this at the Mall of America that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now. Finding out it was part of the Moody Gardens gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out.

My oldest is over the 48” minim and was able to join me. We immediately went up to the second level, took one look and decided maybe we should try to start with level one.

I am so proud of my daughter for doing it all the levels. There were many ways to get around, some easier than others. But each had a very terrifying element.

My youngest was not tall enough to do the full course, but there was a Sky Tykes Ropes Course. It was a few feet off the ground but still had the harness and challenge aspect.

Sky Tykes Course
Ropes Course at Moody Gardens

We have a motto in our house. Whenever we think things are too tough or hard to do, we tell the kids to recite, “I’m a ! and I can do anything!”

I could literally hear my daughter reciting this as she crossed different elements. It is inspiring. Me, on the other hand, was about to pee my pants.

Ziplining was also an option but did not come with the Value Ticket Pass. It is one zip line. We didn’t see many people taking advantage of it. After zip-lining over a canopy with multiple zip lines, I don’t think it’s necessary.  

Ropes Course Balancing Act

Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens (Seasonal)

A new favorite attraction added to Moody Gardens is the Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. Enjoy light-up displays of the Gardens of the holiday season. These walk-through attractions are a family favorite.

Colonel Paddlewheel Boat

The Colonel Paddlewheel Boat is an hour-long cruise on a replica 1800s paddlewheel boat through Galveston Bay. The boat runs at various times throughout the day.

This is an attraction that everyone would enjoy. We ran out of time in the day to squeeze this one in.

Palm Beach (Seasonal)

For obvious reasons, this attraction was closed during our winter visit. But it is part of the ticket package. Its White Sand Beach, Splash pad, Tower Slides, Wave Pool, and Lazy River.

Other things to do

Ice Skating and the Festival of Lights were also part of the value ticket package but we didn’t have time to check them out. There were other attractions like an artic slide that is supposed to mimic sledding and Virtual Reality simulators that cost a little more.

Tips for Moody Gardens

Ticket Deals and Where to Get Them

You can buy tickets at the entrance to the Aquarium Pyramid or the Main Entrance. The aquarium had little to no line. You can also save yourself almost $5 a ticket by purchasing them online.

You’ll need to in to pick up the actual tickets. Do this before you leave! If you try to do it online, it can take up to 15 minutes before the cashiers get your tickets loaded into their computers. 

Do the attractions hold value if you purchase tickets individually? I’m not sure. The biggest ones, the Rainforest and Aquarium, I felt were priced a little high for the size.

As with anything that uses admission cost to support and take care of animals, I understand needing to charge that much. If you purchase the Value Pass, you will feel you are getting your money’s worth.

Eating at Moody Gardens

Each pyramid has a small cafeteria with options for food. Things cost a premium. They have a captive audience after all. In the main pyramid, there is a restaurant. Similar pricing structure.

Save yourself a little money and either have a picnic in the car or leave the property for a quick bite somewhere and then come back.


Parking was a little crazy. Getting there right when they opened, we pulled right up to the front lot. Getting out of there at lunchtime was crazy.

Culturally TX driving was a little more aggressive then I was used to, but the parking lot wasn’t much better. It was the reason we dreaded returning.

But instead of parking in the lot near the attractions, take a right towards the hotel’s ramp. It will require a little walking through the hotel walkways, but it was a night and day difference.

Rainy Day Activity

About seventy-five percent of the activities included in a Value Pass are done indoors. The only thing that can’t, is the Sky Trail Ropes Course, the Colonel Paddlewheel, the Artic Slide, and Palm Beach. The three pyramids have covered walkways connecting them together to keep you dry.

Looking underwater

What Locals Say

Whenever I eat out, I love to talk to the wait staff and get their recommendations in the area. What was a little surprising was they included Moody Gardens in the mix of recommendations during winter because of Iceland and the Arctic Slides.

I had to laugh at this one because they were talking to people that just escaped winter. While the rest of the activities were stuff you could see anywhere, we really enjoyed our time, especially when the morning started out raining. With these tips for Moody Gardens in TX, you are sure to have a great time!

Your whole family should have these unforgettable experiences at moody Gardens in Galveston TX

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